Intervention at SCC
On October 12, the CBA intervened at the Supreme Court of Canada in Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission v. Whatcott. The CBA’s pro bono legal counsel, David Matas of Winnipeg, focused his arguments on the constitutionality of s. 14(1)(b) of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, which prohibits the publication of material that “exposes or tends to expose to hatred, ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of any person or class of persons on the basis of a prohibited ground.”
Mr. Whatcott argued that s. 14(1)(b) violated his freedom of expression under s. 2(b) or freedom of religion under s. 2(c) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The CBA advocated an interpretation of constitutionality based on the international context, including international conventions to which Canada is a party. CBA also argued against the Court overturning its 1990 ruling in Canada (Human Rights Commission) v. Taylor, a case in which the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a comparable provision to s. 14(1)(b) as constitutional (i.e., s. 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act).
Watch the hearing (CBA intervention at counter 216)
CBA Applauds Confirmation of Two New Judges to SCC
The CBA has welcomed Justices Andromache Karakatsanis and Michael Moldaver as the newest members of the Supreme Court of Canada. “Both justices are highly qualified individuals who will serve Canadians well at the Supreme Court of Canada,” says CBA President Trinda L. Ernst, QC, of Kentville, Nova Scotia. “They bring unique qualities to the highest court: Justice Karakatsanis offers extensive experience from government, while Justice Moldaver brings a strong background in criminal law.”
Both justices sat on the Ontario Court of Appeal. They replace Justices Ian Binnie and Louise Charron, who announced their retirements last spring.
PD Video Now Online: Whose Privilege Is It?
A video of the session entitled “Whose Privilege is it?” first presented live at the CBA’s Canadian Legal Conference in August, is now available for viewing on the CBA website. The video features a rapid-fire debate between Professor Adam Dodek of Ottawa (University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law) and Mahmud Jamal of Toronto (Osler LLP). This lively and entertaining session is an initiative of the CBA Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee.
The debate explores whether privilege should be extended to the clients of non-lawyer professionals, including paralegals; whether corporations and governments should benefit from solicitor-client privilege, or whether it should be limited to individuals; and whether the exceptions to the lawyer’s duty of confidentiality should be expanded to include reasonable belief of financial harm.
Time spent watching this program may be applied toward the annual CPD requirement in Northwest Territories.
Full details on accreditation are available online on the CBA website at: www.cba.org/cba/activities/code/debate.aspx
PHOTO - Top: Mahmud Jamal Bottom: Adam Dodek
CBA Critiques Bill C-10 at Parliamentary Committee
The CBA has serious concerns about the general direction of Bill C-10, Safe Streets and Communities Act, suggesting it is contrary to what is known to lead to a safer society, and would move Canada along a road that has failed in other countries, at great expense.
“The CBA offers its critique of Bill C-10 on the basis of a solid foundation of evidence and experience,” said Eric Gottardi, Vice-Chair of the CBA’s National Criminal Justice Section. “Criminal law should be based on the most effective policies and best use of public resources.”
In its approximately 100-page submission, the CBA says the legislation adopts a punitive approach to criminal behaviour, rather than a focus on how to prevent that behaviour in the first place, or rehabilitate those who offend. “As most offenders will one day return to their communities, prevention and rehabilitation are most likely to contribute to public safety,” the brief notes.
The CBA’s National Immigration Law Section has raised concerns with proposals in Bill C-10 aimed at protecting vulnerable immigrants. “While providing assistance to trafficked and other vulnerable people is laudable, these proposals would introduce a scheme that is vague, confused and potentially harmful to the very people it seeks to protect,” says the CBA brief.
Eric Gottardi of Vancouver and Prof. Michael Jackson of the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia and member of the CBA’s Committee on Imprisonment and Release presented the CBA brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on October 18.
CBABC WLF NEWS
CBA, B.C. WLF Mentoring Program 2012
Last call for those interested in signing up for the B.C. Women Lawyers Forum, 2012 Mentoring Program. Whether you are looking for advice on business development, practice management, or support from someone outside of your firm or community, the B.C. WLF’s Mentoring Program connects women lawyers from throughout the province. Now in its 8th year, the B.C. WLF’s Mentoring Program has matched more than 800 women lawyers.
Mentors and Mentees may be practising, non-practising or retired members of the Law Society of British Columbia. There is no minimum number of years of call to be a Mentor or Mentee, and peer mentoring is also encouraged. Membership in the B.C. WLF is required to participate in this program. If you are interested in learning more about the 2012 B.C. WLF Mentoring Program, or to join the WLF, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
CBA, B.C. WLF Senior Women Lawyers’ Dinner – January 11, 2012
Is your 50th birthday a memory? Do you remember receiving legal correspondence via telex or thermal paper fax machines? Are your days as a soccer or ballet mom over? If so, the B.C. WLF’s Senior Women Lawyers’ Dinner is for you! This annual dinner provides an opportunity for senior women lawyers to network with peers, and to engage in dialogue with a special speaker. Membership in the WLF is required to attend. Contact email@example.com to join the B.C. WLF, and look for event registration details.
INCAPACITY PROVISIONS AND WESA
We’ve been working hard at CLEBC to educate the profession about the new incapacity laws that came into force on September 1, 2011, and the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, expected to come into force in 2012. The WESA repeals and replaces existing wills and estates statues, and introduces many new substantive legal principles and procedural changes. The new statute is expected to be amended before it comes into force.
The fall 2011 update to Wills Precedents: an Annotated Guide incorporates changes to reflect the new incapacity provisions. The authors have also considered the wills drafting implications of the WESA. Despite some uncertainty as to the timing and final form of the WESA, practitioners can assist clients by considering some drafting and practice implications now. The authors have addressed many drafting issues, including some that are evolving. The next edition of Wills Precedents, likely soon after the WESA comes into force, will introduce further amendments to the clauses and commentary.
The fully annotated text of the WESA appears in CLEBC’s WESA Transition Guide. The Transition Guide also includes a narrative overview, tables of concordance, and several topical chapters on key emerging issues.
For further information, contact CLEBC customer service at 604-893-2121, or visit our website at www.cle.bc.ca.
Succession Planning: Tools, Documents and Resources
The Law Society of British Columbia’s website provides a wealth of information on succession planning.
BC LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
ACTS IN FORCE
There are no Acts in Force from August 31 to November 1, 2011. The Legislative Assembly of B.C. is in session from October 4 to November 24, 2011.
B.C. Legislative Update is provided as part of the CBABC legislative and law reform program. It is a service funded by CBA membership fees, and is, therefore, provided as a benefit of CBA membership. The full version of Legislative Update is now only published online and available to CBA members exclusively at www.cba.org/bc.