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The Rights and Responsibilities Of Self-Represented Parties in Arbitration

About eight years ago I published a document called The Rights and Responsibilities of Self-Represented Litigants that took rights-based approach to the role of litigants within the justice system and the expectations they should have as to how they will be treated. It was a response to the attitude, common among the bench and bar at the time, that litigants without counsel are irritating interlopers who gum up the finely oiled machine that is the justice system, and was intended to spell out, in a positive way, the expectations such litigants should have as they navigate the justice system.

As . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Ontario’s Third Annual Access to Justice Week Begins on Monday, October 22

Improving access to justice is about pushing boundaries in our understanding of key issues at the forefront of the justice sector. It’s about engaging in discussions to move the dial forward, to break down barriers and develop meaningful solutions. This cannot happen in the justice sector alone. It takes stakeholders and experts from a diverse range of backgrounds, each with their own unique relationship to the law, to bring their perspectives and experience forward.

How does a senior investigative correspondent for the CBC understand mental health challenges in the justice system? How can we close the gap in representation in . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Careful, Lawyer’s Communications Are Not Always Protected

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently found that the communications and conduct of the employer’s lawyer regarding sexual harassment investigation were not privileged and could be referred to in the employee’s Statement of Claim in the litigation against the employer

What happened?

A long-service employee (employed since 2002), while being placed on a performance improvement plan (PIP), raised allegations that her supervisor was bullying and sexually harassing her. In response, her employer:

  • Conducted an investigation but failed to interview the complainant employee during this process;
  • Concluded that the claims were unsubstantiated.
. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

At Whose Expense? the Intolerable Human Cost of Articling

We know that there is significant discrimination and abuse in articling. We’ve heard the stories and we have the stats too. To cite just a small amount of recent information we have in Ontario:

  • Over 100 articling students responding to a 2017 Law Society survey reported unwelcome comments or conduct related to personal characteristics (age, ancestry, colour, race, citizenship, ethnic origin, place of origin, creed, disability, family status, marital status, gender identity, gender expression, sex and/or sexual orientation).
  • The Law Society’s Discrimination and Harassment Counsel (DHC) recently reported that it has observed a significant trend of complaints about abusive
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Ethics

Speak to the Street

I was walking down the street with Nelson, one of the regional finalists of our 2018 Innovating Justice Award. He’s co-founder of Gavel (and, more visible: @citizen_gavel on Twitter). A social enterprise that calls itself “a civic tech organisation aimed at improving the pace of justice delivery through tech”. As part of the entrepreneurship training we give the finalists we ask the justice entrepreneurs to speak to the street. Find and talk to justice customers. Learn what they need. How they need it. When they need it. What they do when they need it. This was a busy street . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Thursday Thinkpiece: Benched–Passion for Law Reform

Periodically on Thursdays, 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.

Benched: Passion for Law Reform

Author: Hon. Nancy Morrison
Foreword: Stevie Cameron
ISBN: 9781988824130
Page count: 336
Publication Date: November 1, 2018

Excerpt: Chapter 30: Juries, and Chapter 53: Speaking to Sentence (Court Vignettes)

Chapter 30: Juries

I am a fan of juries. Twelve persons from all walks of life who serve . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Challenging Technology’s Ability to Produce Reliable Evidence

Access to Justice (A2J): for our work as lawyers, we don’t know enough about the technology that produces much of the evidence we have to deal with. So how to be educated affordably? This is an outline of three articles that I have recently posted on the SSRN. (Click on each of the three hyperlinked headings below to download a pdf. copy of each.)

1. Technology, Evidence, and its Procedural Rules (SSRN, October 1, 2018, pdf., 64 pages)

The rules of procedure that govern proceedings concerning discovery, disclosure, and admissibility of evidence have to be flexibly applied . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. Milne Estate (Re), 2018 ONSC 4174

[26] The fundamental problem with the Estate Trustee’s position is that the Primary and Secondary Wills overlap entirely. Each Secondary Will applies to virtually all property of the testator. There are no exclusions. These could be but have not been probated. The Primary Wills seek to carve out a variable subset of the property that . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Women in LegalTech

At this year’s ILTACON (great conference, as always!), I popped by a hospitality suite to let them know my firm had just sent out a vendor brief for some consulting services. ILTACON was in full swing, and the brief had gone to a generic email address. I thought I’d make a personal visit to ensure they knew about it.

The experience was, shall we say, not awesome. Five – five – vendor reps stood in the suite talking amongst themselves. No introductions. No offer of coffee. No chitchat. No handshake. I was forced to blurt out my reason for visiting. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on practice, research, writing and technology.

Research & Writing

Bad HR Jargon
Neil Guthrie

We’ve covered bad business jargon in this space, but other fields of endeavour are guilty of polluting the language with their specialist lingo. Human resources (itself a piece of HR jargon; it used to be personnel or, in a more sexist age, manpower) comes to mind. …

Technology

Refresh Your RSS Reader
Emma Durand-Wood

Today’s tip is part tech, part research. . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award­-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from more than 80 recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. Eloise Gratton 2. Administrative Law Matters 3. Robichaud’s Criminal Law Blog 4. Double Aspect 5. David Whelan

Eloise Gratton
Our comments in response to the OPC Notice of consultation on new mandatory breach reporting guidance

Brad Freedman, François Joli-coeur and I have submitted comments on October 2,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Right to Be Forgotten Referred to Federal Court

The professed right to be forgotten, now placed on the global stage with The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and scrutiny by the Court of Justice on extraterritorial application, may finally get some judicial ruling on the matter in Canada.

This week, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada announced they have filed a Notice of Application to the Federal Court to weigh in on the many challenges around implementing this right under Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA),

In particular, the reference asks whether Google’s search engine service collects, uses or discloses personal information in

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology: Internet