The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Justin Ling

Criminal justice

Social media luddites and the admissibility of evidence

By Justin Ling February 2, 2017 2 February 2017

Social media luddites and the admissibility of evidence

 

Social media has become a ubiquitous reality. But that doesn’t mean that everyone is on quite the same footing when it comes to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like.

Speaking to a conference of tech professionals and lawyers at Osgoode Hall Law School last week, Ontario Superior Court Justice Frances Kiteley offered some cautionary words, warning social media-savvy lawyers that many judges “don’t come with the same skills, knowledge, or expertise as those of you coming into the courtroom.”

“Do not assume that they know what you know,” Kiteley warned.

Obviously, not all members of the Canadian judiciary are social media luddites — from the judge who banned a violent ex-boyfriend from social media this month after a Snapchat post set him off on a violent attack, to the justice who took a very understanding view of one mother’s online dating proclivities in a family law case last year.

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Foreign affairs

Passing judgment on Canada’s export of military goods

By Justin Ling January 26, 2017 26 January 2017

Passing judgment on Canada’s export of military goods

 

A law professor’s personal quest to force the Minister of Foreign Affairs to account for the decision to sell armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia — and to justify that decision to the court — has reached the end of the road.

In a decision passed down by the Federal Court on Tuesday, Justice Danièle Tremblay-Lamer found that while the decision to sign off on the $15-billion export of arms to the Saudi government is reviewable by the courts, the minister retains a broad discretionary power to approve such sales.

The decision was a mixed bag for Daniel Turp (pictured above), a Université de Montréal professor in international law: It amounts to a recognition that litigants can, against the protests of the Attorney General, file such applications in the court; there remains, however, a high bar to succeed in such cases.

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Trade

Breaking down Canada’s internal trade barriers

By Justin Ling January 19, 2017 19 January 2017

Breaking down Canada’s internal trade barriers

 

Beer is flowing freely from province to province; wine could soon follow. And if some political mavericks get their way, provincial agricultural barriers could be next.

Credit political will and perhaps a broader reading, of late, of Canada’s founding documents: Internal free trade has been a hot topic.

Ever since a New Brunswick Court of Appeal sided with an ale-loving New Brunswick man in R. v. Comeau, it seems like it’s just been a matter of time until the Supreme Court of Canada weighs in and Canada will become, once and for all, a free-trade zone.

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Criminal law

Abusing civil forfeiture in Canada

By Justin Ling January 10, 2017 10 January 2017

Abusing civil forfeiture in Canada

 

Ontario’s civil forfeiture laws have created a system that is broad in scope and power, light on defence and relief, and they are being deployed very generously. 

That’s a reality that Margaret and Terry Reilly have learned the hard way over the past decade, as the government has aggressively pursued two of their properties, seizing their buildings and selling them off. 

It’s a case that highlights the bizarre nature of civil forfeiture — one that a group of lawyers is looking to scale back. 

The Reillys have found allies in the Canada Constitution Foundation (CCF), who are helping in the legal fight against the forfeiture order.

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Privacy

Understanding surveillance technology

By Justin Ling January 9, 2017 9 January 2017

Understanding surveillance technology

 

Has the time come for the bench and the bar get a crash course in spying technology?

That’s a pretty clear take-away after a presentation on privacy and surveillance from Doug King, the police accountability campaigner at Pivot Legal.

King was speaking at the Canadian Constitution Foundation’s Law and Freedom Conference on Saturday, briefing the lawyers in the room on how police across Canada have deployed the powerful Stingray surveillance devices.

Pivot Legal and King have been

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