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Speaker's Corner: The Charter, the great protector

Justice Ian Nordheimer’s recent decision in Ali v. Canada (Attorney General), 2017 ONSC 2660 underlines the centrality of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in protecting underprivileged and marginalized members of our society. The Charter turns 35 years old this year, and while its history has not been without controversy, in both political and legal circles, Ali demonstrates the Charter’s continued ability to influence our jurisprudence.
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Editorial: Intervention early

A Law Times story this week describes a new study by the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice.
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Speaker's Corner: Sexual assault processes need new options

Despite many changes to the Criminal Code sexual assault provisions and training of judges and other actors, the legal system still has challenges when it comes to sexual assault.
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Editorial: Nudging SIU change

There was much food for thought in Justice Michael Tulloch’s recent report on three police oversight bodies in Ontario, particularly for lawyers.
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Speaker's Corner: Time for courts to go paperless

Much ink has been spilled, so to speak, on the Ontario courts’ failure to move into the digital age. Despite this frequent criticism, the problem persists without a solution in sight.
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Fluid border isn’t new

The sleepy town of Emerson, Man. has been much in the news recently as the entry point to Canada for refugees fleeing Donald Trump’s America. But this is not the first time Emerson’s role as a border town has thrust it into the limelight.    
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Editorial: The last resort

Law Times reports the Fair Change Community Services Legal Clinic is looking to launch a constitutional challenge to the provincial Safe Streets Act, which bans aggressive panhandling.
The move comes after the clinic said it scored a victory in 2016 after fighting tickets and fines that homeless people had incurred under the act. Lawyers say the act criminalizes people who are impoverished and that tickets issued under the act waste valuable time and resources in provincial courts, increasing delays.
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Speaker's Corner: To strike or not to strike

A motion to strike is an important tool in the litigator’s arsenal, often used to achieve a speedy end to litigation. The courts have repeatedly held that the test is whether it is plain and obvious that the pleading, construed generously, discloses no reasonable cause of action or defence assuming the facts pleaded to be true. But what happens when the court is faced with a novel claim — one that does not fit neatly into the traditional confines of existing legal doctrines, such as negligence? The answer is that public policy considerations must move in to fill the gap.
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Editorial: Timing is everything

Once upon a time, in 2015, a plan by then-president Barack Obama and then-prime minister Stephen Harper to make travelling between the two countries faster seemed like a very sensible idea.
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Speaker's Corner: Call for clarity on Crown’s duty to consult

The Crown’s duty to consult indigenous peoples — where a decision has the potential to adversely impact existing or asserted aboriginal or treaty rights — finds its root in s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, which states, “The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.”
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Editorial: Not so vexatious

Justice David Stratas of the Federal Court of Appeal has delivered a balanced ruling on the thorny problem of vexatious litigants. As reported in Law Times, lawyers say the ruling litigant will bring greater certainty to when and how lawyers should bring motions to curb frivolous litigation.
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Speaker's Corner: Criminal law out of step on HIV

While there remains no cure for HIV, available medications are effective at managing the virus. People living with HIV who have access to sustained treatment have more or less the same life expectancy as those who are HIV-negative. Knowledge of prevention strategies is also better than ever, and it is much harder to transmit HIV than generally supposed. For example, the risk of transmission is zero if a condom is used properly and no breakage occurs, and it’s negligible to zero if a person living with HIV is being successfully treated with antiretroviral medications.
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Law Times poll

An estate trustee who took an ‘egregious' position in litigation has been ordered to personally pay more than $140,000 in costs. Will this ruling serve as an appropriate caution to executors on how they conduct themselves in litigation?
Yes, this will remind trustees of the potential exposure of significant awards being made against them personally.
No, it’s unlikely this ruling will dissuade executors from engaging in unreasonable conduct during litigation.