The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

CBA/ABC National

Legal innovation

The challenge of scalability for legal start-ups in Canada

By CBA/ABC National September 26, 2016 26 September 2016

One of the challenges facing legal start-ups in Canada is scalability in a relatively small market for legal services – a market that also happens to be governed by 14 governments and as many parliaments.  We raised the issue with Cian O’Sullivan of Beagle Inc, after he won the Pitch, hosted by the CBA and LegalX last month.  What’s interesting about Beagle is that it uses artificial intelligence to help lawyers – often in-house – read contracts.  As such its application isn’t tied to jurisdiction.

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CBA influence

Being reasonable when it comes to temporary residents

By CBA/ABC National September 23, 2016 23 September 2016

When it comes to the rules governing implied status and conditional permanent residence in Canada, a little reasonableness wouldn’t go amiss, the Chair of the CBA’s Immigration Section suggests in a letter to Immigration Minister John McCallum.

The letter follows up on a meeting held in the spring with Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada officials. Section Chair Vance Langford notes that the implied status rules can place an unnecessary burden on temporary residents, here on a work or study permit, who for example might file for an extension but not hear back before the permit expires. “These conditions force a temporary resident holding (implied status) who is required to travel outside of Canada to choose between remaining in Canada until a decision is made on the application or losing the ability to work or study.”

It shouldn’t be assumed that a foreign national who must leave the country doesn’t want to come back, either, the letter says – they may have to leave to do their jobs, or to attend to critical family matters. If they applied for but didn’t receive the extension before they left, they are forced to reapply for the permit at a point of entry. “This burden is greater for citizens of countries requiring a Temporary Resident Visa because a new TRV in addition to a work permit is required to return.”

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CBA influence

Weed whacking: Consultation on legalizing marijuana

By CBA/ABC National September 23, 2016 23 September 2016

Rethinking the role of marijuana in Canadians’ lives is an exercise fraught with obstacles, including nearly a century of social and legal stigma and the confusing dual nature of marijuana use – marginally accepted medical use and still-criminal recreational use. It’s hard for anyone outside the 4:20 culture to sit back and get mellow about it.

And that includes the federal government. The governing Liberals made big waves with their election promise to legalize marijuana. But the CBA response to a discussion paper released this summer notes that legalization is not the same as decriminalization, and legalizing without decriminalizing will be problematic.

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CBA influence

Judging the judges: CBA comments on judicial discipline

By CBA/ABC National September 21, 2016 21 September 2016

When news is released after business hours on a Friday or on the last day before government takes a holiday of some sort, don't expect it to get a lot of attention. That’s when the government released its consultation paper on judicial discipline – the last working day in June, at 4:30, on Twitter, with an Aug. 31 deadline for responses.

Nonetheless, the CBA brought together a team of lawyers with experience in the judicial discipline process and other professional discipline matters, including the chair of the Ethics Committee, to comment on the proposals. Their letter builds on a 2014 submission to the Canadian Judicial Council on the topic.

The CBA framed its response within the dual requirements of protecting the independence of the judiciary and ensuring that justice is not only done, but seen to be done.

“Self-governing professions are vulnerable to public suspicion that their governing bodies act in the interest of members of the profession rather than in the public interest,” the submission says.

The submission makes a total of 16 recommendations, including:


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The profession

LSUC recommends end to LPP

By CBA/ABC National September 20, 2016 20 September 2016

The LSUC is recommending scrapping the Law Practice Program as an alternative to articling.  More from the Law Times here.

Noel Semple is aghast

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