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Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

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

We Don’t Always Have to Be Angry: Lessons From Idle No More

Sometimes as litigators we get stuck on a certain kind of advocacy, one that is born in, and charged by, conflict. A type of advocacy that burns so fast, it injures everyone in its wake. We recognize with gratitude the advocates who compellingly and compassionately tell the narratives that change our minds. We believe that they are the truly gifted advocates, for they win their opponents over rather than beat them.

The Idle No More movement has galvanized indigenous peoples across Canada to express their opposition to the federal government’s policies, practices, and intentions towards First Nations. New leaders are . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Top Issues for the Canadian Legal Profession in 2013

In the spirit of the New Year, Resolutions and Top 10 lists, I present to you my predictions for the top issues that the legal profession in Canada will face in 2013. This was inspired by a discussion on the listserv of the Canadian Association for Legal Ethics (CALE) and in particular by contributions from Alice Woolley who started things off with a “Best of 2012” post that you can find here. Malcolm Mercer, Tom Harrison, and Richard Devlin, as always, expanded and enriched the discussion. Some of my “Top Issues for 2013” repeat Alice’s Top Issues in . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Donors Not Dads

A queer friend of mine who’s currently trying to make a baby via donor sperm sent me this story today and asked me whether sperm donors could be made to pay child support in Ontario. Good question.

The story my friend sent me was about the State of Kansas ordering a man to pay child support for a child of a lesbian couple who conceived via DIY insemination with his sperm. (I differentiate between physician-led insemination and Do-It-Yourself, and unlike the author of the article or the State of Kansas, I don’t consider any insemination “artificial”). The State required the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

If the Mouse Roared, Then the Court Whimpered

Mark Twain wrote in Mark Twain, “Chapters from My Autobiography”, 598 North American Review (Sept. 7, 1906):

I wrote the rest of “The Innocents Abroad” in sixty days, and I could have added a fortnight’s labor with the pen and gotten along without the letters altogether. I was very young in those days, exceedingly young, marvellously young, younger than I am now, younger than I shall ever be again, by hundreds of years. I worked every night from eleven or twelve until broad day in the morning, and as I did two hundred thousand words in the sixty days,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues, Substantive Law