The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

National Blog

The new face of globalization: Internal trade

By CBA/ABC National September 16 2016 16 September 2016

    In his latest column, Tyler Cowen refutes the notion that globalization has “hit a wall”, post-Brexit, and with TPP and TTIP on the skids:

    Globalization isn’t so much slowing as it is taking new forms. The most potent form of globalization today is occurring inside nations, notably China and India.

    Globalization typically is defined as the movement of goods, services, ideas, labor and investment across national borders. But many nations lack integrated economic relations within their borders, and thus they could reap high gains from trade by opening up internally. This is happening, and its logic very much resembles that of globalization.

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    Trust the market and just say no to regulations

    By CBA/ABC National September 16 2016 16 September 2016

      Innovation is a Canadian value,” Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada says in an online consultation on the federal government’s innovation agenda asking for input from stakeholders in six areas:

      • Entrepreneurial and creative society
      • Global science excellence
      • World-leading clusters and partnerships
      • Grow companies and accelerate clean growth
      • Compete in a digital world
      • Ease of doing business

      The Competition Law Section replied to the last item on Sept. 9 with a clear caution that if the government wants to foster innovation, regulations are contraindicated – open market forces, should be trusted to promote increased competition and innovation, it says.


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      Modernizing immigration should emphasize economic needs and families

      By Kim Covert September 15 2016 15 September 2016

        The CBA's Immigration Law Section looked to the past to answer questions about the future of Canada’s immigration policy, with its responses to an online consultation carried out by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada this summer.

        The consultation looked at four topics: strengthening the Canadian fabric, what needs immigration policy is responding to, modernizing the system and leadership in global immigration and migration.

        “Immigration must continue to play a key role in nation-building, in addressing Canada’s demographic gaps, and in driving innovation and economic growth,” the Section said. “For Canada to benefit from the full potential of its immigration programs, however, it is crucial that:

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        National security consultation: Leading questions?

        By Justin Ling September 15 2016 15 September 2016

          In the election that carried Justin Trudeau to power, the would-be Prime Minister made two promises on national security: he would defend Canadians’ rights, while protecting their security.

          In terms of specific policy commitments, he would strike a Parliamentary committee, made up of both Members of Parliament and Senators; and he would change aspects of the previous government’s anti-terror bill, C-51, he found unconstitutional while preserving many of the powers that Liberals and Conservatives promised would foil future terror attacks.

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          Omar Ha-Redeye on the false debate around lawyers vs non-lawyers

          By CBA/ABC National September 14 2016 14 September 2016

            In the third part of our series of interviews with Omar Ha-Redeye, we asked the Toronto lawyer about the opening up the legal profession to allow non-lawyers to provide legal services.

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            Can coders really become the new lawyers?

            By Yves Faguy September 13 2016 13 September 2016

              Of all the technological advances that could disrupt the legal profession, one of the most intriguing is the decentralized autonomous organization (DAO).

              DAO is the latest phenomenon to emerge from another phenomenon: the blockchain.

              For those not yet versed in the technology, blockchain is Bitcoin’s core innovation. It serves as a secure digital ledger that records legal rights and so can verify transactions, publicly, without the need of a middleman (such as a lawyer). The fact that it’s public, in theory, makes it far more difficult to carry out fraudulent transactions (some will say impossible, but they might have also said the Titanic was too technologically advanced to sink).

              By skipping the middleman, blockchain can help speed up business processes by making it easier for parties to complete transactions and enforce contracts, without involving lawyers. It’s why proponents call it a trust machine.

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              Aron Solomon on legal start-ups, using open data and taking on the U.S. market

              By CBA/ABC National September 9 2016 9 September 2016

                Last month in Ottawa, Senior Editor Yves Faguy caught up with LegalX co-founder Aron Solomon (pictured right, the other is Jason Moyse on the left) after The Pitch, an event put on in partnership with the Canadian Bar Association, to showcase some up-and-coming legal start-ups in Canada. We asked Solomon about some of the challenges facing tech companies in the legal space and how to go about breaking into the U.S. market.

                CBA National: So you just wrapped up the Pitch, and it was fascinating to hear from all the different competitors. One thing we heard from all of them was how critical and challenging access to high-quality data is for them as they develop machine learning as the core technology of their business. How important is access to good data about the law for a start-up to launch a product or service?

                Aron Solomon: You know, there’s a huge range of products in so many different spaces right. So for example if you look at a family law product – like the one offered by a company like Miralaw – the data that would go into that to make that product successful is data provided by both parties, it’s not like they’re scraping open data.  It’s people entering in tax returns and payment schedules and child support plans and things like that. But when Jason and I do think about access to justice – and in no way is LegalX a specialist in access to justice, we’re about the commercialisation of ideas – the more we have data that’s open and high quality, the more really innovative entrepreneurs are going to be able to do great things with that data. We know from conversations that we’ve had with people in different provincial and state bodies, that’s going to be a challenge and be an issue for them.

