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Reaffirming Magna Carta

Magna Carta turned 800 this week. After eight centuries, it remains the foundational text of Anglo-American law. Borne out of a bitter dispute between King John and his aggrieved barons in the spring of 1215, the “Great Charter” scarcely resembles any modern human rights instrument. It did not grant freedom of expression and religion, or even life, liberty and the ...

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Free Expression Must Endure

This past week saw an unspeakable tragedy unfold in the Paris office of a satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, when gunmen opened fire, killing twelve and wounding many more. The apparent motivation for the killings was Charlie Hebdo’s publication of an image of the prophet Mohammad. The artistic depiction of Mohammad is forbidden in many sects of Islam and is offensive ...

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John A. Macdonald’s 200th Birthday

John A. Macdonald, who was born on January 11, 1815, was far more than Canada’s first Prime Minister. He was one of the principal architects of Confederation.  The peace, security and prosperity that Canada continues to enjoy with each passing generation would not have been possible without the hard work and vision of Sir John A. and others in crafting a stable ...

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Canada’s Blasphemy Law Should Be Repealed

In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, freedom of expression is coming back to centre stage. This week, the National Post reported that Humanist Canada and Centre for Inquiry- two organizations dedicated to promoting secularism – will ask the Department of Justice to abolish section 296 of the Criminal Code, which prohibits “blasphemous libel.” Section 296 was enacted well ...

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The Vital Importance of Due Process

What do Hewlett Packard and MP Scott Andrews have in common? As Conrad Black writes in today’s National Post, both are being denied their right to due process.  In Lord Black’s opinion, the penalizing of Canadian corporations for their alleged (but unproven) conduct in other countries and the allegations of sexual harassment being levelled against MPs are all part of the ...

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Why Federalism Still Matters

Old Supreme Court

The recent Supreme Court decision in Bank of Montreal v. Marcotte, 2014 SCC 55, is a helpful clarification of the applicability of consumer protection legislation and, more generally, the current principles regulating the separation of federal and provincial powers in Canada. At issue in Marcotte were charges imposed on credit card customers for purchases in foreign currency. Such purchases are ...

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Lawsuit Claims Individual Rights Trump Cultural Preservation

Seven members of the Kahnawake Mohawk band have brought a lawsuit, alleging that they were evicted from their homes on the reserve for having married non-natives. The plaintiffs each claim damages of $50,000 and also seek a declaration that “non Native spouses are entitled to reside within Kahnawake with their spouses and children, and that the children retain native status ...

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Contingency Fees and the Rule of Law

In today’s The Hill, Professor Lester Brickman discusses the class action lawsuit brought against BP in respect of the 2010 oil spill. Professor Brickman argues that the BP suit is representative of a larger trend in American class action litigation whereby the plaintiffs’ lawyers are hired on a contingency fee basis and end up reaping enormous sums from the settlement. ...

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More MPs Means Fewer Trained Seals

This article originally appeared in Huffington Post Canada   When the Conservatives were in opposition, they frequently chastised the governing Liberals for ruling their backbencher MPs with an iron fist. Most if not all votes were whipped, which meant that, in a majority government, the position of the Prime Minister and his inner Cabinet invariably became the law of the ...

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Remarks of the Treasurer of LSUC at the Call to the Bar Ceremony

osgoode-hall

On the morning of June 20, 2014, I had the honour and privlege of being welcomed to the Ontario Bar by none other than Mr. Thomas Conway, Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada. His speech to the new inductees, in addition to touching on the historical background of LSUC, went on to outline the importance of the Rule of ...

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