The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Yves Faguy

Cour suprême

Les juges doivent veiller au respect des droits linguistiques

By Yves Faguy November 16, 2018 16 November 2018

Les juges doivent veiller au respect des droits linguistiques

Toute personne, y compris le témoin, se présentant devant les tribunaux fédéraux doit pouvoir exercer librement son droit de s’exprimer dans la langue officielle de son choix. C’est ce qu’a tranché la Cour suprême du Canada en rendant sa décision dans l’arrêt Mazraani.

« C'est une très belle décision qui répond aux attentes de l'ABC en matière de droits linguistiques et d'accès à la justice », affirme Me Nicolas Rouleau qui a représenté l’Association du Barreau canadien dans son intervention dans cette affaire. « La décision vient clairement confirmer l'égalité du français et de l'anglais devant les tribunaux fédéraux. »

La décision tournait autour d’un litige impliquant un ex-représentant d'Industrielle Alliance, Kassem Mazraani, qui réclamait l'admissibilité à l'assurance-emploi. Mazraani, un anglophone unilingue se représentait seul. Cependant, les témoins et l’avocat d'Industrielle Alliance, qui, à titre d’intervenant, avait un intérêt dans le résultat de la décision, demandaient de témoigner en français. Encouragés par le juge, ils ont dû s’exprimer en anglais. Industrielle a porté en appel le jugement de la Cour candienne de l’impôt,  qui a tranché en faveur de Mazraani, aux motifs que les droits linguistiques de ses témoins avaient été enfreints . La Cour d’appel fédérale a ordonné la tenue d’une nouvelle audience devant un juge différent.

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Q&A

Penelope Simons on getting companies to respect human rights

By Yves Faguy November 14, 2018 14 November 2018

Penelope Simons on getting companies to respect human rights

 

This week, the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) published its 2018 report, concluding that most of the 100 companies reviewed are failing to live up to their duties under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.  Prior to the report’s release, CBA National interviewed Professor Penelope Simons of the University of Ottawa and the recipient of the 2018 Walter S. Tarnopolsky Award, recognized for her contribution to human rights, domestically and internationally, about how to address corporate complicity in human rights abuses.

CBA National: Can you give us a sense first of where we’re at in terms of corporate accountability for human rights violations?

Penelope Simons: This issue has been debated globally for decades. But in the early 2000s, the United Nations Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights adopted the Draft Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises which were submitted to what is now the Human Rights Council. The HRC rejected them. The Norms were drafted in mandatory language and were essentially a blueprint for a treaty that would impose binding legal obligations on business actors. Both states and businesses were strongly against the development of such obligations. However, the HRC did appoint, Harvard professor John Ruggie, as the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Business and Human Rights. He developed a policy framework and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) to operationalize the policy framework. In 2011 the Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the Guiding Principles. This was an important step forward, to have widely accepted document addressing business and human rights. However, the UNGPs are also flawed in a number of ways.

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Fintech

Canada’s cautious stance on regulating open banking

By Yves Faguy November 8, 2018 8 November 2018

Canada’s cautious stance on regulating open banking

 

When it comes to banking, Canadians tend to reach for the familiar.  Loyal to a fault, consumers here look to their primary financial institution for most products, even when they suspect they could get a better deal elsewhere.  No surprise then that few have taken notice of the open banking phenomenon sweeping across the globe, particularly in Europe, the U.S. and parts of Asia.

What is open banking? It’s an emerging model, fashioned by a mix of fintech innovation, changing consumer habits and regulatory forces, in which banks are being pressured to open up their customers’ data to third parties. This is done by allowing them to access open APIs, which offer a standard way for programmers to work with code they didn’t write, so that they can develop new and useful financial products for consumers. Those products, in turn, remove much of the hassle — known as friction — that comes with signing up new customers, and getting them to complete transactions using data collected by their banks.

For the consumers, the appeal is in getting better rates on lending rates and more transparency on financial products. 

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CBA Futures

Legal futures round-up

By Yves Faguy November 2, 2018 2 November 2018

Legal futures round-up

 

Time for a quick round-up of notable trends and developments and views that highlight innovation in the legal industry.

Bloomberg Law has an analytics platform for users who want detailed information about some 100,000 lawyers at over 775 law firms and their experience in litigation. It’s not a predictive tool by any means, but helps clients get a better picture of a lawyer’s true professional experience.

Law firms could certainly learn some lessons in their approach to self-management, project management and building a corporate brand from the accountancies.  But they shouldn’t completely emulate them either, Professor Laura Empson, director of the Centre for Professional Service Firms at Cass Business School in London, told Thomson Reuters. “One of the things that’s been a problem among the Big Four is that they’ve become so effective at professionalizing management that somewhere along the way the partners as individuals have felt disenfranchised and disempowered to such an extent they haven’t necessarily retained a sense of responsibility for the leadership of the firm.

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With the emergence of settlement counsel, must we update our code of conduct rules?

By Yves Faguy October 17, 2018 17 October 2018

With the emergence of settlement counsel, must we update our code of conduct rules?

 

In a recent Canadian Bar Review article co-authored with Brent Cotter, Michaela Keet returns to her interest in the emerging trend of splitting roles between litigation counsel and settlement counsel, which on negotiation to reach early settlement of disputes. The authors note some challenges, in dividing litigation and settlement tasks, particularly as practitioners in this model try to square their roles with existing professional rules:

SC is an example of commercial adaptation to the challenges of modern practice. Such innovations, however, are hampered by older normative frameworks around “the lawyer’s role”, located inside existing models of professional regulation.

[…]

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