Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

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

Mayor Ford Removal Decision

The decision in the Rob Ford conflict of interest case is available here; as soon as the CanLII version becomes available I’ll update this post.

Notable excerpts, on a first skimming:

Section 5 of the MCIA clearly and broadly states that where a member, “has any pecuniary interest … in any matter,” and is present at a meeting of council, he or she is to disclose his or her interest and must neither take part in the discussion of nor vote on the matter. There is no basis on which the court can restrict or read down the meaning

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

Dean’s Letter Re Diversity in Judicial Appointments

This is simply a pointer to an open letter sent to the Minister of Justice and the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs by Osgoode Hall Law School Dean, Lorne Sossin, and Professor Sonia Lawrence over on Dean Sossin’s Blog. The writers express concern about the difficulty in obtaining statistical information about those in the pool from which federal judges are appointed. A brief quote:

We write to urge that either the Ministry or the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs release demographic data about the pool of applicants seeking federal judicial appointment. We believe

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

A modern currency amongst our legal governance bodies is the “retention of women” in the practice of law. It’s a common rallying cry from the gatekeepers: Make sure the women stay! Because they know we are leaving, and they know as well that the impetus to leave arises, in part, from the disadvantages that we experience due to our disproportionately heavy role in creating and parenting children.

For women in bigger law firms, their maternity leaves prevent them from obtaining the same seniority or work opportunities as non-parenting counterparts. Once baby arrives, women in bigger law firms are then compared . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Older Adults – Final Report From LCO

On Friday I was sitting working at the Toronto Reference Library (well, in the new Balzac’s coffee shop) when a fellow named David sat beside me and we started to chat. He had just been to a senior’s information event at the library, and had a bag full of reports and brochures. He shared what he had learned with me since “you will need this someday, too.” (Sooner than you think, David!)

I was surprised to see he had the Ontario Law Commission’s Older Adults Final Report which was released in April 2012. Back in August 2011, Michel-Adrien Sheppard told . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Reading

Promulgation, Access, and Linguistic Diversity

Sensibly, everyone’s presumed to know the law: to have it otherwise would encourage willful ignorance or claims of ignorance as means of evading legal consequences. And with equal sense, laws have to be promulgated for their application to be fundamentally fair or even instrumentally useful. So much for theory. Practice, as always, is rather more of a messy struggle, as you’ll know.

There’s the basic matter of getting the text of laws out to the people. We’re doing a decent job of that in Canada as our various jurisdictions make their legislation and judicial opinions increasingly available in digitized formats . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

Prisons and Healthcare; Ne’er the T’wain Shall Meet?

Julie Bilotta became a mother on September 29, 2012. She gave birth to her son Gionni alone in solitary confinement in the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre (OCDC), after laboring for nine hours while allegedly being ignored and/or taunted by staff who did not believe that she was in the process of delivering a baby. Julie remains in detention pending a bail hearing.

According to news reports, Julie was only allowed to hold her baby in the ambulance on the way to the hospital after his birth, and will see her baby through a sheet of Plexiglas during closed OCDC visits.

Ontario’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues