Legal Feeds Blog
Sybil Johnson-Abbott sees just how much is going to go.
Heather Cross from Crystal Cyr Barristers gets the chop.
BLG clerk Jessica Tremblay; event organizer Sybil Johnson-Abbott; and Carleton University geography student Victoria Ozimkowski, who heard about the event from a lawyer friend, show off their donations.
Leanna Olson, a lawyer at Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, has her new haircut styled.
Diem Nguyen, an associate at Kelly Santini LLP, heard about Locks for the Law while on maternity leave and decided to cut her hair.
Vivian Buechman, 6, cut her hair in the spring and wanted to donate it. Her mother heard of this opportunity and Vivian came in with her dad to drop off her donation.
Back row l to r: Leanna Olson, Heather Cross, Jessica Tremblay, Sybil Johnson-Abbott, Victoria Ozimkowski, and Diem Nguyen with their newly cut hair. Front row: hairdressers at Mitra's Hair Design, where the event occurred.
Three years ago, Sybil Johnson-Abbott was returning to her job after being away on maternity leave and decided she needed a haircut. She realized it was long enough to donate it to charity, and wondered if some of her co-workers at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s Ottawa office would join her.
She was able to find five other women who were both willing to cut their hair and met the standards for hair donations: over 23 centimetres of hair they were willing to cut that had not been bleached or permanently dyed and contained less than five-per-cent grey. It takes six donations to make a wig, though some women with thick hair can make several donations.
Thus was born Locks for the Law, and it became an annual event hosted by BLG. Partnered with Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths charity, the hair donations will go to the Canadian Cancer Society and help to provide wigs for people who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment free of charge, says Johnson-Abbott.
“We definitely have enough for one wig, probably two, this year,” said Johnson-Abbott, looking at the row of brown, blonde, and black severed ponytails.
“It’s a renewable resource and can really make a difference in people’s lives,” she said. “It gives them a chance to look in the mirror and see themselves, and the strength to battle on. We’re really happy to be part of that.”
Photos: Catherine Lewis
SCC nominees questioned by MPs, Toronto Star
Ex-manager awarded $222,000 for wrongful dismissal, The Vancouver Sun
B.C. appeal court rejects law restricting pre-election spending, The Globe and Mail
Texas court break-in deemed prank, Reuters
$8.5B Bank of America deal to remain in federal court, Reuters
ICC questions Malawi over Sudanese president's visit, Reuters
Cameroon court rejects opposition's appeal to annul vote, Reuters
|Justice Rosalie Abella ruled that hyperlinks on web sites are more 'references' than 'publications.' Photo: Heather Gardiner|
“A hyperlink, by itself, should never be seen as ‘publication’ of the content to which it refers. When a person follows a hyperlink to a secondary source that contains defamatory words, the actual creator or poster of the defamatory words in the secondary material is the person who is publishing the libel. Only when a hyperlinker presents content from the hyperlinked material in a way that actually repeats the defamatory content, should that content be considered to be ‘published’ by the hyperlinker,” says the decision.
While dissenters Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin and Morris Fish generally agree with Abella’s ruling, they differ on the heart of the matter saying: “However, a hyperlink should constitute publication if, read contextually, the text that includes the hyperlink constitutes adoption or endorsement of the specific content it links to. A mere general reference to a website is not enough to find publication.”
The case involves Wayne Crookes, the president and sole shareholder of West Coast Title Search Ltd., who brought a series of lawsuits against those he claimed were responsible for a “smear campaign” against him and other members of the Green Party of Canada in articles published on a number of web sites in 2006.
Jon Newton has a B.C.-based web site containing commentary about various issues, including free speech and the Internet. One of the articles he posted on it was called “Free Speech in Canada,” which contained hyperlinks to other web sites, which in turn contained information about Crookes.
At both the trial and appellate level, the courts ruled the hyperlinks did not constitute publication of the impugned content.
Abella notes in her analysis that hyperlinks are essentially references. “Hyperlinks thus share the same relationship with the content to which they refer as do references. Both communicate that something exists, but do not, by themselves, communicate its content,” she writes.
She goes on to point out that: “The Internet cannot . . . provide access to information without hyperlinks. Limiting their usefulness by subjecting them to the traditional publication rule would have the effect of seriously restricting the flow of information and, as a result, freedom of expression.”
In the end, Abella says this ruling does not necessarily apply to all types of links on the Internet, particularly as it is constanlty changing.
“The reality of the Internet means that we are dealing with the inherent and inexorable fluidity of evolving technologies. As a result, it strikes me as unwise in these reasons to attempt to anticipate, let alone comprehensively address, the legal implications of the varieties of links that are or may become available. Embedded or automatic links, for example, may well prove to be of consequence in future cases, but these differences were not argued in this case or addressed in the courts below, and therefore need not be addressed here.”
