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Friday Brief

The Friday Brief

Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 12:36 PM | By Matthew Grace

Matthew Grace %>
Matthew Grace
The Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) has dismissed conflict of interest allegations against two federal judges who attended cocktail receptions paid for by firms with involvement in tax litigation. The council also rejected a conflict complaint against Tax Court Chief Justice Eugene Rossiter who defended his judges’ practice of attending educational conferences, which include tax industry-sponsored social gatherings, as a legitimate way to interact with the public and the tax industry.

Cristin Schmitz reports on reaction in the legal community to R. v. Barton 2017 ABCA 216. The Alberta Court of Appeal’s clarion call for changes to how Canadian courts instruct juries, apply the rape shield and otherwise handle sexual assault cases is seen by some as a “huge step forward” in fairness for complainants, particularly for Indigenous women, but others warn of the risk of wrongful convictions and jeopardy to accused’s fair trial rights.

Allegations of harassment and discrimination have rocked the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) as five employees have filed a $35 million lawsuit against the Canada’s national spy agency in Federal Court. All five employees have been “harassed and discriminated against” by CSIS management and colleagues, on the basis of religion, race, ethnic and/or national origin, gender and/or sexual orientation, according to the statement of claim filed July 13.

Best known as the dedicated defender of high-profile, wrongly convicted clients David Milgaard and Steven Truscott, iconic criminal defence lawyer Hersh Wolch is being remembered for the humanity and changes he brought to the way the law is administered and interpreted in Canada. Wolch, who was married to Alberta Court of Appeal Justice Sheilah Martin, died of a heart attack in Calgary on July 17 at the age of 77.

In Thomas Cromwell’s column he says that “one of the biggest impediments to access to justice results from our justice system failing to respond to … multi-faceted problems in ways that are meaningful and practical.” Cromwell writes about why the Veterans Justice Outreach initiative in Nova Scotia is encouraging.

In the second of a two-part series, Kevin Cloutier’s analysis article looks at legal hurdles facing anyone who wants to open a facility or hire employees in the United States.

Matthew Grace is the Managing Editor of The Lawyer's Daily.