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Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

Should Judges Confront Big Companies for Failing to Pay Jurors for Time Off Work?

Jury duty is an obligation dreaded by some and evaded by others. Medical reasons, familial obligations, travel plans, and the loss of an income are some of excuses used to avoid jury duty.

Recently, Justice Robert Goldstein of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto wrote to Canadian Tire about their policy on paying jurors. While presiding over jury selection, a prospective juror told Justice Goldstein that Canadian Tire would not pay them while performing jury duty. In response Justice Goldstein wrote a letter to Canadian Tire’s general counsel, Jim Christie, and Timothy Tallon, the owner of the St. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Revisiting the LCO’s Family Law Final Report Seven Years Later

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of meeting with students in McMaster University’s Justice, Political Philosophy and Law Program (“JPPL Program”) at a Wine and Cheese “Industry Night” organized by the JPPL Student Society. Not surprisingly, many students, although not all, anticipate applying for law school after completing the program. I was one of 10 panelists (!) with a range of experiences in law asked to give the students some idea about our own backgrounds and then answer a specific question drawing on that experience. In my own case, the organizers asked me to tell the students something about . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

Two Tales About the Rule of Law

A recent opinion piece in the National Post by Leonid Sarota and Asher Honickman explained how the rule of law functions: it constrains government and when people perceive it to overstep, they can challenge it; but it also requires individuals to restrain their actions and use the legal sysem and when they are unsuccessful, they must accept it. As they say, “The rule of law does not, by itself, guarantee justice, but without it just laws cannot be upheld and unjust ones peacefully reformed.” Here I consider two situations in which the rule of law is said (by some, at . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Refugee Law & Climate Change

Kiribati is a small island nation that may soon be gone. It is forecasted to be the first nation to become a victim of climate change and all of its citizens will be forced, involuntarily, to find another home. In an unprecedented decision, the UN Human Rights Commission ruled that a citizen of Kiribati, Mr. Ioane Teitioto, shall not be deported by New Zealand due to threats related to climate change. This decision is the first in a sea of change, I believe, that will lead to a significant expansion of Canadian refugee law.

A Brief History of the “Eco-Refugee”

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Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

A Tale of Two Legal Services Entities

The Atrium debacle has now moved out of the legal innovation news cycle having been mostly savaged (and rightly so) for its lack of understanding of the market it purported to serve, its inability to learn from the past, and a seemingly waste of investor money. It remains a sad example of how an entity built solely around hype is able to gain huge profile and raise massive amounts of money with no reasonable ROI, while entities doing really good work impacting far more people (on a shoestring!) are largely ignored.

One of the claims made on Twitter during the . . . [more]

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

Alberta Fair Registration Practices of Regulatory Bodies Proclaimed in Force

The Alberta Fair Registration Practices Act is proclaimed in force on March 1, 2020, to speed up the process of newcomers getting their credentials recognized so they can work in the careers they trained for, and remove unfair barriers. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Justice Issues, Legal Information, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Bridging the Gap: Providing Children With Limited Standing in Family Law Proceedings

The recent decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal in A.B. v C.D. v E.F. offers a couple of troubling conclusions with respect to the rights of children and whether determining the presence of family violence requires proof of intent not prescribed by statute. I’ll leave it to others, and hopefully the outcome of a successful leave application, to address the family violence issue; this note concerns a gap in the province’s Family Law Act, revealed by the decision, that leaves mature minors without the ability to apply to court for a declaration as to what is or is . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues

Assessing the CJC’s Interpretation of Sections 54 and 55 of the Judges Act: The Patrick Smith Case

In its report of November 5, 2018, a review panel of the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) found Justice Patrick Smith, a supernumerary judge of the Ontario Superior Court, had acted breached the Judges Act and the CJC’s Ethical Principles for Judges (these are currently under review) by taking a position that was susceptible to controversy, that of unpaid interim dean (academic) at the Boris Laskin Faculty of Law. The Review Panel concluded, however, that his conduct did not warrant removal from the bench. In November 2018, I posted a comment on my blog, Idlemusings, about “the Patrick Smith case”, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation

Are Some Judges Just Slow Learners? Myths and Stereotypes in Sexual Assault Cases

Will we ever reach a point when how women dress or whether they don’t immediately rush to tell someone they’ve been sexually assaulted are not interpreted as superceding consent in determining whether a sexual assault has occurred? It’s been some 20 years since the Supreme Court of Canada, particularly L’Heureux-Dube J. in dissent, but also the majority, in Seaboyer emphasized the distorting role myths and stereotypes play in deciding sexual assault cases. The recent Court of Appeal decision in R. v. Lacombe tells us that some (in this case lower court) judges have still not heard the message. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Meaning of Justice in Family Law Disputes

Justice is a complicated concept. The dictionary definition is short enough, typically given as “fairness and moral conduct,” but the seductive simplicity of the explanation ignores the important analyses offered by major thinkers from Plato through Hobbes, Rousseau and Mill to Rawls, and tends to stop at the doorstep of the courthouse in any event.

A few weeks ago, I was asked to speak at an ADRIC conference on justice in family law disputes and the difference, if any, between “justice” in the context of litigation and “justice” in the context of mediation. It was an intriguing question . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Provincial Court of BC’s Twitter Town Hall

If not today
Maybe tomorrow
If not tomorrow
Maybe in a week
No matter how far I push it
It needs to find me
Progress

Lyrics and Music by Booker T. Jones, James Edward JR Olliges, recorded by Booker T. Jones.

Sometimes change happens so slowly, you don’t notice it. Sometimes change happens so quickly, it doesn’t notice you (Ashley Brilliant)

Oct. 28, 2019 was a day in Canada unlike most others. You may not have noticed anything different, even if you were in the legal community. On that day, Provincial Court of BC’s Chief Judge Melissa Gillespie . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues