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Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

Supreme Court of Canada Updated Policy for Access to Court Records

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of Canada published its revised Policy for Access to Supreme Court of Canada Court Records. It took effect March 17, 2015 and replaces the policy dated February 9, 2009.

In addition to the hearing schedules, docket information, party information, case summaries, webcasts of appeal hearings and factums on appeal, the Court will begin to post memorandums of argument on applications for leave to appeal after they are granted.

The revised policy also introduces a Registered Access process for frequent users.This is for people who require regular access to multiple court records in one . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information

Family Justice 3.4: A Family Services Administrative Agency

One of the many functions of legislation is to overrule different aspects of the common law, as need demands, and establish new schema in their place. Family law is no different in this regard than the law of property, torts and contract, particularly following the English Parliament’s seizure of jurisdiction in matrimonial causes from the ecclesiastical courts in 1857. With the passage of time, lovely old torts such as jactitation of marriage, criminal conversation, loss of consortium, enticement of a spouse, restitution of conjugal rights and breach of promise to marry have fallen by the wayside, banned by one provincial . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Celebrating Women’s Day This Year With an Aboriginal Crisis

Today is International Women’s Day. Although there is much to celebrate, there is much more to be done as well.

Natasha Bannan notes that women in the U.S. are still employed in precarious work. Minorities, especially Latinas, are overrepresented in the lowest paid segments of the economy.

The situation isn’t much better in Canada. In some ways, it might be worse.

A new report by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) slams Canada for its inaction over Aboriginal women. The study was prompted by inquiries by the Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) and Native Women’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Family Justice 3.3: Automating Dispute Resolution

One of the key characteristics setting family law apart from other civil matters is the extent to which outcomes are based on a fog of factors not necessarily obvious from the plain text of the legislation. The only result I would ever guarantee to a client involved in a family law dispute was the amount of child support that would payable, and I would only make this guarantee if: the child was under the age of majority; the payor was not self-employed; the payor earned less than $150,000 per year; the payor was not a stepparent; the child’s special expenses . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Ontario Looks at ODR for Some Provincial Offences

The Ministry of the Attorney General is considering an online dispute resolution (ODR) system for dealing with some provincial offences, mainly traffic offences to start.

The system would rely on administrative monetary penalties rather than judicially-imposed fines. The consultation document talks about how someone with a ticket could challenge it online, as well as finding out more about how the process works.

Here is a useful table showing the major changes.

Feel free to participate in the consultation, or to say what you think of it here, or both. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Family Justice 3.2: Empowering Families to Address the Sequelae of Separation

In this note, I propose a model of family justice that’s less of a model of family justice than it is a model of family-centred social services, and places primary responsibility for post-separation decision-making on the family itself. Unlike my two previous posts on the subject, Family Justice 3.0 and Family Justice 3.1, this model does propose a fundamental restructuring of how we approach family law disputes. This proposal draws from my thinking on the changes in perception that can flow from conceiving of family law dispute resolution as “family restructuring”, assumes that family wellbeing is a basic . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Pink Shirt Day

Did you wear a pink shirt today? Today (February 25) is Pink Shirt Day in Canada, a day devoted to promoting collective action against bullying in our schools, communities and online. The origins of the day, as described by the Globe and Mail, are as follows:

The tradition of wearing pink shirts emerged in September, 2007, after a Nova Scotia high-school student was targeted with homophobic insults for wearing a pink shirt to school. Two Grade 12 students, Travis Price and David Shepherd, organized their schoolmates to wear pink in solidarity.

My favourite #PinkShirtDay tweet was from Manitoba’s Minister . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

Family Justice 3.1: Inquisitorial and Abridged Hearing Processes

This note follows up on my previous post, Family Justice 3.0, in which I proposed a partially computerized, settlement-oriented, lawyer-facilitated approach to the resolution of family law disputes. In this note, I will propose two hearing processes aimed at improving efficiencies of time and cost, and increasing access to justice, in cases where: one or both parties are without counsel; and, all parties are represented. This proposal is based on the assumption that the parties are already engaged in court proceedings and that diversionary measures have been exhausted.

Both processes are adaptations of present systems, pruned and reimagined to . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Save the Bails

Polar bears are adorable. I have nothing against Beluga whales. But if we save just one thing this year, I hope it’s Ontario’s Bail Program.

To properly grasp the value and importance of the Bail Program it is first necessary to internalize a quick primer on Ontario’s bail situation. Despite a Criminal Code that endorses pre-trial detention only where absolutely necessary for public safety, decades of ‘bail creep’ have made it more or less standard for police officers and crown attorneys to insist on ‘show cause’ hearings in all but the most trifling of cases. Practically speaking this means that . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Our Flag and Our Identity

Today is National Flag Day, and the 50th anniversary of the official adoption of the current Canadian flag.

National Flag Day was first instituted in 1996 by Jean Chrétien. On Flag Day in 2007, Peggy Nash attempted unsuccessfully to make it a federal statutory holiday.

Although dealing with the flag itself, and not the celebration of the flag, Parliament passed the National Flag of Canada Act in 2012. The initial version of the Bill included criminal penalties for mistreating the flag, until opposition in the House resulted in amendments stating that Canadians should simply being “encouraged” to display it. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

Family Justice 3.0: a Settlement-Oriented, Lawyer-Facilitated Hybrid Approach

The family justice system as we know it is in crisis. I think we’ve reached consensus on this point, as the truckload of recent reports from the national Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters, the Canadian Bar Association and a handful of law societies seems to suggest. Whatever disputes are left likely centre on the extent to which the system needs to be rebuilt, how it ought to be rebuilt and how the rebuild will be funded.

In recent commentaries I have expressed the view that how we do family justice needs to be . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Implementation of Recommendations From Phoenix Sinclair Inquiry Report

Just shy of a year after the issuance of the final report and recommendations from the Phoenix Sinclair Inquiry in Manitoba, the province has issued its first status update on the implementation of those recommendations.

The report, Options for Action: An Implementation Report for The Legacy of Phoenix Sinclair: Achieving the Best for All Our Children and Executive Summary were delivered at a press conference yesterday. Following a process of consultation with stakeholders, the implementation team led by consulting firm AMR Planning and Consulting sets out a series of options for action to implement the 31 recommendations that were not . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues