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Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

Do We Need to Regulate Public Squares Owned by Big Tech Companies?

The ability of Big Tech companies to shut out one of the world’s loudest men, Donald Trump, is astonishing. The events of last week, including the mob storming the U.S. Capitol building, forces us to ask how should we regulate Big Tech?

In the Harvard Business Review “How to Hold Social Media Accountable for Undermining Democracy”, Yael Eisenstat points out that simply silencing Donald Trump is not enough. The response “fails to address how millions of Americans have been drawn into conspiracy theories online”.

Eisenstat argues that social media companies are curating content that decides what speech to . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Democracy Is Fragile. Do You Feel Lucky?

Tom Standage, editor of “The World in 2021“, a feature of The Economist published on November 16, 2020 asked:

Do you feel lucky? The number 21 is connected with luck, risk, taking chances and rolling the dice. It’s the number of spots on a standard die, and the number of shillings in a guinea, the currency of wagers and horse-racing. It’s the minimum age at which you can enter a casino in America, and the name of a family of card games, including blackjack, that are popular with gamblers.

All of which seems strangely appropriate for a year

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information

What the Pandemic Has Taught Us About Law: Part 1

The law has played a major role in governments’ responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. Whether it has taken the form of legislation, orders or regulations with legally enforceable status, or recommendations or advice, treated as if it were law, governments’ intention with these laws has been to force major changes in behaviour. Many of these laws, formal and informal, have also resulted in confusion, frustration and anger. In this post and in my next, I consider how governments’ use of law has met our expectations about the characteristics of public law in a democratic system. Here I discuss the characteristics . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation

CBA Task Force Examines Pandemic’s Effect on Justice System

January 4, 2021, marked exactly one year since the first published reports of a disturbing new virus in Wuhan, China.

That virus, COVID-19, has touched us all in the past year on personal and professional levels. We’ve all had to accept individual restrictions for the public good, and to adjust to new ways of doing things.

It’s also true that in the legal profession at least we’ve been able to find some silver linings in these trying circumstances. For example, the pandemic pressed the accelerator on justice system modernization that groups such as the CBA have been advocating for years. . . . [more]

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

Remedies for Visitor Visa Refusals

The Temporary Resident Visa application (a.k.a. Visitor Visa) system is broken. This is not a controversial statement. Currently, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration is in the midst of reviewing the system and, in particular, section 179 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). I gave testimony and they have heard from many experts. Officers often abuse their discretionary powers per R179 which may cause extreme hardship for applicants and their families. Over the past few years, Canada has developed a reputation of being extremely difficult for visitors, even for individuals who want to reunite with Canadian . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation

New Approach to Family Disputes in Surrey & Victoria, British Columbia

The British Columbia Provincial Court is implementing a new regime for resolving family law disputes beginning this week. The new regime involves making dispute resolution the first step in the court process. The BC court announcement states that: “The early resolution model includes new, simpler forms and procedural changes that help set a collaborative tone. For example, instead of making their first appearance in a busy, adversarial courtroom, people attend a family management conference with a judge as the first step in court proceedings”. This new model is being implemented first in the regions of Surrey and Victoria, BC.

I . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Justice Issues

Debating the Definition of Disability

Over 500,000 individuals and their qualifying family members received the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), prior to the pandemic. Our social supports system will be even more important in the economic recovery following the pandemic.

ODSP is a last resort income support paid to individuals who are disabled, as defined in s. 4(1) the of the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997,

(a) the person has a substantial physical or mental impairment that is continuous or recurrent and expected to last one year or more;

(b) the direct and cumulative effect of the impairment on the person’s ability to attend

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

How Amazon Will Enter the Legal Market

“The competition that kills you may not look like you”. – Richard Susskind

In “Law is Not Ready for Amazon. Is Amazon Ready for Law?”, Mark Cohen writes that Amazon will continue to encroach on the legal market. The legal market meets Amazon’s three criteria for disrupting an industry. Amazon’s three criteria that must be met include: “(1) an original approach that does not mimic existing models; (2) scalability; and (3) potential for significant return on investment.”

Currently, legal providers are fragmented. There is no Goliath. And today’s leading legal providers focus on high-end clientele, and ignore a . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Dissecting the Majority and Dissenting Opinions in Fraser

The Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Fraser v. Canada (Attorney General) (“Fraser”) illustrates the fissures on the Court in the judges’ approaches to equality undersection 15(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Although there are also other factors explaining the differences in the majority and dissenting opinions, here I discuss three that are somewhat distinct from the facts of the case: the nature of “equality” under section 15(1); the interrelationship between the law and the social and economic context; and the role of the courts. . . . [more]

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

Do Litigants Understand Remote Hearings and What Should We Do About It?

In a study conducted in England, it was found that 4 out of 10 parents involved in a remote family hearing did not understand it (Legalfutures Article). “Two-thirds (66%) of parents said they believed their case had not been dealt with well remotely, with 40% recounting that they did not understand their remote hearing – either partly or at all.” Lay parties had particular trouble in navigating the system, including the technology. Although this is not a Canadian study, I suspect that these findings could easily apply across the pond.

Simply transferring a complicated system from one venue . . . [more]

Posted in: 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