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Tuesday, April 18, 2017 @ 11:13 AM

B.C. residents can dial up free legal advice on April 22

The Canadian Bar Association, B.C. branch, is hosting a Dial-a-Lawyer Day on April 22 as part of Law Week celebrations. ... [read more]

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 @ 8:45 AM

Amendment would reinstate Canadians’ right to hearing before citizenship stripped Lorne Waldman

A proposed amendment looks to put an end to Canadians being stripped of their citizenship without a court hearing. ... [read more]

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 @ 7:49 AM

NATURALIZATION OR CITIZENSHIP - Application for grant of citizenship - Powers and duties of citizenship judge - Procedure - Appeals and judicial review - Citizenship Act and Regulations - Interpretation

Appeal by the Minister from an order of mandamus requiring it to continue to process the respondent’s citizenship application. The respondent, a citizen of Sri Lanka, obtained refugee status after coming to Canada in 2009. He was granted permanent residence in Canada in 2011 and commenced a citizenship application in 2015. The Minister applied for cessation proceedings pursuant to s. 108 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act on the grounds that the respondent had returned to Sri Lanka for extended stays between 2011 and 2013, and had therefore re-availed himself of Sri Lankan protection. The respondent attended at a citizenship interview, passed the knowledge and language tests, and established his identity and residency. The Minister suspended the respondent’s citizenship proceedings in January 2016, claiming that it had authority to suspend the application pending the outcome of the cessation proceedings pursuant to s. 13.1 of the Citizenship Act. The respondent argued that the Minister's position was contrary to the court's previous ruling in a similar case, which found that the Minister did not have authority to suspend citizenship proceedings once commenced, pending cessation hearings. He sought an order of mandamus requiring the Minister to continue his citizenship proceedings. The judge allowed the respondent’s application, finding that he had met the test for an order of mandamus. He found that the Minister owed the respondent a legal duty to act, no other adequate remedy was available, the order would be of practical effect, and the relief sought was barred by equity and favoured on the balance of convenience. He further found that the respondent had met all of the conditions to obtain Canadian citizenship under s. 5(1) of the Act. He also found that the Minister had suspended the respondent’s application contrary to the court's clear prior decision in which it was found that s. 13.1 of the Act did not provide authority to do so. The judge further found that the Minister’s servants had acted in bad faith, in a reprehensible manner, and put the applicant to considerable legal expense, which justified an award of special costs in the respondent’s favour. ... [read more]

Wednesday, April 05, 2017 @ 12:43 PM

More eligible for legal aid in Ontario

Legal Aid Ontario raised the income threshold for eligibility for legal aid by six per cent on April 1, enabling 144,000 more Ontarians to qualify for assistance. ... [read more]

Monday, April 03, 2017 @ 8:44 AM

Access to Justice: Let’s give the Bonkalo report a chance | Thomas Cromwell

I wish that we didn’t have a large and growing legal services gap. But we do. Just look at the never-ending waves of self-represented litigants in our courts. Most of them wish they had a lawyer; some started out with one, but ran out of money along the way. And, sadly, the unmet need for legal services for these people is only the tip of the unmet legal needs iceberg. ... [read more]

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 6:38 AM

Council studying sanctuary city status for Ottawa

A councillor’s report on Ottawa becoming a sanctuary city has given rise to questions what kinds of information can be asked of people with precarious immigration status who might apply to use city run services and programs and the legal implications for the city. ... [read more]

Friday, March 24, 2017 @ 9:02 AM

Media relations isn't marketing, and that's just the first mistake lawyers make | Julius Melnitzer

When it comes to maximizing the benefits of good media relations, many Canadian law firms haven’t quite got it yet. For those of you who are thinking, “What are you talking about? The profession’s marketing savvy has come a very long way” — you’re making my point. What a lot of law firms still don’t seem to understand is that marketing and media relations are two distinct arts. Lumping them together is akin to shoving an admiralty lawyer and an entertainment lawyer into the same pigeonhole. ... [read more]

Thursday, March 16, 2017 @ 2:47 PM

Canadian law students call for suspension of Safe Third Country Agreement Kim Veller

Law students that participated in a research-a-thon in February have determined that Canada's involvement in the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement (CSTCA) is a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They've released a report based on their research that calls for a suspension of the agreement. ... [read more]

Friday, March 10, 2017 @ 8:51 AM

Drawing the fine line between zealous advocacy and incivility

Like American politics, the legal profession has suffered a decline in civility. ... [read more]

Tuesday, March 07, 2017 @ 12:02 AM

Rethink the billable hour to give middle class access to justice | Julius Melnitzer

The best thing the legal profession’s regulators could do to ensure access to justice for the middle class is to ban hourly billing — or at least mandate some sense into its use. ... [read more]