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Monday, 21 April 2014 08:00

Ex-judge orders public arbitration hearing

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In one of the few rulings on holding public arbitration hearings, a case that will determine the amount of private sector payments to help fund the Blue Box program in Ontario this year will be an open proceeding, a retired Ontario Court of Appeal judge has ruled.
A Toronto- and Ottawa-based court reporting company has broken its months-long silence to defend itself against claims that it knowingly overcharged clients that included the Federal Court and the Tax Court of Canada.
Monday, 21 April 2014 08:00

Law firms embracing tech startups

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When lawyer Debbie Weinstein took on BelAir Networks as a client 12 years ago, the technology startup was more a promising idea than a company. She wasn’t sure when, if at all, BelAir could pay its legal fees.
Among the noteworthy Ontario Court of Appeal family law decisions this year is Martin v. Sansome, a case that involved the interrelation between the property equalization provisions of the Family Law Act and the principle of unjust enrichment between married spouses.
While observers have suggested a recent Federal Court decision ordering Ontario-based Internet service provider TekSavvy Solutions Inc. to release the names of 2,000 of its customers to film production company Voltage Pictures LLC was a victory for copyright holders, it sends file-sharing cases down such a narrow path that it may not be profitable to follow.
FEDERAL JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS ANNOUNCED
The federal government has announced several new appointments of judges based in Ontario.

In Ottawa, Justice Kevin Phillips of the Ontario Court of Justice moves to the Ontario Superior Court in Ottawa. A judge since August 2013, Phillips replaces Justice Michael J. Quigley, who became a supernumerary judge last year. The court has now transferred his position to Ottawa. Prior to becoming a judge, Phillips worked as a Crown attorney in Ottawa.

At the Tax Court of Canada, John Owen, a lawyer with Bennett Jones LLP in Toronto, replaces former justice François Angers following his resignation in October.

Other appointments at the federal courts include Justice Richard Boivin to the Federal Court of Appeal. A Federal Court judge since 2009, he replaces Justice Johanne Trudel, who became a supernumerary judge in November.
In addition, Department of Justice lawyer René Leblanc, McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s Martine St-Louis, and George Locke of Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP have joined the Federal Court. Leblanc fills a new position on the court while Locke replaces Boivin and St-Louis replaces Justice André Scott following his move to the appeal court.

DAILY COURT INFO PUBLISHED ONLINE
The daily court list has gone online.

Instead of attending the courthouse or making a call, members of the public can now access basic information about court appearances by visiting ontariocourtdates.ca.

The web site lists the case numbers, names of parties, and appearance times for proceedings at the Superior Court and the Ontario Court of Justice for a given day.

“Modernizing court processes is a priority for our government, and making daily court lists available online is truly a step in the right direction,” said Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur.

“I would like to thank Chief Justice [Heather] Smith and Chief Justice [Annemarie] Bonkalo for their leadership on this initiative. By working together with the courts and our justice sector participants, we can and will achieve our vision of a modern, responsive, and sustainable justice system.”


OHRC RELEASES NEW POLICY ON TRANSGENDER RIGHTS
The Ontario Human Rights Commission released a new policy last week around the rights of transgender individuals and people of diverse genders.

The policy on preventing discrimination due to gender identity and gender expression explores how to remove barriers for transgender individuals.

Transgender individuals are among the most disadvantaged groups in society and routinely experience discrimination, prejudice, harassment, and even violence, said the commission. The new policy seeks to clarify the protections under Ontario’s Human Rights Code and help organizations create practices to prevent bias, discrimination, and harassment.

“It has been a long struggle to have these rights clearly protected in the code,” said chief commissioner Barbara Hall.

“Adding these grounds makes it clear that trans people are entitled to the same legal protections as other groups under the code. The challenge now is to send a message across Ontario that discriminating against or harassing people because of their gender identity or gender expression is against the law. This policy provides the tools to do this.”

The new policy addresses issues around gender identity, changing gender on official documents, dress codes, transitioning, and accessing facilities. It also provides clarification on terminology, information on key issues, a review of case law, and guidelines and best practices on how to meet the needs of transgender individuals and people of unique genders.

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

According to the poll, 83 per cent of participants disagree with the new victims bill of rights.

The majority of respondents feel the bill, introduced recently by the federal government as an effort to increase the information available to victims about matters affecting them, does little for them and will complicate court proceedings.

Criminal lawyers have told Law Times Ontario already has a functioning system in place to give victims information about criminal proceedings. They also said the bill doesn’t address what victims need most: quick resolution of cases and adequate compensation.
When Adalgisa Di Michele died in 1996, she left her house to three of her children. None of them now owns any part of the Mississauga, Ont., home thanks to a recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision on the power of an estate trustee that lawyers say leaves a door open to abuse.
In a case with significant implications for lawyers, the Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to consider whether adviser penalties found in s. 163.2 of the Income Tax Act are penal or administrative in nature.
Monday, 14 April 2014 08:00

Editorial: Go back to the drawing board

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Former Reform party leader Preston Manning got it right in expressing his concerns about the fair elections act last week.
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