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Despite one man's SCC success little ground gained, says lawyer

Innocent people imprisoned because of the Crown's failure to disclose exculpatory evidence are likely to be left without state compensation in many cases because the Supreme Court has made it too difficult to obtain Charter damages, a lawyer warns.

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Date de parution : 2015-05-15
B.C. mulls appeal of pay hike for judges

British Columbia is considering whether to ask the Supreme Court of Canada to overturn a judgment that orders the province to implement pay and pension improvements for its 150 judges.

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Date de parution : 2015-04-23
Should prosecutors be able to run for political office?

An Ottawa federal prosecutor is seeking judicial review of a Public Service Commission decision that bars her from running for political office.

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Date de parution : 2015-04-13
B.C. judges should get pay and pension hike: appeal court

An appeal court judge says Provincial Court judges in British Columbia are entitled to pay hikes based on the consumer price index as recommended in a 2010 report.

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Date de parution : 2015-03-31
Feds ordered to cover articling students’ law society membership fees

The federal government must cover the law society membership fees for its articling students, a labour relations adjudicator has ruled.

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Date de parution : 2015-03-30
LAO lawyers see promise in RCMP ruling

In one of its first decisions of the year, the top court said RCMP officers could still form an association despite their exclusion, as with LAO staff lawyers, from the applicable labour relations act.

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Date de parution : 2015-01-26

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)