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A different shift

Editorial Obiter

I was at an event this week (of course, on the upcoming bencher election that Law Times has been covering thoroughly) and candidate Billeh Hamud commented that the profession runs about 30 years behind the rest of society. I’m not sure if 30 years is a precise figure, but the comment sure made me ponder.

This issue of Law Times digs into some areas of the law that are downright fascinating and that hint at this lag.

Take Michael McKiernan’s story on cameras in the courtroom. 

Lawyer Sean Robichaud told McKiernan that the 2016 webcast verdict in the Alberta case R. v. Vader could have had an impact on discouraging cameras in the courtroom.

“It’s really unfortunate if that affected judges, because I don’t think that broadcasting the verdict alone does anything to enhance confidence in the justice system,” Robichaud says.

“I feel there is a strong but false narrative going on out in the general public that the courts are failing them. But if they were able to see what is actually happening in them, instead of just the verdicts and the incendiary comments that follow, I think people would be very encouraged.”

Lawyer Joseph Arvay was a fan of their use in a recent Federal Court webcast.

“You have considerable public interest issues that could affect people across Canada, but very few could actually attend in person,” says Arvay, who was counsel to the claimant taxpayer involved in the matter.

Change is part of life, and younger generations of lawyers will bring new expectations to a profession that can sometimes be decried as fusty.

Technological changes that benefit the public interest should be considered, even if it causes trepidation or nervousness.

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