Friday weekly wrap-up

By Yves Faguy August 10, 201810 August 2018

Friday weekly wrap-up


Here’s a quick look at some the top legal affairs stories from the past week in our Friday Wrap-Up.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s announced $25M in funding for “legal swat teams” at provincial courthouses to fight gun violence in Toronto.  Citing Chicago's experience as proof that handgun bans don't work, Ford also dismissed calls for a similar ban on the sale of handguns in Toronto. In fact, the handgun ownership ban is no longer in effect in the Windy City. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional in 2010. Meanwhile, Evan Dyer points out that Canada needs much better data on where crime guns are coming from.

Beginning in September, Quebec’s Independent Investigations Bureau (BEI) will investigate all criminal allegations against police officers members of a First Nation or the Inuit nation. The BEI also announced its intention to recruit, as soon as possible, one or more First Nations and Inuit Investigators for greater representation within their organization.

The Supreme Court of Canada has granted leave to hear an appeal filed by Radio-Canada on whether its investigative reporter Marie-Maude Denis has to reveal her anonymous sources for a story she worked on covering arrests by Quebec anti-corruption squad. It will be the first chance for the Court to weigh in the federal government’s Journalistic Sources Protection Act, adopted last year.

In the corporate world, Elon Musk's tweet on Tesla going private raised many eyebrows. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is now looking into whether there is any truth to Musk's statement (also on Twitter) about securing funding for a corporate buyout.  Another issue that could dog Tesla’s CEO, Fortune reports, is his habit of blocking people on Twitter, given that the SEC “looks at social media announcements through the lens of fair disclosure requirements.”

At the Alexandria Federal Courthouse in Virginia, Rick Gates wrapped up testimony in the trial of ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort (also Gates’ former business partner). During his testimony, Gates gave details on how he helped Manafort commit financial crimes. John Cassidy at the New Yorker noted that it offers an crucial public lesson in how tax evasion and money laundering work. “The ability of rich people such as Manafort and his oligarchic clients to shuffle money across borders, beyond the purview of tax collectors and law-enforcement authorities, is a huge and intractable problem,” Cassidy writes. “In many places, these practices are denuding tax bases, corrupting a large class of professional enablers, and undermining public confidence in the political and financial systems.”

Finally, turning to the legal industry, the big news was the announcement that Big Four accountancy EY will acquire Riverview Law. The reaction has been a little more restrained than to similar past incursions by members of the Big Four into the legal space. Even so, Richard Tromans at Artificial Lawyer sees evidence of “the incremental industrialisation of the provision of legal services to the global economy and society as a whole.”  Mark A. Cohen remarks that the U.S. regulatory scheme protecting lawyers against the unauthorized practice of law is no barrier for the Big Four. What’s more, alternative legal service providers (ALSP’s) are going mainstream.

Those are the highlights as we saw it. Until next week!

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