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Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

Justice Clément Gascon

In five days, Justice Clément Gascon of the Cour d’Appel will assume Justice Fish’s seat on the Supreme Court.

The announcement from the Prime Minister’s office is terse:

« Je suis ravi d’annoncer la nomination de M. le juge Clément Gascon à la Cour suprême du Canada. M. le juge Gascon, qui siège actuellement à la Cour d’appel du Québec, possède un important bagage d’expérience et de connaissances juridiques dont profitera grandement cette importante institution canadienne. Sa nomination survient au terme de vastes consultations menées auprès d’éminents membres du milieu juridique du Québec. » –

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

Who Else Has a Stake in Access to Justice?

There’s an airline that flies to northern Manitoba centres that has recently reduced its scheduled flights to and from Winnipeg. While one might not necessarily expect an airline schedule change to have an impact on access to justice, it’s possible that it just may.

Flights from Winnipeg to this centre depart each morning, allowing judges on circuit and lawyers from Winnipeg to get to court on time in the northern centre. The scheduled daily return flights to Winnipeg now depart either in the late morning or well-past dinnertime.

Is there a potential effect on access to justice? There could be, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Key Messages From CALL/ACBD 2014: The Role of Law Library Professionals

I am still thinking about the messages that came out of last week’s Canadian Association of Law Libraries conference. So much of it revolved around the role of library professionals. Some of my key take-aways from my week in Winnipeg:

  • Things continue to change. Business as we knew it has been permanently disrupted. Lawyers, law firms, legal organizations and law libraries need to change or they will be left behind.
  • Lawyers do not hold all the answers; library staff (who are more familiar with process) could have many of the answers, and there is an opportunity to get involved at
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Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

The Case for Reconciliation

I’m not sure it’s wise, for my first post on Slaw, to discuss a topic somewhat outside my comfort zone. But having just completed reading the 15,000-word cover story of the June issue of the Atlantic, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, I’m finding it hard to resist.

For those who haven’t read it, TNC’s essay is an introspective look at the United States’ “national economic plunder” of African-Americans. That plunder, as he describes it, was carried out over centuries. Worse yet – and this is the part that is most striking about the essay – much of it was rooted in deliberate . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

The Jaylene Redhead Inquest Report

Twenty-month old Jaylene Redhead was killed by her mother on June 29, 2009 while both were resident in a second-stage housing facility in Winnipeg. Jaylene had been apprehended from her mother’s care at birth by Awasis Agency of Northern Manitoba but had been returned to her mother’s care at the Native Women’s Transition Centre in the months before her death.

The Inquest Report of Judge Lawrence Allen into her death, released May 23, reveals the awful details of this child’s short life. The inquest was called in 2011 under the provisions of Manitoba’s Fatality Inquiries Act to:

  • inquire into the
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Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Fundamental Importance of High Quality Advocacy

The UK Court of Appeal last week overturned a decision staying a complex financial fraud prosecution on the ground that no suitably qualified lawyer was willing to be retained to defend the case at the reduced compensation rates being offered by the State.

The UK Ministry of Justice had previously announced its intention to cut by 30% the rate of remuneration to counsel in such cases. None of the respondents were able to find counsel to instruct.

The judge of first instance concluded, “to allow the State an adjournment to put right its failure to provide the necessary resources to . . . [more]

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

Time for Evidence-Based Lawmaking

Dean Beeby, “Justice Canada Chops Research Budget by $1.2 Million” (May 12, 2014) Globe and Mail online.

This report solidifies what librarians and critics of this government’s approach to evidence, information, data and research have been decrying since the discontinuation of the long-form census; information and data is to be manipulated so as to support the government’s political agenda.

“Previous legal research in the department sometimes caught senior officials “off-guard … and may even have run contrary to government direction,” says an internal report for deputy minister William Pentney.”

Some past projects have “at times left the impression that . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information

CBA Defends the Chief Justice of Canada

The Canadian Bar Association, including 11 former presidents of the CBA, last week came to the support of the Chief Justice of Canada following recent claims by the Prime Minister that the Chief Justice attempted inappropriate conversations with him in 2013.

Among other media appearances, a statement was published in the Globe and Mail on Tuesday. From the statement:

The recent comments by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, claiming that the Chief Justice of Canada attempted an inappropriate conversation with him, demonstrate a disrespect by the executive branch for the judicial branch of our constitutional democracy, and for the Chief

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Posted in: Justice Issues

Law Society of Upper Canada Scores With New-Look Annual Report

The Law Society has catapulted itself into the 21st Century with a slick and well-designed online annual report that’s also readable on mobile devices.

Most of you are shocked that I wrote something complimentary about the Law Society of Upper Canada and must think I’m having an off day…

But credit should be given where credit is due.

LSUC is finally starting to look like the open and transparent organization that it was always supposed to be!

It even has a Google+ page with video of the TWU debate!

Is this a harbinger of things to come?

Light at . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information, Practice of Law, Technology

Should Access to Ontario Court Schedules Be Restricted?

Last week, I blogged about the fact that Ontario’s court schedules are finally online for viewing by the public. It is a small step; hopefully many more are to come.

Blogger and lawyer Addison Cameron-Huff brought to my attention the fact that the schedule website is protected by a CAPTCHA. The purpose of CAPTCHAs is to prevent automated access by search engines like Google and other similar webcrawlers.

I am not sure yet what to think about this. Cameron-Huff suggests it is a terrible development because the information should be made freely accessible to anyone who wants to use it. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Online Dispute Resolution, Courts and Tribunals: What Are the Threshhold Issues?

Many people are only starting to get used to the idea of ODR – Online Dispute Resolution. ODR uses increasingly familiar things, like online communication and information sharing, and uses the internet to combine them with dispute resolution. But what is stopping us from combining ODR with our justice systems?

In his CBA Legal Futures Initiative report, Key Trends in the Marketplace, Professor Richard Susskind invited us to contemplate whether court is a service or a place. If we commit to the view that it should be a service, then ODR would seem poised to become a key delivery . . . [more]

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

Goodbye QPLegalEze; Welcome Open Law

April launched an exciting development for BC legal researchers and for the open law and open data movements. QP LegalEze, the BC Queen’s Printer’s deep and highly functional subscription service for current and some historical legislative information, is no more. Or, more accurately, it is by subscription no more.

All of its content and functionality now is available through BC Laws, the free site also offered by the Queen’s Printer:

BC Laws has been upgraded to provide enhanced searching and more content including historical legislation and related publications such as BC Gazette, full text Orders-in-Council, and Tables of Legislative

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Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology