Month: March 2017

Queen’s Bench Rules of Court and Forms Amended

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By Kelly Laycock

The Court of Queen’s Bench has amended the Rules of Court and related forms effective April 1, 2017. The amendments include authorizing lawyers to send requests for service directly to foreign countries pursuant to The Hague Convention on Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents, and amending the family law Petition and Answer forms to require additional information concerning other relevant court proceedings and to update the Statement of Lawyer. Please see details in Saskatchewan Gazette, Part I, March 3, 2017.

As a courtesy to our members, the Law Society Library converts the PDF forms into Word documents for easy use. We have completed the conversion, and these documents are now available on the Law Society website. The following forms were affected:

  • Former forms 12-12A, 12-12B, and 12-12C are repealed and replaced by forms 12-12A and 12-12B.
  • Form 15-6 is amended.
  • Form 15-14A is amended.
  • Form 15-15 is amended.
  • Form 16-14 is amended.
  • New form 16-53 is added.

Please note the new format of forms 12-12A and 12-12B, which relate to the Hague Convention. These forms are for international use and so do not contain the QB form numbers on the form.

Past Presidents of the Law Society of Saskatchewan

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By Kelly Laycock

For all those history buffs, this is the complete list of the past presidents of the Law Society of Saskatchewan since its inception in 1907. This list was originally published as an appendix in Iain Mentiplay’s book, A Century of Integrity: The Law Society of Saskatchewan 1907 to 2007, and has recently been updated for the latest issue of the Benchers’ Digest to include the presidents from the past 10 years. In that update, we inadvertently forgot to include Mr. Robert Heinrichs, QC, who took over as president in May 2014 after the Honourable Miguel Martinez was appointed to the Provincial Court. We offer our sincerest apologies to Mr. Heinrichs for that omission. Please find the correction in the list below and in the online Spring 2017 issue of the Benchers’ Digest. If you want to learn more about the history of the Law Society, we’ll be posting more historical gems over the coming months to celebrate our 110th anniversary. Stay tuned! Read the rest of this entry »

Access to Justice Bulletin, March 2017

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From the Saskatchewan Access to Justice Working Group

CREATE Justice officially launched March 1 at the College of Law. Read the first publication of the centre, the Architects of Justice Survey Report, which was aimed at increasing public participation in developing access to justice solutions: http://bit.ly/2mQ7Hx3.

Legal Resources Fair held at Regina Public Library on March 14 to increase public access to legal information: http://bit.ly/2nfhV9i.

Register for “Law Day for Canada at 150”, a free public lecture about diversity in the legal system, chaired by the Hon. Justice Jackson on March 30 in Regina: http://bit.ly/2mNBd2i.

Law Society Library seeks feedback about legal resources & access to justice by April 7 from Saskatchewan lawyers practicing in smaller communities: http://bit.ly/2o8g46Z.

Intakes for CLASSIC’s Walk-in Advocacy Clinic (WAC) suspended from March 29-May 15 to accommodate student change-over. CLASSIC’s Legal Advice Clinic (LAC) appointments also limited between March 29-May 15 because of limited student availability & student change-over.

National Self-Represented Litigants Project seeks family lawyer input about ‘legal coaching’ by May 15 to help inform development of training program for lawyers interested in building a coaching practice: http://bit.ly/2oalo9K.

New Law Society of Saskatchewan Executive Director, Tim Brown highlights topic of access to justice in “Leading with Vision” feature of Spring 2017 Bencher’s Digest: http://bit.ly/2mJ4rhU.

Save the date for the 2nd Annual Saskatchewan Access to Justice Week, being held October 16-22, 2017.

Report by the Hon. Justice Bonkalo submitted to Ontario Attorney General & Law Society of Upper Canada on “Expanding Legal Services Options for Families” for consideration in development of an action plan to be released in Fall 2017: http://bit.ly/2oAwCBg.

CREATE Justice highlighted in Slaw Column, “Beyond the Binary” as an innovative initiative that seeks to normalize broader engagement in addressing access to justice problems: http://bit.ly/2nLrxqa.

The Queen’s Printer Name Change – Effective April 1, 2017

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Marilyn Lustig-McEwen, Director
Publications Saskatchewan & Queen’s Printer for Saskatchewan

What is Changing

Effective April 1, 2017, Publications Saskatchewan is the new name for the former Office of the Queen’s Printer. Publications Saskatchewan operates a centralized online catalogue and shopping cart, Publications Centre, for all Government of Saskatchewan publications and other Saskatchewan documents. This includes Freelaw, an online resource which provides access to all current Government of Saskatchewan legislation. Publications Saskatchewan will launch a new website in the near future with the same great service and even more titles.

