Legal Feeds Blog
Sexual assualt charges against B.C. man dropped in Colorado, Canadian Press
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has nominated a new Supreme Court justice from the Atlantic Provinces, despite indicating he might buck convention and choose a justice from elsewhere.
|Malcolm Rowe has been nominated to be the next Supreme Court of Canada justice. Photo credit: David Howells.|
“I am greatly excited to announce the nomination of Mr. Justice Malcolm Rowe, whose remarkable depth of legal experience in criminal, constitutional, and public law will complement the extensive knowledge of the other Supreme Court justices," Trudeau said in a press release.
Rowe will fill a vacancy created when former justice Thomas Cromwell, of Nova Scotia, retired from the bench at the beginning of September.
In the run up to Cromwell’s retirement, Trudeau declined to commit to replacing him with a justice from Atlantic Canada, as convention dictated.
The legal community in the Atlantic Provinces scoffed at the idea and the Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association filed a court challenge to ensure the convention was respected.
The association will now likely drop its challenge next week, says APTLA’s president, Cynthia Taylor.
“APTLA is very pleased that the prime minister has chosen a judge from Atlantic Canada, which will allow Atlantic Canada to continue to have a voice on the Supreme Court,” says Taylor.
“This is in line with the long standing Canadian convention of having a judge from Atlantic Canada.”
Nicole O’Byrne, an associate professor at University of New Brunswick’s Faculty of Law, says she was “pleasantly surprised” by news about the nomination.
“National institutions such as Parliament, and Senate and the Supreme Court of Canada, gain their legitimacy from representing the constituencies that they serve, and Newfoundland has never had an appointment, they were long overdue,” says O’Byrne.
“So this appointment really marks a huge milestone in Canadian constitutional history, because it’s the first time a judge from Newfoundland and Labrador has been appointed."
O’Byrne said regional representation is part of the “Confederation bargain” that Newfoundland signed up for.
“They deserve to have their voice heard at this level of decision-making, so I’m thrilled,” she says.
Rowe has sat on the Court of Appeal of Newfoundland and Labrador since 2001.
Born in St. John’s, N.L., Rowe attended Osgoode Hall Law School before he was called to the bar.
He became clerk of the Executive Council and Secretary to Cabinet in the provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1996. He was then appointed to the province’s Supreme Court, Trial Division in 1999 before he ascended to the Court of Appeal for Newfoundland and Labrador.
Rowe’s nomination was also the first under the federal government’s new Supreme Court justice selection process, which included the creation of a new advisory board that would recommend potential judges.
The Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG), which presented “Imprisoning the Innocent: Bail and Wrongful Convictions in Canada”, will be holding its first-ever Access to Justice Week on October 17 to 21. Visit their website for a full list of events.
Recent and significant amendments to U.S. trade and customs laws will adversely affect foreign exporters, including Canadian, so it’s imperative they be aware of them, says one U.S. foreign trade counsel.
This is even more the case now given the current “negative sentiment being propagated against NAFTA” south of the border, according to Dharmendra N. Choudhary of the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Grunfeld Desiderio et al.
The Trade Preferences Extension Act of June 2015 (Trade Remedies Act) and Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of February 2016 give several departments and agencies — the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Commission and Customs and Border Protection — a vast array of new tools to counter alleged dumping and subsidies, says Choudhary.
U.S. domestic industry had complained that existing legislation was insufficient to counter the trend of dumping illegal exports into U.S. markets, which prompted the amendments, Choudhary says. Changes enacted under the Trade Preferences Extension Act of June 2015 were the most significant, revamping certain key sections of U.S. trade law dealing with anti-dumping and countervailing duty.
Dumping is the sale of goods by foreign producers or exporters in an export market, such as the United States, at prices that are lower than the prices received by the producer or exporter for sales of the same or similar products in their home market or a third market, or prices that are below the cost of producing the products (“less than fair value”). Countervailing duty is the import tax imposed on certain goods in order to prevent dumping or counter export subsidies.
In anti-dumping proceedings, the rate of duties is dependent on a “fair value” determination over which the Commerce department now has vast discretion, Choudhary explains. Broadly speaking, the law covers two types of trading nations: market economy countries such as Canada, and non-market economies such as China. For countries designated as market economies, the law requires Commerce to calculate fair value based, preferably on an exporter’s home-market sale prices, or alternatively on an exporter’s third-country selling price, or using a cost construction method.
Prior to the amendments under the Trade Preferences Extension Act, an exporter’s home market sales prices could be disregarded only absent a “viable” home market (i.e., home market sales that constituted five per cent or more of its sales to the United States), or in case a “particular market situation” prevailed in the home market, Choudhary reports.
Now, the Commerce department can reject home market sales prices (previously the default choice for normal value) by invoking a “particular market situation.” This already existed in the World Trade agreement on anti-dumping, but was not clearly defined, says Choudhary. “In this amendment, the law for the first time has been amended to provide wide powers applying to any market economy country like Canada,” he says.
