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Ottawa Criminal Defence Law Blog

On technology and access to justice

In December, I was asked to contribute to an episode of the The Docket podcast (The Docket's Year End Extravaganza) to talk about a prediction, hope or wish for 2018. As I mused about what changes I wanted to see in our legal landscape, I couldn't help but come back to the funding of Legal Aid. This issue is a perennial problem for lawyers and accused people alike. The eligibility requirements for legal aid are so low that a large swath of people who make 'too much' money to qualify are left to represent themselves. On the other side, the rates at which Legal Aid pays lawyers often falls far below what is needed to properly prepare for a case. Lawyers consistently do work at a reduced price, or for free, in order to vigorously defend our clients.

December 2017 Criminal Law Round-Up

Better late than never, here are the news and cases of the last month of 2017!


There was not a lot of news this month, save for the important announcement of the new Chief Justice of Canada as Richard Wagner, following Beverly McLachin's retirement from the Supreme Court of Canada.

Top Criminal Cases of 2017

As the year draws to a close, it's time to look back at some of the most significant cases of 2017. Here, four excellent criminal law practitioners provide their takes on the most important cases of the past year. They cover bail, search and seizure, mental health and youth sentencing, and will all have an impact on how we practice criminal law. Read on!

Digital Evidence: A Book Review

Technology is now a fact of life in criminal courtrooms. There is rarely a case now that does not have some aspect of digital evidence, whether it is a text message or computer forensic report. However, the courts are often catching up to the changes. "Digital Evidence: A Practitioner's Handbook" by Gerald Chan and Susan Magotiaux tackles the challenges of the changing landscape of technology in criminal courts.

Bill C-51: on sexual assault, records and the right to a fair trial

It seems that news of sexual assault is everywhere you look these days. With the fall of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein following allegations of sexual misconduct and the ensuing cascade of allegations, the issue of sexual assault and harassment is becoming more and more pervasive.

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