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Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

Judges and Social Media

In the Discussion Paper “The Use of Social Media by Canadian Judicial Officers“, its stated that 48 per cent of Canadian judicial officers visit or contribute to social media sites (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and blogs). The Paper goes on to state that:

In regard to professional interactions with a lawyer who is a social networking contact, 33 per cent of judicial officers who reported social media use believe that it would be acceptable for a “LinkedIn contact” to appear before him/her… However, a small, yet clear, distinction is made if the lawyer is a “Facebook

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Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology

Update: Brexit Score – End of Second Period: Henry VIII 2 Henry II 1

Or, Ms May may not and must not; at least, not yet.

(For readers outside of the (ice) hockey world, substitute “end of first half”.)

The UK QB ruled unanimously (3-0) this fine English morning that the Tory gov’t cannot use the Crown’s prerogative to initiate the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The decision to withdraw or not – the decision whether to give notice under the applicable EU treaty – is for Parliament to make, not the party in power in Parliament; aka the “gov’t” or the Crown.

[111] for the reasons we have set out, we hold the

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

Consulting With Canadians on a Federal Accessibility Legislation

Between July 2016 and February 2017, the federal government is consulting Canadians on planned federal accessibility legislation. The goal of the law would be to promote equality of opportunity and increase the inclusion and participation of Canadians who have disabilities or functional limitations in all areas of every day life. It is expected that the new legislation will incorporate many features from Ontario and Manitoba’s accessibility laws that would include the process or processes that the Government would use to develop the accessibility standards, as well as the areas or activities to which the standards would apply. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

‘If Not Us, Who? if Not Now, When?’: Reflections on the Law Society’s Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group Report

The Law Society debate, set for December 2, 2016, is the most significant acknowledgment of the obligation to address issues of systemic racism within the Ontario legal profession to date. It is a call to action. The Law Society’s commitment is anchored in its 1997 Bicentennial Report and the Report of the Bicentennial Working Group. Much has changed since the Law Society’s largely unimplemented response of 1999 to the Canadian Bar Association Recommendations flowing from the Report on Racial Equality and my own complementary Virtual Justice Systemic Racism in the Canadian Legal Profession Report. In the intervening two . . . [more]

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

Environmental Law: Behind the Scenes at Ecojustice

Nice interview on the Talking Radical Radio podcast with staff lawyers Dyna Tuytel and Barry Robinson from the Calgary office of Ecojustice. I’ve briefly touched on the great work of Ecojustice in the past but for those who may not be familiar with this organization they describe their work as follows:

“Ecojustice goes to court and uses the power of the law to defend nature, slow climate change, and stand up for the health of our communities.

We pursue innovative cases that have the potential to set precedents nation-wide and deliver solutions to our most urgent environmental problems.”

Podcast . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

How to Win Cases

Conceptually, it’s easy: settle weak cases, try strong cases. When you try strong cases, find the spot where the best interests of your client overlap the most with the best interests of the court and hit it.

But what is this notion of the best interests of the court? Every litigator understands the best interests of the client and their duty to protect them. Many will also remember their duty as officers of the court.

But the best interests of the court is not quite fully the same thing as what litigators honour as officers of the court. It covers . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Is the Debate on a Secular State Useless and Fruitless?

Here we go again. Quebec Justice Minister recently tabled Bill 62, An Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for religious accommodation requests in certain bodies fostering respect for religious neutrality of the state and aimed in particular to frame requests for religious accommodations in certain organizations. This is this sitting government’s attempt to draft a charter of secularism.

This is the fourth time that the Quebec government (under different leadership) has tried to pass a bill to clarify the religious neutrality of the state and set guidelines for the granting of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Is Delivering Access to Justice Perceived as Women’s Work?

I noticed it first this past summer when I attended the joint International Journal of Clinical Legal Education – Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education conference in Toronto. It was my first time attending and I had no idea what to expect.

What I found was a group of very smart, dedicated and focused academics and lawyers engaged in the field of clinical legal education. What I noticed was that the gender balance among conference attendees was weighted heavily in favour of women.

Upon returning to the office after the conference, I looked around at our summer students – 5 . . . [more]

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

Ethics: A Case Every Civil Litigator Should Know

In May 2016, Justice Bondy of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice quietly released an important decision. A decision that every civil litigator should know because the principles enunciated in this case seem to elude many lawyers. Maybe greed blinds them, maybe wishful thinking envelopes them, or maybe it never occurs to them that they are in a conflict of interest. Either way, this pervasive behaviour is bringing the administration of justice into disrepute.

Far too often, plaintiff lawyers represent an injured child and his/her parents, who are also defendants by counterclaim. This is a conflict of interest. And in . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Early Neutral Evaluation Programs in Family Law Disputes

The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family has just released a new research report, An International Review of Early Neutral Evaluation Programs and Their Use in Family Law Disputes in Alberta, which includes a literature review of early neutral evaluation programs in Manitoba, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States, and makes recommendations about the implementation of such a program in Alberta. The findings from the literature review are very positive and are likely applicable throughout Canada.

Generally speaking, early neutral evaluation programs are court-based programs that require the parties to a . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information

Akwesasne Legal System as a Form of Self-Governance

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne has done something historic. They have created the first indigenous legal system in Canada outside of governmental control, since the subjugation of First Nations by the current government and its predecessors.

The system is comprised of justices and prosecutors who do not have to have law degrees. The prosecutors are required to have some advocacy experience, but the Akwesasne justices will only receive a 10-week training from a law firm once passing the good character and reputation requirements.

The Akwesasne legal system will enforce 32 civil laws, ranging from the regulation of tobacco, wildlife conservation, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Regulate This

Most people today are employees who drive cars and get married. Most people today deal with law only when they are fired, ticketed, or divorced. (It’s nice that the vast majority of people never interact with the criminal justice system.) So most access-to-justice issues have to do with employment, personal injury/traffic, and family law. This is because these are the main three areas of social complexity and government regulation in most people’s lives. When there is no complexity or regulation, there are few access-to-justice issues because there is no need for lawyers.

Tomorrow, most people will be freelancers (the gig . . . [more]

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