Focus On

Access to Justice


Tuesday, April 06, 2021 @ 1:11 PM

Nova Scotia opens COVID-19 compliant courthouse

A high-tech, COVID-19 compliant “criminal jury courthouse” has opened its doors in Atlantic Canada. The courthouse, in Dartmouth, N.S., opened March 31 and has been specially designed for the physical distancing of those inside. According to a news release, it is the first of its kind to be opened in Atlantic Canada. ... [read more]

Thursday, April 01, 2021 @ 1:46 PM

Former judge to lead consultations on conviction review commission

Canada’s government has tapped a former Ontario judge to lead consultations on forming an independent commission to review cases of possible wrongful criminal conviction. According to a March 31 news release from Justice Canada, former Ontario Appeal Court Justice Harry LaForme has been appointed to lead “public-facing consultations” on the creation of the Criminal Case Review Commission (CCRC). ... [read more]

Thursday, April 01, 2021 @ 1:02 PM

Access to justice: Who needs it, how you can help | Jo-Anne Stark

Dear Jo: I seem to be getting more calls these days from people who have cases that require legal services, but who have had a bad experience working with law firms in the past. They are often left with ongoing legal matters and a large bill to pay — with no funds to retain a new lawyer to help them. As a legal professional, I want to help these people — but how can I assist them at a price that they can afford? ... [read more]

Thursday, April 01, 2021 @ 8:57 AM

Riparian rights no clear-cut exemption from municipal regulations River running through a farm

We often hear about erosion and flooding as a side effect of climate change. Owners of waterfront properties may be required to or want to undertake flood and erosion control work to mitigate the impacts of high water levels and shoreline flooding. This type of work is usually subject to land use planning controls and conservation authority regulations. These governmental regulations can restrict or prevent property owners from undertaking certain erosion controls to protect their property. Understandably, property owners may object to these restrictions and want to assert their riparian right to protect their property. ... [read more]

Tuesday, March 30, 2021 @ 1:35 PM

When in-person appearances are necessary Three people in court

In these trying times of pandemic, lawyers, judges and all justice system participants should be looking to the use of alternative means to proceed. Use of video links, greater use of agreed statements of fact and resolution of issues where possible needs to be encouraged. The Ontario Court of Justice states clearly in its communication that “the Court is committed to facilitating the conduct of proceedings by remote technology (video or phone) wherever possible and urges all judicial officials, parties and counsel to use remote proceedings unless an in-person appearance is required to ensure meaningful access to justice.” ... [read more]

Tuesday, March 30, 2021 @ 8:31 AM

Law Society of Ontario’s By-law 14 amendment: Late better than never | Majid Pourostad

On Feb. 25, 2021, the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) made some amendments to By-Law 14, particularly s. 4 (1) that imposed a “reciprocity requirement” on applicants for the Foreign Legal Consultant (FLC) permit. An FLC is entitled only to give legal advice respecting the law of their home jurisdiction. Thus, they are not permitted to engage in any other aspects of the practice of Canadian law or appear in any court or before any tribunal in Canada. ... [read more]

Friday, March 26, 2021 @ 1:02 PM

Confidence in virtual proceedings important for justice system Headphone and mike on a laptop

Confidence in virtual proceedings is important for the justice system now that it seems clear that virtual is going to be a part of how civil, criminal and administrative hearings in Canada, and globally, will be conducted long term, even after the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us. ... [read more]

Thursday, March 25, 2021 @ 12:37 PM

Quebec river has legal personhood: What that means for granting nature rights | Sean Nixon

Renowned for its white-water rapids, the Muteshekau-shipu river (also known as the Magpie River) stretches 300 kilometres through Quebec. ... [read more]

Wednesday, March 24, 2021 @ 7:59 AM

Attorney general says Ontario moving forward with modernization agenda for justice system Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey

Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey says increasing the number of judicial candidates the attorney general can choose from will help modernize the province’s judicial selection process and is the reason why the government is legislating that change. ... [read more]

Friday, March 19, 2021 @ 12:17 PM

What Leafs rebuild can teach courts | Michael Lesage

Few hockey teams are as storied, and yet have boasted less success over the last half century than the Toronto Maple Leafs. Long beset by poor management, they have objectively underperformed their competitors for generations. In that time, they have struggled to make the playoffs, generally failed to advance far into the playoffs when they have qualified and completely failed to reach the finals. At various points, they have effectively fielded a team of amateurs or has-beens. In many respects, their underperformance is emblematic of that of the Ontario court system. ... [read more]