The hidden side of the abortion issue

By: Law is Cool · August 31, 2009 · Filed Under Civil Rights, Ethics · Comments Off 

MDs face scrutiny over duty to unborn

Does an obstetrician have a duty of care to an unborn child?

A Guelph hospital, citing a 2008 court decision that found a doctor had no such obligation in the case of a girl born with birth defects because of an acne drug prescribed to her mother, says no.

But the family of another child says yes.


Bon Cop, Bad Cop

By: Law is Cool · August 31, 2009 · Filed Under Criminal Law · Comments Off 

Cop corruption case revived

Today the dramatic and costly case against the Toronto drug squad officers see-saws yet again when prosecutors try to revive charges thrown out by a judge in 2008. The charges were tossed because the Crown took too long to bring the case to trial.


Jameel Jaffer of ACLU is a Canadian!

By: Law is Cool · August 30, 2009 · Filed Under Civil Rights, International Law · Comments Off 

Today’s Toronto Star profiled a Canadian lawyer who has taken on the Bush Administration through the ACLU, and was key in helping discover the torture memos.

Jameel Jaffer, only 39 years old, was born in London, Ontario, before graduating from Williams College, Cambridge University, and Harvard Law School and serving as a law clerk to Hon. Amalya L. Kearse, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada.

What makes Jaffer unique is that he was co-lead counsel for ACLU v. Department of Defense, which released thousands of documents about prisoner abuse in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo Bay.

He was also lead counsel in Doe v. Ashcroft, which challenged National Security Letters (NSLs) under the PATRIOT Act, and counsel in MCA, et al. v. Ashcroft and Mueller, challenging the “chill” in donations to mosques as a result of the PATRIOT Act.

Jaffer might just be the Canadian who has done the most for civil rights in the U.S. during this crucial time, and should probably be better recognized and celebrated in his home country.

Here’s a clip from him via the ACLU:

No Articles? The Extreme Option.

By: Joel Welch · August 30, 2009 · Filed Under Law Career · 1 Comment 

In January 2008, the Law Society of Upper Canada (“LSUC”) Licensing and Accreditation Task Force issued a Consultation Report in which it predicted that for the licensing period 2009-10, there would be a gap of 400 candidates who would be unable to secure articling positions in Ontario. This prediction assumed the economy remained strong.

Fast-forward to August 2009. The economy is showing some limited signs of recovery but remains mired in recession. The formalized articling recruitment period regulated by LSUC for all intensive purposes has finished. The Ontario criminal defence bar is in the midst of a legal aid boycott with its membership suffering. And there are even more candidates looking for articles because of increased enrollment at international law schools and the legacy of the double cohort.

Although still early in the process, the increase number of students looking for articles in combination with fewer articling positions available due to the poor economy means that if you are still looking for articles, you may be in trouble.

Take comfort in the fact that the summer of 2010 when most articles begin is a year away. The economy may improve and many smaller firms hire on a needs basis. In fact, it is not uncommon for a firm to immediately hire an articling student when a big case comes along. But what happens next year when the heat of summer is bearing down and you have not secure articles?

Have you ever consider articling for free? Simply convince a member of LSUC to become your articling principal. The lawyer needs to be in good standing with the law society and has practice law for at least three out of the past five years and who is not currently the subject of a professional complaint.

After seven years of attending university, do you really need a paycheque? Think of it this way – you do not have to pay tuition – only living costs, dress clothing, loan payments, and a car. From your principal perspective, he or she is giving their valuable time to mentor you in the ways of the legal profession and the quid pro quo is for you to work for them without financial compensation. It is only for ten months after all and the banks will surely extend you more credit.

Undoubtedly some people will criticise the option of articling for free as the 21st century professional world equivalent of slavery. That such a barrier to licensing as the lack of paid articling positions only props up an existing oligarchy of privilege dominant in the legal profession. But these criticisms would likely only be voiced by those not desperately seeking their articles.

To be fair, LSUC has recognized the issue and has taken some action such as the creation of an articling registry, the streamlining the filing process, and the hiring of additional staff. However, it needs to do more. The registry is underused by employers and there are no alternatives to the articling requirement such as additional course work.

A failure by LSUC to adequately address the needs of the hundreds of law students who will be unable to secure their articles this coming year will certainly be noted by the Ontario Fairness Commissioner acting under her authority found in the Fair Access to the Regulated Professions Act.

