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Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

Innovation in the Law: Whose Perspectives Should We Seek?

Over the past several weeks, there has been a flurry of new ideas for revamping our legal system. But whose ideas should we seek out?

We should seek out ideas from people that are experienced users of the legal system but also from people who are new to the legal system. The experienced users have an accumulated stock of knowledge to learn from. While novice users have an easier time questioning assumptions and seeing the absurdity in antiquated processes.

In the Podcast WorkLife With Adam Grant, “Career Decline Isn’t Inevitable”, Adam Grant points out that cognitive entrenchment increases . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Virtual Court Proceedings: Fictional and the Real Thing

Addicted as I am to tv dramas (and sometimes comedies) about the law, I’ve been watching All Rise. Located in Los Angeles, it follows the professional lives of various characters involved in the criminal court there (and as a “popular” show, it also follows their personal lives). Sometimes it raises some important legal issues, but its finale was its best performance: it did a fine job of responding to the coronavirus crisis by being filmed on Cisco Webex, with all the actors working from their own homes. Apart from the kind of personal issues many people are facing in our . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Technology

False and Misleading Claims Around COVID

We see it everywhere these days, and not just on social media. They’re touted by leaders and people in positions of power. False claims of prevention and treatment for COVID-19 are proliferating, and pose a danger to Canadians.

The Competition Bureau is aware of this and is monitoring the marketplace to ensure safety in messaging. They have already issued compliance warnings, including:

  • making claims that herbal remedies, bee-related products, vitamins, vegetables or other food and drink products can prevent COVID-19 infections; and
  • making claims—without first conducting the testing required by law—that certain UV and ozone air sterilization systems, as well
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Redesigning the Legal System: Let’s Start With What It Takes to Achieve Justice

There have been for years many outspoken proponents of using increased advanced technology in the legal system: use of technology by lawyers, remote court and tribunal hearings, increasing accessibility of information — substantive and navigational — for users of the legal system, and making decision-making systematic through algorithms. In certain respects, using technology has proceeded apace (providing online information, for example), but in others, it has been slow (for instance, court proceedings). Two of the major reasons for heralding increased use of technology are that it makes the legal system more efficient and that it responds to the needs of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology

No Right to Bear Arms in Canada

On May 1, 2020, the Prime Minister of Canada announced that semi-automatic, assault-style weapons, would be banned,

These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time. There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada.

Effective immediately, it is no longer permitted to buy, sell, transport, import or use military-grade assault weapons in this country.

The full list of the over 1,500 weapons was published in the Canada Gazette, as a regulation to the Criminal Code provisions regarding the terms “non . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation

The Relationship Between Law, Private Enforcement, Social Pressure and “Snitching”

As it has with so many of our regular practices, the coronavirus crisis has highlighted or brought to the fore the advantages and disadvantages of the relationship between the law, private enforcement, social pressure and “snitching” in enforcing desirable social practices. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

Rule by Government Press Release & Legal Status of Recommendations

The Ontario government has been making orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) to address the coronavirus epidemic. It has quickly advised of the orders through press releases on the Ontario government news website. The orders take the form of regulations (and orders in council and sometimes only orders in council). However, it has not always been as quick — or quick enough — to post the regulation itself under the EMCPA. This is a problem. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

Yes, We’re in an Emergency and Yes, We Still Have a Social Contract

We’re in the midst of a medical emergency — and we’re in the midst of a legal emergency. (I almost wrote “middle of” in the preceding sentence, being too optimistic by far.) We are experiencing a true medical pandemic in the 2019 novel coronavirus crisis, affecting over 150 countries, including, of course, Canada. And we are subject to emergency declarations, giving governments unusual powers, at the provincial, territorial and local levels in Canada. Even as we accept that these responses, and will accept more stringent ones in the future, are necessary, we need to remember that we still have a . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Changes to Our Courts: How COVID-19 Is Changing the Landscape

“How will COVID-19 change the legal industry and what will it look like After Coronavirus? Short answer: the coronavirus will turbocharge legal industry transformation. It will propel law into the digital age and reshape its landscape. The entire legal ecosystem will be affected—consumers, providers, the Academy, and the judicial system.” – Marc Cohen in the article “COVID-19 Will Turbocharge Legal Industry Transformation

Marc Cohen explains that the timeline for digital transformation has been truncated. We will not see a permanent return to the old ways. “The coronavirus has turbocharged law’s move to a virtual workforce and distance learning. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Technology

The Future of Our Courts: Online Courts

“The Future Has Arrived — It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed Yet.” – William Gibson

In “Online Courts and the Future of Justice”, Richard Susskind proclaims that our courts are moving towards radical change. Conceived in the dark ages and modified in the 19th century, our courts are now overwhelmed by paper and archaic processes. The operations of our courts seem increasingly out of place in our digital society.

Susskind predicts that we will see court services delivered in a blend of physical, virtual, and online courts. The 2020s will be a period of redeployment of lawyers and judges. By . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

The End Is Not Yet Nigh: Remote Dispute Resolution in the Age of COVID-19

It would be nice if there was an inverse correlation between the frequency of family law disputes and the gravity of social crises, but, thanks to the peculiarities of human nature, such is not the case. As Canada’s provincial and superior courts batten down the hatches, it’s important to remember that efficient and effective dispute resolution alternatives exist, and are available even where trial dates have been set. Best of all, in this time of social distancing, many of these alternatives do not require the participants to be in the same room at the same time.

Mediation and arbitration can . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

The Coronavirus Pandemic and Access to Justice

Slightly over 30 years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a self-initiated injunction by the Chief Justice of British Columbia to prevent picketing in front of the courthouses in British Columbia: B.C.G.E.U. v. British Columbia (Attorney General). As Dickson CJ said in his opening statement in the majority decision, “This case involves the fundamental right of every Canadian citizen to have unimpeded access to the courts and the authority of the courts to protect and defend that constitutional right.” The union did not have the right to impede access to the courts. Twenty years later, the unprecedented spread . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues