Justice Issues Archives – Slaw
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Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

From Full Mobility to Outside Investment?

On February 28, 2013, the Law Society of Upper Canada became the first Canadian law society to ratify the national mobility provisions allowing for full and permanent mobility of lawyers between Ontario and Quebec.

Most Canadians will be forgiven for failing to be as joyful as the Benchers were that day, as the agreement does much to enhance lawyer mobility (and hence fee-earning capability), but does nothing to address access to justice.

The Law Times piece on this matter was done by Yamri Taddese and can be found here.

How much better it would have been if Benchers had . . . [more]

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

What Sarah Thomson (And Rob Ford) Remind Us About Sexual Assault

Last week Sarah Thomson took to social media to recount her version of the events of Thursday March 7 when she attended the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee Action Party event. Early Friday morning she posted to Facebook that Mayor Rob Ford grabbed her ass and made suggestive comments to the effect that he wished she had been in Florida with him as they could have had fun since his wife wasn’t there. She has characterized the incident as assault. Rob Ford has denied the allegations and said during his radio show on the weekend that he’s always believed that . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Manitoba Métis Federation Inc. v. Canada (AG): The Crown’s Chutzpah

A wag once said that the Yiddish word Chutzpah has been defined as the quality of a person who is accused of killing his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the Court because he is an orphan. The Crown’s chutzpah runs throughout the entire line of post-1982 Aboriginal rights cases from Guerin to the most recent decision, Manitoba Métis Federation Inc. v. Canada (AG) 2013 SCC 14 (MMF), decided Friday, March 8, 2013. (This is the most succinct and least scholarly statement of the thesis that I have been in the throes of finishing for the last while.) In every ground breaking decision the Crown makes arguments that the Court points out are singularly lacking in merit and that display a serious disregard for the Crown’s, its obligation to avoid even the appearance of “sharp dealing”, to resolve ambiguities in treaties and in statutes “in favour of the Indians”, its fiduciary duty to Aboriginal communities, its duty to consult and accommodate and the honour of the Crown.
Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Aboriginal Inmates Almost One Quarter of Canadian Prison Population

In a special report tabled today in the House of Commons, the Correctional Investigator of Canada Howard Sapers found that the aboriginal prison population has jumped in the last decade and that correctional authorities have not been living up to their obligations.

As well, the report, entitled Spirit Matters: Aboriginal People and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, shows that aboriginal inmates are sentenced to longer terms, spend more time in segregation and maximum security and are less likely to be granted parole.

Among the highlights of the report:

  • since 2005-06, there has been a 43% increase in the
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues

CBA’s Envisioning Equal Justice Project – Discussion Paper for Comments

The Canadian Bar Association’s Access to Justice (A2J) Committee is currently working on its Envisioning Equal Justice project. There are 5 “building blocks for change” they are working on. Currently under Building Block #5: “Alternatives for increasing access to justice for the middle class”, the committee is circulating the paper Unexplored Alternatives for the Middle Class [pdf] for commentary. Comments are requested by March 31st.

These are some of the issues being covered in this discussion paper:

  • Promising innovations to increase access to legal services
  • Re-engineering dispute resolution processes
  • Affordability of lawyers’ services

Discussion papers for Building Blocks #1-3 are . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

ABS – the Fear in Canada Is Palpable

The ABS debate continues among many Canadian provinces. The Law Society of British Columbia has already made the same mistake as the American Bar Association recently made by declining to allow outside investment in law firms. One of LSBC’s reasons was that local lawyers didn’t feel a need for it; this reminds me of a comment made by a lawyer in the UK and likely echoed by some in Canada, “We’re smart people. If there was a better way to do things we would have already figured it out.” Or to more bluntly put it, LSBC’s rationale is like asking . . . [more]

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

BC Releases Part Two of Justice Reform Plan

♫ Cause I feel like I’m in love with a technology…

Music, lyrics and recorded by Jessie J.

The BC Ministry of Justice has released its White Paper on Justice Reform, part Two.

The Report is broad and far-reaching. It is also innovative. It is aimed at providing a transparent, timely and balanced system. For example:

“The justice system must be transformed to that of a service culture, where citizen’s needs and outcomes are the focus, and investments in justice service align with best practices.”

There are five key themes of the report. These are:

  1. Timely and
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues

Greed IS Good

… sometimes.

For some lawyers, anyway.

EG’s clients lost completely. They didn’t have much on their side apart from EG. Assuming (for argument’s sake) the cab rank rule applies in Canada, a strict application says that EG was obliged to take the gamblers’ case provided they met his fee.

I wonder, though, what else it means that it wasn’t BG on the appeal.

“Frank”ly speaking, that is.

Moreira v. Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, 2013 ONCA 121. You can read about it in the papers. The short summary is: Gamblers lose; house wins. Again. Go figure.

  . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Employment, Human Rights and (US) National Security

The US government is sensitive about matters of national security. One of the expressions of this sensitivity is its unwillingness to have certain kinds of work performed by citizens of countries that the US considers likely to be hostile – e.g . Iran, Cuba, Yemen. etc. Thus it is forbidden by US law for companies doing certain kinds of work for some agencies of the US government to hire nationals of those countries for that work.

Canadian law prohibits discrimination in employment on the ground of national origin, among other things. This is governed by human rights codes and employment . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

The Case for Anonymous Reporting of Police Violence

First off, we understand that our position on this subject might not be popular with our colleagues in the legal profession, some of whom might have more faith in the institutions we work within. But today we feel the need to voice it nonetheless.

Events of the past few weeks have once again raised the question of the value of anonymous reports regarding experiences of police violence. Last week Human Rights Watch (HRW) released an 89-page report that documents the failures of, and abuse by, the RCMP in Northern British Columbia as recounted by 50 aboriginal women and girls they . . . [more]

Posted in: 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