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Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions’

The Threat of Creeping Charterism

Far-right American groups tout the threat of “creeping sharia.” Comparable groups in Canada appear to be warning of a threat of a different kind, of the influence of the Charter in Canadian society.

If this seems puzzling, you’re not alone. The Charter is part of the Canadian constitution, arguably the most important legal document in our entire system. And yet, it becomes a convenient scapegoat when courts make decisions that some aspects of society disagree with.

What I’m talking about is Prof. Bruce Pardy, who criticized the Court’s decision in Trinity Western University v. Law Society of Upper Canada. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Telus Texts Not Intercepted When Stored

Many Canadians confuse the law when it comes to recording telephone conversations, likely due to exposure to American concepts in the media. Although the Wiretap Act of 1968 (18 U.S.C. § 2511) contains a one-party consent rule, a dozen states have a two-party consent that supersedes American Federal law, and given its presence in California (Cal. Penal Code § 632), it’s likely that this is often the source of the misunderstanding in Canada.

In Canada, we have Part VI of the Criminal Code, which states,

Consent to interception

 Where a private communication is originated by more than one person

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

Right to Terminate Group Benefits at 65 on the Road to a Successful Challenge

The number of workers over the age of 65 has risen significantly in recent years. The increasing number of older employees who choose to remain in the workplace, combined with the elimination of mandatory retirement across Canada, has put into question the issue of the termination of benefits after an employee reaches the age of 65.

While most employers routinely terminate benefits at age 65, the changing workforce demographic has created a demand for benefits coverage for older workers. However, providing benefits to employees past the age of 65 can be difficult because insurers either will not provide the coverage, . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

“A Trial Is Not a Tea Party,” Is What They Will Say

You can expect to hear, “A trial is not a tea party,” from a lawyer on the other side, sometime in the near future.

That lawyer will likely be acting in an obstinate, demeaning, impolite, or even aggressive manner, and this quip will come quickly in defence of their conduct.

The reason I can predict this with absolute certainty is the recent  Supreme Court’s decision in Groia v. Law Society of Upper Canadareleased this week, which evaluated the law society’s discipline hearing decision in 2013. The discipline involved Groia’s defence in R. v. Felderhof, of a mining . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Juror Research Online and Mistrials

With a smartphone in every pocket, and easy access to the law in every home, when does independent research by a juror become sufficient for a mistrial? The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently explored this issue during a personal injury trial in Patterson v. Peladeau, where Justice Hackland dismissed the motion for mistrial.

At issue for the mistrial motion was an unusual jury question on the first day of deliberations. The content of the note inferred that the jury had been discussing the liability issue at trial, but in an context of a statutory reference that was not at . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Published Criteria for Reasonable Accommodation Under Quebec’s Face Covering Law

On May 9, 2018, the Quebec government published its criteria for reasonable accommodation under an Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for requests for accommodations on religious grounds in certain bodies (the Act, previously Bill 62) that requires among other things, Quebecers to leave their faces uncovered in order to provide or receive public services.

Under the Act, employees and members of public bodies and certain other bodies, as well as elected persons, must exercise their functions with their face uncovered. In addition, persons who request a service from one of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Contingency Fees Under a Different Name Still Prohibited in Family Law

The civil (private) law system serves an important function in the resolution of disputes between individuals. Essential to this resolution is some protection from outside interference by external interests. Regulation of these relationships have changed over the years, where work would be done in advance by a lawyer on a promise of recovery, but is still limited in many ways across Canada.

The common law prohibited champetry, bargains by a stranger to a suit in consideration of proceeds; maintenance, meddling in a suit by maintaining or assisting a party; and barratry, an offence of exciting and stirring up quarrels in . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

When Attempting to Save Lives Costs, Personally

Others, usually outside of the profession, often wonder what value lawyers provide to society. We don’t save lives, the way other professions do, and our social utility isn’t always as tangible.

I often argue that we do indeed save lives, at least the social aspects of it that many members of the public face. We also drive the economic engines in a capitalistic society, and allow for growth that ultimately benefits everyone when properly oriented and efficient.

Occasionally lawyers do save lives, quite literally. And sometimes doing so is deemed by the courts as inappropriate for them to do. The . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Tomorrow the Supreme Court of Canada Will Start Publishing Plain Language Case Summaries

Starting tomorrow, the Supreme Court of Canada will publish Cases in Brief on the Court website, and on its Facebook and Twitter accounts. These are short, plain-language summaries of Supreme Court decisions.

The first such Case in Brief will be made available tomorrow at noon in the case of Carson v. The Queen.

In a statement released today to Court staff, Chief Justice Richard Wagner writes:

“We’re doing this because we want to be more transparent and accessible to Canadians—but we’re also doing it because we must. The reality is that there are fewer journalists covering the Court than

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Ontario Accessibility Compliance and Enforcement Report 2017

The 2017 Ontario Accessibility Compliance and Enforcement Report is now available online and outlines the activities undertaken by the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario in 2017 to oversee compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and its accessibility standards.

The report explains the results of the December 31st compliance reporting obligations of obligated organizations, and the various audits and inspections conducted by the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario in 2017. Overall, the report clearly indicates that there is a lot of enforcement work still needing to be done for Ontario to reach the goal of becoming an accessible province . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Deloitte Class Action Indicative of Legal Future

Earlier this year, Justice Perell approved a replacement class representative in Sondhi v. Deloitte Management Services LP on a motion for what has already been an exhausting certification process in a class proceeding.

The matter involves a class, who although technically are lawyers, have not been considered as such by their employer or the parties procuring their services. These members typically consist of younger lawyers and new graduates who have been unable to otherwise find employment as lawyers in a traditional context.

I do know many of these young lawyers. I know that they are bright and talented, and would . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Challenges of Enforcing Statutory Publication Bans Online

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in on this again in R. v. Canadian Broadcasting Corp. on an application for a mandatory injunction. Although much of the commentary on this case has focused on how the Court has modified the historic test used for injunctions, few have looked at other aspects of the ruling, including the enforceability of statutory publication bans online.

An injunction is a powerful tool wielded by the courts, but one that should be applied sparingly. A court will order or compel a party to do something, or refrain from doing something, but will . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions