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Appeals court to weigh Trump executive order

By Yves Faguy February 7 2017 7 February 2017

     

    The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing the challenge to U.S. President Donald Trump’s ban today. He has received plenty of pushback for singling out a a "so-called" federal judge in a tweet for blocking his immigration order.

    Will Baude considers the difference between executive official criticizing a court’s decision and it criticizing its authority:

    If the court has authority, then the parties are legally required to follow its judgment: even if it is wrong; even if it is very wrong; even if the President does not like it. But if the court does not have authority, then perhaps it can be defied. So the charge of a lack of authority is a much more serious one. It is the possible set-up to a decision to defy the courts — a decision that is unconstitutional if the court does indeed have authority to decide the case.

    Yves Boisvert addresses the independence of U.S. courts:

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    HackJustice: Tech apps that will improve access to justice

    By Yves Faguy February 6 2017 6 February 2017

       

      Over the course of two days, several participants at the MaRS Discovery District and at the Cyberjustice Laboratory at Université de Montréal gathered for Hackjustice, co-sponsored by the CBA, to code and build tech applications that will improve access to justice.

      “I was truly excited, impressed and amazed by the technologies that our HackJustice participants were able to develop in what amounted to about 10 working hours,” said Nicole Aylwin, assistant director at the Winkler Institute for Dispute Resolution. “It was inspiring to see how conversations about the role of legal technology in improving access to justice helped informed participants creations.”

      Each participating team was required to choose a challenge and later present their tech solution to panel of judges.  The three challenges were: to develop ways to use social media tools to engage and empower the public in policymaking; to resolve consumer disputes; and to develop tools to help people deal with everyday legal problems.

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      Dual citizens take note – and your Canadian passport

      By Kim Covert February 6 2017 6 February 2017


        If you’re a dual-nationality Canadian who was surprised by the requirement that you have a Canadian passport for travel to Canada over the holidays – well, the CBA’s Immigration Law Section is not surprised at your surprise.

        In fact, it warned the government in a letter last month that not enough notice had been given to the requirement under the new Electronic Travel Authorization policy that Canadians holding dual citizenship would have to travel on their Canadian passports or risk being denied boarding.

         

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        Joe Groia’s incivility dispute heads to the Supreme Court

        By Yves Faguy February 6 2017 6 February 2017

           

          It’s somewhat fitting that it is in these polarized and vitriolic times, where levels of incivility and nastiness seem to have become commonplace – in the media, in politics, on social platforms, in the workplace – that the Supreme Court of Canada has granted leave to hear the appeal by Toronto lawyer Joe Groia. 

          As a quick recap, in 2011, the Law Society of Upper Canada found that Groia engaged repeatedly in uncivil conduct in the defense of his client, John Felderhof, the chief geologist and central figure of the Bre-X Minerals scandal. At trial, Felderhof was acquitted of all charges. Though the trial judge had never complained to the Law Society about Mr. Groia’s conduct, a disciplinary panel nevertheless found that Groia’s violated professional conduct rules by being rude and lacking respect for the court. Groia saw his licence briefly suspended.

          Sean Robichaud gives some background, and frames the debate, arguing that advocacy is about “justice, not civility."

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          Navigating changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act

          By Kim Covert February 6 2017 6 February 2017


            As part of its broader review of environmental and regulatory processes, the federal government is looking at changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act that came into effect in 2014, and asking the Canadian public for input.

            “The Government of Canada has promised to review the recent changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, restore lost protections and incorporate modern safeguards,” the government says on the consultation website.

            The CBA’s Maritime Law Section, which responded to the online consultation questions in December, says it does not believe additional protections are needed under the Act.

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            Sexual harassment in the workplace: Not just a bystander

            By Kim Covert February 3 2017 3 February 2017


              On March 8, International Women’s Day, the CBA National Women Lawyers Forum will launch a podcast that grew out of their campaign about sexual harassment in the workplace.

              After passing a resolution at the February, 2015 CBA Council meeting calling for an end to sexual harassment in the workplace, the WLF ran a campaign called #WriteYourWrong, inviting lawyers – male and female – to write in about their experiences with sexual harassment in law firms.

              The podcast, Not Just a Bystander, is the next stage in the campaign. The title of the podcast is meant to emphasize that it’s everyone’s job to end sexual harassment – witnesses have to speak up, especially when victims can’t.

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              HackJustice: Life hacks you and your clients might actually use

              By Kerri Froc February 1 2017 1 February 2017

                I’m a big sucker for the life hack lists you see all over the Internet, like 100 Life Hacks to Make Life Easier, or 50 Incredibly Useful Life Hacks You Won’t Believe You Didn’t Know. But if you are like me, you still haven’t used Doritos to start a fire, still can’t fold a fitted sheet, and your attempt to use a walnut to fix scratches on your furniture just means it looks like a squirrel had a snack on your scratched furniture.

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                It’s time Canada’s courts joined the 21st Century

                By Kim Covert February 1 2017 1 February 2017


                  It’s an idea whose time came some time ago – and then it had to wait around for someone in charge to notice.

                  But now the Courts Administration Service has announced an initiative to modernize its technological infrastructure to create a fully electronic-based system for the Federal Court, Tax Court and Federal Court of Appeal, and the CBA’s Federal Courts and Tax Court bench and bar committee couldn’t be more pleased, calling it a move that is both worthwhile and necessary.

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                  It’s a wrap! The rest of what we did in 2016

                  By Kim Covert January 31 2017 31 January 2017


                    2016 was a banner year for CBA advocacy – we broke the previous record for submissions in a single year by 15, with a total of 97.

                    And 19 of those submissions came in late November and December ahead of the Christmas break, as CBA National Sections and Forums and the Legislation and Law Reform people scrambled to meet deadlines and respond to consultations even after Parliament rose for the holidays.

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                    The executive order and data protection

                    By Yves Faguy January 31 2017 31 January 2017

                       

                      U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order on “Enhancing Public Safety” has generated a lot of concern about it eliminating privacy protections enjoyed by foreigners, including Canadians, in the U.S. It would also affect much of the internet traffic in Canada that gets routed through the U.S. (see video above); Michael Geist writes that it’s clear that the personal information of Canadians will not be protected under the US Privacy Act.

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                      Statement by CBA President on US executive order on foreign entry

                      By Yves Faguy January 30 2017 30 January 2017

                         

                        The Canadian Bar Association's president René Basque has issued a statement on the United States' executive order on foreign entry, expressing concern over "the discriminatory nature and extraterritorial impact" of the EO on those it targets.

                        "While the US government has now given high-level assurances that the order does not apply to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, it seems to be based on the national interest exemption in the order and determined on case-by-case with no clear procedures," the statement reads. "Individuals may still face issues at ports of entry.

                        Basque also calls upon the federal government to examine how the order will affect  agreements and policies between Canada and the U.S., including the Safe Third Country Agreement, which manages requests for refugee protection in the two countries. "If refugee claimants no longer have access to a meaningful and fair adjudication process in the US, Canada must continue to fulfil its own international obligations and offer to process their claims in Canada," the statement concludes.

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                        Legal aid is an integral part of the social safety net

                        By Kim Covert January 30 2017 30 January 2017

                           

                          It’s time for the federal government to take a leadership role in access to justice, the CBA’s Access to Justice Committee says in a submission to the House of Commons Committee on Justice and Human Rights which is studying legal aid.

                          “Canada needs federal leadership in creating a properly funded, national legal assistance systems strategy, with services administered by each province and territory, and minimum national standards and comparable services available throughout Canada,” the submission says.

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