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Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

Lawyers for Literacy

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” ― Frederick Douglass

February is I Love to Read month in Manitoba and this week, a number of Manitoba lawyers are practicing reading aloud while collecting pledges and gathering books to donate as part of Lawyers for Literacy.

The 3rd annual Lawyers for Literacy event on February 23 is sponsored by the Law Society of Manitoba, in support of the work of West Broadway Youth Outreach. WBYO is a small non-profit operating in Winnipeg’s West Broadway neighbourhood to provide after school and evening recreational opportunities to local . . . [more]

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

Ronald Dworkin

Legal philosopher and public intellectual died yesterday: February 14, 2013. He was 81.

It’s fitting that leading U.K. – the Guardian – and U.S. – the N.Y. Times – obituaries present different pictures of him, even to the extent of seemingly disagreeing on which of his books and other writing was the most important and on his significance in the world of legal and moral philosophy.

For example, the central paragraphs about his legal philosophy in the Guardian’s obituary are:

His books were immensely influential, especially in US law schools. He published many articles both in technical law journals and

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Reading

Policing, Negligence and HIV Non-Disclosure: One to Watch

The actions of policing bodies towards community members, and more specifically, towards “victims” of crime, has been impossible to litigate in Ontario. In 2011, in the Wellington v. Ontario decision (2011 ONCA 274), the Court of Appeal firmly stated that there is “a long list of decisions rejecting the proposition that the police owe victims of crime and their families a private law duty of care in relation to the investigation of alleged crimes.” In Wellington v. Ontario, the family of a young man killed by two police officers sought to bring a claim in negligence against the Special Investigations . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Paper Tiger Fences

The Vancouver Sun recently described the issue of insufficient access to justice in British Columbia as a “fast-approaching cliff” and urged the Law Society of British Columbia to lead efforts to address the problem.

That article reminded me of the oft-cited metaphor used by Richard Susskind in describing legal services as providing either a fence at the top of a cliff or an ambulance at the bottom.

The United Nations’ Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor, in its’ 2008 report Making the Law Work For Everyone identified access to justice as one of four pillars to legal empowerment of . . . [more]

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

The End of the Monopoly Over the Provision of Legal Services and Prosecutions for the “Unauthorized Practice of Law”, Part 2 of 2

[Part 1, last week, questioned the propriety of law societies’ exclusive control of their monopoly over the provision of legal services, and their prosecution of offences of “the unauthorized practice of law,” given the many reports documenting the fact that the majority of the population cannot afford legal services at reasonable cost, particularly so for litigation. It set out five reasons that the lawyer’s monopoly over the provision of legal services depends upon the legal profession’s performing all legal services covered by that monopoly at reasonable cost. The list of reasons continues here.]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

A Blow to the Bail Program

The Toronto Bail Program (TBP) has recently announced that, effective Mar. 29, they will be discontinuing serving the weekend bail court on Sundays and statutory holidays.

For those unfamiliar with the important work done by the TBP on behalf of persons who are unable to present friends, family members or co-workers as prospective sureties in bail court, see my blog post on this disturbing development for more detail.

This is yet another head-scratching decision that undermines the success of our increasingly strained criminal justice system. While millions of additional Federal dollars will have to be poured into policing, courts and . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Edwin Mellen Press’s Curious Case

In case there are any Slaw readers who have not yet learned of it, I thought I’d point you to some posts about Edwin Mellen Press‘s lawsuit against McMaster librarian Dale Askey (and against McMaster University as well). EMP claims Askey defamed them online in a post, and a series of comments to it, entitled “The Curious Case of Edwin Mellen Press” (a turn on Dickens’s “The Curious Case of Edwin Drood,” by the way) and in the Notice of Action begun in June 2012 they ask for $3,500,000.00 in damages.

The Notice of Action is available online here . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing

What if the Western Provinces Saved the Profession?

Last week I missed my appointed blog date – but for a good reason. I was honoured to speak at the Law Society of Alberta Plenary Session as part of the CBA winter conference in Edmonton. While few would suggest Edmonton as a preferred January destination, for me it was a hotspot of discussion around change in the legal services industry.

I continually find that west of the Upper Canadian border, law societies become progressively more forward-thinking and open to changing things in the public interest. It seems to me that law societies east of the Rockies and west of . . . [more]

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

The End of the Monopoly Over the Provision of Legal Services and Prosecutions for the “Unauthorized Practice of Law”, Part 1 of 2

Law societies in Canada should be preparing to share their monopoly over the provision of legal services, i.e., preparing for government regulation. In the interim, should they be allowed to prosecute the offence of “the unauthorized practice of law,” given that such prosecutions now aim to protect a monopoly over the provision of legal services that is greater than that granted them by law?

Until the problem of “the unavailability to the majority of the population of legal services at reasonable cost” is solved, the prosecutors of this offence should be Crown counsel, or at the least such prosecutions . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Public Legal Education Webinars

PLEI Connect recently began a new series of public legal education webinars, some topics in English and others in French. For those not familiar, “PLEI Connect is a project to help organizations across Canada identify and share technology tools to effectively deliver public legal education and information (PLEI) services.”

PLEI Connect is a multi-jurisdiction, team initiative of CLEO, Éducaloi, PovNet, and Courthouse Libraries BC. It originated only a couple of years ago at the Just a Click Away conference. A look at a bit about PLEI Connect shows how these fine organizations share defined responsibilities for the project. From the . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Justice Issues, Technology: Internet

Tweet No Evil?: Social Media and Ontario’s Courtrooms

by Amy Salyzyn

Tweets from space! Far from a futuristic vision of social media, this is a current reality thanks to Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield who has been tweeting from the International Space Station in recent days. Informative and occasionally entertaining (the tweets now include an amusing and well-publicized exchange with William Shatner), Hadfield’s use of social media is providing the world with a wonderful and intimate account of his time in, and view from, outer space.

At the same time that Twitter is soaring past the earth’s boundaries, however, it will soon face new limitations here on terra . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues