Monday, July 29, 2013

Police-reported crime reached its lowest level in 40 years in 2012, according to new numbers from Statistics Canada.

Excluding traffic-related infractions, police reported 2 million criminal incidents last year. That’s 36,000 incidents fewer than the previous year.

 “The decline in the crime rate in 2012 was driven by decreases in some of the most common offences, including mischief, break and enter, disturbing the peace, motor vehicle theft, and possession of stolen property,” said Stats Can.

Among metropolitan cities, Toronto reported the lowest crime rate for the sixth consecutive year, while Kelowna, B.C., recorded the highest.

Crimes related to police were also three-per-cent less severe in 2012 than the year before. Since 2002, the severity of reported crime has gone down by 28 per cent. Ontario’s reported crimes were the least severe across Canada.

Heenan Blaikie LLP partner Mariella Lo Papa has moved to Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP’s Montreal real estate practice group.

Lo Papa, who practises commercial real estate law, is joining Fasken Martineau as a partner. According to Lo Papa’s LinkedIn profile, she worked at Heenan Blaikie since 2000.

“Mariella brings considerable experience in the field of commercial leasing,” said Éric Bédard, Fasken Martineau’s managing partner for the Québec region.

“Her solid expertise in real estate law and leasing matters, as well as her in-depth knowledge of the Canadian market, will undoubtedly benefit our clients and the firm,” he said.

Whether to obtain a video of a mayor allegedly smoking crack cocaine or a more charitable cause, crowdfunding is becoming more and more popular. And now, JustAccess is creating a crowdfunding platform for people who cannot afford legal representation.

On July 23, JustAccess launched a 30-day campaign with a simple mission: connect litigants with people who want to support their cases.

“Crowdfunding is an excellent way to link individuals that might not share the same community but share similar values with one another in a safe and mostly transparent environment,” says Sam Saad, a founding partner and managing director of JustAccess.

Saad, a co-curricular educator at the University of Toronto, says the goal is to raise $10,000 to support three cases in November.

“A lot of folks read about injustices in the news or come across those stories in different ways, and they want to do something about it but they’re not quite sure what to do. So [JustAccess] allows them to get directly involved in helping shape the outcomes of those cases,” he says.

They are in the process of selecting the cases, but after that the “crowd” will be able to pick the cases they want to support. Once the funds are raised, litigants will be free to choose their own counsel.

Any remaining funds after litigation will be donated to a community-based legal aid organization, he says.

JustAccess was recently awarded $1,000 for winning the Centre for Social Innovation’s pitching competition. The crowdfunding project is being hosted on CSI’s web site.

The Ontario government has appointed a new interim chief coroner as the search for a permanent chief continues. Dr. Dirk Huyer is replacing Dr. Dan Cass, who is returning to his duties as a deputy chief after completing a six-month assignment as chief.

Huyer joined the Office of the Chief Coroner as a regional supervising coroner in 2008. According to the office, Huyer, who is also an assistant professor at University of Toronto faculty of medicine, has investigated over 5,000 deaths.

Huyer will hold the position for six months until the role is filled permanently.

“I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to serve in this important role on an interim basis,” Huyer said. “I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Ontario during my leadership of the Office of the Chief Coroner.”

The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in. The vast majority of participants say the government should act on a Superior Court master’s call for legislative changes to provide additional insurance protection for clients of bankrupt solicitors.

About 81 per cent of responders said Master Donald Short got it right about the need to protect clients of bankrupt solicitors. The rest did not think the government should take any action.

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