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Vancouver Criminal Law Blog
Acumen Law Corporation > Blog (Page 2)

The Civil Resolution Tribunal, a.k.a. Small Petty Claims Court

The backroom where the action happens at the CRT

Starting on June 1, 2017, BC’s Civil Resolution Tribunal will begin to hear small claims disputes under $5,000. The Civil Resolution Tribunal has been the subject of a lot of ridicule in our office because it's years past its original launch date, we hear it's well over budget, its merely duplicating what is basically already covered by small claims court and finally and most importantly because it lacks the fact-finding methods of a real court. Being a tribunal, we worry that independence of the tribunal will be a problem as we've seen with the OSMV.  It may also encourage nuisance...

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Bad laws written by bad governments

Bad government omits lawyers from the discussion of new laws

This week, several MPs tweeted about their participation in roundtable discussions with Jody Wilson-Raybould and other “stakeholders” in criminal justice reform. But best we can tell defence counsel were not invited to have a seat at any of those roundtables. Despite the fact that we come up with sensible and workable solutions to plenty of criminal justice problems, and despite the fact that defence counsel are clearly stakeholders in the system of criminal justice, the Government never wants to hear our voices, thoughts, or ideas.[pullquote]We would have fewer constitutional challenges, better and stronger laws, and a more effective and efficient court system...

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High standards for proving drug impaired driving prohibitions

Drivin high?

Late last week we had a significant successful decision in BC Supreme Court for a client who was pulled over by Vancouver police for “slow driving,” before being given a 24-hour prohibition for allegedly driving while affected by drugs. In this case, the officer never found any drugs on our client or among his possessions. Instead, the Vancouver police relied on the smell of “fresh marihuana,” the presence of marijuana grinders, and a bottle of eye drops to make their case. It was not lost on the court that the officer had “no explanation” as to why our client was pulled...

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Integrity of the IRP system at stake

What's in the papers?

The past week marks another step in our ongoing quest to expose the true functioning of the IRP scheme and to protect the integrity of our justice system. Back in November 2015, Kyla received a package back from the government on a Freedom of Information request containing information that questioned the integrity of BC’s IRP system. Inside the package were pages of confidential material the Government didn’t want us to see (known as the Victoria Papers). The material included a conversation where a lawyer working for the Ministry of Justice appeared to give orders to an IRP adjudicator describing how she...

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More fishy stuff at RoadSafetyBC

We’ve written a lot about RoadSafetyBC delaying rendering IRP review decisions. One of the problems with the ongoing backlog of decisions is that as time goes on, memory fades, witnesses disappear, friends move on, and evidence becomes harder to obtain. It’s one of the reasons we have so many concerns with the delay in rendering decisions. This past week, we discovered yet another problem with the delay issue that impacts your right to a fair hearing. We received a number of letters from RoadSafetyBC all at once. The letters indicate, for a substantial number of clients, that the adjudicator who initially heard...

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Lawyers working in the public interest

Failure of checks and balances

If you weren't aware of it before, the last few months have given many a new understanding of lawyers working in the public interest. The reality is that working for the public interest is common for tens of thousands lawyers around the world for much or most of their work day. But the Trump administration has brought to the public attention the importance of public interest advocacy. A quick discussion of politics and history are required as a background to this post. We often speak of checks and balances to our system of democracy. The idea is that if you allow too...

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NOTICE to anyone who received an IRP since June 2012

Notice to anyone who received an IRP

If you received an IRP since June 2012, you need to read on and follow our instructions. It's important for you. You may still have a chance to have your Immediate Roadside Prohibition revoked, removed from your license and get some of your money back. Kyla Lee had not one but two major successes last week in our courts. She succeeded at the BC Court of Appeal last Thursday in the Macht decision which addresses a regular problem we see in decisions of the RoadSafetyBC tribunal. In that case the Court agreed that an issue that was the primary thrust of...

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Appeal Court Success for Kyla Lee of Acumen Law

Kyla Lee wins at the BC Court of Appeal

We often joke that that the BC Court of Appeal never saw a driving prohibition that they didn't like. But that changed Friday when the Court released their decision in Macht v. the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles. One particular concern we have when it comes to the adjudication of Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) cases by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles (A.K.A. RoadSafetyBC) is that the adjudicators appear to regularly disregard the thrust of the legal argument if they can rephrase it in a way to suggest that you were not forwarding a certain salient point. For example, you might argue that...

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Updated website

Updated Acumen Website

Welcome to our newly updated website! We've been working hard for the last few months to update and refresh our website to make it easier to read and to ensure that we can have the most accurate up-to-date information particularly on the practice area pages. There have been many dramatic changes to the legal landscape in BC and Canada in the last few years and it can be very hard to keep up. Our blog contains over 500 posts, most of which deal with the IRP scheme. We considered altering or removing some of the posts that are less relevant bearing in...

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End of the line for version 1 IRP legal challenges

In September we told you about how we ended up involved in the appeal of the remedy decision for the first version of the IRP scheme. The original challenge to the first version of the IRP scheme (what some call "IRP 1.0") was advanced by a group of lawyers, us included, and handled by a firm we hired to mount the challenge. They succeeded and the law was struck down. The issue next was whether there was a remedy for the people who were punished while the unconstitutional law was still in place. Many people had grand hopes in class-action lawsuits,...

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