Que. court to hear case against wood stove ban, The Gazette
Judge upholds sex assault conviction against B.C. cab driver, News 1130
Lawyer could face hefty legal bill following N.B. judge's ruling, CBC News
Conservationists lose bid to stop wolf hunts, Reuters
Chinese scientist pleads guilty to stealing U.S. trade secrets, Reuters
Venezuelan politician to run for office despite court ruling, Reuters
Tottenham soccer club drops Olympic stadium judicial review, Reuters
|RBC’s Emily Jelich will continue to push Canadian law firms on billing relationships with clients.|
The new committee members include Jelich as well as Bob Harchut, vice president and associate general counsel of GlaxoSmithKline; Eileen Kett, senior vice president, general counsel at Club Med; Roberta L. Lang, general counsel and global vice president of legal affairs with Whole Foods Market Inc.; Ellen Rosenthal, vice president and assistant general counsel litigation/chief counsel at Pfizer Legal Alliance, Pfizer Inc.; and Erika Rottenberg, vice president, general counsel, and secretary for LinkedIn.
Jelich will help provide practical guidance for in-house counsel and law firms seeking to bridge the gap between value and the cost of legal services.
Currently based in London, England on assignment for RBC, Jelich says it’s an interesting time in the economic cycle in terms of how firms are thinking about what their financial model will be for the future.
“They’re doing some of their own introspective thinking that isn’t just client reactive,” she says, adding that while legal process outsourcing has broken more ground outside of Canada, law firms know it is a threat.
“Part of the Value Challenge and pressure on firms is the growth of LPOs, which we’ve seen a little less of in Canada than in the U.S. or U.K. In the Value Challenge one of the things the ACC has been talking about both in-house and with firms is taking any piece of work and breaking it up to see who is best to provide the service rather than the historic approach which is you hire a firm and let them figure out how to handle each of the parts.”
RBC has been a leader in Canada on the issue of the Value Challenge for several years with executive vice president and general counsel David Allgood leading the charge.
“We have a goal of getting to 50 per cent of our billings being value-based over the next three-to-four years,” says Jelich. “So in terms of talking about it and asking firms to respond to it, we’ve been doing a lot of that in Canada.”
She says part of the education around value-based billing is to understand that it’s not about getting a discount.
“It’s a completely different metric; you have to get people to think about what those metrics are and what works for them and not to fall back on asking, ‘What would it have been on an hourly basis just so I know that I’m saving money?’ That’s not the point of the exercise. It’s an alignment exercise — it’s about aligning expectations and aligning goal-setting between the firm and in-house management of the case.”
That can be a difficult transition and different way of doing business for in-house counsel and law firms when both have historically been focused on hourly billing.
“Traditionally, with an hours-based model — not that the firm isn’t trying to do the best for its client — but from a financial perspective the firm is incented to make things take longer, that’s how they get paid. From a value-based perspective you want them to come to the result that is more sensible and good result for you which may mean a very short duration.”
Since it's launch three years ago, the ACC Value Challenge has had a tremendous impact on the relationship between law firms and their clients.
“This esteemed group of in-house counsel will help us to further the efforts started in 2008 and to achieve new milestones, including greater use of project management tools and innovative training programs,” noted Elisa Garcia, ACC Value Challenge Steering Committee co-chairwoman and executive vice president & general counsel, Office Depot, Inc.
The ACC is also about to launch an initiative celebrating “ACC Value Champions,” a recognition program to feature successful law department initiatives and firm/client collaborations.
Ruling expected for Shania Twain stalker, Calgary Herald
21-year-old B.C. man charged with murder of 4 women, The Globe and Mail
Federal Court won't review change room human rights case, National Post
Anadarko Petroleum to pay BP $4B for oil spill damages, Reuters
Female employees accuse restaurant of gender discrimination, Reuters
EU court bans stem-cell patents that destroy embryos, Reuters
Extradition treaty not biased against British criminals: review, Reuters
|Justice Andromache Karakatsanis|
“First reax on SCC noms — they’re consistent with past choices. Hard to see attempt to ‘stack’ the court,” law professor Carissima Mathen wrote on Twitter this morning.
Others, however, were surprised to see no one appointed directly from the bar to the top court as justice Ian Binnie had been. “Surprised no choice from the bar to keep Sopinka/Binnie tradition of appointments direct from practice alive,” tweeted Toronto litigator Jean-Marc Leclerc.
The nominations of Ontario Court of Appeal justices Michael Moldaver and Andromache Karakatsanis will be subject to review by an ad hoc parliamentary committee on Wednesday, but it has no power to reject them. That follows a process that began with the appointment of Justice Marshall Rothstein in 2006.
“Certainly not ‘liberal’ nominees, but ‘moderate.’ More importantly, meritorious. Not an attempt at ‘stacking’ the Court,” noted University of Victoria political scientist Emmett Macfarlane in his Twitter comments this morning.
|Justice Michael Moldaver|
Moldaver, meanwhile, brings an extensive criminal law background to the top court, a specialty that will help fill a major gap left by the departure of justice Louise Charron. He practised criminal law following his call to the bar in 1973 until his appointment to Supreme Court of Ontario bench in 1990. Besides teaching criminal law at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and serving as director of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, he has long been actively involved in continuing legal education. He became an Ontario Court of Appeal judge in 1995.
The two new judges replace retiring justices Ian Binnie and Charron. The pair announced their retirements in May.
Oct. 17 — Ontario — Manasie Ipeelee v. R.
