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Friday, March 03, 2017 @ 3:00 PM

Institutional bias favouring Crown attorneys preventing level playing field | Michael Spratt

There have long been whispers in the criminal defence bar that Ontario’s judicial appointment process is broken. Since June 13, 2017 when Ottawa area MP Yasir Naqvi took the reins as Ontario’s attorney general 70 per cent of his appointments to the bench have been drawn from the Crown’s office. Over the last eight months there have been 17 judges appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice – 12 of those appointments were Crown Attorney and five were defence counsel. That does not seem like a level playing field. But this is not a new problem special to Naqvi – it has been this way for decades. ... [read more]

Friday, March 03, 2017 @ 2:55 PM

Rule of law must trump national security | Paul Cavalluzzo

Lawyers in Canada should be gratified to observe the role which lawyers and the rule of law have played recently in the United States in challenging the new president's authoritarian tendencies. With a compliant Congress, the effective checks and balances on the new president (and his alter ego Steve Bannon) will be the courts and the press, as well as concerned citizens protesting in the streets. Needless to say, President Trump has been typically dismissive, arrogant and bullying in regard to these constitutionally protected institutions and activities, which have dared to confront his autocratic ways. ... [read more]

Friday, March 03, 2017 @ 2:52 PM

Is it time to get the feds out of the corollary relief business? | John-Paul Boyd

The sharing of jurisdiction over support and parenting apart between the federal government and the provincial and territorial governments is difficult enough for lawyers. It’s almost impossible for litigants without counsel, the number of whom continues to grow at an astonishing rate, and it is far from clear that it continues to be necessary or beneficial. ... [read more]

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 @ 2:24 PM

The numbers on mandatory minimum sentences and crime don’t add up | Anthony Doob and Rosemary Gartner

During the 2006 federal election campaign, one party leader proposed "a comprehensive set of measures to make our streets safe from violent crime including a four-year minimum sentence for illegal possession and sale of restricted weapons..." That proposal, made in Surrey, BC, on 6 January 2006 came from the late Jack Layton, then NDP leader. The NDP wasn't the only party favouring mandatory minimums. They were often used by the Harper government to demonstrate that it was tough on crime. ... [read more]

Monday, February 13, 2017 @ 2:10 PM

Mandated counselling | Steven Benmor

It has always been thought that counselling can only be beneficial if the person voluntarily selects a counsellor, books the appointments, wishes to benefit from counselling and, most importantly, attends willingly. But with the increased incidence of family breakdown which, at its heart, are relationship, behavioural and communication problems, judges are realizing that the solution to the problem is not necessarily legal in nature, but psychosocial. ... [read more]

Thursday, February 09, 2017 @ 11:17 AM

New international arbitration rules aimed at increasing efficiency, transparency | R. Aaron Rubinoff and John Siwiec

Important amendments to the Rules of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC Rules) will take effect on March 1, 2017. The amendments seek to enhance the efficiency and transparency of the current version of the ICC Rules that have been in force since January 2012. ... [read more]

Thursday, February 09, 2017 @ 11:12 AM

Refuting false allegations of abuse a specialized job | Brian Ludmer

It is an unfortunately common occurrence in contested matrimonial cases that one or both parties make serious accusations of physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse against the other. Even worse are cases where such allegations involve the children. ... [read more]

Wednesday, February 01, 2017 @ 2:06 PM

In a self-represented world, judges must be the gatekeepers | Gary Joseph

Our adversarial system operates on the premise of passive adjudication.  By this I mean the role of our judges is predominately reflexive as they hear evidence, weigh it and determine disputes based upon what has been presented to them.    Unlike some jurisdictions where judges play an investigative role, our judges must not search out evidence outside of what is presented in court to them by the parties to the dispute.   ... [read more]

Monday, January 30, 2017 @ 4:13 PM

Preparation essential when using expert witness | Stacey Stevens and Craig Brown

Trial preparation is a daunting task. Particularly so, if you accept conventional wisdom that there is a direct and proportional relationship between the amount of work put into preparation and the probability of success at trial. ... [read more]

Monday, January 30, 2017 @ 3:37 PM

Standing up for pedestrians | Patrick Brown

This past year, Toronto experienced the highest pedestrian death rate in over a decade. While alarm bells should have been sounding a long time ago, civil exposure against the city and province is increasing day by day. The number of road deaths which involve driver on driver in the province has been going down for years. The same is not true for pedestrians. ... [read more]