                N: What’s the biggest risk you see in using open data to build a product?

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                Law professors: ISDS lacks "basic protections"

                By CBA/ABC National September 8 2016 8 September 2016

                  The TPP and TTIP are coming under attack again – this time in a letter signed by over two hundred law professors slamming the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) part of TPP as an instrument that will undermine “domestic and democratic institutions”, and “weaken the rule of law.” Leading the group is Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe. Here’s an excerpt:

                  In addition to these fundamental flaws that arise from a parallel and privileged set of legal rights and recourse for foreign economic actors, there are various flaws in the way ISDS proceedings are meant to be conducted in the TPP. In short, ISDS lacks many of the basic protections and procedures of the justice system normally available in a court of law. There are no mechanisms for domestic citizens or entities affected by ISDS cases to intervene in or meaningfully participate in the disputes; there is no appeals process and therefore no way of addressing errors of law or fact made in arbitral decisions; and there is no oversight or accountability of the private lawyers who serve as arbitrators, many of whom rotate between being arbitrators and bringing cases for corporations against governments. Codes of judicial conduct that bind the domestic judiciary do not apply to arbitrators in ISDS cases.

                  Julian Ku addresses addresses the charge that ISDS creates a parallel system of adjudication:

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                  The Art of War, access to justice and tech innovation

                  By Rebecca Bromwich September 8 2016 8 September 2016

                    All over the legal services sector, you could hear the buzz: this summer, legal tech was trending. This August, CBA hosted an innovative event, “The Pitch”, showcasing the work of entrepreneurs in the legal technology sector. Mitch Kowalski, one of the tech experts involved in the production, later called this event the “debutante” moment for legal tech.    As a longtime CBA member, I’m excited that the CBA has decided to highlight tech innovation in this way.

                    Yes, the technologies and inventions presented do offer exciting new opportunities for access to justice as well as more efficient legal practices on the supply side of the legal services equation.  

                    However, I’m wary of the buzz. It is important to be cautious about the extent to which we become blindly fervent about the shiny novelty of tech as a solution to legal sector challenges and access to justice problems. Sometimes the best new ideas are very old ideas.

                    So let’s borrow from Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu, and his advice to know your enemy and know yourself.

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                    Pot cultivation mandatory minimum sentences struck down

                    By Justin Ling September 8 2016 8 September 2016


                      How can you slap a mandatory jail sentence on someone for an activity that, under a different section of Canadian law, is for the most part legal?

                      This week, in R. v. Pham, the Ontario Superior Court found two sections of the Criminal Code to be unconstitutional on grounds that they could be cruel and unusual to those who are caught between the legal and illegal spheres. The first sets the mandatory minimum for growing more than 500 plants for the purposes of trafficking at two years; the second hikes that minimum to three years if the operation poses a threat to the public. Justice Michael Code found that people growing pot legally were at risk of unduly being handed mandatory minimums sentences simply by accidentally growing more than they were allowed.

                      In deciding that the two automatic sentencing provisions run afoul of the Charter,

                      Justice Code cited last year’s Supreme Court ruling in R. v. Nur, and two other cases where the courts have declared mandatory minimums for marijuana cultivation to be unconstitutional.

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                      Omar Ha-Redeye on improving diversity in the Canadian legal profession

                      By CBA/ABC National September 7 2016 7 September 2016

                        In the second part of our series of interviews with Omar Ha-Redeye, we asked the Toronto lawyer about the state of diversity in the Canadian legal marketplace.

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                        Legal Futures round-up: September 7, 2016

                        By Brandon Hastings September 7 2016 7 September 2016

                          Inspired by the CBA Legal Futures report on Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada, here’s our biweekly round-up of noteworthy developments, opinions and news in the legal futures space as a means of furthering discussion about our changing legal marketplace.

                          In light of Alberta’s Justice Robin Camp’s hearing, and calls for reform, the federal government is considering a review of the judicial discipline process. In 2014, Justice Camp acquitted a man accused of sexual assault, evidently asking the victim why she couldn’t “just keep her knees together.” The acquittal was overturned and a new trial ordered. There have only been 11 public inquiries since the Canadian Judicial Council was created in 1971. The Department of Justice’s public consultation phase ends this Wednesday.

                          In a move that will increase access-to-justice for marginalized population, and increase the diversity of Canada’s bar, Nunavut Arctic College is to offer a Juris Doctor in association with the University of Saskatchewan. The program will be offered in Iqualuit, Nunavut by mainly University of Saskatchewan faculty. Classes are slated to begin in September 2017.

                          An article on the blog, written by BC-based legal technology giant Clio, provides several steps firms can take to safeguard their data. The bottom-line, obviously perhaps, is that data should be encrypted both wherever it is stored, as well as when it is transmitted.

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