Features

Monday, 04 May 2015 08:00

Getting there

Written by
Illustration: Huan Tran
Illustration: Huan Tran
A compassionate and moving ruling from a Toronto judge has focused attention on Gladue courts and other support mechanisms for aboriginal offenders, and of the progress, and lack of progress, since the landmark R. v. Gladue decision first came out.
Monday, 06 April 2015 08:00

Carving out a profile

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b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2015_April_CL_Apr_15_Pg_01.jpgOn a cold February morning in Ottawa, the sidewalks and grounds in front of the Supreme Court of Canada building are almost empty. A single person is directing pedestrians who do walk by, to stop temporarily. Not for security reasons, but so a colleague can shovel snow and ice off the roof of a government building next door. That very Canadian inconvenience is one of the only signs of activity outside the courthouse. Inside the building, it is also relatively quiet, as the court was not sitting. The judges are working at crafting upcoming decisions and preparing to interview applicants the following week for coveted law clerk positions.
Monday, 02 March 2015 08:00

Light through the window

Written by
Illustration: Martin O'Neill
Illustration: Martin O'Neill
There were two casualties of the Canadian Judicial Council’s inquiry into Justice Lori Douglas. The first was Lori Douglas, by all accounts a competent and hard working associate chief justice of the Family Division of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench. The other was the Canadian Judicial Council itself, which found itself battered and bruised in a four-year inquiry that turned the mirror on itself and its procedures.
Monday, 02 March 2015 08:00

Grey divorce is all about the math

Written by
Illustration: Jeannie Phan
Illustration: Jeannie Phan
A few years ago Steven Benmor found himself in divorce court representing an 82-year-old client seeking to end a long-term marriage. After decades of living with the same man, she was divorcing her abusive husband. “They had fought over the years but this time he hit her and she said ‘screw you’ and went to the police. He was arrested and removed from the home. The children came out of the dark to help her and took sides. That created the divorce,” he says.
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2015_February_CL_Feb_15_Pg_01.jpgOver an 11-week period, five lawyers from Borden Ladner Gervais LLP frequently found themselves sitting in a Montreal courtroom listening as the horrors of Concordia University student Lin Jun’s murder were recounted in grisly detail. They also watched as those horrors unfolded on screen in a video made by convicted murderer Luka Rocco Magnotta. When not sitting in court as counsel to the Lin family, the BLG team were meeting to review evidence — including the video — and discuss the case in detail. “It was hard to acknowledge this was real. We’re used to seeing violence on TV, but we know it’s fake. You need to reconcile that one human being did this to another,” says Amélie Gouin, an associate in BLG’s corporate commercial litigation group in Montreal.
Monday, 02 February 2015 08:00

These laws are the worst!

Written by
Illustration: Matt Daley
Illustration: Matt Daley
There is nothing quite like the silent beauty of snowflakes falling gently to the ground. Until, that is, carloads of snow begin to crash down. It’s a common enough sight in the Great White North, and male Nova Scotians should pack a shovel in their briefcases or knapsacks during the winter, because Mother Nature’s annually ordained dumps of the cold white stuff leads to some serious responsibilities, according to s. 34 of the provincial Public Highways Act. “All physically fit male persons between the ages of sixteen and sixty . . . are required to work with their shovels on the highways during the winter whenever the highways become impassable from snow.” A failure to comply can result in a maximum penalty of $10, or 10 days imprisonment should the fine be ignored.
Monday, 02 February 2015 08:00

Data fit for the courtroom?

Written by
Illustration: Matthew Billington
Illustration: Matthew Billington
The next time you post the stats of your morning run to Facebook via RunKeeper or enter some health data to your iPhone, think about this: what if down the road someone sought to use it against you?
Monday, 05 January 2015 08:00

Wrong result. Still good law.

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Photo credits: Guy Paul Morin: Alan Dunlop - Toronto Star; David Milgaard: Rick Eglinton - Toronto Star; William Mullins-Johnson: Lucas Olenuik - Toronto Star; Robert Baltovich: Colin McConnell - Toronto Star
Photo credits: Guy Paul Morin: Alan Dunlop - Toronto Star; David Milgaard: Rick Eglinton - Toronto Star; William Mullins-Johnson: Lucas Olenuik - Toronto Star; Robert Baltovich: Colin McConnell - Toronto Star
In a brief oral judgment issued in late January 1995, then-chief justice Charles Dubin of the Ontario Court of Appeal formally entered an acquittal for Guy Paul Morin, ending a decade-long ordeal for the man wrongly convicted in the death of nine-year-old Christine Jessop. Fresh evidence, based on new DNA testing, excluded Morin. No jury “properly instructed in the law and acting judicially, could convict Mr. Morin on the charge upon which he stood trial,” stated Dubin, in the ruling issued 20 years ago. After two trials and nearly two years in custody, Morin was finally cleared of any responsibility in the 1984 rape and murder of Jessop, a crime that remains unsolved.
Monday, 05 January 2015 08:00

Tax guy to the rescue

Written by
Illustration: Peter Mitchell
Illustration: Peter Mitchell
Tax lawyers may not be the first guests you gravitate to at a cocktail party but you may want to rethink that notion. In an age when issues of tax morality, transparency, and tax avoidance are grabbing headlines, you’ll forgive them if tax lawyers have a little more swagger in their step these days. Whether they are tax planners or litigators, they have become central players in the risk management of public and private companies.
Monday, 17 November 2014 00:08

Taming the digital chaos

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b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2014_November_CL-Nov-Dec-2014-cover.jpgIt appears to have become the new norm. Not a week seems to go by without a report about a data breach. America’s largest bank, JPMorgan Chase, is one of the latest high-profile victims, and it is still reeling from this summer’s cyber attack that compromised 76 million household accounts — the equivalent of 65 per cent of all U.S. households — and seven million businesses. Law firms are far from immune. An American multi-state criminal firm discreetly filed a report in late June with California authorities, the first U.S. state to adopt data-breach notification legislation, after a hard drive containing backup files for one of the firm’s servers was stolen from the locked trunk of an employee’s vehicle. Closer to home, hackers three years ago compromised the security of seven major Canadian law firms involved in BHP Billiton’s proposed takeover of Saskatchewan’s Potash Corp. Law firms are often seen as a weak link in the cyber-security chain.
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