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Should Children Have a Right to a Healthy Environment?

On June 17, 2014, several environmental groups in New Brunswick circulated for comment a draft environmental bill of rights for children. Called “A Bill of Rights to Protect Children’s Health from Environmental Hazards,” it is the first of its kind in Canada. If passed, the law would confer on every child “the right to protection from environmental hazards,” meaning

a hazard that impairs or damages the environment or changes the environment in a manner that may threaten human health, including physical and mental well-being, and includes a “contaminant” as defined by the Clean Environment Act;

The teeth of the bill . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Of Snowden’s Call to Encrypt and the Role of Our Law Societies

Slaw Columnist Simon Chester recently tipped us off about another fascinating interview with Edward Snowden. Building on earlier interviews with the enigmatic NSA and CIA rogue, the Guardian’s editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, and its intelligence correspondent, Ewen MacAskill, talked to Snowden a little over a year since his defection. The earnest 29 year-old is now an earnest 30 year-old, only seemingly much older and seemingly aging at an accelerated rate. A partway time-lapse to Noam Chomsky.

I’d watch the interview if for no other reason than to hear Snowden’s caution about the challenges facing the legal profession in this era that . . . [more]

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

Litigation Coaching by Judges

We often speak of litigation coaching for clients as a form of unbundled services, as one of the new frontiers for providing cost-effective legal services. But I’ve also identified the challenges that young lawyers have in developing the practical skills in litigation, especially given the strong emphasis in the system to resolve issues outside of the courtroom.

At the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) Canadian Legal Conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland this weekend, I had the opportunity to speak in greater depth with some vendors and discovered a product of interest.

Taran Virtual Associations, a domestic legal outsourcing company who . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law: Practice Management

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, SupremeAdvocacyLett@r, to which you may subscribe.

Appeals

Aboriginal Law: Harvesting Rights; Taking-Up Power
Grassy Narrows First Nation v. Ontario (Natural Resources), 2014 SCC 48
Ontario has the authority to take up lands in the Keewatin area so as to limit the harvesting rights set out in Treaty 3. By virtue of ss. 109, 92A, and 92(5) of the Constitution Act, 1867, Ontario alone has . . . [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 : Le juge du procès devait indiquer au jury la distinction à faire entre les effets des troubles mentaux induits par la maladie de l’appelant, un alcoolique chronique, et ceux qui pouvaient découler de son intoxication extrême par l’alcool le jour du drame; la tenue d’un troisième procès sous . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Summaries Sunday: Maritime Law Book

Summaries of selected recent cases are provided each week to Slaw by Maritime Law Book. Every Sunday we present a precis of the latest summaries, a fuller version of which can be found on MLB-Slaw Selected Case Summaries at cases.slaw.ca.

This week’s summaries concern:
Courts / Insurance / Torts / Brokers / Criminal Law / Evidence

Courts – Insurance – Motor Vehicles – Statutes

Summary: The plaintiff, a farmer, was injured while driving an uninsured all-terrain vehicle (ATV) on a public road when he was struck from behind by a

. . . [more]
Posted in: Summaries Sunday

The Tragedy of Medical Negligence

Current and “wannabe” litigators practising (or hoping to practise) in the medical negligence area would do well to read, and consider, what happened, and why, in the just released Briante v. Vancouver Island Health Authority, 2014 BCSC 1511. Regardless of one’s position on the legal validity of the result, the result is a reminder (for those old enough to remember, or otherwise be aware of) of these statements and calls for reform (outside of the tort system) in cases such as Ferguson v Hamilton Civic Hospitals (1983), 40 OR (2d) 577, 1983 CanLII 1724 (ON SC) aff’d (1985) . . . [more]

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

Become a “Mediation Freak”: Understanding the Role of Incentives in Mediation

In their recently published book Think Like a Freak, Freakonomics authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner offer a simple set of rules to explain the role of incentives in many forms of financial and non-financial interactions.

  1. Figure out what people really care about, not what they say they care about.
  2. Incentivize them on the dimensions that are valuable to them but cheap for you to provide.
  3. Pay attention to how people respond; if their response surprises you or frustrates you, learn from it and try something different.
  4. Whenever possible, create incentives that switch the frame from adversarial to cooperative.
. . . [more]
Posted in: Dispute Resolution

The Friday Fillip: Chagrin De Merci

In the words of songwriter Charles Dumont, “Non, je ne regrette rien!” I tend to think that lamentation makes an unlovely sound and is largely a waste of time and effort. Except that I caught myself today indulging in a regret. I heard a replay of Michael Enright interviewing Jesse Winchester, a singer who died in April. Now I really like Jesse Winchester’s songs and really, really liked his performance of them. My regret? That I never wrote to tell him how much pleasure his work gave me.

Would he have cared? I suspect so. In the interview he . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Language of Law

Earlier this week I participated in a bilingual (French–English) conference. Of course, not all participants and presenters were bilingual, so simultaneous interpretation services were offered.

I’m always impressed with simultaneous interpretation. I think it’s a real feat to be able to listen in one language and process the information quickly enough to speak words of the same meaning in another language, while continuing to listen, continuing to process, and continuing to speak. I’m imagining reading a case while dictating a memo while running on a treadmill.

So simultaneous interpretation is wonderful and impressive. What also struck me, though, is that . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Miscellaneous

Slaw Founder Simon Fodden Wins 2014 CBA President’s Award

The Slaw community will be very pleased to learn that our Founder Simon Fodden has been honoured as a co-recipient of this year’s CBA President’s Award, along with former MP, Irwin Cotler.

From the press release:

The award recognizes the significant contribution of Canadian jurists to the legal profession, the CBA, or the public life of Canada.

Simon Fodden founded Slaw.ca in 2005, a blog that is considered by many to be a foremost source of legal information and discussion in Canada.

“As we debated and analyzed the future of law, and in particular our CBA Legal Futures

. . . [more]
Posted in: Announcements

Court of Appeal Confirms Canada Is a Constitutional Monarchy

While the headline to this post shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, it has made headlines. In a recent decision, the Court of Appeal of Ontario rejected claims that requiring potential Canadian citizens to swear an oath to Her Majesty was unconstitutional and reaffirmed that because Canada is a constitutional monarchy, it is acceptable to be required to verbally ascribe to what the Monarch represents. For those of us who are history geeks (me) and monarchists (also me), the decision is a fascinating read. It discusses our history, our Queen (she is the Queen of Canada) and . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions