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System shifts

Editorial Obiter

When the world changes, does the law change with it?

This, of course, is a matter of where you are situated.

This week, attending the annual Ontario Bar Association’s Institute, I was reminded of how slowly systems shift when lawyer Sabrina Bandali recounted a story of the extensive efforts that had to be made by a group of lawyers to change rules around modifying gowns for court, for pregnant women and people with health issues.

This issue of Law Times covers a variety of looming changes.

Young lawyers want more say within the Law Society of Ontario, as evidenced by their request for the creation of bencher positions specifically for new lawyers and law students on the legal regulator’s governing board.

This comes at a time when discussions on licensing loom on the horizon and concerns have been voiced about a shortage of articling positions and the cost of tuition. 

Meanwhile, the Ontario Bar Association is currently considering a proposal to the province’s Civil Rules Committee that would improve the ability of litigants to serve materials using email without requiring information from the opposite side or a court order.

One lawyer recently turned to another social media platform, Instagram, to serve a defendant with a statement of claim.

It’s believed to be the first time it’s happened in the province.

In another piece, we report on how the Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic is challenging the constitutionality of part of the Income Tax Act, legislation that the clinic says bars refugee claimants from receiving Canada child benefits. 

Change requires hard work — often unpaid and unrecognized.

Being the first at anything is not easy, which is what gives it meaning.

With this work comes a resilience, built from oft-repeated failure, and a sense of purpose, at pursuing pathways otherwise not trodden.

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