Features

Monday, 04 July 2016 09:00

Well-deserved attention

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This month’s cover story, “Snakes & Ladders: Provincial court edition,” looks at the state of Canada’s provincial courts, where more than 95 per cent of criminal cases end up. Reporter Shannon Kari talked to chief judges and justices across the country and the sense you get from what they had to say is: There are a lot of issues that we’re facing, but we’re also being creative in looking at ways of dealing with them. Resource pressures, including funding, will likely never go away, but that’s not stopping court administrators from addressing problems and working towards providing access to justice, administering an efficient and fair court system, and providing appropriate outcomes for defendants.
Monday, 06 June 2016 09:00

IP into the future

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IP into the futureIf James Watt, the inventor of the steam engine, thought getting a patent for his clunky machine in 18th-century London was tough, he’d not tried to protect something intangible that people cannot see, feel, or touch. Once exemplified by discoveries like Watt’s steam engine, innovation can now start and end with information, complicating exactly what we mean by “making something.” The value of protecting information-based inventions has risen with the speed of innovation, but designing intellectual property systems to suit today’s breakthroughs remains a slow, delicate art.
Monday, 06 June 2016 09:00

IP back to the future

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Illustration: Carl Wiens, 121 Art
Illustration: Carl Wiens, 121 Art
In the realm of traditional or cultural knowledge, is there an argument to be made that current intellectual property conventions don’t go far enough? Is there also an argument to be made that economically there is a need to reframe the way we view protection of knowledge from the past?
Monday, 02 May 2016 09:00

The trouble with sex assault trials

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The trouble with sex assault trialsIn an overview of the law of sexual assault and the need both to encourage reporting of this crime and to ensure that myths about complainants are not part of the analysis conducted by a trier of fact, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin made these comments: “[T]he reality is that evidence of sexual conduct and reputation in itself cannot be regarded as logically probative of either the complainant’s credibility or consent . . . the old rules which permitted evidence of sexual conduct and condoned invalid inferences from it solely for these purposes have no place in our law.” The statements are not recent; they were made in 1991 and form part of her majority judgment for the Supreme Court of Canada in R v. Seaboyer.
Monday, 02 May 2016 09:00

The surreal case of Lyle Howe

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Photo: Harris Studio
Photo: Harris Studio
In 2012, less than two years into his fledgling career as a criminal defence lawyer, Lyle Howe found himself in a Halifax courtroom, one minute representing a client on fraud charges, then moments later appearing in his own defence, before the same judge, on charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted a 19-year-old woman.
Monday, 04 April 2016 09:00

Supreme dress rehearsal

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Supreme dress rehearsalJames LeNoury had scarcely launched into his oral submission on a Supreme Court of Canada wrongful dismissal appeal when questions began to fly thick and fast. One of the jurists impatiently asked for his position on the appropriate standard of review. Another unleashed a salvo of questions about remuneration: “Why do you say severance pay wouldn’t make sense? How do you square that?”
Monday, 04 April 2016 09:00

The limits of open justice

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The limits of open justiceOn the face of it, the Romanian-operated Globe24h.com web site looks innocuous. But at a recent gathering of administrative lawyers at the Ontario Bar Association, the general counsel for Canada’s privacy commissioner devoted time to talk about her office’s concerns with the site.
Monday, 07 March 2016 09:00

New horizons

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New horizonsIt’s where the criminal law drafted in government offices meets the gritty reality of the streets. Homeless men lie passed out near the door of Vancouver’s Main Street courthouse. Drug syringes litter the ground.
Indigenous women, like those who have been murdered or gone missing, dot the court docket. That courthouse is also where new federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould got her trial by fire as a lawyer — an experience that influences her to this day. “I certainly look to my years as a prosecutor on the Downtown Eastside that opened my eyes wider to a lot of the inequalities that exist, that continue to exist in our society,” she says.
Illustration: Pete Ryan
Illustration: Pete Ryan
The scenario of affluent older parents providing financial help to their adult children is increasingly common — and now, so are disputes over who gets what when those children divorce.
Monday, 01 February 2016 09:00

Law dean challenge

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Illustration: Katy Lemay
Illustration: Katy Lemay
When Lee Stuesser, Lakehead University’s first law school dean, resigned last June after just two years on the job, he said resignations are “a personal matter” and declined to discuss his reasons. On his way out, the affable dean, who invited new students to his house for barbeques, would only say how grateful he was for the chance to cut the ribbon and open the doors of Lakehead law.
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