Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

Comments Pro, Con and Neutral on Trump’s US Supreme Court Nominee

SCOTUSblog, the well-known American blog devoted to analysis of the United States Supreme Court, has been providing great coverage of US President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit) to fill the vacancy left on the top court of our Southern neighbour by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016.

Here are some links. Each of the SCOTUSblog posts below contains extensive links to news, commentary and analysis:

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

United States Asking Foreign Visitors for Social Media Info and Cell Phone Contacts

I heard about the United States Custom Border Agency had been asking Canadians for access to their Facebook accounts and cellphones when they arrived at the border to join the women’s march on Washington the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. When some Canadians refuse to surrender their information, they were denied entry into the US and turned away (this is in addition to those who were refused entry because they were going to the march). I was appalled to hear this, and appalled at the invasion of privacy and violation of civil and human rights – and in 2017! I . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Internet

Finding the Best Ways Forward: A Symposium on Children’s Participation in Justice Processes

I am delighted to announce Finding the Best Ways Forward, a two-day national symposium scheduled for 15 and 16 September 2017 in Calgary, featuring keynote speakers Mr. Sheldon Kennedy of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre and Dr. Nicole Sherren of the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative.

Finding the Best Ways Forward is aimed at gathering together leading stakeholders to share information and dialogue about how the voices of children and youth are heard, how their interests are protected, and how their evidence is received in justice processes. The symposium will generate innovative proposals for policy reform, best practices, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Trump’s Immigration Policy Will Benefit Canada

Immigration lawyers are abuzz with Trump’s recent announcements on immigration. Today, he is expected to sign an executive order that will temporarily ban most refugees and a suspension of visas for citizens of Syria and six other Middle Eastern and African countries. His announcements regarding Mexico and his notorious wall have been alienating latin americans. This all good news for Canada. Lawyers from across the country have been getting more calls from immigrants who see a future of success, prosperity and, yes I will say it, freedom in Canada. To borrow the phrase, Canada has become the beacon on the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Nasty Women in the Law

Last week, the Women’s March overshadowed Trump’s Inauguration. So what was it about Hillary Clinton that people found so nasty? What was it that triggered such comments like: “such a nasty woman”?

And what is it about women lawyers that trigger these attacks? Such as: “Marie Henein is a successful female lawyer at the top of her profession. Total bitch.”

In “Nasty Women and the Rule of Law“, Alice Woolley and Elysa Darling analyze this conundrum. They argue that women lawyers face this backlash because being a lawyer requires women to challenge and subvert gendered norms. Women are . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Introducing the Alberta Limited Legal Services Project

Much of the research and writing on access to justice issues in the last five years, including that of the Canadian Bar Association and Julie Macfarlane’s National Self-Represented Litigants Project, has discussed unbundling as a potential, albeit partial, remedy.

The idea here is that the usual full-service retainer, ever so commonplace in civil litigation, makes lawyers’ services unaffordable and prevents many litigants from accessing justice. (Professor Macfarlane’s landmark 2013 study on the issue of self-representation found that “inability to afford to retain, or to continue to retain, legal counsel” was the overwhelming reason why the litigants she spoke to . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Justice Issues, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Selling Unbundled Family Law Services? Know Your Market. Know Your Product.

Unbundled legal services, limited scope retainers, law à la carte, discrete task representation—whatever you want to call it—is fraught with confusion and myths about its risks. Read JP Boyd’s lucid primer post on Slaw from last year if you’re new to the subject.

At Courthouse Libraries BC, we recently teamed up with Kari Boyle to host a Family Law Unbundling Toolkit. An earlier initiative, the Family Unbundled Legal Services Project hosted by MediateBC, was specific to mediation. But that project identified the value of unbundling more family law services. The Toolkit, hosted on our website for the benefit of . . . [more]

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

New Minister, Same Focus?

Outgoing Minister John McCallum received a standing ovation at the CBA conference for immigration lawyers in 2016. It was evident from his keynote address and from fielding questions, that he understood key issues and he had a plan for fixing some of the problems. His leadership at the department has been brief but they have managed to accomplish significant milestones. As of 10 Jan 2017, we have a new Minister, the Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen. The questions become: will this disruption in the department cause further delays to the proposed changes? And, will Minister Hussen change the focus of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information

A Response Based on Alice Woolley’s Important “Defending Rapists”

Dear Alice,

I suspect I’m going to regret breaking yet another of my New Year Resolutions so soon in the year but, since none of your CALE colleagues seem inclined to discuss this topic with you, here, I will.

But maybe not where and how you expected. I may be a dinosaur. I’m not that much of a dinosaur.

You wrote:

“Which means that we have to be incredibly clear and careful about articulating and enforcing the ethical boundaries on defence lawyers in sexual assault cases.”

I would modify that statement, slightly, because of its succinctness,as a reminder to all . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

The Thrill Is Gone: Sardonicism ‘R Us, Part Un

This post contains some parting, case-specific, comments on Canadian common law judicial reasoning for interested Canadian lawyers (or those interested for other reasons) to ponder, related to a few Canadian reasons for judgment delivered late in 2016.

It’s not my job or real concern any more, unless it’s at a friend’s request or for other good reason. Whether it ought to remain any part of my concern is something I don’t plan to ponder very much in 2017. If I do, though, it’ll be only after I’ve had much Macallan 25, or the equivalent, at somebody else’s expense and as . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

Police Access to Recordings of in-Home Computer “assistants”

A lot of people now have computers they can talk to and get answers from – Siri, Alexa, Cortona, etc – not to mention interactive talking dolls.

A man in Arkansas was recently charged with murdering another man in his home. The accused person had a number of such devices in his home, including an Echo device made by Amazon. While the device is set up to activate itself when addressed in a particular way, or by name, sometimes they record in other circumstances.

The police have asked Amazon to turn over any recording made during the relevant period. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Counsels’ Duty to the Court and Role in the Proper Administration of Justice

Two recent SCJ decisions are, in my view, examples of counsel failing in different aspects of their duty to the court and, as such impeding, or at least not assisting, the judge in the proper administration of justice.

Others (who are practising lawyers, I suspect) may have different views on whether the counsel involved in these cases did anything they ought not to have done or did not do something they ought to have done. If you do, perhaps you should take a few moments to consider why you you disagree and respond.

I am not going to discuss the . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues