Revisiting R v. S. (R.D.), 1997: A Case About a Black Judge on “Trial” for Acquitting a Black Boy

“It wasn’t that long ago in Canada when our justice system put a Black judge on trial for acquitting a Black boy of allegedly running his bike into an officer’s leg – her offence? Speaking truth to power by stating that sometimes police over-react when dealing with Black youth.” – Professor David Tanovich @dtanovich  In R … Continue reading Revisiting R v. S. (R.D.), 1997: A Case About a Black Judge on “Trial” for Acquitting a Black Boy

Can Chatbots Answer Legal Questions?

The People’s Law School in British Columbia is offering free legal information through a Chatbot on Facebook. @chatwithbeagle answers questions through Facebook messenger at https://www.messenger.com/t/chatwithbeagle. The chatbot starts off saying: I work for People’s Law School. I’m here to sniff out information to help you with common legal problems. My goal is to empower you … Continue reading Can Chatbots Answer Legal Questions?

Small Claims Court Jurisdiction Increased to $35,000: What does this mean for current cases?

    Currently, the most someone can ask for in Small Claims Court is $25,000. Beginning on January 1, 2020, the Small Claims Court will increase its jurisdiction from $25,000 to $35,000. Litigants who started a claim in the Superior Court can seek to transfer their case to the Small Claims Court if the amount sought … Continue reading Small Claims Court Jurisdiction Increased to $35,000: What does this mean for current cases?

Court Services of the Future: Online Mediation

  In British Columbia, the Legal Services Society has launched a free, online service called “The Family Resolution Centre”. It is part of My Law BC(delivered by legal aid provider Legal Services Society). The Family Resolution Centre program of My Law BC helps separated couples create parenting plans online. The parenting plans deal with parenting … Continue reading Court Services of the Future: Online Mediation

Court Forms: Should They be Eliminated?

  Court forms are confusing. They are difficult to fill in and contain legal jargon. Even worst, the guides for court forms can be hard to follow. Especially, if you do not have a strong grasp of English or an understanding of the court system. I have personally witnessed numerous people struggle with court forms, … Continue reading Court Forms: Should They be Eliminated?

Incentivizing New Lawyers to Work in Rural Communities

[In Ontario] About 67% of lawyers are over the age of 40 and about half of all lawyers practise in Metropolitan Toronto. The age skew is similar in other provinces, where a notable percentage of lawyers have been practicing for 20 years or more and are entering the latter stages of their careers. The number … Continue reading Incentivizing New Lawyers to Work in Rural Communities

Solving the Issue of Access to Justice by Redefining “Access to Justice”

“Justice is open to all; like the Ritz Hotel.” In the article “Clients Need Legal Services But Not Necessarily Lawyers“, Mark Cohen writes about the issue of access to justice. He points out that improving access to justice does not always mean improving access to lawyers. He refers to new products that provide legal services. … Continue reading Solving the Issue of Access to Justice by Redefining “Access to Justice”

Mental Health Courts: The Way of the Future

In April 2018, Edmonton launched a mental health courtto great results. The court was designed to address the backlog of criminal cases by addressing mental health concerns. At the root of many criminal cases and recidivism is an underlying mental health issue. Traditional courts are not always equipped to address the mental health element underlying … Continue reading Mental Health Courts: The Way of the Future

Pro Bono Ontario Crisis: Go Fund Me Page

Last week it was announced that Pro Bono Ontario Law Help Centres will be closed. Pro Bono Ontario is a charity. As part of its mandate, it has set-up three Pro Bono Help Centres (two in Toronto and one in Ottawa). The centres help self-represented litigants with their civil cases. Pro Bono Ontario relies on … Continue reading Pro Bono Ontario Crisis: Go Fund Me Page

Modernizing Our Courts Under a New Government

After over a decade of Liberal rule in Ontario, we are beginning to see incremental change to our courts. We can now issue some pleadings online. However, my understanding is that the pleadings are then printed by our courts and then placed into a paper file. The Ford government must continue the goal of instituting … Continue reading Modernizing Our Courts Under a New Government