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Tuesday, March 12, 2019 @ 3:04 PM

Quebec Appeal Court upholds landmark $17 billion tobacco class action

The Quebec Court of Appeal, in an explicit and stark warning to manufacturers that they will be held liable for damages for breaching their duty to inform, upheld a landmark lower court ruling that ordered three leading Canadian tobacco companies to pay up to $17 billion, including interest, in damages to Quebec smokers, the largest damage award in Canadian history. ... [read more]

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 @ 11:43 AM - Last Updated: Tuesday, March 12, 2019 @ 11:59 AM

Federal Court nixes judicial review for SNC-Lavalin; DPAs a ‘classic’ matter of prosecutorial discretion, expert says Jennifer Quaid

The Federal Court has lobbed the SNC-Lavalin hot potato back into the lap of Justice Minister David Lametti in a novel — but widely anticipated — decision that declines to judicially review the Director of Public Prosecution’s (DPP) refusal last fall to negotiate a remediation agreement with the Montreal construction giant headed to trial on bribery and fraud charges. ... [read more]

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 @ 9:38 AM

LSO approves bencher code of conduct, tables motion on tribunal hearing rules Janis Criger sm

The Law Society of Ontario’s (LSO) Convocation has adopted governance policies and practices, which incorporate a Bencher Code of Conduct, and after much debate, tabled a motion to revoke the current Law Society Tribunal Hearing Division and Appeal Division Rules of Practice and Procedure. ... [read more]

Monday, March 11, 2019 @ 2:29 PM

Nova Scotia vulnerable feel ‘helplessness and disappointment’ in accessing justice, official says Luther

Nova Scotia has been pairing cutting-edge data gathering with old-fashioned legwork to address a lack of access to justice for the province’s most vulnerable — many of whom, it was found, have given up on the justice system. ... [read more]

Monday, March 11, 2019 @ 1:18 PM

Legal aid system has ‘lost its way’ in B.C.: report

A review of the B.C. legal aid system says change is needed in order to reverse years of underfunding and make it more effective, but an organization representing legal aid lawyers in the province is saying it does not go far enough because of a lack of focus on financial concerns and is threatening to withdraw its services unless action is taken to put more money into the system. ... [read more]

Monday, March 11, 2019 @ 9:35 AM

LSO approves framework for offering legal services through charities Susan_McGrath_sm

In an effort to improve access to justice, the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) has approved a regulatory framework for legal professionals to deliver services through registered civil society organizations (CSOs), such as charities or not-for-profit corporations, which will come into effect April 1. Convocation passed a motion for policy changes to implement the framework on Feb. 28 after Susan McGrath, chair of the Alternative Business Structures (ABS) working group, presented the final report on the matter. ... [read more]

Friday, March 08, 2019 @ 12:33 PM

LSO International Women’s Day event highlights unconscious bias in AI (L-R) To Anh Tran, Helen Kontozopoulos, Valentine Goddard sm Photo by ANGELYN FRANCIS

When Helen Kontozopoulos, co-founder of the Department of Computer Science Innovation Lab (DCSIL), a startup incubator at the University of Toronto, asked students developing a mobile app for seniors, “what is senior to you?” They responded with “38 years old.” ... [read more]

Friday, March 08, 2019 @ 9:15 AM

B.C. Law Society benchers decide on pro bono, paralegal issues

Benchers of the Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC) decided against allowing pro bono work to count toward professional development credit and struck a task force to look at what role paralegals can play in addressing unmet legal needs at their most recent meeting. During the March 1 meeting, benchers approved the lawyer education advisory committee’s recommendation that the law society not recognize pro bono work as eligible for continuing professional development (CPD) credit. ... [read more]

Thursday, March 07, 2019 @ 5:44 PM - Last Updated: Thursday, March 07, 2019 @ 6:09 PM

PM, Butts deny ‘inappropriate pressure’ in SNC case; ex-AG’s speedy ‘final’ rejection of DPA questioned Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has acknowledged there was an “erosion of trust” between former Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould and his office, especially between Wilson-Raybould and his former principal secretary Gerald Butts. But echoing comments made March 6 by Butts, and by Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick, the prime minister continued to insist that neither he nor his senior officials ever “inappropriately pressured” Wilson-Raybould to shelve the SNC-Lavalin criminal prosecution on fraud and bribery charges ... [read more]

Thursday, March 07, 2019 @ 2:17 PM

B.C. Appeal Court highlights need to consider mental illness when sentencing impaired offender Michael Spratt

Trial judges need to strike the right balance when addressing concurrent issues of intoxication and mental illness in sentencing an offender, according to a recent ruling by the British Columbia Court of Appeal. ... [read more]