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Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

Judicial Independence: An Ethical Issue for Individual Judges

When we think about judicial independence in the Canadian context, we usually think about judges’ tenure, judges’ salaries and judicial administrative independence, all of which affect all judges as relevant. Administrative independence can affect the judicial system as an institution, but there are times judges are asked to apply law that they consider fundamentally flawed or when the judicial system is merely one aspect of a morally questionably regime. What should individual judges do in response? . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Terminology in Family Law Fuelling Conflicts

The potential for conflict in litigation is likely no higher than it is in family law. This tension is created in part by an adversarial system around children, which should in most cases be collaborative or at least solution-oriented (child-centred, by another name), but also the terminology that is used in these conflicts.

The current legislative scheme in Ontario was recently summarized by Justice McArthur in Morrison v. Morrison, as follows,

[14] The legal issue involves what is in the best interests of the child. The court is required to consider the provisions outlined in Section 24(2) of the 

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

Law via the Internet 2020

I might have titled this post “pandemic pleasures” or some other alliterative title that made it clear that ONLY in 2020 would some opportunities be available.

This year I had the benefit and pleasure of attending a conference that I have longed to go to – Law Via the Internet. LVI 2020 was originally intended to be in the UK. The conference is almost always overseas. Slawyers know that in-person conferences and travelling are not possible. Slawyers should also know by now that many, many things are now feasible like attending a global conference of interest but perceived as not . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Justice Issues, Legal Information: Publishing

Ruth Bader Ginsburg – What Happens Now?

In the frenzied pre-electoral atmosphere South of the border, there appears to be a rush to nominate a candidate to take the place of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who passed away less than a week ago.

But politics aside, how exactly will her replacement be selected in theory? What are the procedures that need to be followed?

The Congressional Research Service in Washington, D.C. has published a few reports that explain how the process is supposed to unfold.

The Service is an agency located within the Library of Congress that conducts independent expert-level research for congressional committees and . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Should We Clean Up Bad Speech With Artificial Intelligence Before It Happens?

Internet trolls are pervasive. Their comments can be found on websites, Apps (like Instagram), and online groups. “Once a message enters cyberspace, millions of people worldwide can gain access to it. Even if the message is posted in a discussion forum frequented by only a handful of people, any one of them can republish the message … And if the message is sufficiently provocative, it may be republished again and again. The extraordinary capacity of the Internet to replicate almost endlessly any defamatory message lends credence to the notion that ‘the truth rarely catches up with a lie’. The problem . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Online Juries: Is It Possible?

It has recently been reported that jury trials may resume soon. The Toronto Star reported the following: “Canada’s justice system has no intention of holding Zoom jury trials — or cancelling them. That means … thousands of others may soon find themselves called into an Ontario courthouse, reporting for jury duty amid the ongoing pandemic — a prospect that’s left the legal community wondering how it’s all going to work.”

Perhaps blockchain technology could be used for jury trials? I previously discussed the use of blockchain for juries. I have reposted part of the article below as a potential solution . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology

The Inviolability of the Body

The central premise behind civil laws is a private wrong done to another.

According to Graham McBain in International Law Research, the earliest example of what would become the common law probably can be attributed to the Anglo-Saxon concept of “wounding,” which constituted a tariff system of fines from the 6th c. CE, based on the nature of the injury.

This personal wrong evolved into a form of trespass to the person, which we now know today as a civil tort of battery. Justice Cartwright drew on an 1891 Queen’s Bench decision in an early Canadian case in Cook . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Details About Using CaseLines in Ontario

Recently, the Ontario government has made large strides in introducing CaseLines and the Court Case Search Portal.

CaseLines operates in conjuction with existing conference tools, like Zoom. It is a document sharing platform. CaseLines is not an e-filing system. It is a platform that will require parties to upload documents in advance of a hearing.

At this time, CaseLines is not integrated with the Justice Services Online portal. See the Notice to the Profession here.

How does it work?

Court staff create a file in CaseLines and invite counsel to CaseLines. Parties are then invited to upload documents . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Comments on the LSO’s Education Plan for a Family Legal Services Provider Licence

In an effort to increase assistance for family law litigants who do not have legal representation (self- or unrepresented litigants) and to assuage the concerns of the family law bar, some members of whom object to the introduction of paralegals into family law, at the same time, the Law Society of Ontario has proposed a new licencing framework, one limited to the provision of legal services in family law and one most likely to be taken up by existing paralegals. The LSO has invited comment on the entire proposal (see Family Legal Services Provider Licence Consultation Paper (“FLSPL Paper”); however, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Racism That Is Embedded in Our Legal System

The history of Black people in Canada cannot be excised from the history of Nova Scotia.

Until the Immigration Act, 1976, the immigration system in Canada was explicitly racist, intended to maintain homogeneity of the Canadian population. As a result, 37% of all Black Canadians prior to these reforms lived in Nova Scotia, largely due to centuries of settlement due to Black loyalists, refugees, and other immigrants, primarily from the U.S. and the Caribbean.

However, these Black Nova Scotians experienced horrific segregation and discrimination, the effects of which continue to this day. A recent decision by the Supreme . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Democracy, Emergency and the Reopening Ontario Act

Democracy has both what we might term formal or legal elements and philosophical components. While sometimes both are contemporaneous, at other times, only one accurately describes the state of play. The Ontario government’s Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (“Reopening Ontario Act” or “the Act”) illustrates this. Following several extensions of its emergency declaration under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (“EMCPA”), Premier Doug Ford’s government enacted the Reopening Ontario Act ending the declaration of emergency yet containing provisions with an impact similar to that of the EMCPA. It eliminated the apparently annoying requirement . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation

Eviction Operations Continue to Resume

One of the greatest concerns of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic was that individuals who could not pay rent would be evicted from their homes, and many would be left homeless. Aside from the important social and moral significance of increased homelessness, there are important public health considerations as well.

For example, Perri et al. recently described in the Canadian Medical Association Journal how there is an increased risk of infection of COVID-19, as well as a higher risk of worse outcomes given the existence of comorbidities.

Ontario implemented a suspension of regular court proceedings, based on an . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions