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Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

Protection De La Vie Privée Au Canada: Finalement, Des Dents Plus Longues!

À Québec aujourd’hui et demain, au Château Laurier, a lieu le 22e Congrès annuel des conseillers en accès à l’information et en protection de la vie privée (programme). Me Chantal Bernier, Commissaire par intérim à la vie privée du Canada, a offert une excellente allocution d’ouverture ce matin. À retenir: le Commissaire à la protection de la vie privée (CPVP) du Canada aura bientôt des dents pas mal plus longues. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

10 Tips for Safe Pro Bono

Access to justice is an ongoing problem across Canada and the call is out for lawyers to contribute to the solution.

Late last fall, the Canadian Bar Association’s Task Force on Access to Justice issued a final report, Envisioning Equal Justice. The Task Force set targets to bridge the growing gap between those who can afford legal services and those who are eligible for publically funded legal services (i.e. legal aid). One of those targets is that by 2020, all lawyers will volunteer legal services at some point in their career.

Around the same time, the Action Committee on . . . [more]

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

Are Online Dispute Resolution Processes Necessarily Access to Justice Strategies?

As a PhD student studying the use of knowledge technologies and access to justice strategies, I am following with interest the development of the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) [Civil Resolution Tribunal Act, SBC 2012, c.25;] in BC – an online dispute resolution process which will provide an alternative to the courts for small claims and strata property disputes. I want to share some thoughts regarding online dispute resolution processes and to pose the possibly provocative question: Are online dispute resolution processes necessarily access to justice strategies?

You might ask how an online process could not be . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

BCCLA Files Class Action for Spying by CSEC

The British Columbia’s Civil Liberties Association recently filed a class action in Federal Court over the actions by Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC).

The statutory scheme under ss. 273.65, 273.68 and 273.7 under the National Defence A empowers CSEC to monitor communications for foreign entities, not Canadians, absent written authorization for unintended interceptions. Revelations earlier this year demonstrated that CSEC had monitored wireless devices at Canadian airports.

The claim seeks a declaratory relief of a finding of a violation of s. 8 of the Charter for the actions of CSEC. The claim takes particular issue with the collection of metadata, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

Gather All Ye Faithful

Many clergy have complained of contemporary society’s loss of faith. Attendance at religious service is down. Faith in the Almighty is considered quaint, antiquated or – by the more rabidly atheist – downright stupid and offensive. Yet rare is the church where doomsday promises of Armageddon-induced hellfire have sparked a mass return to the foot of the altar. I therefore find it peculiar when Federal Justice Minister, Peter MacKay, bemoans Canadians’ loss of faith in the criminal justice system while in the same breath repeating his oft-made promise to rain a fury of new tough-on-crime hail from on-high upon the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Pausing to Reflect, but Not to Rest

Yesterday was Equal Pay Day in the United States, and while the statistics released by the Pew Research Centre on the pay gap between men and women in the U.S. showed progress in shrinking the gap over time, the evidence overall revealed a persistent difference.

Last month, on the day before International Women’s Day, the federal government announced seven judicial appointments. Only one of the appointees is a woman.

It is challenging to keep from becoming frustrated with a plodding pace of change that sometimes feels like one step forward, two steps back. I know I am not . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Ontario’s Court Filing System Needs Fixing

A great video recently made the rounds in which a Canadian doctor handily defended the Canadian health care system when it was criticized by a partisan U.S. senator. While some in the U.S. may look northward to the Canadian health care system for inspiration, it is exactly the opposite when it comes to comparing the U.S. court system with Ontario’s.

In the U.S., court documents are easily accessible by PACER. PACER means “Public Access to Court Electronic Records”, giving access to over 500 million U.S. federal court documents, including a listing of parties involved in the litigation, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Victims’ Rights

The Conservative government in Ottawa introduced the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights last week.

Canada is not the only country where such legislation is topical, and interestingly conservative politicians are not the only ones promoting it.

The Victims’ Task Force, founded by the UK Labour Party, will be meeting victims groups and justice representatives in London today. The Labour Party has committed to a “radical change in approach”. If a law is passed it will be the first in Britain’s legal history.

On both sides of the Atlantic and on both ends of the political spectrum, the same conclusion . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

The Internet Web Is 25: How Do We Keep It Open and Free?

This week is the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Internet a.k.a. the World Wide Web. Yesterday Google shared a message from the Internet’s Web’s inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee. In March 1989 he shared a proposal for “a ‘web’ of notes with links between them” or a non-linear system using “hypertext” which I remember (as someone who used the precursors of the Internet) as a hot topic at the time.

Berners-Lee takes the opportunity to ask some important questions in urging us to keep the Internet open and free:

So today is a day to celebrate. But it’s also

. . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Technology: Internet

The Fight for ABS Is Just Beginning

The recent Law Society Committee report on Alternative Business Structures has resulted in much excitement across the world among legal innovators.

I wish I could share that joy.

The report is thorough – and lengthy. One wonders how, with two jurisdictions having adopted ABS (Australia a decade ago and the UK over 2 years ago) there could be any debate on the rationale behind allowing such structures?

Why do we need a uniquely Canadian solution?

What is so unique about the Canadian legal environment that Australia and the UK do not already provide a well-researched, well-documented and well-experienced solution?

I’ve . . . [more]

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