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Corporate Corner: Asset-backed commercial paper

There has been a lot of press recently about the credit crunch in Canada and the United States. Sub-prime mortgages, asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP), and the restructuring process surrounding the non-bank ABCP market in Canada have occupied a lot of media space. This article will attempt to give an overview of the issues.

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When Ménard speaks, colleagues listen

It’s been a long climb up the legal ladder for MP Serge Ménard.
He’s done it all - provincial Crown in Montreal, federal Crown, defense lawyer, president of l’Association des avocats de la défense, then Batonnier of the Quebec Bar, and finally ends up Quebec justice minister, taking on the Hells Angels and beating them into submission.

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Second Opinion: Connecting Pakistan to Canada: constitutions matter

The assault on the rule of law in Pakistan and the courageous response of the legions of lawyers taking to the streets of Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad are a vivid reminder that constitutions matter. But like the foundations of buildings and of our homes, constitutions are largely invisible, taken for granted, and tested only in dire times.

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Bencher's Diary: Revolutionaries within Osgoode’s hallowed halls

A lawyer . . . always has to remember he’s a part of the machinery by which justice is dispensed. When it comes to a matter of justice or injustice there isn’t such a thing as big or little. Injustice is a social malignancy.
- Erle Stanley Gardner

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The Hill: Beating up on lawyers

Did you see the smiles on the faces of the cops beating up on those lawyers on the street in Pakistan the other day?
It was all over the newspapers. Plainclothes police had a great time, going after well-dressed lawyers with clubs, kicking them and punching them.
It was a takeoff on the old lawyer joke: “What’s better than a lawyer at the bottom of the ocean?”

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A Criminal Mind: Defence bar relieved assistants can still set dates

The Law Society of Upper Canada’s new paralegal rules were about to have a dramatic effect across Ontario, until Convocation met on Oct. 25 and clarified new Bylaw 4. Criminal lawyers in Ottawa, Toronto, and across the province were becoming concerned that they could no longer send their assistants to court to set dates for them. The situation was most acute in the larger urban areas.

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Permissibility of polygamy put in new light

The extension of civil marriage to same sex couples has put the question of the permissibility of polygamy into a new light.
Opponents of same-sex marriage raised the spectre of Charter-mandated legalization of polygamy as the next wrenching lurch down the slippery slope to a godless society or, at least, extreme social dysfunction.
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Global Views:

In part one of this commentary, I mainly sketched the development of the principle of foreign state immunity from an absolute concept to its current circumstances in which lawsuits arising from commercial activities of states are excepted from immunity.

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The good lawyer

If there’s a heaven for sole practitioners, I’m sure he’s there.
He died much too young, but before he passed away, my colleague expressed the following lament: “My clients want to talk to me and need my advice, whether they are purchasing or selling a home, need a will or powers of attorney, are starting a new business or purchasing an existing one.
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Take your place in legal history

What did you do in the law, dad (or mom)?
Few things in legal history are harder to track than things that seem most obvious at the time. What was it like practising law in a sole practice or in a small Ontario town in the 1960s, say? How did the lawyers get along? What was a big case or a big deal like?

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A Criminal Mind: Finding those articles

In mid-July, the Ontario government doubled the legal aid rate for articling students from $23 to $46 an hour, but the effects won’t be felt for years.

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The Hill: Judges hope to heal rift

Canadian judges are tired of being nickel and dimed by the Harper government over their annual pay raises. But there’s hope on the horizon, with new Justice Minister Rob Nicholson - who may want to do something about it. It would be a welcome change from the continuing fight for the past 18 months between the almost-new Conservative government and the Canadian judiciary.

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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.