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Archive for ‘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

Lawyers as Low-Hanging Political Fruit

It seems funny to me that lawyers believe that we are complete masters of our own fate. We aren’t. Each province’s Law Society Act, which creates a monopoly for lawyers and allows us to be self-governing, was created and passed by the local legislature – and it can also be changed by the local legislature.

Now, if one looks at the current political environment across Canada we see a few interesting things.

British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia will all likely go to the polls in 2013.

The Ontario Liberal party is in the midst of a leadership campaign that . . . [more]

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

La Justice À 1% Et La Désaffection Des Tribunaux

Hier soir, dans un dépanneur, j’ai fait quelque chose que je fais rarement: j’ai jeté un coup d’oeil aux magazines. La mention “Édition Spéciale 40 ans” de la revue Protégez-Vous a attiré mon attention. La case “Obtenir un meilleur accès à la justice” – en page couverture! – encore plus. En lisant ceci toutefois il fallait que je ramène la revue chez moi:

Coûts exorbitants, délais interminables, décorum d’un autre temps, language incompréhensible… Pour la grande majorité des citoyens, la justice demeure un beau principe. À quand l’accessibilité véritable? – Priscilla Franken

La question de l’accessibilité à la justice n’est . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Top Ten Business and Human Rights Issues in 2013

This is the time of year when different people and organizations compile their top ten events/stories of the year about to end or list their top ten issues to watch/predictions for the year to come.

The following top ten list caught my attention today. I saw it on a feed of stories sent out by Amnesty International.

The London-based Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) has published its Top 10 List of Business and Human Rights Issues for 2013:

“Just 18 months after the adoption of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, significant progress has

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

Every Lawyer Needs a Guardian Angel

The Ottawa Citizen reported last week that a lawyer who posted confidential information about his own client online was caught in a police sting operation. The Ottawa criminal defence lawyer posted a PDF of disclosure that he received from the Crown in a criminal case against his client. The PDF contained blacked-out information and the lawyer used the web to seek someone to help him read the blacked out portions of the disclosure document. A man in Australia saw the post and contacted the Ottawa police who then caught the Ottawa lawyer in a sting operation. Read the Citizen . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Education & Training: Law Schools, Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading: Recommended

Negligence in the Air

MAY now do; for general causation in class actions, too.

see Bartram v. GlaxoSmithKline Inc., 2012 BCSC 1804 at para. 32:

[32] In an individual action, a plaintiff probably could not succeed by merely showing that the use of Paxil increased the risk of injury. In Clements v. Clements, , 2012 SCC 32, the Supreme Court of Canada re-affirmed the primacy of the “but for” test in proving causation and confined the alternate “material contribution” test to cases involving multiple negligent defendants where it is not possible to prove which one caused the injury. However, dicta in Clements

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

PLAP Part 2, Or, What’s a Lonesome Lady to Do?

After a closed-door meeting on November 22, 2012, our Benchers decided to keep the Parental Leave Assistance Program (PLAP), previously discussed on SLAW here

But there are caveats, the first being that the PLAP pilot project has only been extended for the purposes of consultation with stakeholders. Secondly, the PLAP eligibility criteria is now modified by a means test where the applicant must have a net annual practice income of less than $50,000 to be eligible.

The Equity Committee, who reported to our Benchers on November 22, 2012, indicated that the proposed $50,000 means test model would result in a . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Geneva 4th &5th: Business and Human Rights – Can These Two Partners Dance?

Penny Collenette The tragic fire in the Bangladeshi factory recently sent shivers down the spines of those who research and work in the area of Business and Human Rights, an area that reaches far beyond the limits of CSR (corporate social responsibility). At a two day conference beginning on December 4th in Geneva, nearly 1000 corporate and NGO leaders, lawyers, academics and politicians, will gather to discuss ways in which the two sectors of business and human rights can partner together to avoid human rights abuses and violations.
Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

Law Societies as Democracies – Not!

First, I congratulate Treasurer Thomas Conway for opening up Convocation to the public via the internet – this has been a long time coming and has permanently shredded the mystique that has surrounded Convocation for far too long. Hopefully this opening up will inspire a new, fresher slate of benchers to be elected in 2015.

But there is still work to be done.

It was said at the last Convocation, and in various other forums, that democracy is messy but it’s better than the alternative. Cue the dramatic music.

That kind of cold war rhetoric is quaint and interesting, even . . . [more]

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