How do these changes affect how I interact with Publications Saskatchewan

Publications Saskatchewan has the same address, fax and phone numbers, with slight changes to the website and email contact.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Publications Saskatchewan
Walter Scott Building
B19-3085 Albert Street
Regina, Saskatchewan S4S 0B1

Phone: (306) 787-6894
Toll free (in Saskatchewan): 1-800-226-7302
Fax: (306) 798-0835

For online access to Government and other Saskatchewan publications and products, visit Publications Centre, at www.publications.gov.sk.ca

For the authoritative source for all current Government of Saskatchewan legislation, visit Freelaw, at www.publications.gov.sk.ca/freelaw

 

Unreported, You Say?

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By Ken Fox

From time to time at the library we get requests for “unreported” decisions. What do folks mean by unreported?

These days, you usually mean that a case is difficult to find, that it is not available on CanLII for instance. This is very reasonable – you take a phrase you have heard, and apply it to a situation in a way that makes sense.

Traditionally, unreported means something different with respect to case law. The court issues written reasons for its judgments, and legally-trained editors working for private publishing companies select cases for printing based on their importance, uniqueness, and court level. Cases printed in law reports (i.e., “reported”) were not only more accessible than unreported cases (i.e., those not selected for inclusion in a law report), but more authoritative, with some courts only allowing reported cases to be cited.

So (you ask) in the past, private publishers decided which cases were important, and thereby played a significant role in the creation of the common law? Yes they did, and to a certain extent they still do.

Unreported decisions existed only in copies issued from the courts, and photocopies of them were generally collected in court house libraries. At the Law Society Library in both Regina and Saskatoon we still have collections of unreported Saskatchewan judgments going back to the 1960s.

But technology changes things. In the traditional sense of “unreported,” CanLII hosts hundreds of such cases. For example, look at the citation info in this one – there is a neutral cite, but no reference to Saskatchewan Reports (Sask R), Western Weekly Reports (WWR), or any other print law report. The case is unreported, but easily accessible.

In 2014, Susannah Tredwell speculated that online publishing of case law has created a new kind of unreported decision: “those judgments that the courts do not make easily available.” This type includes oral judgments, and any other judicial decision for which no written reasons are released.

I don’t know the exact name of this phenomenon – semantic drift? – but it seems to me the meaning of “unreported” is changing. The publishing companies have little or no say in what cases are available – that power is now the courts’ alone.

In addition to changing the availability of case law, the existence of comprehensive, free sources such as CanLII, CommonLII, WorldLII and Google has eroded the authority of the print reporting system. As far back as 2005, Nick Pengelley mused that there might no longer be an authoritative distinction between reported and unreported case law. In 2009, Ted Tjaden suggested that Canadian courts, contra England, may adopt a more flexible, discretionary approach to what judgments can and should be cited in court.

So (you ask), this is the end of the centuries-old law reporting system? Really? Well, it’s not for me to say, but – yes.

How do you access unreported decisions?

In Saskatchewan, everything for which there are written reasons from 2000 forward is on CanLII. If you are looking for one of those “unreported” decisions in the newer sense of the term, you might need to contact a court registry office or one of the lawyers involved in the case. The Saskatchewan courts provide instructions on how to access court records.

From before 2000, practically all reported (in the old sense) Saskatchewan cases are now on CanLII. For unreported cases, try a subscription service such as WestlawNext or Quicklaw. Failing that, contact us, and we’ll do our best. If it’s from the 1960s or later, we might have it in a filing cabinet.

On the question of terminology – well, for me “reported” still means the case includes a citation to a printed law report. Call me Old School if you like, I won’t mind. And if you are one of those folks who call any difficult-to-find case “unreported” – then (1) I won’t correct you, and (2) I may someday join you – because one thing I’ve learned is that history’s greatest fools are the ones who try to stand in the way of change, and I just don’t want to be that guy.

 

Providing Legal Resources to Lawyers in Smaller Communities – Law Society Library & Access to Justice

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By Melanie Hodges Neufeld

Providing publicly accessible legal resources and information increases the public’s understanding of legal matters and ability to handle these matters. In addition to the numerous public resources created and provided by the Library and research assistance, the Library is also involved in several access to justice initiatives. Please see a recent article in our Benchers’ Digest (page 6) “Putting the Public First – Saskatchewan Access to Legal Information Project” for more information on this initiatives.

However, it is important to recognize that the definition of access to justice is broader than just assisting self-represented litigants. Access to justice also includes ensuring members of the public have access to competent and affordable legal services. The resources and services provided by the Law Society Library enable lawyers, particularly in smaller centres, to adequately service their communities. Our Members’ Section ensures our members have access to the resources they need no matter their location. It is already difficult to attract new lawyers to smaller communities. A lack of resources could potentially make these locations even less attractive and leave communities without legal services.

If you are a lawyer practicing in a smaller community in Saskatchewan, please share your voice and review the following notice regarding funding to maintain legal resources, such as WestlawNext, and the other resources available through the Members’ Section and the Law Society Library. Once you have reviewed the notice, please complete the survey contained within. The deadline to complete the survey is April 7th. We appreciate your time and feedback.