A broader honour for our Crown?

This piece is released as part of a broader book project currently soliciting funds via Kickstarter. Aequitas sequitur legem: equity follows the law, which concept expresses the victory of common law over its equitable counterpart. There is good reason for this win, for the ancient law of equity was administered by the Lord Chancellor, a … Continue reading A broader honour for our Crown?

Articling students: unionize against the LSO

This post is cross-posted to CanLII. The Law Society of Ontario occupies a special place in most lawyers’ hearts, and much talk has sprung up in recent years about how that special place first forms, then concatenates. One reason that springs to mind among the next crop of legal advisers is that articling students are … Continue reading Articling students: unionize against the LSO

The confused Canadian approach to conscience

The Canadian approach to conscience is, as the title suggests, confused. Conscience is often only paid scanting attention in judge-made law because its legal and social meaning is obscured by its most common manifestation. Courts adjudicating on issues relating to religious rights, or balancing the rights of a religious person or group against another minority’s interest, often touch on conscience as a facet of religion.

A prolegomenon on freedom of conscience

One’s conscience is received by legal institutions and ethicists alike as the centre for moral decisions, yet the freedom to have a conscience is often interpreted in terms of religious belief. This interpretation is, of course, borne from conscience’s long association with religion: Canada’s governors were, for example, instructed to ‘permit Liberty of Conscience, and the free Exercise of all such modes of Religious Worship as are not prohibited by Law’.

People are looking to fly, but aviation medicine falls short

This post is cross-posted on CanLii. A significant danger when governing safety-sensitive occupations is lapsing into anecdotal evidentiary practises to justify rigid rules. The danger inherent in anecdotes is their subjectivity, which is often clothed in the guise of fact: a rule's legitimacy depends on the safety that it provides, which in turn must relate … Continue reading People are looking to fly, but aviation medicine falls short

The arbitrator’s conscience and revivified legal pluralism

This post is cross-posted on CanLII. International and domestic arbitration is becoming an attractive dispute resolution service, and it is one that allows parties to chose the law under which their rights are established. As this form of law becomes increasingly popular, the limits of arbitral jurisdiction will be tested. International and domestic law on … Continue reading The arbitrator’s conscience and revivified legal pluralism

Time for full-time: give doctoral candidates a salary

Canadian doctoral candidates, who study in relative obscurity to advance the state of knowledge, are poorly remunerated (if they are remunerated at all). More doctoral candidates are receiving their degrees at the present time than ever before: federal and provincial funding agencies simply do not have the resources to keep up with demand. Nor do … Continue reading Time for full-time: give doctoral candidates a salary

Taking the time for wellness v. fostering the spirit of wellness

The University of Ottawa’s Wellness Week, which aims to help students and staff mind their own mental health during a self-declared mental health crisis, falls well short of a useful response to mental health concerns. Then again, a recent University report promises a ‘cross-university wellness strategic framework’. If such a framework is going to work, … Continue reading Taking the time for wellness v. fostering the spirit of wellness

Oversight awry: municipal police and elected oversight bodies, part II

Elected oversight of municipal (or provincial) police forces is, as I indicated in my previous post, a difficult system by which to enforce standards on police. Foremost among the difficulties of this system: the relative lack of enforcement power granted to these boards. A corollary difficulty is the civilian nature of the oversight. Lack of … Continue reading Oversight awry: municipal police and elected oversight bodies, part II

Oversight awry: municipal police and elected oversight bodies, part I

The problem and our typical solution This analysis of police supervision in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States will appear in two parts. The first part breaks down the problem with civilian policing oversight; the second part addresses the issue with reference to English precedents that were received in Canada and the United … Continue reading Oversight awry: municipal police and elected oversight bodies, part I

Quebec protects language: the best defense is a good offense

Quebec calls for greater language protection for Canadian federal enterprises The Parliament of Quebec and the Bloc Québecois have formally requested an extension of cooperative federalism to Quebec language protection. ‘Cooperative federalism’ is a legal principle that has courts interpret legislation in ways that allow federal and provincial laws to work together. The term evokes greater ‘interlocking federal … Continue reading Quebec protects language: the best defense is a good offense

University education: teach narratives, not hard skills

The quality of Anglo-American university education is eroding, and the Government of Ontario this past week confirmed its rapidly decaying state. With its rapidly ageing motto, ‘open for business,’ finally maturing, the Minister of Colleges and Universities announced that a long negotiation with Ontarian public universities resulted in a new five-year plan. Ontarian universities will now receive government funds based … Continue reading University education: teach narratives, not hard skills

Gobbets! Criminal police & Canadian healthcare

A couple thoughts for your edification, thoughts only unified by a wretched malaise about the lack of detail and creativity that too often creeps into public discourse. The first presents a method to prosecute Canadian police for abuses of power. The second reminds us that Canada’s constitution doesn’t make either level of government completely responsible … Continue reading Gobbets! Criminal police & Canadian healthcare

Colonial illness haunts Canada’s Parliament

Democracy Watch, an organization that works toward empowering Canadians and Canadian democracy, again turned to Federal Court to challenge the Canadian judicial appointments process. The organization’s frequent turns away from democratic institutions like Parliament speak to dwindling confidence in any sort of responsible government. The organization’s judicial challenge, in this case, speaks to the continuing … Continue reading Colonial illness haunts Canada’s Parliament

Nova Scotian House of Assembly does not sit for nine months

The Nova Scotia House of Assembly has ground to a standstill for the nine months that COVID-19 has raged throughout the world. I contend that this legislative inaction can either be attributed to the hyper-politicization of parliamentary procedure or to uninformed members stumbling through the motions. Either case is concerning, and it should concern all … Continue reading Nova Scotian House of Assembly does not sit for nine months

Preservatives and conservatives in a technological society

Don your futurist caps and peer into a political reality in which technology accelerates the speed at which society changes; what role is left for conservatives? The political, deliberative realm that we sometimes trust to chart our societies’ course either fades as deliberative government becomes too lugubrious for rapid development, or the speed of deliberative … Continue reading Preservatives and conservatives in a technological society

For less specialist legal education

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the United Kingdom’s statutory regulator for one branch of the legal profession, has done away with the requirement for a university degree in law, which news has caused me to wonder about Canadian legal education. As a law student paying $9 000 per term (for 6 terms, and my tuition … Continue reading For less specialist legal education

How to short circuit Donald Trump’s election suits: use a bill of peace to bring them into a single court

President Donald Trump has petulantly refused to accept the results of the American 2020 presidential election. His campaign and the Republican Party have filed almost a dozen lawsuits in Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, with more on the way. His aggressive legal action—actions that are being described as ‘entirely without merit’ and ‘flailing’—will almost assuredly not affect the election’s outcome. They … Continue reading How to short circuit Donald Trump’s election suits: use a bill of peace to bring them into a single court

Dicey’s ghost walks free

David Hume’s is-ought problem is oft-forgotten in Canadian political and legal circles, and it bears some repetition. We often forget the value of deduction in an algorithmic age, for computers and the science from which they stem cause us to increasingly rely on inductive logic. In this age of induction, we formulate general rules based … Continue reading Dicey’s ghost walks free

Oeconomica: markets, COVID, and charity

Some of my neighbours put handwritten signs of encouragement up in their windows. Online stories and videos frequently attest to neighbours' generosity at a time when uncertainty reigns and people are more isolated than ever. Such charity relies on personal kindness muted in recent years by partisan politics and growing consumerism. The economic woe we … Continue reading Oeconomica: markets, COVID, and charity