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Monday, April 08, 2019 @ 2:06 PM

Access to Justice: View from the trenches | Michael Lesage

As Ontario’s lawyers set to elect a new slate of benchers to Convocation, the oft-discussed, seldom addressed issue of access to justice has again entered into the conversation. Most agree that access to justice is a worthy (if aspirational and ill-defined) goal, that must be advanced and encouraged. However, the facts on the ground tell a different story, that of people being unable (or unwilling) to hire lawyers or to effectively assert their rights on their own. Conversely, lawyers continue their exodus from private practice, especially within the small firm setting (this despite the fact that more and more lawyers are being called to the bar). Clearly, something is amiss. ... [read more]

Monday, April 08, 2019 @ 11:11 AM

Independent pay commission recommends pay parity for military judges Victoria Lemieux-Brown

An independent judicial pay commission says Canada’s four military judges merit the same pay as their counterparts on other federally appointed courts — currently $329,900 per year for puisne judges — notwithstanding Ottawa’s arguments that there are already plenty of qualified applicants for the $229,793-per-annum military posts (as of 2014) that have required military judges to sit less than one week per month, on average. ... [read more]

Friday, April 05, 2019 @ 9:47 AM

Court ‘has a duty to act’ when false guilty pleas are found, Superior Court judge rules

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has highlighted the issue of false guilty pleas that can lead to wrongful convictions in a decision to strike a plea in a sexual assault case. The case will proceed to trial. “When a false plea does come to light, the court has a duty to act. Even if the plea is valid — voluntary, informed and unequivocal — it may be necessary to strike the plea to prevent a miscarriage of justice,” wrote Justice Renee Pomerance, for the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, in R. v. McIlvride-Lister 2019 ONSC 1869. ... [read more]

Thursday, April 04, 2019 @ 12:02 PM

Protest injunctions must indicate presence of journalists, lawyers say following appeal decision Allison_Conway_sm

Those requesting injunctions against protests must act in “good faith” by identifying to the court any working journalists covering such events, says the lawyer of a Newfoundland reporter cleared of civil contempt for being at an illegal Indigenous demonstration. ... [read more]

Thursday, April 04, 2019 @ 9:23 AM

Ability to end leases in Manitoba will empower sex assault complainants, officials say

Manitoba would be “widening the scope” in protecting people against domestic violence by adding sex assault to the reasons why a tenant may end a lease early, says a legal aid lawyer. Proposed changes to the province’s existing tenancy laws would expand current legislation that allows complainants of domestic violence and stalking to terminate residential lease agreements earlier in the name of their safety or that of their children. ... [read more]

Thursday, April 04, 2019 @ 8:35 AM

PROCEDURE - Pleas - Setting aside guilty plea - Voluntariness

Appeal by the accused, Girn, from a conviction and sentence for offences related to domestic violence. ... [read more]

Wednesday, April 03, 2019 @ 11:06 AM

Canadian judges’ fear that disclosing their expenses might endanger them not borne out by Irish judges’ experience David Lametti

Irish judges, whose travel and business expenses have been disclosed to the public for several years, have not been targeted unfairly as a result by media criticism, nor seen their personal security imperiled by disgruntled litigants — an Irish court spokesperson has told The Lawyer’s Daily. ... [read more]

Wednesday, April 03, 2019 @ 9:47 AM

Professor alleges judgments are ‘insensitive’ about sexual violence and murder but lawyer believes aim is to help readers understand cases Elaine Craig

A new academic study contends that Ontario Court of Appeal Justice David Watt’s practice of writing dramatic “literary” introductions to some of his criminal law judgments that involve personal suffering, sexual violence and murder is not only insensitive and possibly hurtful to the victims and their families, but risks further undermining women’s confidence in the criminal justice system. ... [read more]

Tuesday, April 02, 2019 @ 10:42 AM

B.C. legal aid deal speaks well of government’s commitment to system: lawyers’ group Richard Fowler, Association of Legal Aid Lawyers (ALL) spokesperson

People relying on legal aid in British Columbia can breathe a sign of relief as the B.C. government has agreed to support the development of a new framework for the system, thus ending a threatened strike by legal aid lawyers in the province. ... [read more]

Tuesday, April 02, 2019 @ 9:08 AM

Access to Justice: Looking at the people behind the labels | Beverley McLachlin

Access to justice has two sides — one procedural, one substantive. The procedural side is concerned with giving people access to the legal information and legal services that they need — their hour with a lawyer or their day in court. The substantive side is concerned with ensuring that they access real justice once they are in the system.   ... [read more]