Focus On

Access to Justice


Friday, February 19, 2021 @ 10:01 AM

No turning back from pandemic’s changes to justice system: CBA report CBA president Brad Regehr

When transmitting the first message to officially open the Baltimore to Washington telegraph line, Samuel Morse included a simple statement: “what hath God wrought?” The same question has likely passed through the minds of many people over the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered businesses and schools and forced many people into makeshift home offices. Canada’s justice system has not been immune from that change, with trials moving online and lawyers filing their documents electronically. And now the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) says it is time to make many of those changes permanent. ... [read more]

Thursday, February 18, 2021 @ 3:56 PM

Bill C-22 important step forward, allows judges to judge Men walking out of bird cage

On Feb. 18,  the federal government tabled Bill C-22, an Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The proposed amendments made in this Act are significant. It eliminates mandatory minimum sentences for a variety of offences. It allows judges to judge. ... [read more]

Thursday, February 18, 2021 @ 12:30 PM

California bar exam vs. Boston Marathon: Which is tougher? Woman at computer

Running the Boston Marathon (on a broken leg) was easier than passing the California bar exam. And less time consuming. On that positive note — the intent here is not to deter but rather to paint a realistic picture of what goes into writing — and passing — this agonizing exam from the perspective of a Canadian lawyer. The good news: it is possible. The bad: it will humble you to your knees.  ... [read more]

Wednesday, February 17, 2021 @ 1:43 PM

Importance of access to legal information | Nathan Baker

Death and taxes are certainties. A close third to those is the rising price of access to legal resources. The ability of lawyers to do their job is reliant on access to ongoing education as case law develops. Interpreting developments though scholarship and secondary resources allows clarity in the law which aids in the resolution of disputes. As costs to access the tools of the trade increase, the cost to the client increases. As costs increase, this becomes an access to justice issue. ... [read more]

Tuesday, February 16, 2021 @ 1:47 PM

Parole: Not zero-sum game | John L. Hill

“I’m sorry for the needless pain that I put you through.” Those are the words of former president Donald Trump’s “fixer,” Michael Cohen. They were directed to adult film star Stormy Daniels in a recent Cohen podcast made while Cohen is continuing to serve a three-year prison sentence at home. ... [read more]

Tuesday, February 16, 2021 @ 11:09 AM

Three reasons why lawyers should engage with climate change | Meredith James and Aladdin Diakun

At the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) annual general meeting on Feb. 17, 2021, a Climate Leadership Resolution will be up for debate. Here are the top three reasons why lawyers should care about climate-related risks and opportunities as we move toward a net-zero emissions economy ... [read more]

Friday, February 12, 2021 @ 9:23 AM

New Alberta court procedure for sexual assault complainants aimed at reducing delay, lawyer says Danny Lynn, Legal Aid Alberta

A lawyer with Alberta’s legal aid service says a procedure recently put into place to help complainants in sexual assault cases navigate the legal system has been set up to help people in what is a very difficult time in their lives. ... [read more]

Wednesday, February 10, 2021 @ 3:11 PM

The pandemic and family justice in Ontario Hand balancing scales of justice

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected families and children involved in Ontario’s family justice system and dramatically impacted family justice professionals. In March 2020, family courts suspended all regular operations and courthouses were closed. Initially, only “urgent” matters were heard, and hearings were conducted by telephone or videoconference, or based only on e-mailed documents. ... [read more]

Wednesday, February 10, 2021 @ 12:53 PM

Law Foundation honours Elders’ Council for access to justice efforts

The Law Foundation of Ontario announced that the Elders’ Council is the 2020 recipient of the Guthrie Award, the foundation’s signature award to recognize exceptional access to justice champions. ... [read more]

Wednesday, February 10, 2021 @ 12:23 PM

Bail in time of COVID | Nathan Baker

Bail in the time of COVID-19 is an interesting thing. An accused person appearing by video for their bail hearing has been the norm in many court locations for years. However, up until a year ago, the rest of the players in the courtroom drama would be appearing in person. The shift to online hearings has been an example of the opportunities and great work that can be accomplished by a system defined by its hard-working participants. There remain a number of new issues along with these new times and new technologies. ... [read more]