Big Legal Stories of 2007

In its Dec. 21, 2007 issue, The Lawyers Weekly devotes a special section to reviewing the major news stories of 2007 in the legal field.

Perhaps the biggest story of the year is the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that has fundamentally changed Canadian society (see Library Boy posts Survey on Canadian Attitudes Regarding Charter of Rights, Feb. 8, 2007; Articles on 25th Anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, April 6, 2007; Top Ten Charter Cases, April 14, 2007).

The Lawyers Weekly article draws attention to a number of major Charter-related cases from 2007:

Among legal trends, the article notes the return with a vengeance of the class action suit, the creation by the Canadian Bar Association of a task force on conflicts of interest, and questions about self-regulation of the legal profession.

Toronto lawyer James Lockyer is given special mention in the article. Lockyer, of course, is known for his dogged advocacy on behalf of the wrongfully convicted and 2007 was a year that witnessed the conclusion of a number of inquiries that exonerated innocent people whose lives had been destroyed by miscarriages of justice (see the Library Boy posts James Driskell Wrongful Conviction Report, February 16, 2007; 50 Years Later, Truscott Murder Conviction Deemed ‘Miscarriage of Justice’, August 28, 2007; Start of Inquiry Into Actions of Disgraced Pathologist, November 12, 2007).

I would add a few other stories from 2007 to complete the list:

  • the passing away in late November of the former Chief Justice of Canada, Antonio Lamer, a stubborn defender of rights and freedoms and judicial independence (Memorial Ceremony for Late Supreme Court Chief Justice Antonio Lamer on TV This Saturday, December 6, 2007)
  • contrast the above with the resignation in disgrace and controversy of U.S. Attorney General Alberto “Torture Memo” Gonzales – the simple juxtaposition of the names ‘Lamer’ and ‘Gonzales’ in the same post should be enough to make clear the light years of distance between the rule of law and its absence
  • finally, the courageous uprising of fearless Pakistani lawyers and judges against a repressive military ruler

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