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Summaries Sunday: Supreme Advocacy

On one Sunday each month we bring you a summary from Supreme Advocacy LLP of recent decisions at the Supreme Court of Canada. Supreme Advocacy LLP offers a weekly electronic newsletter, Supreme Advocacy Letter, to which you may subscribe.

Summary of all appeals and leaves to appeal granted (so you know what the S.C.C. will soon be dealing with) (Apr. 9 – May 13, 2015 inclusive).

Appeals

Criminal Law: Mandatory Minimums
R. v. Nur (R. v. Charles),2015 SCC 15 (35678)(35684)
Mandatory minimum sentences imposed by s. 95(2) (a) violate Charter s. 12.  Most cases do . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : Reconnu coupable de meurtre au premier degré, l’appelant subira un nouveau procès, les directives du juge au jury ayant été considérées comme insuffisantes tant sur le plan de la fiabilité de l’aveu de l’appelant, issu d’une opération de type Monsieur Big, que sur celui de son effet . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Access to Justice and Drafting Family Law Legislation as a Complete Code

A fog of uncertainty and conflicting case authority continues to beset British Columbia’s Family Law Act. The confusion is understandable, given that barely two years have elapsed since the act came fully into force and that the Court of Appeal has yet to pronounce upon the key areas of controversy, but nonetheless highlights critical access to justice issues that went unobserved and unnoticed under the previous legislative regime which thirty years’ of case authority had fully illuminated.

One of these key areas concerns the status of gifts received by spouses and whether such gifts are divisible family property or . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

The Friday Fillip: Misstep

For the next while the Friday Fillip will be a chapter in a serialized crime novel, interrupted occasionally by a reference you might like to follow up. Both this chapter of the book and the whole story up to this point can be had as PDF files. You may also subscribe to have chapters delivered to you by email.


 

MEASURING LIFE
 
Chapter 11
Misstep

Louisa Cathcart chose to pace behind her desk as she instructed Rangel, who found herself wincing at each shaky step the woman took. “Cerebral palsy is not a disease.” Cathcart spoke aggressively

. . . [more]
Posted in: The Friday Fillip

The Power of Invoking

I just came back from Uganda and Kenya, two countries fighting two wars: one with the odds against ‘getting to Denmark’ (to borrow a Fukuyama phrase), and the other with terrorism. I left Uganda as prosecutor Joan Kagezi, who was leading the prosecution of suspected Al Shabab terrorists, was shot dead. The murder was claimed by Al Shabab. I left Kenya at the end of the day that saw the murder of almost 150 students at the Garissa University by that same Al Shabab. On the one hand both states are dealing with a very acute and direct threat against . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Library of Parliament Adds Digitized Journals From 1867 Onwards to Its Historical Resources Database

In 2013, the Library of Parliament, in collaboration with Canadiana.org, launched a new Canadian Historical Parliamentary Resources digital portal.

The portal initially offered free public access to digital versions of the debates of the Parliament of Canada in both official languages, starting with the first session of Parliament in 1867 until debate coverage on the parliamentary website parl.gc.ca begins (in the mid-1990s).

The portal has now added access to the Journals of the Senate and of the House of Commons, again going back to 1867. The Senate and House of Commons Journals are the notes and records kept . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Thursday Thinkpiece: Webber on Evolution in Constitutional Law

Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt, usually from a recently published book or journal article. In every case the proper permissions have been obtained. If you are a publisher who would like to participate in this feature, please let us know via the site’s contact form.

The Constitution of Canada: A Contextual Analysis

by Jeremy Webber © 2015 Hart Publishing. Reprinted with permission.

Author’s note: This excerpt comes from the very end of the book: pages 262 to 265. One of the book’s central themes is that any constitutional order is a work in progress, constantly being created . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Filing Suit Amid Suspension Isn’t Wilful Resignation

When the New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission decided unilaterally to place its executive director David Potter on indefinite paid suspension, the employee challenged the decision in court. The commission took the position that Potter’s legal challenge meant he had resigned, and cut off his pay and benefits. The case went to the Supreme Court of Canada and in Potter v. New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission, the Supreme Court concluded that Potter was constructively dismissed and did not voluntary resign his position. The central issue was whether and in what circumstances a suspension with pay of a non-union . . . [more]

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

Bencher Election? What Bencher Election?

The dust has settled on another Ontario Bencher election, but it seems that most lawyers in Ontario barely noticed.

Only 34% of eligible voters exercised their franchise in the easiest, most convenient Bencher election in history; log into the website, then click on candidate names – done in 90 seconds.

Even so, 66 percent of voters thumbed their noses at the entire process – they couldn’t be bothered to vote for even one candidate.

To anyone paying attention, the message is clear:

The vast majority of Ontario lawyers don’t care who is elected as a Bencher.

And the vast majority . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Patent Utility Update in Canada – Clarity May Not Be Explicitly Promised

In the past five years, the Canadian Federal Court has invalidated several patents based on an arguably “technical” deficiency – the “Promise/utility” requirement.

The most recent trend however suggests an increasing reluctance to both find an “elevated Promise”, and require a patentee to meet such a Promise. Instead the Federal Court of Appeal in late 2014 reinforced a “pro-patentee” approach by applying the “rule in favour of saving an invention rather than invalidating it” and is now consistently holding that Promises must be “explicit” ie. supported by clear and unambiguous . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Manitoba’s Legal Landscape Is Changing

The prairie landscape is notorious for its endless horizons, enabling the traveller to see far ahead. This long view is evident in recent changes proposed to regulation of the legal profession in Manitoba, changes that are clearly oriented toward the future.

As reported on Canadian Lawyer’s Legal Feeds blog last week, the Manitoba government on May 7, 2015 introduced a number of amendments to The Legal Profession Act.

The proposed amendments included in Bill 19 include:

  • Altering the composition of the governing body of benchers
  • Amending the definition of a law firm
  • Permitting the regulation of law firms
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Substantive Law: Legislation

ABS v ABS+ for A2J

This post is authored by David Wiseman, Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa’s Common Law Faculty.

A noteworthy aspect of the Canadian debate on whether to introduce alternative business structures into the legal services sector is the emphasis being given to the potential of ABS to improve access to justice. Instead of just assuming it will happen, I think we need to integrate specific measures into the regulatory framework to make sure that it does. We need to create what I’m calling ABS+.

I have argued that while the middle class may benefit from gains in access to justice . . . [more]

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