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A round-up of the Canadian Bar Review

Here’s a quick peek at the latest from legal scholarship on emerging issues in law.

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Predictive coding and litigation privilege

Gideon Christian of the University of Calgary examines how predictive coding and artificial intelligence (AI) technology can effectively complement the work of lawyers in e-discovery and civil litigation. He discusses whether AI technology in document review complies with court rules on documentary disclosure, and the paper contains some interesting questions on whether litigation privilege applies to seed sets (or training sets) used in training a predictive coding algorithm:

The absence of any exercise of skill, judgment, and reasoning by counsel in selecting or generating documents under the random sampling techniques makes the generated seed set unqualified for litigation privilege. A group of documents generated through this process is incapable of revealing a lawyer’s legal theory, litigation strategy, or the lawyer’s opinion on the strength and weaknesses of the case. Applying litigation privilege to this group of documents does not in any way advance the principle or policy objective of litigation privilege.

However, a seed set generated using judgmental sampling is deserving of litigation privilege. Judgmental sampling technique involves extensive use of human intelligence to select a group of documents that meet predetermined criteria set by the lawyer.

Reconciliation and ethical lawyering

Pooja Parmar of the University of Victoria examines the focus on cultural competence as a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action 27 and 28. Specifically, she raises concerns that a limited conception of cultural competence is unlikely to help lawyers in doing a better job representing Indigenous clients or change Indigenous peoples’ experience with the legal system more broadly.  She calls on legal professionals to be better translators across legal worlds. As such they need to train to be ethical translators:

The practice of law that is not attentive to this translational aspect of representation in multi-juridical spaces cannot be considered ethical or competent if we are committed to undoing historical wrongs and meaningful reconciliation. A commitment to enabling access to justice for Indigenous peoples requires an acknowledgement of an obligation to engage in ethical translations. When the legal system requires claims to be rendered legible in the language of the common or civil law, a meaningful response to the TRC Calls would be training lawyers to have the skills to navigate multiple legal orders and for them to strive to be better translators for Indigenous peoples.

Shopkeeper’s privilege coming to a store near you?

Some jurisdictions have laws that recognize shopkeeper's privilege, whereby shopkeeper can detain a suspected shoplifter on store property for a reasonable period of time. Connor Bildfell of McCarthy Tétrault notes that, in Canada, Canadian courts have traditionally resisted attempts to establish such a special privilege permitting them where they have reasonable grounds to believe that an offence has occurred, which could expose them to civil liability. That is until the Ontario Superior Court ruled in 2016 shopkeepers had a right to perform brief investigative detentions based on a reasonable belief that theft has occurred. Bildfell cautions that the privilege must be carefully circumscribed, including the use of force, the acceptable length of detention and the prohibition of searches without consent: “If a detainee has been asked to participate in a search but has declined to do so, it would be an unacceptable intrusion on the detainee’s privacy rights and bodily integrity for the shopkeeper to perform a search over the detainee’s protests, and such a search could cause the detainee

unnecessary embarrassment, humiliation, and discomfort. The better solution is to defer the search until the authorities arrive, at which point the search can be performed in a professional and discreet manner.”

Tech-facilitated violence against women and girls

"The internet is iterative, with boundless capacity for reproduction, dissemination and publicity. The consequences for victims are correspondingly staggering," write Jane Bailey and Carissima Mathen, of the University of Ottawa. “Not only does the internet’s sheer size and scope have severe limiting effects on any remedial measures, it also can lead to extreme psychological harm and emotional suffering.” In their paper on tech-facilitated sexual violence against women and girls, the authors set out to evaluate how effectively Canadian criminal law is responding to the challenge. They conclude that the quality of the response may be lacking for two main reasons: “Our review of the reported TFVAWG case law identified two different types of constraints on achieving those outcomes: narrow interpretations of harm and violence and responsibilization of women for their attacks.”


Can Indian self-government be promoted through the Indian Act?

Frankie Young at the University of Western argues that Indian self-government cannot be promoted through the Indian Act. Specifically she analyses Section 90(1), first included in the Act in its present form in 1951, and the Supreme Court’s finding in McDiarmid that Parliament intended to promote Indian self-government by reforming the Act. It’s view, she writes that “is wholly inconsistent with the inherent nature of Indian self-government in which Indian peoples have claimed for hundreds of years. These kinds of legal decisions ensure that Indigenous peoples will almost certainly continue to be disadvantaged.”

La compétence internationale indirecte

Dans le contexte de la reconnaissance d’une décision étrangère au Québec, Gérald Goldstein de l’Univeristé de Montréal conteste l’opportunité de la décision de la Cour suprême du Canada dans l’affaire Barer qui fait reposer sur le demandeur la charge de prouver la compétence du tribunal étranger, contrairement à la lettre et à l’esprit de l’article 3155 CcQ. Il déplore la position majoritaire relative au standard de soumission au tribunal étranger, rejetant une théorie tenant réellement compte de l’intention du défendeur. Il approuve cependant celle confirmant la jurisprudence permettant d’utiliser un pouvoir discrétionnaire (art 3164 CcQ) dans le contexte d’une règle de compétence expresse (art 3168 CcQ).

Injonction provisioire, urgence et négociation

Samuel Grondin de l’Université de Sherbrooke s’intéresse au caractère évolutif de l’injonction. Il rappelle que pour satisfaire aux conditions d’octroi d’une injonction interlocutoire provisoire, une partie doit convaincre le tribunal que la situation vécue se qualifie par rapport à l’exigeant critère applicable dans de telles circonstances : celui de l’urgence. Cet exercice impliquera notamment de démontrer en quoi elle a fait preuve de diligence en réagissant promptement, et ce, de manière à ce que le tribunal puisse conclure que la situation d’urgence vécue ne découle pas des choix effectués par cette même partie. Or, en réaction à l’urgence de la situation, il peut être tout à fait logique pour une partie de tenter de négocier avec l’autre partie au différend pour préserver ses droits plutôt que de se précipiter au Palais de Justice pour requérir l’intervention du tribunal. Il conclut : « L’appréciation de ce qui constitue une conduite diligente d’une partie dans la préservation de ses droits face à une situation d’urgence doit désormais être abordée de manière plus large et inclure le fait, pour cette même partie, de réagir promptement en engageant une négociation avec l’autre partie au différend ».