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Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

Canadian Lawyers Making a Difference in Cambodia

Cambodia is slowly recovering from the barbarism of the Khmer Rouge regime and the subsequent civil war that devastated the nation during the last quarter of the twentieth century. The current authoritarian government has been in power for nearly three decades. Basic constitutional freedoms of speech, the press and assembly are not fully guaranteed . Corruption is debilitating and rampant in the political, judicial and economic systems: Cambodia has the dubious distinction of being viewed by investors as Southeast Asia’s most corrupt country and the 17th most corrupt in the world. Politically motivated prosecutions and detention of political opponents, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

A Godless Charter and Law Society?

If the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were being drafted today, should there be a reference to God in its opening line as there is now: “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law”? Assuming that the Charter’s s. 2(a) declaration of “freedom of conscience and religion” includes freedom to be an atheist or agnostic, doesn’t that opening line put atheists and doubters in conflict with Canada’s founding?

Also, we spend coins that are based upon the existence of God. Whereas all American coins state, “In God We Trust,” all . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Administration of Justice: Who Is Responsible for Technology?

In September, at the Opening of the Courts, a very similar speech was given by the Chief Justices of Quebec and Ontario to their respective audiences. Unknowingly in tune, the highest ranking provincial judges of both provinces deplored the heavy, inaccessible and saturated court system.

Chief Justices Nicole Duval Hesler, François Rolland and Élizabeth Corte pleaded for the augmentation of judicial staff. But more importantly, they came to the conclusion that despite the current efforts to use staff more efficiently, the court system can simply not satisfy the increasingly high demand. Thus, as per Justice Rolland, “[n]ous n’avons plus le . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Information Management, Technology

A Chill on Judicial Review of Government Decisions in the UK?

There is tension afoot between the UK government and representatives of the country’s lawyers, over draft legislation designed to stem the tide of applications for judicial review of government decisions.

Judicial review is a legal proceeding in which government decisions can be challenged, not on the ground of what the decision is, but because of a flaw in the process by which the decision was made.

Some of the UK’s most senior judges have added their voices to criticisms of the bill.

The government contends many j.r. applications are ill-founded, expensive for the tax payer, and cause delay.

The draft . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Does #A2J Need a Strategic Plan?

I’m in the midst of preparing a presentation for Manitoba’s upcoming Pitblado Lectures describing various online and new media approaches to access to justice. In doing so, I have been struck by the range and variety of players in this game. Though they may be providing access to justice services and supports for different reasons (whether for profit, for the public good or as a public service more generally) the resulting innovations show great promise to enhance access to justice and reduce gaps.

Groups like HiiL based in The Hague, are supporting innovative approaches to access to justice worldwide. Technology . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

New PLEI Resources From Manitoba Courts

Manitoba Courts has just recently posted a number of videos to assist self-represented litigants (SRLs) and other justice system participants on its website. The videos released to date include:

  • What to expect when attending court
  • The Manitoba Provincial Court
  • The Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench
  • The Manitoba Court of Appeal
  • What to expect at jury selection
  • How to fill out a Petition or Petition for Divorce

Along with each video is posted a list of links to other relevant resources.

The site notes that the next phase in the video development will focus on videos that are more tutorial in . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Saskatchewan Courts Make Citation Rules

The Legal Sourcery Blog reported recently that the three Saskatchewan Courts now have a practice directive in place that requires the use of the Citation Guide for the Courts of Saskatchewan.

The purpose of this Guide is to provide a standard set of citation rules for the courts of Saskatchewan. It covers all of the basic citation structures. For citation questions not covered by this Guide, the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (the McGill Guide) should be consulted. Where this Guide and other style guides differ, this Guide prevails.

A Notice to the Profession outlines some of the . . . [more]

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

State Immunity, Torture, and Impunity

Today, justice was denied to Zahra Kazemi and her family. After an eight year struggle, the Supreme Court of Canada released the decision many of us feared: Iran and its functionaries are immune from the civil jurisdiction of the Canadian courts for having arrested, tortured and murdered Ms. Kazemi, a Canadian journalist.

There will be time to pick apart the decision over the coming months, and years. Right now, though, I can’t do much more than shake with frustration and grief. In my 2009 comment on this case, when it was still pending before the Quebec Superior Court, I . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Of the Vilardell Case and a Victory for BC’s Middle Class

The thing about writing for a blog (especially one that commits you to weekly posts) is that often times you can only barely introduce a topic or idea.

And undoubtedly one of the best things about blogs is that cursory introductions are totally fine. Want popcorn commentary on a landmark decision from the country’s highest court? Bam. Here you go.

The Supreme Court of Canada’s October 2, 2014 majority decision regarding the (non) constitutionality of pricey court fees in Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia v. British Columbia (Attorney General), 2014 SCC 59, is big news here in BC. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

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:

. . . [more]
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