Monday, July 25, 2016

Adam Dodek wants to debunk the myth that the Canadian Constitution is boring.

The University of Ottawa law professor is releasing an expanded version of his book, The Canadian Constitution, which provides a primer on the cornerstone of Canada’s legal framework.

“It’s going to make the Constitution accessible and understandable to lawyers, experts and ordinary Canadians for the very first time,” Dodek says.

He says he felt the need to update the original book, which was released in 2013, in order to reflect legal changes and to expand on its explanations of the Constitution.

In addition to including the complete text of the Constitution Acts of 1867 and 1982 with an index, the expanded book also looks at each section and explains what it means, Dodek says.

“If you read our Constitution, you would think that the prime minister is a marginal figure and is essentially an event planner,” he says.

“So much of the way our Constitution works is sort of hidden beneath the text.”

The book also uses stories that highlight Constitutional rulings, such as that of the groundbreaking 1929 Persons Case, to help understand how the Constitution is applicable to Canadians’ lives.

“It makes it understandable and translates it into ways that everyone can understand,” Dodek says.

Six Ontario legal startups are through to the second stage of the Legal Innovation Zone’s Access To Justice Challenge.

Ryerson University’s legal incubator announced the winners from a pool of 10 nominees that pitched their solutions to enhance access to justice.

The startups that will get the chance to compete for $50,000 in seed money, including a $25,000 first-place prize, will be Codify Legal Publishing, JusticeTrans, Law Scout Inc., Legally Inc., Lex Cortex Ltd and ParDONE. The final winner will be announced Nov. 25.

Police-reported crime increased for the first time in 12 years in 2015, according to new information released by Statistics Canada.

The federal agency uses the traditional crime rate and the Crime Severity Index to measure police-reported crime. The CSI, which measures the volume and severity of crime, saw an uptick of five per cent in 2015 from the previous year, but it was still at a level that was 31-per-cent lower than in 2005.

Statistics Canada says the increase in the CSI was because of more incidents of fraud, breaking and entering, robbery, and homicide. The traditional crime rate, which uses the volume of reported crime relative to an area’s population, rose three per cent in 2015 from 2014.

There were 22-per-cent more attempted murders reported and a 15-per-cent increase in homicide. The CSI for Ontario alone saw an increase of two per cent, which Statistics Canada says is due to an increase in reported fraud. Toronto has one of the lowest CSIs of 33 consensus metropolitan areas with a rate of just 45.7.

Law Times reported recently that lawyers are criticizing the Provincial Offences Act, when it comes to the legal process following careless-driving incidents.

Readers were asked if they think the POA needs overhauling. One hundred per cent of respondents indicated yes, the POA lacks consistency and is confusing when it comes to sentencing. It definitely needs updating. There were no respondents that said no, the way the POA currently works is just fine.                 

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