Criminal law: Manasie Ipeelee was found intoxicated while riding his bike downtown and in possession of alcohol. He pleaded guilty to breaching a condition of his long-term supervision order to abstain from alcohol. The judge sentenced him to 2.5 years in prison and six months of pre-sentence custody. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. At issue is whether the judge gave sufficient consideration to the fact that the applicant is aboriginal and whether the sentence would differ between an aboriginal and non-aboriginal offender.
Oct. 17 — British Columbia — R. v. Frank Ralph Ladue
Criminal law: Frank Ralph Ladue was convicted of break and enter and sexual assault. He was released on a long-term supervision order. He later pleaded guilty to breaching the order by failing to abstain from intoxicants. The judge sentenced him to three years in prison. The Court of Appeal reduced his sentence to one year, ruling that the sentencing judge didn’t consider his aboriginal heritage and didn’t properly emphasize rehabilitation. Similar to the previous case, the main issue surrounds sentencing aboriginal offenders.
Oct. 18 — British Columbia — Catalyst Paper Corp. v. Corp. of the District of North Cowichan
Municipal law: Catalyst Paper Corp. challenged the District of North Cowichan’s property tax rates, claiming the rates were unreasonable because they have no relationship to the municipal service it uses or consumes. Catalyst sought a declaration that the property tax rate is illegal but the judge dismissed the petition. In question is whether a municipality has legislative discretion, including setting property tax rates, without statutory criteria.
Oct. 19 — Nova Scotia — Halifax Regional Municipality v. Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission
Charter of Rights and Freedoms: After Halifax and Dartmouth amalgamated Halifax was required by law to continue funding the Halifax Regional School Board. The Conseil Scolaire Acadien Provincial school board, for French-language schools, didn’t receive supplementary municipal funding. One of the respondents, Lucien Comeau, whose children attended a French school, filed complaints with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission alleging discrimination as a person of Acadian descent. Other parents challenged the provincial legislation in court and the N.S. government offered to amend the legislation so that both school boards receive the same funding. The human rights commission appointed an inquiry board, which Halifax successfully quashed. The main issue surrounds supplementary municipal funding for different school boards.
Oct. 20 — Manitoba — Nor-Man Regional Health Authority Inc. v. Manitoba Association of Healthcare Professionals
Labour law: An employee filed a grievance claiming she was denied certain vacation benefits, which violated the collective agreement she had with her employer, Nor-Man Regional Health Authority Inc. Nor-man maintained that casual time was excluded in calculating annual vacation time. The union held that casual time should be included. In question are collective agreement provisions relating to casual employees and annual vacation time.
Oct. 20 — Ontario — Mark Whyte v. R.
Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Based on an informer’s tip to police, Mark Whyte was arrested for various firearms offences without a warrant. At trial, evidence in regards to the firearms was excluded because his Charter rights had been violated and he was acquitted. The Court of Appeal overturned the trial judge’s decision and entered convictions. The main question is whether the trial judge erred in his decisions.
Oct. 21 — British Columbia — Franklin Shane Dorfer v. R.
Criminal law: Franklin Shane Dorfer was convicted of breaking and entering a dwelling house and committing sexual assault. He admitted to the break and enter but not the sexual assault, accusing another individual. The majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. The main question is whether the judge improperly instructed the jury on the use of the accused’s criminal record and evidence of bad character.
The SCC will also release its decisions in the following two cases this week:
Oct. 19 — British Columbia — Wayne Crookes v. Jon Newton
Oct. 20 — Ontario — Robert Katigbak v. R.
Woman waits over decade for ruling in child-custody case, Toronto Star
SCC upholds acquittal for woman accused of killing husband, The Gazette
Man arrested in dragging death of gas station attendant, CBC News
Top court to hear case over military medal lying, Reuters
Supreme Court to hear Shell Nigeria human rights case, Reuters
Egyptian court rejects presidential hopeful's appeal, Reuters
Israeli court discusses appeals over prisoner exchange, Reuters
The Canadian Bar Association’s British Columbia branch has launched an offensive to build support for increased funding to the province’s legal aid program.
Sharon Matthews, president of the CBA-BC, says the campaign, which features Internet ads and a web site, will target the general public.
“We fully understand the fiscal pressure the government is under; we want to engage the government in a positive fashion to begin the process of catching up,” says Matthews.
“Our research shows that the more the public knows about the real costs of continuing to under-fund legal aid, the more supportive they are of legal aid. People understand that real justice can only be achieved through equal access and that it is our mothers, children, and grandparents who are being most negatively impacted by the status quo. Through our web site and online ad campaign we will have real people speaking of their personal experiences in the system.”
Matthews says legal aid under-funding is at least partly responsible for overloading the court system with self-represented litigants and jamming up the courts with cases that should be dealt with outside court.
“Aside from the costs to the system, this is one reason for delays that lead to more and more criminal cases being dismissed because they aren’t heard in a timely manner. This is bad for taxpayers and bad for public safety,” Matthews said.
She will be bringing her message to B.C.’s interior and island communities on a provincial tour beginning Monday.
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Gail J. Cohen