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Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions’

Assisted Dying Finally Becomes Law

After pushing it through the Senate on Friday morning, the House of Commons finally voted for Bill C-14 on Friday afternoon. The Department of Justice has created a Q&A page on the Bill and some of the related issue.

The Senate attempted to modify Bill C-14 to adjust the issue of reasonable foreseeability, but were unsuccessful in doing so. This issue was especially important in light of a recent decision by the Alberta Court of Appeal, which indicated this criteria was not necessary under the 2015 Carter decision.

The Department of Justice has responded to this concern in an . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Increasing Funding for Legal Aid Is Not Enough

Lawyers pushing for greater access to justice constantly fall back on the refrain that Legal Aid needs more funding. That might be true, but the real problem with access is the eligibility criteria for Legal Aid certificates.

This was illustrated recently in a recent criminal case in Toronto, R. v Moodie, where Justice Nordheimer reviewed a Rowbothom application. The Ontario Court of Appeal created a process R. v. Rowbotham whereby the right to fair trial can demand public funds be used for representation

[170] …where the trial judge finds that representation of an accused by counsel is essential to

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

Physician Assisted Death Exception Doesn’t Require Terminal Illness

Following the extension to develop assisted dying legislation, provincial courts have scrambled to meet the special exemptions created by the courts.

The first provincial application under this exemption was Re HS in February 2016, where the motion judge described her role in such an application,

 

[51] … The role of this Court is limited to applying or authorizing an existing constitutional exemption and determining whether a particular person qualifies for that exemption…

The process for doing so would be to apply the criteria enunciated by the Court in the 2015 Carter decision at para 127 to a a . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Apology for Workplace Sexual Harassment

It was recently reported in the media that after signing a peace bond, Jian Ghomeshi apologized in court on May 11, 2016, for his “sexually inappropriate conduct” towards a former co-worker who accused him of sexually assaulting her. Following the apology, the Crown withdrew the criminal charge of sexual assault for which Ghomeshi was slated to stand trial on June 6, 2016. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

The Internet Can Be as Deadly as It Is Empowering

All child deaths due to illness are a tragedy, but some tragedies are more pronounced than others.

When a child’s death could have been properly prevented through medical intervention which was deliberately refused by the children’s parents, most of us are at least shocked, if not outraged.

This week David and Collet Stephan of Lethbridge, Alberta were convicted for failing to provide the “necessaries” (sic) of life under s. 215 of the Criminal Code. This section is used more commonly to address insufficient feeding for underweight babies, babies drowning in bathtubs, and even with the risk of physical abuse by . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Judge Calls for Tenancy Law Reforms After Finding Tenant “Gaming the System”

An Ontario Superior Court Judge has expressed his hope that legislative changes will be made to stop unscrupulous tenants from “gaming the system”.

The facts of the case are straight forward and rather appalling.

The tenant entered into an agreement to lease a condominium in downtown Toronto starting in September, 2015. The rent for the first month cleared but the rent for October bounced. The tenant has not paid another cent since that time, although he continued to reside in the unit.

The landlord served a “Notice to End Tenancy Early for Non-Payment of Rent” on October 16, 2015. On . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

SCC Tosses Tough on Crime Agenda Out the Window

Let’s say it’s a Friday night, on April 20, 2007.

At the end of a long day, and the end of a long week, and you come home from work to smoke a joint with your spouse at home on your front porch. You don’t go out on the town, you don’t drive a car, you just stay home for the evening.

But because you smoked it on your porch your neighbor decides to call the police. They come over, and you get into a bit of a legal jam. Not any big deal, mind you, but it’s on your . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Testamentary Freedom Reaffirmed

Early this month Ontario’s Court of Appeal released its decision in Spence v. BMO Trust Company, an important statement on the supervisory jurisdiction of Ontario courts regarding gifts in a Will that offend public policy.

The court affirmed that at common law, “… a testator’s right to dispose of her property and to choose her beneficiaries as she wishes, even on discriminatory grounds”, is protected.

Background

The deceased had two daughters. He moved to Canada after divorcing their mother. His daughter Verolin followed her father to Canada. The other daughter remained with her mother in England.

The deceased, a black . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Ghomeshi Controversy a Call to the Profession

I won’t comment much on the Ghomeshi verdict, other than to note that most of its detractors don’t appear to fully appreciate the nuance of the decision.

The animus exhibited by the complainants was mirrored by observers in the court room, and the crowd that gathered outside.

There was reason to be upset. Such incidents are rightly upsetting, but these feelings should not be directed towards the bench or the justice system.

The protections within our legal system, including our Charter rights, cannot be applied selectively, or withdrawn for individuals we don’t like, or we think are likely to . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Browsewraps – Why Bother?

Here’s a comment by Eric Goldman of Santa Clara law school on a California court of appeals case, refusing to validate an arbitration clause in a ‘browsewrap’ format – i.e. a link to ‘terms of use’ with no requirement of the contracting party to acknowledge them.

Are such clauses enforced in Canada, except to prevent obvious dishonest behaviour as in Sutton Realty in Quebec or the similar BC case, Century 21 v Rogers Communications, about scraping real estate listings off an MLS site? (See par 92ff of that decision). Why should they be?

The ULCC published a study of them . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Privacy Torts in the Unionized Context

The tort of intrusion upon seclusion continues to grow and find application in new settings and circumstances, which is what we would expect for a tort created less than 5 years ago.

In Complex Services Inc v Ontario Public Service Employees Union, arbitrator Surdykowski sided with the employer in finding that this new tort dealt with non-legislated and non-contractual rights to privacy. These rights would necessarily be limited in the unionized context.

This holding was summarized in United Food & Commercial Workers, Local 206 v G & K Services Canada Inc as follows,

94. ..An employee does not have

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

Judicial Review vs. Request for Reconsideration

Federal Court published a decision regarding the government’s policy when to reconsider or re-open an application. In his decision, Justice Phelan came down hard on the government’s inflexible guidelines as they lack “common sense and fairness”. This is a very significant decision for immigration practitioners and lawyers who make requests to Visa Officers or other government officials to have their matters reconsidered.

The facts of Lim v. Canada are relatively simple. The Applicant applied for Canadian citizenship, an Officer requested more information via letter but the letter was not received. The application was deemed abandoned and the file closed. When . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions