The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

CBA/ABC National

Annual meeting 2017

Caitlin Pakosh awarded 2017 Walter Owen Book Prize

By CBA/ABC National August 18, 2017 18 August 2017

Caitlin Pakosh awarded 2017 Walter Owen Book Prize

At last night’s CBA President’s Dinner, Caitlin Pakosh, senior staff lawyer at Innocence Canada, received the Walter Own prize for The Lawyer’s Guide to the Forensic Sciences. The book, conceived and edited by Pakosh, contains contributions from 34 Canadian experts offering a comprehensive examination of issues specific to the legal system which affect forensic sciences in Canada today.

The book, published in 2016 by Irwin Law, was chosen by the Foundation for Legal Research from a long list of 17 books, and a short list of five, to receive the $10,000 prize.

The Walter Owen Book Prize is designed to recognize excellent legal writing and to reward outstanding new Canadian projects that enhance the quality of legal research in this country.

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Annual meeting 2017

Resolving issues: CBA votes new bylaws

By CBA/ABC National August 17, 2017 17 August 2017

Resolving issues: CBA votes new bylaws

 

CBA members handily passed a major bylaw resolution at its annual meeting in Montreal that will fundamentally reshape how the association governs itself.

In moving the resolution, incoming president Kerry L. Simmons said the bylaws were drafted with a view to having a more efficient, accountable and streamlined association where a “reasonable amount is spent on our governance, not an unreasonable amount.”

Most of the debate on the resolution centered on the inclusion in the bylaws of a definition of diversity that would hold the association accountable to its commitment to have a board that better reflects Canada’s diverse legal profession.

Ultimately it was decided to table the issue and refer it to the CBA’s Equality Committee for help in crafting an inclusive definition to be submitted to a separate resolution vote at the next annual general meeting in February 2018.

The change to the CBA’s governance system and bylaws is the culmination of three years’ work by the Re-Think steering committee.

 

 

 

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Annual meeting 2017

Meet the new president: Kerry L. Simmons Q.C.

By CBA/ABC National August 17, 2017 17 August 2017

 

In the above video, Kerry L. Simmons, Q.C., of Victoria, talks about her priorities for her upcoming year as president of the Canadian Bar Association.

Simmons, who first became involved with the CBA in law school, promises to focus the association’s energies on building membership and completing the CBA’s governance and operational transformation.

Her message to member: “Use the CBA to become a better lawyer.”

She called upon members in attendance to spread the word to others, whether its because they see membership as a core aspect of being a professional, or as a way to build credibility in a practice area by speaking to government committees on proposed legislation, or working on a law reform project.

On the operational side, Simmons promised to focus on the sharing of funding among branches, CCCA and other functions.

“We will also develop a process for strategically focusing and co-ordinating our advocacy efforts at the national and federal level,” she said.

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Annual meeting 2017

A new beginning for the CBA

By CBA/ABC National August 17, 2017 17 August 2017

A new beginning for the CBA

The debate over how associations are best governed is at least as old as associations themselves.

Now a new chapter begins, as the Canadian Bar Association’s annual meeting gets under way in Montreal today with members in attendance either virtually or in-person to debate and vote on new bylaws, following a decision last year to adopt a new governance structure.

A new Board, with an emphasis on diversity, will begin its mandate on September 1, and will be composed of one member from each province and territory plus incoming CBA President Kerry L. Simmons, Q.C.  Simmons is taking over from outgoing president RenĂ© Basque of Moncton, N.B.

“What's different this year is that hundreds of people are participating through local CBA hubs across the country to debate the resolutions," says Simmons. "The CBA is taking a more modern approach to listening to what its members are saying, and this is a big step in building a more member-centric and transparent association."

The changes are part of a larger effort by the CBA to focus on being more responsive to the needs of its members, taking a more client-centric approach to redesigning its product and service offering, including conferences and events.

 

 

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The Supreme Court

SCC appointment process: tradition of regional representation respected

By CBA/ABC National July 17, 2017 17 July 2017

SCC appointment process: tradition of regional representation respected

The appointments process is now open to select the next justice of the Supreme Court of Canada who will fill retiring of Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin’s seat.

As was the case in 2016, when Justice Malcolm Rowe was appointed, an independent and non-partisan Advisory Board will be formed to identify candidates suitable for the position.

What’s different this time around is that the appointments process now explicitly recognizes regional convention, meaning that it open only to candidates from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon. The Chief Justice initially appointed as a Puisne Justice in 1989 from the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Traditionally, two seats are held by Western Canada.  Justice Russell Brown is currently the other member of the top court from the region.

“Honouring regional representation means that our highest court will continue to represent all regions of Canada,” CBA President RenĂ© Basque said in a statement.

In June, Basque wrote to the government to reiterate the CBA’s request that the government uphold the convention of regional representation as a core element of diversity

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