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Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

Driving Change in Access to Justice

Why is the idea of asking service users what they need in terms of access to justice so challenging to those working in the justice system?

This is the question that I was asking myself as I participated a recent workshop on enhancing access to justice in the area of family law, coordinated by the Manitoba Law Foundation and facilitated by John Paul Boyd.

Participants represented a range of justice system service providers and included some community voices as well. Working in small groups, we brainstormed the obstacles to access to justice and ways to provide better supports to those . . . [more]

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

It’s Not Just Them: The Social and Economic Consequences of Family Conflict

Busy family law lawyers, myself included, live in a bubble of immediacy, a shroud of crisis that moves with us as we go forward in time and cross entry after entry off our calendars. This often has two consequences. First, it discourages us from enquiring into the past, into the roots and evolution of the law on domestic relations, for example, or the delightful but sadly defunct matrimonial torts, and from seeking to decipher the meaning of important statutory passages such as this:

Subject to this Act, a guardian of the estate of a child has all powers over the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues

You Can Vote for the 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

Members of the public have until Friday, June 5 at 11:59 p.m. to vote online for the winner of the 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.

The prize, which is sponsored by ABA Journal and the University of Alabama School of Law, is intended to recognize a work of fiction that best exemplifies the role of lawyers in society.

The three finalists this year are:

There is a judging panel of four:

  • Roy Blount Jr., author and
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues

Access to Justice and Drafting Family Law Legislation as a Complete Code

A fog of uncertainty and conflicting case authority continues to beset British Columbia’s Family Law Act. The confusion is understandable, given that barely two years have elapsed since the act came fully into force and that the Court of Appeal has yet to pronounce upon the key areas of controversy, but nonetheless highlights critical access to justice issues that went unobserved and unnoticed under the previous legislative regime which thirty years’ of case authority had fully illuminated.

One of these key areas concerns the status of gifts received by spouses and whether such gifts are divisible family property or . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Catastrophic Changes in Ontario Budget for Motor Vehicle Injuries

When Ontario made wide-sweeping changes to automobile insurance and personal injury law in 2010, the intent was to reduce insurance premiums for the public. Although insurance companies did save money, much of these savings were not passed on to the consumers.

The amount of claims observed in Ontario did decrease in this period, but still remain the highest in the country. In 2006, accident benefits claims were $331, and rose to $588 per insured vehicle in 2009. This dropped down to $313 per vehicle in 2013 after the reforms.

 

Following the 2014 Cunningham Report, many anticipated that further . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation

Of Privacy Awareness Week and the Canadian Mavens of Reddit’s AMA

Privacy Awareness Week runs from May 3 – 9 and is an event hosted by the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities forum (APPA) each year to “promote awareness of privacy issues and the importance of the protection of personal information.”

Do you ever long for an excuse to zip your Android phone into a Faraday bag, paint your face with irregular lines and slip into incognito mode to evade facial recognition software? Well, now is the season!

Canadian participants this time-around included the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, which is promoting a few nifty resources, as well . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology: Internet

The Relevant Lawyer – New Book From ABA Publishing

Later this week the American Bar Association will publish The Relevant Lawyer: Reimagining the Future of the Legal Profession, a collection of essays on the future of the profession. It includes two chapters written by members of Slaw.

Details of how to get the book itself are here. We’ll publish a full review in Slaw shortly.

. . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading, Reading: Recommended

An Ounce of Prevention on Law Day

Prevention is better than cure, health professionals like to remind us. But what’s true for your physical well-being is arguably just as true for your emotional and financial health. That’s why it’s so important for people to recognize potential legal problems before they spin out of control and take over their lives.

As part of the events surrounding Law Day, which commemorates the signing of the Canadian Charter 33 years ago, the CBA has released six new legal health checks, in addition to an earlier six cards released last year. The goal is to get people to give . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Of Prima Facie Discrimination and Humanizing the Street Homeless

The long-dead brains of history are still quite handy when you need to brandish something with rhetorical flourish—Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Milton, Locke, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill are some obvious choices. But it’s rare that a quote at the head of a judgement is as good as what BC Supreme Court Justice Sharma gave us this past Friday in Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users v. British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. Here’s how the reasons begin:

“Near the end of the 19th Century, the poet, author and Nobel laureate Antole France composed this oft-cited saying: ‘[t]he law in its

. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Family Justice 3.7: Concluding Remarks

I have, to the relief of many, exhausted my ability to devise alternate means of dealing with family justice issues. I could write more explicitly about therapeutic justice, I suppose, or perhaps provide a sketch of what a triaged entry to the justice system might look like, but these ideas have been talked and written about extensively. I doubt I have anything useful to add.

As I worked through these different models of doing family justice – and realized that I was reaching the end of my creative rope – it struck me that the first cause of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Of Lowest Common Denominators, Government Surveillance and the Uncumberbatchable Task of Fighting Apathy

Merciless epithets are just one reason to watch last night’s episode of HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver — the primary being his face-to-face interview with Edward Snowden. “Uncumberbatchable” was the six syllable term Oliver coined in his warm-up act to describe the uncharming Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is apparently so bereft of likeability that not even the gifted character actor Benedict Cumberbatch can (by Oliver’s review) imbue his character with any grace. But the searing candescence of Oliver’s satire—and his Assange put-down is certainly putting the Twittersphere in stitches—is just an invitation to treat. The . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous