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Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

International Association of Law Libraries 2014

The 2014 course on International Law and Legal Information from the International Association of Law Libraries is taking place right now in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Of particular interest are the Tweets being posted to Twitter with the tag #IALL2014. Today’s content is focussed largely on human rights issues.

Related links:

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Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Don’t You Know, We’re Talking About a Tuition Revolution

Students have two clear goals upon graduation: getting a job and paying off their debt. There is a third thing though that at one point is a motivating factor for many idealistic students—doing meaningful social justice law work. For most law students and recent graduates this third thing has fallen off the map at a time when everyone from the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court to the Bar Associations, law schools and LSUC are talking about increasing access to justice.

Steadily rising levels of tuition have become a tremendous financial barrier for students entering law school and for . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Of #HeForShe Feminism and the Autumnal Equinox

During an autumnal equinox the Sun spends about an equal time above and below the horizon at all points of the Earth. September 23 is the date for this year’s equinox. For the rest of 2014, the northern hemisphere will pine the loss of sunlight as the other half of the globe rejoices its gain. For a brief period during equinox, however, we are all equals. At least in this single, solar respect.

In most other departments, that simple, elegant equality does not resolve tidily. Not on any day of the year, in fact. Once you’re on the ground, inside . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

Cyberbullying, Social Media Networks and Sentencing: The Alberta Court of Appeal Strikes a Hard Blow in R v Mackie

How should the courts determine appropriate sentences for online predators who victimize vulnerable children through various forms of cyberbullying? This was the question put squarely to the Alberta Court of Appeal in R v Mackie 2014 ABCA 221.

Background

Statistics Canada reported this summer that the traditional crime rate in Canada fell 8% from 2012 to 2013, reaching its lowest level since 1969. But this general decline in crime rates overshadows a disturbing countertrend – the rise in online crimes against children.

Crimes constituting sexual violations against children increased 6% from 2012. In particular, the crime of using a . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues

Why Pro Bono?

Last week I had the opportunity to speak with law students at Robson Hall as part of the Pro Bono Students Canada (“PBSC”) launch event. I had been asked to give a speech on my own pro bono and access to justice work with a view to motivating students to volunteer for one of the many interesting projects PBSC is coordinating this year. In preparing for the presentation, I thought back to my own days at Robson Hall and realized, with some dismay, how little I gave of my time to others at that point in my life.

Because I . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Justice Issues

Elaborate Rules Means Justice System Is Expensive and Inaccessible

At the Opening of the Courts this week in Ontario, Justice Strathy, the new Chief Justice for the Province, gave a speech which highlighted how the court system is largely inaccessible to the majority of the public, largely due to the cost, complexity and time involved.

He made particular reference to his experience in the Ontario courts as a need for reform:

Having been a lawyer and a judge in this province for over 40 years, it strikes me that we have built a legal system that has become increasingly burdened by its own procedures, reaching a point that we

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues

Online Dispute Resolution at UNCITRAL – Some Creativity Needed

The UNCITRAL Working Group on Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) meets next month in Vienna to continue discussion of model rules for international ODR. Here are the working documents for the meeting, and past meetings. .

The perspective of the project since its inception in 2010 has been to find a way to resolve high-volume, low-value disputes – not necessarily just consumer disputes, but many would be of this kind.

One of the problems has been to figure out a way to get both buyers and sellers into the ODR system, whatever it is (and there might be many such . . . [more]

Posted in: International issues, Justice Issues, ulc_ecomm_list

Cops Impound Cell Phone of Texting Driver for 48 Hours

A recent shift in the distracted driving law has granted the police the authority to confiscate and impound cell phones of drivers who are caught texting while driving. Drivers caught texting are subject to a fine, and the police may confiscate the driver’s phone for up to 48 hours. Just long enough for that cell phone dependent driver to really feel the loss of their “companion”, but not so long as to justify going out to pick up a loaner.

The hope is that depriving the driver of their beloved cell phone will serve as a greater deterrent than any . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology

Alternative Business Structures and Access to Justice … for Whom?

The Canadian legal profession is currently engaged in a much-needed debate about the future of legal services in general and whether to allow the use of so-called alternative business structures (ABSs) more particularly. Thankfully, the issue of access to justice is figuring prominently in the general debate, as evidenced by the recently released CBA Legal Futures report and the ongoing work of the Action Committee on Access to Justice. Beyond that, the potential for ABSs to improve access to justice is being put forward as a key reason for allowing them, as can be seen in Slaw columns of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

How Effective Is Assisted Self-Help?

We know that a significant proportion of litigants across Canada are choosing, for a variety of reasons, to represent themselves in court proceedings. Dr. Julie MacFarlane and numerous others have extensively explored this continuing trend. What is less known, or perhaps unknown is whether existing resources designed to assist self-representing litigants (SRLs) are effective in providing support to those litigants.

Across the country, self-help services for SRLs are available through a combination of court and community-based service providers. In Manitoba, self-help services are not available at the courts; rather, the courts refer SRLs to community-based services like Legal Help Centre . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Why Checks and Balances Must Come First

In my last post, I posed a question to readers: Do we need a global digital bill of rights? It was also the topic of a fascinating panel discussion I moderated at the CBA’s CLC in St. John’s last week. Perhaps predictably, there were no definitive conclusions, but there appeared to be agreement that as the World Wide Web celebrates its 25th anniversary, internet users of all stripes are struggling with a dilemma: If private internet companies are watching us, shouldn’t someone be watching them? Presumably the “someone” in question would be the government. But that’s an idea that . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology: Internet