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The Canadian Bar Association
CBA Influence

Less isn’t necessarily more when it comes to blood alcohol limit

By Kim Covert August 29, 2017 29 August 2017

If a blood-alcohol limit of 80 mg is an effective deterrent to drinking and driving, a 50 mg limit should be even better, right?

That’s essentially the thinking behind a proposal to limit the criminal blood alcohol concentration limit, but less, in this case, isn’t necessarily more.

That’s because 50 mg indicates the presence of alcohol in the blood but isn’t necessarily an indicator of impairment, says the CBA’s Criminal Justice Section in a letter to Justice Canada. While there is enough evidence of impairment to support a limit of 80 mg, there is “little to no consensus in the scientific community that 50 mg is impairing.”

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CBA Influence

Speaking out for judicial independence in Poland

By Kim Covert August 28, 2017 28 August 2017


Poland is becoming known as Europe’s problem child, with what one report calls a “worrying policy of polarization” that stems back to the election in 2015 of the Law and Justice party (PiS). Issues came to a boil this summer with a number of planned reforms that would have the effect of erasing judicial independence and give rise to the possibility of political influence on judicial decisions.

In July, the EU deemed those plans an amplification of a “systemic threat to the rule of law” in the country. It demanded that Poland “address these problems within one month,” failing which it was prepared to trigger Article 7, in which a member country’s EU voting rights are suspended.

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NAFTA negotiations

Does Canada’s NAFTA wish list contain key to compromise?

By Doug Beazley August 25, 2017 25 August 2017

Does Canada’s NAFTA wish list contain key to compromise?


Every new article about the negotiations to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement ought to start the way this one does — by admitting that, really, nobody knows anything.

During a rally speech on August 22, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened — again — to tear the agreement up. That was just days after a first round of talks in Washington, D.C. wrapped up with all three NAFTA negotiating teams still very far apart on the key files, such as rules-of-origin and ‘Buy American’.

So the NAFTA talks could end in a deal or in a messy political confrontation between the President and a reluctant Congress over whether he can cancel NAFTA on his own. Oddly enough, one of the most controversial sections in the agreement is offering a glimmer of hope for a compromise.

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CBA Influence

CBA welcomes first feminist international assistance policy

By Kim Covert August 25, 2017 25 August 2017


The CBA’s International Initiatives Committee applauds the federal government’s July announcement of a new feminist international assistance policy.

In a letter to the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Marie-Claude Bibeau, the Committee Chair, commended the government on its focus on inclusive governance, and gender equality.

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Copyright law

Battle over costs of fighting online piracy might be heading to SCC

By Justin Ling August 24, 2017 24 August 2017

Battle over costs of fighting online piracy might be heading to SCC

 


Canada’s notice-and-notice regime could soon see its first test at the Supreme Court as Rogers Communications fights for the right to charge rights-holders for the trouble of contacting those pirating copyrighted material.

It’s a legal battle that will serve to hone Canada’s unique copyright laws, but could also determine whether notice-and-notice continues to be the easiest avenue for rights holders, or whether it will be abandoned in favour of other methods to go after pirates.

The case is between Voltage Pictures and Rogers. The former, a film production company, has fought vigorously to go after those trafficking in their films online, conscripting Rogers to help it do so.

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Feature

Hitting the small and solo sweet spot: Quality. Accessibility. Profitability.

By Kim Covert August 23, 2017 23 August 2017

Hitting the small and solo sweet spot: Quality. Accessibility. Profitability.

 

Quality. Accessibility. Profitability.

Law firms with all of these characteristics have hit the “sweet spot” of legal practice, says Noel Semple, assistant professor at the University of Windsor Faculty of Law. The problem is that most small and solo law firms generally hit only two of the three.

In a white paper titled Accessibility, Quality and Profitability for Personal Plight Law Firms: Hitting the Sweet Spot, published by the CBA, Semple describes the professional challenges facing lawyers and identifies sustainable innovations to make their services more accessible while maintaining quality and profitability.

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CBA Futures

Legal futures round-up

By Yves Faguy August 22, 2017 22 August 2017

Legal futures round-up

Inspired by the CBA Legal Futures report on Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada, here’s our regular round-up of noteworthy developments, opinions and news in the legal futures space as a means of furthering discussion about our changing legal marketplace.

First a quick look at what’s happening around the world.

A new legal blockchain consortium has been announced. It brings together several law firms and legal tech companies, including IBM Watson Legal and US law firms Baker Hostetler and Orrick. The consortium will be looking into issues around the use of blockchain and smart contracts.

European law firm Fieldfisher has investsed in a digital platform that will automatically generate and update documents required during start-up funding rounds.  The idea is to help start-ups and investors negotiate and close deals remotely and more quickly.

Jim Neath, interviewed on why he left his position as global head of litigation at British Petroleum to consult on data analytics, said that law firms will ultimately move away from apply analytics internally to conduct data review”: “My own view is they will come to see high end computer analytics as not their core competency.”

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CBA Influence

CBSA pilot project not the answer to border backups

By Kim Covert August 21, 2017 21 August 2017


Once around the flagpole, then home?

Not so fast.

Flagpoling is a term used by foreign nationals who exit the country only to immediately re-enter in order to satisfy the requirements of a work visa or to confirm landing. Because of slow processing times and inefficient processes online and at immigration offices in Canada, it is more efficient for many people to go to a point of entry and do the quick turnaround than to deal with an inland immigration centre.

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Internet law

Hosting hate and limits to freedom of expression

By Justin Ling August 18, 2017 18 August 2017

Hosting hate and limits to freedom of expression

 

Following the events of Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, The Daily Stormer has been forced to retreat to the darknet.

While the average person was likely be unfamiliar with the site, until recent events, it is infamous in alt-right and far-right circles for its virulent anti-semitism, racism, and all around offensive content.

The Daily Stormer has had its fair share of legal troubles over the years, but the site has managed to stay online.

That changed on Monday, when the site’s host — GoDaddy — announced they would be booting The Daily Stormer from its domain hosting services. When the site moved to Google’s hosting service, they received a similar notice: The site is a violation of the host’s terms of service.

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Annual meeting 2017

Maureen Whelly Mills: 2017 President’s Award winner

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

Maureen Whelly Mills: 2017 President’s Award winner

 

This year’s President’s Award went to Maureen Whelly Mills, who in 1974 became the first female lawyer to practise in Moncton, N.B. Whelly Mills was a mentor to former CBA President René Basque when he was just starting out, and encouraged him to become an active CBA member.

Whelly Mills was president of the New Brunswick Branch in 1996-97, and working from 1988 to 2012 helped to introduce land titles to the province.

“Her supportive and enthusiastic mentorship of her colleagues throughout the years has had a remarkable and enduring impact on countless professional lives and careers,” said Basque. “Our Association has benefited immensely from her dedication and service.”

The President’s Award recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to the legal profession; made a significant contribution to the CBA; or have made a noteworthy contribution to the public life of Canada.

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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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