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Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

New Minister, Same Focus?

Outgoing Minister John McCallum received a standing ovation at the CBA conference for immigration lawyers in 2016. It was evident from his keynote address and from fielding questions, that he understood key issues and he had a plan for fixing some of the problems. His leadership at the department has been brief but they have managed to accomplish significant milestones. As of 10 Jan 2017, we have a new Minister, the Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen. The questions become: will this disruption in the department cause further delays to the proposed changes? And, will Minister Hussen change the focus of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information

A Response Based on Alice Woolley’s Important “Defending Rapists”

Dear Alice,

I suspect I’m going to regret breaking yet another of my New Year Resolutions so soon in the year but, since none of your CALE colleagues seem inclined to discuss this topic with you, here, I will.

But maybe not where and how you expected. I may be a dinosaur. I’m not that much of a dinosaur.

You wrote:

“Which means that we have to be incredibly clear and careful about articulating and enforcing the ethical boundaries on defence lawyers in sexual assault cases.”

I would modify that statement, slightly, because of its succinctness,as a reminder to all . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

The Thrill Is Gone: Sardonicism ‘R Us, Part Un

This post contains some parting, case-specific, comments on Canadian common law judicial reasoning for interested Canadian lawyers (or those interested for other reasons) to ponder, related to a few Canadian reasons for judgment delivered late in 2016.

It’s not my job or real concern any more, unless it’s at a friend’s request or for other good reason. Whether it ought to remain any part of my concern is something I don’t plan to ponder very much in 2017. If I do, though, it’ll be only after I’ve had much Macallan 25, or the equivalent, at somebody else’s expense and as . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

Police Access to Recordings of in-Home Computer “assistants”

A lot of people now have computers they can talk to and get answers from – Siri, Alexa, Cortona, etc – not to mention interactive talking dolls.

A man in Arkansas was recently charged with murdering another man in his home. The accused person had a number of such devices in his home, including an Echo device made by Amazon. While the device is set up to activate itself when addressed in a particular way, or by name, sometimes they record in other circumstances.

The police have asked Amazon to turn over any recording made during the relevant period. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Counsels’ Duty to the Court and Role in the Proper Administration of Justice

Two recent SCJ decisions are, in my view, examples of counsel failing in different aspects of their duty to the court and, as such impeding, or at least not assisting, the judge in the proper administration of justice.

Others (who are practising lawyers, I suspect) may have different views on whether the counsel involved in these cases did anything they ought not to have done or did not do something they ought to have done. If you do, perhaps you should take a few moments to consider why you you disagree and respond.

I am not going to discuss the . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues

Promoting Parenting Assessments by Discouraging Complaints

In family law disputes, parenting assessments – also called bilateral assessments, custody and access reports, parenting evaluations and so on – are reports prepared by mental health professionals aimed at providing parents and the court with recommendations about the parenting arrangements that are in the best interests of the children. Because these reports can be rather expensive and take a fair bit of time to complete, they are generally not prepared unless the parents find themselves in an intractable disagreement about the future care of their children or the capacity of a parent. Not surprisingly, the cases in which parenting . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Strategies for Racialized Licensees

It’s with a tad bit of irony that the professions charged with fighting inequities and combating racism, both explicit and institutional, is itself one of the most regressive communities there is when it comes to these same challenges.

In part this is likely due to the independence of the legal professions, which results in a decentralized industry that is highly autonomous, but also likes to act with impunity. Most legal practices do not have access to best practices in human rights, or how to create an inclusive work environment. In fact, most of these practices are still largely exclusive to . . . [more]

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

Canadian Association of Muslim Women in Law Receives 2016 SABA Diversity Award

The Canadian Association of Muslim Women in Law (CAMWL) was founded in 2013 by Muslim women in the legal community who were brought together by their commitment to social justice. Since then, through its public education, direct advocacy, and law reform initiatives, CAMWL has endeavoured to help shape a legal profession that is responsive to our collective obligation to promote substantive justice and equality.

On November 14, 2016, CAMWL was honoured to receive the 2016 Diversity Award from the South Asian Bar Association. What follows are the remarks delivered that night by CAMWL co-founding member, Fathima Cader.

*****

SABA 2016 . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Legal Ethics: Misleading the Court

There is advocacy, and then there is deception. Deceiving counsel should be called out, named, and shamed.

Unfortunately, it is the very lawyers that are so adept at misleading the court that are the hardest to unmask.

Judges should look out for the following red flags to know that something sinister is happening:

  1. Only one party has filed material.
  2. Important documents are intentionally omitted to mislead the court. That way counsel can try to avoid being sanctioned for expressly lying.
  3. Counsel says that the other party “should have known” that a certain point would be argued based on the pleading
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

How Political Can a Judge Get?

It has been an important week. So important in fact, that one Hamilton judge decided to walk into court, fully robed in judicial attire, wearing a “Make American Great Again” baseball cap.

Never mind that Hamilton, Ontario is based on the north side of the border. The openly political statement by a judge in a courtroom has raised some concerns among some members of the bar,

“The clerk said ‘all rise’ and the door opens and Justice Zabel comes out. He is in a black silk robe with the crimson sash and the white tie. He has a poppy on

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues

First Steps on a Journey of Reconciliation

A sold-out audience of lawyers, judges, academics and others gathered in Winnipeg last week for a Journey to of Reconciliation as part of the 2016 Isaac Pitblado Lectures. This event was a first step for The Law Society of Manitoba in meeting the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #27:

We call upon the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to ensure that lawyers receive appropriate cultural competency training, which includes the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal– Crown relations. This

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training, Justice Issues

Judges and Social Media

In the Discussion Paper “The Use of Social Media by Canadian Judicial Officers“, its stated that 48 per cent of Canadian judicial officers visit or contribute to social media sites (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and blogs). The Paper goes on to state that:

In regard to professional interactions with a lawyer who is a social networking contact, 33 per cent of judicial officers who reported social media use believe that it would be acceptable for a “LinkedIn contact” to appear before him/her… However, a small, yet clear, distinction is made if the lawyer is a “Facebook

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology