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Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

The Journey of Nishiyuu

Six young men from the Cree community Whapmagoostui in northern Quebec have been snowshoeing and walking–along with a guide–an incredible 1,600 kilometers from their home on Hudson Bay to Ottawa in support of the Idle No More movement. They are scheduled to arrive today at noon ET at Victoria Island for a welcome ceremony before the last leg of their walk to Parliament Hill.

According to the Idle No More website:

So with temperatures apparently hovering at around -50C, he [David Kawapit Jr.] and six others left home on Jan. 16, trekking on snowshoes and pulling their supplies, stopping

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

The Ugly Side of Legal Blogs

It is astonishing to me that there are practising lawyers who take time away from helping clients to write (often foul-mouthed) blogs and comments attacking those who advocate different ways to deliver legal services. In the minds of these attackers, we have “666” tattooed to the backs of our heads.

The old saying, “Is this the hill I want to die on?” comes to mind for those with boundless energy to expend trash-talking people who think differently.

It’s as if the attackers don’t follow what’s happening in the world around them (which is also exceptionally poor risk management):

Megan Seto . . . [more]

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

More Teachables About Sexual Assault

Last week we authored a post about rape culture, using the recent incident between Sarah Thomson and Rob Ford as an illustration of commonly held myths about sexual assault. We received a variety of comments, some of which deserve further discussion.

One commentator admonished us, as practicing lawyers, for making a determination of Mr. Ford’s culpability without his having been charged criminally. That same commentator argued that Mr. Ford is “entitled to the presumption of innocence” and that he “IS innocent until proven guilty.” Right. Ok, so first of all, a person can be found to have committed the tort . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Notes From the Road to Access to Justice

There are many roads to enhancing access to justice across Canada and I have been fortunate to travel several of these via involvement with Manitoba organizations like Legal Aid Manitoba, Community Legal Education Association, Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre and Legal Help Centre of Winnipeg. Government funded legal aid, public legal information and education programs, and free legal advice services are all essential routes to providing broad-based access to justice.

Another route to access to justice runs straight through our law schools. For the past several years, I have had the privilege to work with law students . . . [more]

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

The Loyalty Policy at Library and Archives Canada

There’s been something of a fuss in the media in the last couple of days concerning a relatively new, or newly explicit, Code of Conduct at Library and Archives Canada that’s said to create the possibility of “muzzling” librarians or of their being snitched on if too outspoken. (See the story in the National Post and the buzz on Twitter.)

I thought Slaw readers might be interested in the fact that the whole Code of Conduct is available on Scribd. The most often mentioned portion is section 3.2.2 Duty of Loyalty:

3.2.2 Duty of loyalty

Employment in the

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

Nominations for Canadian Bar Association Awards for Excellence in Journalism

Nominations are open until May 1, 2013 for the Stephen Hanson Awards for Excellence in Journalism (formerly the Justicia Awards)

Organized by the Canadian Bar Association, the Awards recognize “outstanding journalism that fosters public awareness and understanding of any aspect of the Canadian justice system and the roles played by institutions and participants in the legal system”.

There are awards for French or English stories in two categories: print and broadcast media.

The judges evaluate submissions based on “accuracy, originality, effectiveness in explaining issues to the public, informational value, and insight”.

The rules state (among other things):

  • Any article published
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

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