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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
‘Incredibly damning allegation’: Cardinal case ignites feud between prosecutors, justice minister

Alberta's justice minister has been accused of making an "incredibly damning allegation" about discrimination in the Angela Cardinal court case and now finds herself in a pitched battle with the province's Crown prosecutors. In a blistering four-page letter to Kathleen Ganley dated June 6, the president of the Alberta Crown Attorneys' Association defended the actions of the prosecutor who handled the case.

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Publication date : 2017-06-21
Senate committee outlines plan to fight court delays

People accused of serious crimes, including murder, should no longer be set free automatically when a judge finds their right to a timely trial has been violated, a Senate committee has recommended in a wide-ranging plan to fight delay in the criminal-justice system.... Rick Woodburn, president of the Canadian Association of Crown Counsel, said he liked the comprehensiveness and the recommendation to seek alternatives to stays. But he expressed concern that people might be allowed to violate their bail conditions without serious consequences.

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Publication date : 2017-06-14
Supreme Court ruling on trial delays ‘out of step with reality,’ senators say

The Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs released a report Wednesday that makes 50 recommendations to speed up criminal trials, saying what’s needed is a complete rethink of the Canadian criminal justice system, not drop-dead timelines. Rick Woodburn, president of the Canadian Association of Crown Counsel, said the report isn’t “alarmist” but “realist.”

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Publication date : 2017-06-14


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Strapped federal criminal law policy section not sustainable: report

18-08-2014

The federal Justice Department’s criminal law policy section is growing demoralized. It has lost several top lawyers but not replaced them, and has weathered budget cuts to the point where “it is not operating in a manner that is sustainable.” These are just some of the findings of an evaluation of the once-influential section, posted quietly to the department’s website earlier this summer. The internal report undoubtedly reflects the frustrations of bureaucrats coping with dwindling resources. More than that, though, it suggests the Conservatives are pursuing their high-profile criminal law agenda without getting the sort of deep research and analysis the section previously provided.

 

In its look at the section’s research and statistics division, the report notes a shift, under the Conservatives, away from ambitious studies to quicker scans of research already done by others. The research staff shrank from 35 in 2008-09 to 17 in 2012-13. Federal lawyers working on criminal law policy “are now relying less on large-scale research studies that examine broad policy questions,” says the report. Instead, they are “increasingly looking to secondary or existing research.” Study done in-house now tends to be “more condensed, and expected within a much shorter turnaround.” In previous eras, the division wrote “formal briefing notes” to advise politicians, but now it typically provides, according to the report, mostly “oral briefings, email replies and shorter memos.”

 

The evaluation is based largely on interviews with officials in the department and outsiders who work with the section, including officials from the provinces, the RCMPand the Canadian Bar Association. It also takes into account data on workloads and budgets. From 2009-10 to 2012-13, the period under scrutiny, the section’s spending fell 21 per cent, from $8.1 million to $6.4 million. Over that stretch, it struggled to keep pace as the Conservatives tabled a remarkable 45 pieces of legislation that reformed the Criminal Code. The section is also called on to advise Ottawa’s lawyers when criminal law issues end up being argued in court, as they have been in some highly publicized recent Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenges.

 

The report is studiously neutral on the Tory approach. It doesn’t hint at why a government pressing ahead with an ambitious and often controversial law-and-order agenda might starve the policy section that would logically provide crucial supporting expertise. But critics of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s criminal law thrust—especially his government’s propensity for imposing mandatory minimum prison terms that eliminate a judge’s sentencing discretion for a raft of crimes—see this as more than a story of budget cuts. David Daubney, a senior lawyer in the section up to his retirement in 2011, says the Conservatives were simply not “interested in hearing what the evidence said,” and thus didn’t have much use for the section’s research.

 

http://www.macleans.ca/politics/ottawa/strapped-criminal-law-policy-section-cant-do-its-job-properly-report/