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Archive for January, 2013

Public Consultation on Building Code Accessibility Requirements

The government, through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, is holding a two-month public consultation to develop updated accessibility requirements for the Building Code.
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

The Taxpayer Pays Principle? the Supreme Court of Canada’s Findings in Newfoundland v. AbitibiBowater

William A. Amos and Hugh S. Wilkins

The polluter pays principle requires polluters to take responsibility for remedying contamination for which they are responsible, imposing on them the direct and immediate costs of pollution.

In a recent Supreme Court of Canada decision, Newfoundland and Labrador v. AbitibiBowater Inc. 2012 SCC 67, the Court missed an excellent opportunity to affirm the application of the polluter pays principle and clarify the linkages between environmental law and insolvency law.

We were involved in the appeal as counsel for Friends of the Earth Canada, an intervener, arguing that insolvent corporations retain their . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

Thursday Thinkpiece: Pitel & Bortolin on Judges Returning to Practice

Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt 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.

S. G. A. PItel & W. Bortolin
(2011) 34 Dalhousie Law Journal 483
Excerpt: pp. 515-520

[Footnotes omitted. They are available in the full PDF version of the article, available at SSRN via the link on the title above.]

4. Prohibiting participation in the same . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

When “Your Day in Court” Does Not Include an Oral Hearing

When a party to a proceeding says that they “want their day in court”, an oral hearing is usually what he or she is contemplating. Just ask Conrad Black: Conrad Black v. The Advisory Council for the Order of Canada, 2012 FC 1234. (For commentary on the other aspects of the decision, see here and here.

However, in most cases there is no automatic right to an oral hearing. Procedural fairness does not require an oral hearing in all circumstances. In Baker v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), [1999] 2 SCR 817, the Supreme Court stated . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

NHL Lockout Over – What About All the Legal Proceedings?

The lockout is over and the players are back at practice. Time to skate on? Yes, but I think we ought to look at the “game tape” to review the effectiveness of some of the legal wrangling that took place in Canada. After all, we’ll likely be back in the same place in 10 years. As discussed in a previous post, the NHLPA filed proceedings before the labour boards of Quebec and Alberta against the NHL, seeking to have the lockout declared illegal. What happened to those proceedings? Not much…

The interim relief sought in both cases was rejected . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

New CanLII Translation Initiative

As announced moments ago, CanLII is launching a collaboration with BG Communications, a Montreal -based translation agency, in order to ensure that certain important case reports delivered in one of the official languages only are made available in the other language. As CanLII President, Colin Lachance notes:

With over 2000 new decisions posted each week, it is not possible to translate everything. . . . However, the legal community has highlighted a number of decisions that warrant wider availability in the other official language.

The press release goes on to say:

Judgments selected for translation will be identified in

. . . [more]
Posted in: Announcements, Legal Information: Publishing

We Don’t Always Have to Be Angry: Lessons From Idle No More

Sometimes as litigators we get stuck on a certain kind of advocacy, one that is born in, and charged by, conflict. A type of advocacy that burns so fast, it injures everyone in its wake. We recognize with gratitude the advocates who compellingly and compassionately tell the narratives that change our minds. We believe that they are the truly gifted advocates, for they win their opponents over rather than beat them.

The Idle No More movement has galvanized indigenous peoples across Canada to express their opposition to the federal government’s policies, practices, and intentions towards First Nations. New leaders are . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Looking Back to the Future

This has been quite a rule of law year. One peak was in August 2012, when the United Nations General Assembly devoted its first-ever opening debate to the rule of law and adopted a Declaration on the Rule of Law at the National and International Levels. As Juan Botero, director of the World Justice Project poetically described it to me: “193 government leaders walked up to the podium and said rule of law is good. And that is good.”

It is. But it could have been better. In March, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a report called Delivering Justice . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Resolutions to Avoid Family Law Claims

  • I will make better use of checklists and reporting letters: Family law involves complex documents that deal with complicated issues involving emotional clients. There are many risks of errors by the lawyer, and misunderstandings by the client. LAWPRO’s new Domestic Contracts Matter Toolkit has checklists and forms that contain points and questions lawyers should systematically consider as they conduct the initial interview on a domestic contract matter and when they meet with the client to review and sign the document. And a final reporting letter detailing what you did and what advice you gave can be a lifesaver in
. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Courthouse Libraries New Criminal Law Practice Portal

The great Courthouse Libraries BC website has introduced a new portal to its roster of practice portals. The Criminal Law Practice Portal (CLPP), like the other five, is meant to:

serve as a law practitioner’s starting point, or homepage, for a particular practice area. The Practice Portals gather key external resources of all kinds (established legal texts, current web resources, and carefully selected news and social media updates), and augments them with library produced content.

Specifically, the CLPP offers practitioners the daily hearing lists (by location), the ability to learn about sentencing ranges for an offence (via rangefindr, introduced and . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

CES This Week

The Annual Consumer Electronics Show is underway in Las Vegas. Despite some commentary that the show is old or outdated, it occupies floor space equivalent to 393 basketball courts and attracts 150,000 people.

The tech press, such as CNET, is of course there in droves.

Some of the interesting things so far include:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

Capture and Show With Your Tablet

Tablets are becoming a commonly discussed, if not applied, technology in law practice. 33% of respondents to the American Bar Association’s 2012 Legal Technology Survey used tablets for work. Or, rather, they used them but not particularly with specific legal technology. The most common uses were Internet, e-mail, calendars, and contacts. In short, lawyers are using tablets similarly to how they might use their smartphones.

This data interested me because my own brief experience with a tablet was pretty much the same. Like the majority of survey respondents, my Android-powered tablet is personal and not supplied by my work. 91% . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology