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Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

Choices and Priorities

How do we as a society decide who is responsible to pay for access to justice initiatives and to what extent? Who sets those priorities and through what lens are those priorities ordered?

Does the fiscal responsibility lie solely with government? Is it the job of government to ensure that all those seeking to access and enforce their legal rights are able to do so, whether through legal aid programs or advocacy services? Many in the legal profession seem to think so. An argument I’ve frequently heard typically goes something like this: We don’t ask doctors and dentists to work . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Assisted Reproduction After Death

The Alberta Law Reform Institute recently released their Final Report 106 Assisted Reproduction After Death: Parentage and Implications.

My daughters, lovely irreverent young women that they are, sometimes joke about which one of them will stay on our farmette and look after the oldies (referring to my husband and I) in order to inherit. What if we had some medical assistance in achieving parenthood, stored some embryos, one of us passed on, and the other wished to have a child after the death of a genetic parent? This scenario is completely feasible and possible and there are broad implications . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

Justice Delayed in Brampton

Courthouses across the GTA, Canada’s most populous region, are already overwhelmed. Under particular strain are the suburbs of Toronto, which have exploded in population over the past few decades, with few corresponding increases in services.

One particular courthouse is in Brampton, where the Ministry of the Attorney General has announced they will build a 3-story expansion. The expansion will not be completed until December 2017, and that time both the bar and the bench appear to be alarmed.

Justice Van Melle, former Regional Senior Justice for Ontario’s Central West court region, took the unusual step of writing a letter to . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Family Justice 3.6: Rethinking Family to Reduce Conflict

All law, with the exception of animal cruelty laws, concerns the interaction of human social groups ranging in scale from the individual to the state, either for the purpose of regulating those interactions or providing remedies when things go awry. It’s the humanness of these interactions which makes the law as complex as it is, family law especially so; we are messy, irrational creatures with priorities, goals and emotions that are highly variable and difficult to predict.

It seems to me that the contortions into which family law twists itself largely result from efforts to address, accommodate and anticipate the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

How Courtroom Innovations Help Self-Represented Litigants

The Toronto Star posted an interesting story this past weekend discussing how courtroom innovations in New York, the U.K. and Windsor, Ontario are helping self-represented litigants navigate the legal waters.

You can read the story here.

There is a complete absence of mention of what is being done in Toronto. If the answer is “nothing”, then perhaps we should all be looking at what can be done. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

National Security Still Doesn’t Trump Personal Privacy

How far does the legitimate scope of governmental power reach, in a time of technology and enhanced concerns of personal privacy?

Following the attacks on Canadian Parliament on October 22, 2014, the proper balance between national security concerns and personal privacy and liberties is of foremost concern for many citizens. The Federal government has responded, in part, by the introduction of Bill C-51, which has itself spurned considerable controversy.

National security and law enforcement concerns are not exclusive to our jurisdiction. At the Fourth Annual UCLA Cyber Crimes Moot this weekend, competitors from across the country considered the constitutional implications . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Family Justice 3.5: Fostering a Settlement-Oriented Legal Culture

This is the note on rethinking our approach to family justice that I never thought I’d find myself writing, and as a result I need to begin with an explanation and an apology. In this short post, I describe what I see as lawyers’ duties to promote settlement, to respect informed compromise and to refrain from litigating family law disputes without good and sufficient reason. First, however, I’ll explain the circumstances that have provoked me to write.

I’m involved in a number of the present efforts to reform family justice. In one particular group, I have received a certain amount . . . [more]

Posted in: 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