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Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

In Defence of “Safe Spaces” on Campus

A university student walks on to campus, wearing a hat that appears to support Donald Trump. Controversy ensues. Oh yeah, the campus was in Canada.

The video of the incident attracted far broader attention, including renewed discussions of the role of “safe spaces” on campus. The debate in Canada followed right after a similar discussion at the University of Chicago, where the Dean of Students told the incoming class of 2020,

We do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

CASL Still Confusing

CASL, the Canadian anti-spam legislation, came into force on July 1, 2014. July 1, 2017 will be an important date for CASL, as a private right of action will become available. Anyone (class actions are likely) will be able to sue CASL violators. Statutory damages means that it won’t be necessary to prove actual damages.

CASL is a complex, illogical statute. Many businesses don’t comply because they don’t think emails they send could possibly be considered spam. After all, spam is about illicit drugs, diets and deals scams, right? Not according to CASL.

Nor do they understand they must keep . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Florida Court Rules Bitcoin Not Money

None of us is really sure what bitcoin is, or what it’s fully used for. It seems the courts are just as confused.

A judge in Florida v Espinoza recently stated the following in regards to a police sting involving Bitcoin:

Nothing in our frame of references allows us to accurately define or describe Bitcoin…

Bitcoin may have some attributes in common with what we commonly refer to as money, but differ in many important aspects. While Bitcoin can be exchanged for items of value, they are not a commonly used means of exchange. They are accepted by some

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law

CRTC Advisory on CASL Consent Record Keeping

The CRTC recently issued a media advisory entitled Enforcement Advisory – Notice for businesses and individuals on how to keep records of consent. It doesn’t add anything new – but reinforces what the CRTC is looking for. This is important because CASL requires a business to prove that they have consent to send a CEM (Commercial Electronic Message). CASL has a complex regime of express and implied consent possibilities.

The advisory states: “Commission staff has observed that some businesses and individuals are unable to prove they have obtained consent before sending CEMs. The purpose of this Enforcement Advisory is . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Access to Private Standards Incorporated Into Law

From time to time governments make law by referring to non-governmental rules. These are often technical matters on which standards are developed by outside experts. For example, a regulation might require manufacturers to comply with a safety standard of the Canadian General Standards Board or the International Standards Organization.

When this happens, should the government have to ensure that the outside standards be accessible to those affected by them? Many standards bodies finance their operation at least in part through the sale of their standards. In other words, access to the text of the standards is not free. Is that . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Legislation, ulc_ecomm_list

Using Social Science Research as Judicial Notice

Judicial notice is an important underpinning of litigation in Canada. The need to prove every trite and accepted fact as evidence would make litigation even more unwieldy than it already is.

Some of the problems emerge when judicial notice is used for facts which may be disputed by the parties. For example, in R. v. Zundel, the Court dealt with hate speech and the denial of the Holocaust. To provide the defendant to litigate the purported evidence against the facts around the Holocaust would only give him a platform to extend his hate speech further. Instead, the trial judge . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Law Library of Congress Report on Miranda Warning Equivalents Around the World

The Law Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. published a report a little while ago about Miranda Warning Equivalents in more than 100 countries around the world, including Canada.

In the United States, so-called Miranda rights are named after the US Supreme Court decision of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 (1966) that determined that a person detained by law enforcement and interrogated must be made aware of the right to remain silent, the right to consult with an attorney and have the attorney present during questioning, and the right to have an attorney appointed if they can’t afford one. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Wagg Motions: Is There a Better Way?

In 2004, the Ontario Court of Appeal released the decision D.P. v Wagg, 2004 CanLII 39048 (Wagg). And with it birthed an entirely new bureaucracy devoted to Wagg motions.

In Wagg, the defendant was charged criminally for sexually assaulting his gynecological patient, referred to as D.P. D.P. then sued her doctor civilly for sexual assault. In the civil proceeding, D.P. wanted the defendant to disclose the contents of the Crown Brief, which was produced to him in the criminal action. The defendant refused to produce the Crown Brief to her. The plaintiff then brought a motion . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

“Silly Rules” of Immigration Law

Our beloved Minister McCallum is on yet another tour, meeting with employers and stakeholders in the Atlantic provinces to boost a pilot project: Atlantic Growth Strategy. During the presentation, our Minister indicated, “We are committed to streamlining things, to getting rid of silly rules […]” I supposed I am still shell-shocked from the rhetoric of our previous government but I cannot overstate the change in perspective from our current Minister compared to past Ministers.

Minister McCallum did not elaborate on which of our current immigration rules are the “silly” rules. Based on conversations with clients, I regularly hear, “and . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation

TWU Decision Really About Deference and Autonomy

The much anticipated decision by the Court of Appeal in Trinity Western University v. The Law Society of Upper Canada was released this week.

Although the court upheld the Divisional Court decision last year, which itself upheld the law society’s decision not to accredit Trinity Western’s law school, this week’s decision was neither a condemnation by the courts of the school or a vindication of its opponents. Instead, it was a commentary on the role of a self-regulated profession, and the importance of maintaining our own autonomy.

The court touched on, briefly, the applicability of Trinity Western’s previous trip to . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Manitoba Proposes Amendments to CPP Enhancement

The Manitoba government has responded to the agreement in principle to expand the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) concluded June 20, 2016. Manitoba’s Finance Minister Cameron Friesen wants all provincial and federal finance ministers to take more time to talk about the enhanced Canada Pension Plan before finalizing the agreement by July 15, 2016. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Why Brexit May Never Happen, Despite the Referendum

The most significant development in law this past week was the Brexit referendum.

Although technically not legally binding, the political repercussions of trying to do anything but follow the narrow vote means that the U.K. will be attempting to leave the E.U.

The real question is when, and how.

Although the legal implications are vast and uncertain, the Wall Street Journal proclaims that it could be a “boon” for lawyers. Leave it to lawyers to turn the largest demerger in history into business like advice on tax, “antitrust, immigration, intellectual property, trade agreements, employment and other areas of . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law