Top Ten Wikipedia Entries Include Lawsuits vs God

By: Law is Cool · August 29, 2009 · Filed Under Humour · 1 Comment 

Daniel Finkelstein of Times Online presents the Top Ten Wikipedia Entries.

Lawsuits against God top the list, and for good reason.  We’ve covered some of them before, but we never knew there were others…

Be sure to check out Lawsuits against the devil as well.

Harper Appeals a Stimulus for Government Lawyers

By: Contributor · August 29, 2009 · Filed Under Humour · Comments Off 

Canadians Have Reason to Love Our Healthcare

By: Omar Ha-Redeye · August 28, 2009 · Filed Under Health Law · Comments Off 

For all we’ve heard about the ills of the Canadian healthcare system during the debate about reform in the U.S., it’s worth noting that we still have some of the best outcomes in the entire world.

The CBC has an article today that shows a map of global life expectancies, and a link to a site by an American professor that allows a comparison of mortality risks.

life expectancy

We should be proud of what we’ve accomplished here.

Cross-posted from Slaw

France’s Hijab Bans Extend to Banks

By: Law is Cool · August 28, 2009 · Filed Under Civil Rights, International Law · Comments Off 

So keep them out of schools, bar them from employment in the public sector, and then prevent them from getting their own money from the bank?

Someone is oppressing women here, it’s just not who you might think at first.

She’s taking the case to discrimination council (something akin to a human rights commission), as she should.

The Underworld of Anti-Muslim Blogging

By: Law is Cool · August 28, 2009 · Filed Under Civil Rights, Law School, Media Law · Comments Off 

Devon Moore of the Daily Kos features what he calls,

a cesspool of some of the most vile hatred and misinformation on the internet…

They range from academics such as Daniel Pipes, self-declared scholars like Robert Spencer and his JihadWatch, to open racists such as Debbie Schlussel, Pamela Geller and the blog Gates of Vienna.

He points to this site as a great resource for tracking those who will likely be the first victims of litigation when hate speech legislation eventually catches up to modern (Internet) standards: is a blogzine run by a motley group of hate-allergic bloggers to monitor and expose the web’s plethora of anti-Muslim loons, wackos, and conspiracy theorists.

We’ve had our share of Loons around here, so I guess this is your warning – you’re being watched.

Infidels are Cool (no relation to us) respond to the piece,

Funny how Kos fails to present anything to refute the “misinformation” just states that it is so.

We’ve done plenty of refuting here on this site, and there’s more information readily available through accredited academic sources.  Problem is, these people are never so inclined to learn about it in the first place.

Tattoo as evidence of murder

By: Law is Cool · August 28, 2009 · Filed Under Criminal Law, Evidence · Comments Off 

Telltale teardrop quashes acquittal

Ontario Superior Court Justice Todd Archibald should not have barred testimony from a gang expert and three Malvern Crew members that could have bolstered the Crown’s case that Abbey had a teardrop tattooed under his right eye to show he had shot Simeon Peter, 19, the appeal court ruled.


The heavy hand of family law

By: Law is Cool · August 28, 2009 · Filed Under Family Law · 1 Comment 

Domestic abuse law blasted

Ontario’s “zero tolerance” policy on domestic violence has come into question following an unusual court case involving an Orangeville-area woman who was charged with assault after joking in emails that she could solve her marital problems with a gun, if only she could get one.

Alison Shaw, 40, was forced out of her home and ordered to stay away from her three children after her estranged husband claimed to have been “frightened” by the online missive, which followed what a judge described as a “one-punch bar fight” over a month earlier in an area Legion hall.


Facebook Agrees to Comply with Canada’s Privacy Laws

By: Vitali Berditchevski · August 27, 2009 · Filed Under Media Law, Privacy, Privacy Law, Technology · 2 Comments 

A triumphant Jennifer Stoddart, Canada’s Privacy Commissioner came out this morning and said that Facebook agreed to make changes to its privacy policy within a year. The following changes are being touted:

This is indeed a meaningful victory. However, it does raise some interesting questions. Facebook is not the only platform out there that indefinitely maintains the information of its users. Other platforms such as Myspace, twitter, countless small(er) sites such as meetmeinto and the ever expanding vacuum of information called Google.

Are the laws on privacy clear? How do they apply to non-Canadian companies? How can they be meaningfully enforced, especially outside borders? I see Facebook’s agreement to comply with laws as largely a goodwill measure. If the company wanted to dig in its heels and refuse to make any changes, what could the Privacy Commissioner have done? Let’s see if someone can answer this question.


Cross-posted on

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