By Jordan Bélanger, University of Montreal 

The practice of advertising legal services has long been a subject of ethical debate within the legal profession. Lawyer advertising was traditionally considered professional misconduct, as it was feared that soliciting clients would erode public confidence in the profession. Following increasing competition in the legal market, the prohibition on lawyer advertising was lifted by Canadian regulators in the early 1980’s. In today’s legal market, many practitioners routinely advertise their services through print, broadcast and online media, most notably in Ontario where a number of personal injury law firms make use of mass media advertising campaigns. Such marketing tactics in the area of personal injury law are raising concerns in the legal community, namely that public confidence in the legal profession is being undermined. Continue Reading Personal Injury Law Advertising

By Kate Jurgens, University of New Brunswick

 In 2015 the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench held a pre-trial motion for R v Edison during which the independence and impartiality of the Crown’s expert witness was called into question.[i] The defence sought to have the evidence excluded on the grounds that the expert was bias. This commentary provides an overview of the landscape of expert evidence admissibility in Canadian case law, in particular in light of R v Edison and White Langille, a recent Supreme Court decision which departs from previous jurisprudence. Continue Reading The Bias Expert Witness: R v Thomas Edison

By Olivia H. Gile, University of Ottawa

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (“CASL”), in effect since July 1, 2014, was implemented in different phases, the last of which provides for a private right of action (“PRA”), and would have been enforceable starting July 1, 2017. However, on June 7, 2017, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada confirmed that the application of the provisions relating to the PRA would be suspended indefinitely. This blog will summarize the obligations imposed by CASL before dealing with the challenges raised by the final phase of adoption. Continue Reading Anti-Spam Law: changes coming (or not?)

shutterstock_634195787By Kirsten Marsh, University of Ottawa

Section 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982[1] protects the rights of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples: Indian (First Nation), Inuit, and Métis. While acknowledging Aboriginal rights in the text of the Constitution is a major step forward for Canada’s Aboriginal people, recognition of Aboriginal rights in practice is a separate challenge. Métis are often referred to as ‘mixed-blood’ because of their mixed Indian and European ancestry. But the Métis are as diverse as their Europeans and First Nations ancestors, each with unique history, culture, and language. Continue Reading Powley in Practice: Failing the Métis in the Maritimes

shutterstock_204697267By Olivia Gile, University of Ottawa

The Federal Court recently interpreted the undefined exemption for “journalistic purposes” under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”, or the “Act”’). This exemption applies to organizations that collect, use or disclose personal information for journalistic purposes only. The courts applied the exemption narrowly, and only organizations that inform the public on matters of public interest may benefit from it. Continue Reading The “Journalistic Purposes” Exemption for the Collection, Use and Disclosure of Personal Information

By Mshutterstock_511296298ark Mancini, University of New Brunswick

In late 2016, the Ontario Court of Appeal in Canada Post Corporation v Hamilton (City)[1] had an opportunity to revisit the doctrine of federal paramountcy in the context of the most exciting of subjects: community mailboxes. The case got relatively little attention, but it is an important comment on the relationship between the doctrines of pith and substance and paramountcy in the division of powers analysis. Below, I review the facts of the case, and argue that the law should have been held invalid rather than inoperable. Continue Reading The Constitution and Community Mailboxes

By Christina Iannozzi, Western Law School

shutterstock_592290617Broad policy changes to the criminal justice system at all levels have positively impacted the number of domestic violence cases in which the system can intervene. Entry into the system is victim-initiated, and it has historically been under-used. To address these problems, one of the many changes to policy and practice over the past two decades has been the introduction of specialized criminal courts. There were three main goals in the creation of domestic violence courts (“DVCs”): (i) accelerate the court process; (ii) increase victim co-operation; and (iii) deliver appropriate sentences that are in the best interests of the victims.

Continue Reading An Introduction to Domestic Violence Courts

By Simon Pelsmakher, University of Windsor

shutterstock_318715832On January 6, 2017, a horrific shooting attack occurred at Ft. Lauderdale- Hollywood International Airport, which left 5 people dead and 42 injured. Unfortunately, this incident was not a one-off event, and the US has been plagued with many such shooting attacks in recent years. As former President Obama has argued: legally, it is all too simple for these individuals to acquire the necessary weapons to carry out such attacks. The law should therefore be amended and reformed to address these challenges. Continue Reading Amending US Gun Laws – an Outsider’s Perspective

by Marc Motiejunas, Thompson Rivers University

shutterstock_521761819What is a victim fine surcharge? Well, upon being found guilty of a crime, the guilty party may be required pay a monetary fine to the court. The amount of the fine is $100 for each summary offence and $200 for each indictable offence.

This money goes towards provincial programs such as victim services and counseling programs. There is controversy in regards to the surcharge, however. Individuals convicted of crimes may be impoverished and while $100 for an offence may seem insignificant to some, this amount is often devastating to those in such a position. Continue Reading Victim Fine Surcharges

by Jillian Ohayon, McGill University

shutterstock_67783021Professor Shauna Van Praagh’s engaging teaching style and friendly personality have made her very popular amongst McGill students, and I felt that many could benefit from her insight and advice. Professor Van Praagh teaches a first-year integrated Torts course and a second-year Advanced Common Law Obligations course, as well as a legal education graduate seminar. She received both her undergraduate degree in Physiology and her Law degree from the University of Toronto, clerked for Chief Justice Dickson, obtained her Masters and Doctorate degrees from Columbia University, and has taught at McGill since 1993. I sat down with Professor Van Praagh to ask her a few questions about her law school experience and her career. Continue Reading Interview with McGill Law Professor Shauna Van Praagh