Focus On

Access to Justice


Wednesday, September 15, 2021 @ 3:34 PM

Ontario’s chief justices address backlogs, stress need for accessibility as courts modernize George Strathy, Chief Justice of Ontario

The quick modernization of the justice system in the wake of a global pandemic and the “historic backlog” of cases that COVID-19 has created were consistent themes throughout Ontario’s opening of the courts ceremony, held virtually on Sept. 14. One thing was made clear: technology is needed to keep justice moving, but ensuring the courts remain accessible to the most vulnerable is an important priority. ... [read more]

Tuesday, September 14, 2021 @ 12:56 PM

Federal party platforms on Indigenous human rights show deep divide | Pamela Palmater

After a month of campaigning, a staggered release of platforms and completion of the election debates, we have a good idea of where the main federal party leaders stand on Indigenous issues. While all of them pledged a general commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples during those debates, we heard few details about their actual plans, especially as it relates to ending genocide against Indigenous women and girls. This means that we have to search party platforms for details on how they plan to address violence against Indigenous women, systemic racism in policing and human rights in general. ... [read more]

Tuesday, September 14, 2021 @ 10:32 AM

Decriminalizing persons with dementia | Heather Campbell Pope

In most cases, using the criminal law to manage a person with dementia’s harmful behaviour is a flawed strategy that will predictably fail. It places unrealistic expectations on an individual who has shown great difficulty or an inability to control impulses. Yet time and again, the blunt force of the justice system is inflicted upon people with dementia who need care and compassion.   ... [read more]

Monday, September 13, 2021 @ 11:41 AM

Access to adequate libraries vital for all lawyers | Nathan Baker

Access to legal information is the lifeblood of our profession. In a common law system where interpretation of precedent determines the outcome of issues, the fair and efficient implementation of justice relies on both sides having access to the legal information which decisions are made. Cases are not just won in the court, they are won in the lead-up, the research and the library. Access to requisite print and digital resources, case law and research assistance can level the playing field to help provide access to justice. ... [read more]

Thursday, September 09, 2021 @ 9:37 AM

What makes lawyers happy? | Jo-Anne Stark

Dear Jo: I’m struggling at work almost every day — trying to keep up with client expectations, heavy court schedules and the office politics. When I decided to go into law, I thought things would be much different. I want to help people, but it is becoming more and more difficult to do that, I feel as though I am simply treading water most days. Help! ... [read more]

Thursday, September 02, 2021 @ 9:09 AM

SCC to sit in Quebec City next year in new ‘tradition’ for expanding public’s access, understanding Chief Justice Richard Wagner

After garnering enthusiastic public feedback in Manitoba two years ago, when the Supreme Court ventured forth to Winnipeg to hear its first cases outside Ottawa, the top court is planning to hear two appeals in Quebec City next year. ... [read more]

Wednesday, September 01, 2021 @ 2:45 PM

Prisoner voting in Canada | John L. Hill

A three-judge panel of the Superior Court in North Carolina ruled on Aug. 23 that convicted felons, who were not currently serving prison time, can now register to vote. This ruling applies to North Carolinians who are presently on probation, parole and post-release supervision. It has been estimated that this will add 56,000 voters to the state list of electors. ... [read more]

Tuesday, August 31, 2021 @ 12:04 PM

Prescription for public safety nightmare | Murray Fallis

Picture it. You’re a federal prisoner. After five years of incarceration in a maximum security institution you‘ve reached your Warrant Expiry Date, the day on which you are released. With a criminal record and a severe diagnosed mental health ailment you are handed two weeks of prescription medication and put on your way. ... [read more]

Monday, August 30, 2021 @ 12:53 PM

Prostitution law reform in Canada: Full decriminalization only option Woman's face with make-up stick

As discussed in the first article in this series, Bill C-36 reverses the constitutional progress of Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford [2013] 3 S.C.R. by complicating the procedure of prostitution and endangering the lives of sex workers. In light of these limitations, the Parliament must amend this legislation using the decriminalization model of prostitution policy. ... [read more]

Wednesday, August 25, 2021 @ 11:45 AM

How to enrage the public | John L. Hill

It would be shocking if it were true. On Aug. 13, 2021, the National Post ran a story headlined as follows: “Feds win battle for privacy of serial killer Paul Bernardo and cop killer Craig Munro over victims’ families’ requests.” Immediately below the headline was a provocative summary: “The families went to court for evidence prior to the killers’ parole hearings. Instead, they got a bill from the government for $19,000.” ... [read more]