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Bitter anniversary for Quebec government lawyers

It was one year ago today that the Quebec government passed a law that forced the province’s 1,100 civil lawyers and notaries back to work after a four-month general strike, the longest in Canadian public service history. But the head of the lawyers’ union says time hasn’t taken the sting out of the collective slap his members received when the law was passed following a marathon 24-hour debate in the National Assembly on Feb. 28, 2017.

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Publication date : 2018-02-28
‘Bully’ bosses issue ‘swept under the carpet’ until junior government lawyer sent email

A junior lawyer’s decision to speak out — with an email copied to dozens of government lawyers — about an allegedly “abusive” boss at Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General caused Queen’s Park to finally take notice of historic problems that were later called a “festering” sore in a government report.

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Publication date : 2018-02-22
Ontario government lawyers being terrorized by ‘bully’ bosses, secret report reveals

Ontario’s Liberal government has kept secret an explosive report that paints some of its most senior bureaucrats — male and female — as bullies who have harassed and discriminated against hundreds of provincial lawyers and administrative assistants for years.  The workplace for 600 government lawyers and several hundred administrative staff at the Ministry of the Attorney General is described as a “toxic” cesspool where fear and retribution rule the day...

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Publication date : 2018-02-21
Lawyers promise to drag Couillard and Moreau to court

Despite their four-month strike in the middle of the winter, lawyers and public notaries (LANEQ) will have to settle for the lowest wage increase in the entire public service. Unable to agree with Quebec, they promise to drag Philippe Couillard and Pierre Moreau before the courts.

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Publication date : 2017-07-13
Lawyers and Notaries of the Québec State: Predictable Failure of Mandatory Mediation

Quebec lawyers and notaries (LANEQ) react to the disclosure of the report resulting from mandatory mediation with the government under the law. The report concludes that mediation has failed. According to LANEQ, this desolate result was predictable, since the law passed by the government to force the return to work of its members did not allow a real negotiation.

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Publication date : 2017-07-13
A case of no respect?

Striking government lawyers in Quebec were forced back to work. Where does that leave them now? ....LANEQ is still hoping for positive outcomes to a legal challenge it launched against the government’s back-to-work law, as well as an action filed with Quebec’s labour relations board, accusing the government of bargaining in bad faith. One positive thing to come out of the strike, says Desroches-Lapointe, is the strong sense of solidarity that was forged among lawyers. 

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Publication date : 2017-07-10

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An outrage against the Brazilian Rule of Law

PEC 37/2011: LESS INVESTIGATION, MORE IMPUNITY - An outrage against the Brazilian Rule of Law MANUEL PINHEIRO FREITAS Former President of the Association of Prosecutors of the State of Ceará (Brazil) and Executive Committee Member of the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) The Brazilian population is following with great anxiety the debate about a Proposal of Constitutional Amendment (PEC 37/2011) that intends to establish a monopoly of the police over the criminal investigation and to prohibit the Public Prosecution and other state agencies of collaborating, autonomously or into task forces, in investigation of high social impact crimes. It happens that in most countries that follow the Civil Law tradition, such as Brazil, the constitutions and laws authorize the Public Prosecution to conduct criminal investigations, especially in situations where the police often suffer political and corporative pressures that impair it to investigate crimes with impartiality and independence. In Brazil, nobody ignores that corporative pressures hinder the investigations of the police about the involvement of its own agents in functional crimes and human rights violations. That is why the Public Prosecution has conducted many autonomous investigations of crimes committed by police agents, such as corruption and torture, just to ensure that the facts are determined impartially. By the way, the Brazilian State is a signatory of the Istanbul Protocol which established the United Nations Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, a document which expressly recommends that investigations of crimes of torture and other types of maltreatment involving police agents should be conducted independently by other institutions like the Public Prosecution (Istanbul Protocol - Arts. 2 and 3.b.). Similarly, nobody ignores that the police, being subordinate to the Executive Power, suffers strong pressures that hinder its investigations about the involvement of politicians in crimes that damage the public property. And it is also why the Public Prosecution, whose members are protected by constitutional guarantees of life tenure, irremovability and irreducibility of salary, has conducted investigations of crimes committed by public administrators and parliamentarians, such as embezzlement and money laundering, just to ensure that the facts are determined independently. It also should be highlighted the fact that Brazil is a signatory of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and that both documents recommend the participation of the Public Prosecution in the investigation of crimes of corruption and crimes committed by criminal organizations, either through autonomous and independent procedures, or into task forces jointly with the police and other state agencies (Merida Convention, Arts. 39.1, and 48.1.a. - Palermo Convention, Arts. 27.1, a and d, and 29.1, respectively). With support of the rules and principles of the Federal Constitution of 1988, of its organic laws and of other substantive and procedural laws, the Brazilian Public Prosecution has conducted several autonomous inquiries which led to criminal proceedings against people who are very influential in politics and economy and who until quite recently were above the law, because they had never been investigated by the police. After those powerful criminals, who were almost untouchable, were finally prosecuted in courts, the Brazilian citizens began to rescue the belief in republican ideal according to which all are equal before the law. Therefore, the fight of prosecutors against impunity always had the support of unions, churches, civil associations and of the huge majority of the population, so much so that a survey conducted by the prestigious Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics (IBOPE) revealed that 96% of respondents were favorable to independent investigative procedures performed by prosecutors and only 4% felt that criminal investigations should be monopolized by the police. Nevertheless, as a reaction against this strengthening of the Brazilian criminal justice system, a powerful and well articulated minority has engendered a series of attacks against the Public Prosecution, through proposals of constitutional amendment and bills that seek to eliminate some of its institutional functions and undermine the guarantees of independence of its members. Among these reactionary propositions, the most immoral and shameless of all is the Proposal of Constitutional Amendment (PEC) 37/2011 which intends to give exclusive power for conduct criminal investigations to the police, moving away the Public Prosecution, the Secretary of Federal Revenue, the Central Bank and other state agencies that nowadays are directly or indirectly involved in investigation of serious criminal offenses. Even though it is patently contrary to the interests of Brazilian society, the also called "PEC OF IMPUNITY" was approved by a Special Commission, which was composed mainly by parliamentarians linked to the police, and, to all appearances, will soon be voted on by the Plenary of the Chamber of Deputies. If the PEC 37/2001 will be approved, Brazil will again be a haven of impunity for politically and economically influential criminals and our Country will fails to comply its commitments to the other signatories of the United Nations treaties and conventions which recommend the participation of prosecutors in criminal investigations as a way to ensure impartiality, independence and efficiency in combating torture, corruption and organized crime. Faced with this grave threat to the integrity of the criminal justice system, the Brazilian Public Prosecution has requested manifestations of support from all the people and institutions that are engaged in the defense of human rights and in the fight against corruption and organized crime in order to convince the National Congress to reject the infamous PEC 37. The Prosecution Offices and associations of prosecutors, specially the National Association of State Prosecutors (CONAMP), have sought to clarify the Brazilian civil society and the international community about the importance of maintaining the power of prosecutors to investigate crimes into own independent procedures, through articles like this, as well as notes and reports in newspapers, magazines, radio, television, websites and social networks. If this association / organization / entity decides to take any initiative in favor of maintaining the criminal investigative power of the Brazilian Public Prosecution, such as sending a letter of support or publishing an article in a newspaper, I request to kindly send a copy of the manifestation of support for the following email addresses: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) .