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Monday, March 18, 2013


Bill C-26, the Citizen’s Arrest and Self-defence Act, has come into force, the federal government announced last week.

The new law expands the right of Canadians to arrest crime suspects until police arrive. But the provision is only applicable when it’s not possible for a police officer to make the arrest, the bill says.

“Canadians want to know that they are able to protect themselves against criminal acts and that the justice system is behind them, not against them,” said Justice Minister Rob Nicholson.

“Those who have been the victim of a crime should not be re-victimized by the criminal justice system.”

Unlike the previous provision, which required a citizen to catch a suspect in the act in order to make an arrest, the new law allows Canadians to stop people “within a reasonable time.”

In addition, the government says it has simplified self-defence laws to ensure the courts understand them more easily.


Samantha Alfonzo has joined Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP’s Toronto office as a partner, the firm announced last week.

Alfonzo joins the firm’s mining as well as its mergers and acquisitions groups. A native of Venezuela, Alfonzo has significant experience in South America, Fasken Martineau said in a press release. “She brings a broad expertise in client counsel including the negotiation, review, and preparation of contracts and corporate governance issues,” the firm said. “She has also advised clients in the mining industry in many high profile international transactions.

“Ms. Alfonzo has a wealth of experience in the mining industry, with a particular focus on mergers and acquisitions, asset and share sales, business, and tax-driven corporate reorganization.”

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Corporate counsel will be watching for cost containment and compliance this year, according to new survey results released by Robert Half Legal.

The survey, developed by Robert Half but conducted by an independent research firm, asked 175 lawyers in the United States and Canada at companies that employ 1,000 or more people about the biggest challenges facing them in 2013.

According to the results, 26 per cent of lawyers “identified compliance and regulatory issues as their legal department’s greatest business challenge in the coming year.”

“An equal percentage ranked the ability to control outside counsel costs as their top concern,” Robert Half noted.

Increased workloads were the third most challenging issue followed by budget reductions.


Legal Aid spending in Canada was up 15 per cent over the last four years to $780 million in 2011, but revenue has increased by just seven per cent, according to new numbers from Statistics Canada.

But since the delivery of legal aid varies across the country, it’s difficult to determine if the provinces are using the money in the best way possible.

Home to 40 per cent of Canada’s population, Ontario accounts for half of legal aid spending across Canada. But Ontario also spends more money per capita, about $28 per person, compared to the national average of $22.

Legal aid income cutoffs in Ontario are among the lowest in the country, ranging from $10,800 a year for a single person to $26,714 a year for a family of five, a situation that leaves the majority of people ineligible for assistance.


Manitoba has a new top judge with the retirement of former chief justice Richard Scott on March 1.

Richard Chartier, currently an appeal court judge in Manitoba, replaces Scott in the role. Chartier has been on the Court of Appeal since 2006 and prior to that was a provincial court judge from 1993-2006. A lawyer since 1983, he primarily practised corporate commercial law but developed an expertise in criminal and family litigation during his time at the provincial court. In addition, he authored a report on French language services in Manitoba for the province in 1998.

Scott’s retirement set off a number of changes within Manitoba’s judiciary. Replacing Chartier is Court of Queen’s Bench Associate Chief Justice William Burnett. He became a judge in 2009 following a stint as partner at Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP in Winnipeg.

Moving into Burnett’s role is Justice Shane Perlmutter. Currently a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench, he becomes associate chief justice as Burnett moves to the Court of Appeal.Prior to becoming a judge in 2011, he also worked at Thompson Dorfman Sweatman and at Fillmore Riley before that. His main areas of practice were civil litigation and administrative law.

The final Manitoba appointment is Justice Herbert Rempel of the Court of Queen’s Bench family division. He replaces Justice Diana Cameron, who left the Court of Queen’s Bench for the appeal court on Nov. 2, 2012. Rempel had been with the court’s family division since late 2011 following a career as a lawyer in adoption matters, corporate commercial law, wills and estates, and civil litigation.

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