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Lawyers top up war chest to face prolonged strike

A general strike by lawyers and notaries who work for the Quebec government shows no signs of abating as the province is remaining firm while the union has received the approval of the overwhelming majority of its members to shore up its war chest and prolong the work stoppage at least until the end of the year.

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Date de parution : 2016-12-02
Ontario to hire more judges, prosecutors to tackle trial delays

Ontario has announced the biggest expansion of its criminal-justice system in more than two decades, two weeks after a judge scrapped a first-degree-murder charge because the accused had spent four years in jail waiting for his trial to be completed.

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Date de parution : 2016-12-01
No quick fix for Nova Scotia's slow court system

'Have they put the money in to keep pace with the crimes that are being committed? No, they’re not.' The planned expansion of a program that diverts people accused of minor crimes from Nova Scotia's courtrooms will not fix long delays in an overburdened system, according to a Crown prosecutor in Halifax and President of the Canadian Association of Crown Counsel.

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Date de parution : 2016-11-24
'No justice' for accused, victims when court cases tossed by delays, lawyer says

Kate Matthews, the head of Ontario's Crown Attorneys' Association, says underfunding plus an increase in the volume and complexity of evidence are key factors slowing down criminal justice cases.

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Date de parution : 2016-11-22
Ontario tries to stop criminal charges being stayed by trial delays

The Ontario Crown Attorneys Association estimates there are about 6,000 criminal cases that could see charges stayed or withdrawn, and it blames a shortage of judges, prosecutors and court space. Association president Kate Matthews said the group has been raising the alarm about the need for more resources in Crown attorney's offices for years, calling a crisis inevitable.

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Date de parution : 2016-11-21
Prosecutors in N.L. struggling to meet deadlines after court decision on trial delays

Newfoundland and Labrador Crown Attorneys Association president Sheldon Steeves believes prosecutors will have too heavy a workload trying to meet the deadlines imposed by a new Supreme Court of Canada decision on trial delays. Heavy workload burden can lead to burnout.

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Date de parution : 2016-11-20

Judgment, Identity, and Independence

Cassandra Burke Robertson*

      Whenever a new corporate or governmental scandal erupts, onlookers ask “Where were the lawyers?” Why would attorneys not have advised their clients of the risks posed by conduct that, from an outsider’s perspective, appears indefensible?  When numerous red flags have gone unheeded, people often conclude that the lawyers’ failure to sound the alarm must be caused by greed, incompetence, or both.  A few scholars have suggested that unconscious cognitive bias may better explain such lapses in judgment, but they have not explained why particular situations are more likely than others to encourage such bias.  This article seeks to fill that gap.  Drawing on research from behavioral and social psychology, it suggests that lawyers’ apparent lapses in judgment may be caused by cognitive biases arising from partisan kinship between lawyer and client.  The article uses identity theory to distinguish particular situations in which attorney judgment is likely to be compromised, and it recommends strategies to enhance attorney independence and minimize judgment errors. 

Full text (PDF file)