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Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

Consistency in Case-by-Case Privilege for Religious Communications

Solicitor-client privilege has been described by the Court in Lavallee, Rackel & Heintz v. Canada as a principle of fundamental justice and civil right of supreme importance in Canadian law. The Court went further in R. v. McClure and stated at para 35, “solicitor-client privilege must be as close to absolute as possible to ensure public confidence and retain relevance.”

Not all forms of privilege though are so strongly protected. For forms of privilege that is not historically protected on the basis of class or category, the courts have employed the test originally set out in the 1961 tet by . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Two Improvements Our Courts Can Implement for Self-Represented Litigants

Recently Chief Justice Wagner announced that the Supreme Court will modernize its headnotes by adding a summary written for regular folks. This summary will be posted on the Court’s website and its Facebook page. This change is a response to the way people are getting information. Today people learn about information from social media and websites in addition to traditional news broadcasts.

Justice Wagner’s initiative should be followed by our lower courts. Many self-represented litigants read cases arising from trials or motions. These cases can be hard to understand, even for lawyers. Our courts should be supplementing these dense decisions . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Keeping Kitchen on the Bench

Late last year, with the appointment of Sheilah Martin to the Supreme Court of Canada, Penny Collenette of University of Ottawa Law reflected in the Toronto Star on whether we appreciate our Supreme Court justices enough,

…it is not uncommon for justices to retire from the bench before their retirement date. The case load and the isolation of the position can be wearing. Working intensely with eight colleagues from different backgrounds and different regions of the country in an austere setting can cause friction.

She refers to a new book by Prof Backhouse, A Life, which covers the life . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

The Healthy Respect Between Judiciary and Executive

As we enter 2018, we begin the new year with a new Chief Justice, and an opportunity to reflect on the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin’s 17 years in this role, the longest in the entire history of Canada.

A well-experienced jurist, who has been on the bench since 1981, her role on the Court has had a discernible impact on the development of the Charter and its interpretation. The Charter is one of the most important national symbols of Canada, outranking even the flag, the national anthem, the RCMP, and even more than hockey. The CBA Presidents who . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Courts of the Future and the Aging Population

“Images of the future are shaped by experiences of the past.” – Michael Lewis in the Undoing Project

The Globe and Mail recently reported about the court’s obstacles with handling an aging population. The article is titled: “Case of Calgary man with dementia highlights challenges courts face as population ages

The defendant Fred Van Zuiden recently turned 87 years old. He grew up in Nazi-occuped Holland. As a young Jewish boy he hid in strangers’ homes and a chicken coop. In October 2016, he was charged with second-degree murder of his wife. He called 911 after his wife’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Sears Shortcomings Highlight Regulatory Deficiencies

The Canadian Press conducted a survey recently of journalists, nearly 47% of whom voted the closure and controversies of Sears Canada as the 2017 Business News Story of the Year.

The public interest in the story was fuelled in no small part by its iconic status, but also the $270-million pension deficit that is unlikely to be fully serviced in light of other outstanding debts. As Michael Powell, incoming president of the Canadian Federation of Pensioners points out, it really shouldn’t be so significant,

Sears should not be the Canadian Press 2017 Business News Story of the Year

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

Regulating Proportionality in Civil Litigation

The rules of civil procedure in Manitoba are about to undergo significant changes. Amendments to the Court of Queen’s Bench Rules, effective January 1, 2018, will introduce an overarching requirement that the Court considers proportionality in making orders and directions under those Rules.

A new Practice Direction outlines the breadth of the changes about to come into force in respect of case management of civil proceedings, scheduling of trials, use of judicially assisted dispute resolution and summary judgment proceedings.

The Practice Direction describes the objectives underlying all the changes as follows:

Animating the comprehensive amendments to the Court of

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

Federation Preliminarily Approves Ryerson Law School

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada has provided preliminary approval for the new law school at Ryerson University.

This approval was based on a detailed review of the proposed curriculum and the resources in the Ryerson plan. The curriculum is what really sets Ryerson apart, with a particular emphasis on technology, access to justice, and social innovation. The curriculum also has mandatory classes on social innovation and the law, Indigenous law, legal innovation, the business of law, and issues of diversity in the legal profession.

The full Federation report, which details this curriculum, is available here.

Where . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Justice Issues

OHRC Launches Truth Before Trust

Last October, Newstalk 1010 in Toronto conducted a poll: 6 in 10 (61%) people in Toronto indicated they would be scared if they were “pulled over by a police officer for no apparent reason”.

Women, younger people, and those with the lowest income, were all most likely to report that they would be scared. A similar survey conducted in 2003 only demonstrated 34% of the population felt the same way.

Part of the reason for these feelings are that people in Toronto believe that our police officers don’t get punished for wrongdoing, receive preferred treatment when charged or conducting an . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Should Police Use Your Face to ID Smartphone Evidence?

The new iPhoneX is hot. So hot that in Hong Kong, where I’m currently located, they are selling them out of suitcases on the sidewalk for approximately CDN$2,000 and up (depending on the size).

One of the phone’s hottest features is that it allows for it to be unlocked, simply by looking at it. Here’s what Apple has to say about Face ID:

 

Much of our digital lives are stored on iPhone and it’s important to protect that information. In the same way that Touch ID revolutionized authentication using a fingerprint, Face ID revolutionizes authentication using facial recognition.

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

Strengthening the Prevention of Workplace Violence and Harassment

Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1, introduced on November 7, 2017, by the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Patty Hajdu, seeks to amend both the Canada Labour Code and the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act to, according to the federal government, replace the patchwork of laws and policies that address violence and harassment within the federal jurisdiction, putting into place one comprehensive approach that takes the full spectrum of harassment and violence into consideration. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Justice Starts Here

A new report focusing on issues of access to justice in Manitoba was released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (Manitoba). The report titled Justice Starts Here: A one-stop shop approach for achieving greater justice in Manitoba was authored by Allison Fenske and Beverly Froese, working with Legal Aid Manitoba’s Public Interest Law Centre.

The report examines access to justice in Manitoba, looking at both the landscape of legal services and the needs of those with legal problems. Building upon prior research efforts undertaken by the Manitoba Bar Association and the Manitoba Law Foundation, the authors also explore . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues