Law Times

September 14, 2015

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Page 2 September 14, 2015 • Law timeS NEWS As a result, work tools not considered luxuries in the private sector, such as technologically up-to-date smartphones, aren't necessarily available for federal government lawyers. The department issued BlackBerrys about four years ago but it isn't replacing them even if they're no longer work- ing properly, says MacKay. He recounts how, when going on leave, he was asked to turn in his phone for another colleague to use despite broken keys on the device. "If they are not working, we go without BlackBerrys," says MacKay. Federal lawyers can pur- chase their own phones, but it's often difficult to use them to access the remote server and re- trieve work e-mails, he notes. "It would be nice to look up a case in court" on a phone, but that's not always possible, he adds. A policy for federal civil ser- vants called "cut the cord" re- quires them to choose between a wireless phone or a landline in their offices. While MacKay says the government has exempted most federal lawyers from that policy, even some managers at the Department of Justice have recently lost landlines. A past audit of the use of sub- scription-based legal databases led to them no longer being ac- cessible for many federal lawyers and prosecutors. "We are getting used to relying on CanLII and court web sites," says MacKay. Ordering transcripts also requires approval. And a direc- tive in southern Ontario states that if more than one lawyer is travelling to an out-of town courthouse, even if it's a short distance such as Toronto to Brampton, Ont., they must car- pool rather than both claiming mileage. For further distances, the government encourages law- yers to find a rental car from an approved list rather than using their own car and claim- ing mileage. A lawyer familiar with the policies in the national capital region says that in some cases, the rental cars cost more than mileage. Other policies in that area have included a requirement to fill out a requisition form for exhibits or index tabs for writ- ten legal materials. "People were supposedly using too many tabs," according to the lawyer. In response to the concerns, the Department of Justice and the prosecution service both noted their commitment to en- suring that staff in all offices have "the tools they need to ef- fectively do their work" while also considering ways to save money. They say they make travel ex- pense decisions in compliance with the national joint council directive that states that "the selection of the mode of trans- portation shall be based on cost, duration, convenience, safety, and practicality." And the rules around BlackBerry devices are pursuant to a government- wide operating standard for the provision of telecommunication devices, say spokeswomen for the prosecution service and the Justice Department. MacKay says he understands the desire to try to reduce ex- penses but he suggests that at some point, the policies can interfere with the ability of fed- eral lawyers to do their jobs ef- fectively. Francoise Boivin, justice crit- ic for the federal NDP, says she has sympathy for federal lawyers and their working conditions. "We are very aware of the issues. They are awesome profession- als, yet they are being asked to do more with less," she says. "They are not being given the tools to perform," she adds. An NDP government would make it a priority to re- view how the government has |administered the Justice De- partment in the past decade, in- cluding its dealings with its law- yers, says Boivin. "We will need a time out to analyze the impact [of the Conservative government] on the administration of justice," she says. LT The Canadian Lawyer InHouse 2015 Innovatio Awards is the pre-eminent award program recognizing innovation by members of the in-house bar within the Canadian legal market. These awards celebrate in-house counsel, both individuals and teams, who have found ways to show leadership by becoming more efficient, innovative and creative in meeting the needs of their organizations. The following organizations were honoured September 8th in Toronto: WORKING WITH EXTERNAL COUNSEL, LARGE DEPARTMENT Noel Peacock, Bell Mobility Inc. WORKING WITH EXTERNAL COUNSEL, SMALL DEPARTMENT Wendy Lawrence, Mount Sinai Hospital LAW DEPARTMENT MANAGEMENT, LARGE DEPARTMENT EDC Legal Services LAW DEPARTMENT MANAGEMENT, SMALL DEPARTMENT Interac Association DIVERSITY, LARGE DEPARTMENT RBC General Counsel Group DIVERSITY, SMALL DEPARTMENT Aecon Group Inc. LITIGATION MANAGEMENT, LARGE DEPARTMENT BMO Financial Group COMPLIANCE, SMALL DEPARTMENT 3M Canada TOMORROW'S LEADER IN INNOVATION, LARGE DEPARTMENT Imdad Ali, BMO Financial Group TOMORROW'S LEADER IN INNOVATION, SMALL DEPARTMENT Harpreet K. Sidhu, Pethealth Inc. RISK MANAGEMENT, LARGE DEPARTMENT Josh Death, TD Bank Group IN-HOUSE DEALMAKERS, SMALL DEPARTMENT Mark Gosine, DHX Media INNOVATION OF THE YEAR BMO Financial Group Platinum Sponsor In Partnership With Bronze Sponsor Bronze Sponsor Gold Sponsor Bronze Sponsor Presented by: Carswell Media, a Thomson Reuters Business Untitled-4 1 2015-09-10 12:33 PM Lawyers get the tools they need, government says Continued from page 1 Informant acquitted ance that must be exercised with precision. When it is not executed perfectly, people suffer long-term consequences, as my client con- tinues to suffer." Edwards noted informants play an important role in helping police investigate cases and said the "the position of an informer is precarious and their role fraught with danger." He said the police in this case, "in the manner in which they dealt with AB prior to his/her arrest, during his/her arrest and subsequent to his/her arrest, ref lected a fundamentally f lawed understanding of police obligations when dealing with a confidential informer, both at common law and as ref lected in the ABCPF's written policy itself. "To allow the prosecution to continue would also, in my view, bring the administration of jus- tice into disrepute," Edwards added in staying the proceed- ings. "While a granting of a stay of proceedings is an exceptional and rare remedy, there are cases where the misconduct on which the stay of proceedings is granted is such that the court considers the mere fact of going forward will be offensive." Shemesh calls the ruling "cou- rageous" and says it's "a case that should be read as reinforcing our commitment to ensuring that informants are handled care- fully, legally and sincerely and it is a case that should call upon all police forces to redevelop strict policies about our courts' intol- erance for those officers who manipulate and abuse the rules." In Edwards' view, it's vital for the sake of future investigations that informants have the "abso- lute certainty" police will never disclose their status. "The risk that future prosecu- tions will be hampered because confidential informers do not have confidence that their status as a confidential informer will not be revealed, except by court order, is such that in my view a stay of prosecution in this case must be granted," he wrote. According to criminal law- yer Daniel Brown, the ruling reinforces the duty to protect an informant's identity. "The court goes to great length to protect the informant because of the asset they provide to in- vestigations. Informants are a very important source of infor- mation. They provide the police access to worlds they otherwise couldn't," he says. LT Continued from page 1

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