Law Times

October 31, 2016

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Legal clinic scores victory in ticket appeals BY ALEX ROBINSON Law Times A Toronto legal clinic has scored what it says is a significant victory in its pursuit of fighting mountains of tickets and fines homeless people rack up in Safe Streets Act violations. Fair Change Community Ser- vices has struck an agreement with the Old City Hall courthouse in Toronto allowing appeals of such tickets to be filed with a single set of paperwork. The Safe Streets Act was passed by the provincial government in 1999 and banned aggressive pan- handling in an attempt to get rid of "squeegee kids." It has only been amended to distinguish panhan- dling from people asking for mon- ey on the street for formal charities. The act has resulted in homeless people being issued large numbers of tickets and fines worth thou- sands of dollars with no means to pay them, lawyers say. The clinic and its lawyers have advocated repealing the provincial legislation, which they say crimi- nalizes homeless people and need- lessly clogs up provincial courts. "The officers are paid to come and testify and the government never sees the money, because ob- viously you're imposing fines on people who have no way of pay- ing those fines," says lawyer Jo- anna Nefs, who is president of the clinic. "Otherwise, they wouldn't be panhandling in the first place. So, absolutely, it's a complete waste of money and it's clogged up the court system." Nefs says it is not uncommon for entire afternoons in Toronto's provincial courtrooms to be spent on ex parte proceedings on Safe Streets Act offences in which de- fendants rarely show up. Mass appeals of the charges have also been a very time-consuming process for defence lawyers in the past. The Fair Change clinic, which is run by Osgoode Hall Law School students under the supervision of ROWE ON THE HOT SEAT Newly announced SCC nominee impresses P6 FOCUS ON Real Estate Law P8 See Act, page 2 PM #40762529 $5.00 • Vol. 27, No.34 October 31, 2016 L AW TIMES C O V E R I N G O N T A R I O ' S L E G A L S C E N E • W W W . L A W T I M E S N E W S . C O M Follow LAW TIMES on Jessyca Greenwood says the Safe Streets Act unnecessarily punishes people with mental illness. RYERSON LAW SCHOOL? First steps toward establishing JD program taken P5 BY DALE SMITH For Law Times O TTAWA — When the federal government an- nounced that it was fill- ing 24 judicial vacan- cies on Oct. 20, it only filled about a third of the vacancies across the country. Furthermore, it announced changes to the Judicial Advisory Committees, disbanding existing ones in order to rebuild them so that they won't be able to consider new appointments until 2017 at the earliest, leaving questions as to why it took so long to announce these changes. Justin Trudeau was elected in October 2016, and the announcement comes a year later. "Why would it have taken a year to come up with?" asks Lorne Sossin, dean of Osgoode Hall Law School. "The changes are welcome but modest. Many expected some- thing a bit more bold, like a move closer to the Ontario Judicial Ad- visory Committee model, which itself conducts interviews, has a rigorous outreach campaign, and creates a slate of the top three that then goes to the attorney general to select from." The announced revisions to the advisory committees roll back the changes that the previous Conser- vative government made in 2006, which removed the ability of the committees to offer "highly rec- ommended" evaluations as op- posed to just "recommended" or not, and ensured that there was always a member of law enforce- ment on each committee. The new committee process restores the previous recommendation scale, seen as a way of giving the process more independence, and removes the permanent police presence on the committees, and will be recon- stituted to better ref lect diversity. There are 17 JACs across the country, representing every prov- ince and territory as well as the Federal Court and Tax Court. Each committee save that for the Tax Court is comprised of seven members, including a nominee from the provincial or territorial law society; a nominee of the pro- vincial or territorial branch of the Canadian Bar Association; a judge nominated by the Chief Justice See Open, page 2 Stephen Mullings says changes to judicial advisory committees announced by the federal government will cause a delay with filling existing vacancies. Photo: Robin Kuniski Changes to federal committees slows down filling vacancies New judges announced, but more needed & $#&!&jmmm$cYa[bbWh$Yec ntitled-4 1 12-03-20 10:44 AM When you're working, we're working. End-To-End Legal Marketing Solutions. Visit Findlaw_LT_Oct31_16.indd 1 2016-10-24 3:10 PM

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