A “particular market situation” can be "abnormal market behavior" such as subsidies. “In my experience,” he says, “if there are subsidies provided in countries of production, Commerce can say that a producer was producing goods with a subsidy, so, for lower than market value.” So, exporters to the U.S. need to “be careful of [their] behaviour,” Choudhary warns, and not purchase from countries which the U.S. Commerce department defines as “particular market situations.” Exporters would also be wise to maintain in-house control of production of goods that are being exported to the U.S. for the same reason, and be careful to dot their i’s and cross their t’s.
“Now, the department of Commerce has been allowed to fill in the gaps using the most adverse information,” according to Choudhary. “Any information missing [on the exporters’ forms], and exporters will be told they are deliberately not providing it. … Even if missing information is only five per cent, … it can be very bad for the exporter.”
Man suspected of shooting Mountie found dead in B.C.: police, Canadian Press
The newest cohort of legal professionals in Canada can look forward to a more than three per cent overall hike in starting salaries, according to a projected figure in a recent report.
|Sara Lutecki, division director, Robert Half Legal, says employers are looking for technological proficiency when evaluating candidates for jobs, and that may favour newer graduates.|
“Law firms in many markets are expanding their first-year and summer associate programs,” says Sara Lutecki, division director, Robert Half Legal. “We’re also seeing large firms starting to boost starting salaries for new associates and tenured attorneys.”
Robert Half Legal’s Annual Salary Guide for 2017, which was released Oct. 6, forecasts steady improvement in the legal job market in Canada over the year ahead. The guide points to the residential and commercial real estate sector as a driving force behind an uptick in employment across the country. Boutique law firms, mid-size firms and companies are doing the bulk of the hiring, says the guide.
Lutecki says employers are placing a premium on interpersonal skills and technological proficiency when evaluating candidates.
“This may play a part in the decision to take on newer graduates, both lawyers and legal support professionals, who may have more experience with tech-tools or be more flexible in adopting new technology,” she says.
The guide predicts first-year associates at small law firms and lawyers with one to three years of professional experience at small-to-midsize law firms should see greater-than-average salary gains.
According to the survey — which set aside compensation or bonuses -- top considerations for legal professionals were challenging work or variety of assignments, flexible work arrangements, professional development opportunities and vacation or time-off policy.
“Getting creative with benefits packages, flexible work arrangements and better balance overall has become an essential strategy for legal firms and companies to retain valuable legal staff,” Lutecki says.
Additional time off, extended family leave and subsidized meal plans were listed as perks to improve work-life balance.
Lutecki says law firms are hiring to expand lucrative practice groups or establish new services while legal departments are recruiting professionals to support an increase in case work related to commercial litigation and transactions.
“In the corporate world, renewed business activity and ongoing regulatory requirements are creating demand for specialized in-house counsel,” Lutecki says. “Corporate legal departments are seeking associates not only to handle legal and regulatory matters but also to support the organization’s business objectives by identifying new opportunities that don’t pose significant risks.”
Legal professionals with experience in high-demand areas such as real estate, intellectual property and corporate transactional law have multiple opportunities open to them and multifaceted job candidates with skills in other disciplines — such as finance, business or technology — and those who also have non-law degrees in applied sciences or professional designations are also in demand.
According to the guide, seven out of 10 lawyers said it’s “somewhat or very challenging to find skilled legal professionals.”
By a wide margin, the top two practice areas reported in the survey as offering the greatest number of job opportunities were general business/corporate law, 36 per cent, followed by litigation at 31 per cent. The next practice area was intellectual property at 7 per cent.
The annual salary guide is based on research and local and national employment data gathered from Robert Half Legal offices throughout North America.
By the numbers:
• Average starting salaries for lawyers at law firms are expected to increase 3.4 per cent in 2017.
• Starting salaries for lawyers with one to three years' experience at a small-to-midsize law firm (10 to 35 lawyers) are expected to increase 4.5 per cent from 2016, to the average range of $77,250 to $115,250 annually.
• First-year associates at small law firms (up to 10 lawyers) are expected to earn between $55,000 and $72,500, a 5.2 per cent increase over 2016 projections.
• Corporate lawyers are expected to see average compensation gains of 3.3 per cent over 2016 levels.
• Starting salaries for in-house counsel with four to nine years' experience at large companies ($250 million or more in revenue) are projected to rise 3.9 per cent, to the range of $151,000 to $260,000 annually.
• On average, starting salaries for legal specialists are predicted to rise 4.1 per cent.
General fined $2,000 for accidental gunshot in Iraq, Canadian Press
Marie Corbett served as a judge for the District Court of Ontario at Toronto from 1986 to 1990, and then as a justice for the Ontario Superior Court from 1990 until her retirement in 1999. Her book “January: A Woman Judge’s Season of Disillusion” was published this past spring.
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