In an effort to increase assistance for family law litigants who do not have legal representation (self- or unrepresented litigants) and to assuage the concerns of the family law bar, some members of whom object to the introduction of paralegals into family law, at the same time, the Law Society of Ontario has proposed a new licencing framework, one limited to the provision of legal services in family law and one most likely to be taken up by existing paralegals. The LSO has invited comment on the entire proposal (see Family Legal Services Provider Licence Consultation Paper (“FLSPL Paper”); however, . . . [more]
Archive for ‘Practice of Law’
Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.
In many cases, the choice of when to retire is based on a variety of factors, including lifestyle, priorities and other circumstances. Sometimes the decision to stop working is an easy one, while others prefer to continue working as long as possible. But what happens when an employee’s retirement is not a choice but is a requirement of his or her pension plan? Is it discriminatory? This issue came before the Human Rights Tribunal of Alberta in Aziz v Calgary Firefighters Association, 2020 AHRC 40 when a firefighter nearing the . . . [more]
Following the Civil Submissions Online and Family Submissions Online portals, first introduced starting in 2017, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice announced on July 29, 2020 that a two-week test phase of CaseLines will be launched on Aug. 10, 2020 for select civil motions and pre-trial conferences. The Online Portal will not be integrated with CaseLines at this time.
Starting Aug. 24, 2020, CaseLines use will be expanded to all civil, Divisional Court, Commercial and Estate List, and bankruptcy matters in Toronto. After that, it will be expanded to the rest of the province.
The new CaseLines service will replace . . . [more]
The Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act (introduced as Bill 32 and referred to as the Act) passed its final reading on July 28, 2020, and received royal assent on July 29, 2020. Some sections of the Act still require proclamation to come into force, however, most provisions come into force on assent or August 15 or November 1, 2020. . . . [more]
The delivery of legal services is changing. Author Mark Cohen writes in “Big Money is Betting on Legal Industry Transformation” that law is a trillion dollar market with no Goliaths. The industry is fragmented and ripe for transformation. Law firms are becoming a smaller segment of the legal supply chain.
Cohen predicts that “the hegemony of the traditional law firms is over.” He explains that “law firms have lost their hegemony over legal delivery. Their market share is eroding.” New legal providers are entering the market. These different providers include, in-house legal departments, accounting firms, technology start-ups, and . . . [more]
On July 7, 2020, the Alberta government tabled Bill 32, The proposed Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act that will support economic recovery, restore balance in the workplace and get Albertans back to work. The Bill proposes changes to the Employment Standards Code and the Labour Relations Code. Labour and Immigration Minister Jason Copping stated to the media that the proposed legislation would support economic recovery by cutting “red tape” for businesses and would reverse some changes made by the NDP when they were in government. . . . [more]
Past Ontario Bar Association president David Sterns argues that we should defund the Ontario Civil Rules Committee. In its place we should involve new voices and take an inter-disciplinary approach to building the committee. I agree.
We need to either supplement or change the Civil Rules Committee. We must look towards engaging new people. Let’s not just tinker around the edges. Let’s engage new voices. We need new perspectives. We need to hear what lay people think. We need to hear the insight of experienced practitioners and judges. We need to hear what articling students and law students think. . . . [more]
Much time, effort and funding has been devoted in recent years to trying to increase access to the legal system. At the same time, there has been a movement to “de-expert” or diminish the expertise of lawyers, as is true of many areas of life (everyone can be a journalist, everyone can become famous on social media, educators rely on what their students say they should teach, sometimes I think anyone can become a successful singer, at least to my tone deaf ear), even if not all (not everyone can become a baseball player in the major leagues or win . . . [more]
As mentioned in an earlier post, I am part of a small working group that has been developing a standard order for the appointment of mental health professionals to prepare parenting assessments, also known as custody and access reports and bilateral assessments, under section 211 of British Columbia’s Family Law Act. We have finished reviewing and incorporating the feedback we received on our last draft and are now ready to share what amounts to Version One of our model parenting assessment order.
Despite the importance of parenting assessments in the resolution of family law disputes, there is no . . . [more]
By Lewis Waring, Paralegal and Student-at-Law, Editor, First Reference Inc.
One of the most important crucial aspects of managing the employment relationship is written policies. Company policies, when drafted and applied properly, can be an effective shield against liability in many employment law cases. Through policy, an employer sets the rights and obligations of the employer and the workers within the workplace. When employers draft up-to-date policy that stays within legal boundaries and workers are kept notified about their rights and obligations under that policy, employers may often successfully fend off legal action such as wrongful dismissal or constructive dismissal. . . . [more]
Parenting assessments, known as custody and access reports, custody evaluations or bilateral assessments elsewhere, are commonly used in family law disputes in British Columbia whenever there is a significant difference of opinion about the parenting arrangements best suited for a child. However, in the absence of standards guiding the professionals who prepare these assessments, whether psychologists, clinical counsellors or social workers, the methodologies used to assess and describe the circumstances of the children and the capacities of their parents are as varied and unpredictable as the reports themselves. Thankfully, the number of execrable reports is dwarfed by the number of . . . [more]
Recently lawyers have been debating online about whether the rules about affidavits of service should be reformed. Particularly in the context of serving documents by email, and there is a clear record of service.
Service is important. It ensures that parties know about important court events before they happen. Sometimes self-represented litigants do not know that they must serve materials before filing. Requiring an affidavit of service before filing prevents litigants from unintentionally bringing ex parte motions.
However, we may be able to reach the same outcome without requiring affidavits of service. We can design a better system.
On Twitter . . . [more]