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Goal-oriented adjudication

BC Government can train members of tribunals to get the decisions they want

In Canada and the US courts are often criticized for being goal oriented. Right-wing and religious groups usually complain that courts have a "liberal agenda" -- that they have goal-oriented adjudication that support a movement away from traditional Christian / Conservative values. It may be a valid observation. There is no doubt that courts, with the power to make decisions of fact, can craft judgments to achieve certain goals. But from what we see every day, judges are very independent and it is unlikely that any agenda could be kept more or less under wraps. Judges have no boss. Although they...

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Sources of inside information

As you have probably figured out reading our blog, we have sources of inside information in the Government and some police forces in BC. It's not nefarious. Often the information we get merely confirms what we already know. Many people on the inside find the IRP scheme deeply flawed and as a consequence they tell us what's going on. So as we've mentioned before, we would love to have told you the rumours, for example about the Government eliminating traffic court, but there is some information that we must hold back. What we have learned from police officers is that many...

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Subtle pressure

The Government has been incapable of influencing the courts

In March we discussed the strange tension between the Government and the courts here in BC. The blog post remained one of the most popular since then. The post discusses the statement issued by the three levels of court concerning judicial independence. It was made in response to comments made by member of the Government that seemed to suggest, among other things, that the Government doesn't like the rulings of the courts. The suggestion was that the courts need to tow the Government's line, i.e. convict more people, hand out harsher punishment, be more businesslike and focus on results. Comments like this...

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Findings of fact to fit a result

Findings of Fact to Fit a result

If you read our post from yesterday, you know about the secret. Essentially, a judge or tribunal can uphold or reject any matter before them by basing their decision on findings of fact. If you're the judge and you are inclined to a certain decision, all you need to do is make findings of fact that support your view. The court conducting the appeal will defer to those findings. Every judge and every tribunal member knows this. Thankfully, it is very rare in courts. We can speculate about the reason for this. We think that legal training and experience are very...

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A Secret

A secret about how courts and trubunals can make decisions

It's time we let you in on a secret. There is a major flaw in our justice system. Appeal courts struggle with it but only using delicate language designed to shroud the problem. Virtually all lawyers know about it but nobody has managed to come up with an acceptable solution. And we're not supposed to talk about it. We need a justice system and our works reasonably well. So to protect the confidence in our justice system, we're not supposed to tell you about the problem. But we believe that people should understand the good and bad aspects of the system....

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The end of the Charter of Rights in BC

The end of the Charter of Rights in BC

If you thought the IRP scheme was the low point in BC legal history, think again. Emboldened by aspects of the Sivia decision, the BC Government now plans to take away the Charter of Rights and your right to a trial when the police stop you for a driving offence. It's the end of the Charter of Rights in BC. More disingenuous than IRPs or ADPs, the Government has introduced a bill that will completely uproot our justice system. It will eliminate the Charter of Rights with respect to all driving offences in the Motor Vehicle Act. They did this while...

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Drunk driving is on the decline

Drunk driving is on the decline. Or is it on the increase?

Last week CTV reported that the number of people who were given driving prohibitions in connection with an alleged drinking and driving offence since December 1, 2011, was a fraction of the number from the same period the year before and about half of what we would see in a typical year. These are important statistics for a number of reasons and it was not fully fleshed out in the story. Paul was interviewed by CTV the day before, and the clip used in this particular news report was not in relation to the statistics. So we did not get a...

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Government’s IRP fix and what it means to you

The IRP Fix is in - the Government wants an unfair system

The IRP fix is in and British Columbians want to know what it means to them. More important right now is what it means to the people who received a Fail 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition before November 30, 2011. The short answer is that nothing has changed. The legislation is silent on Fail IRPs issued before the law was found to violated the Charter in the ruling on November 30, 2011. So unless the Government introduces some other transitional legislation, this matter will be resolved before the courts. Will the legislation impact the petitions/appeals now before the courts? The matters are being...

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New IRP Legislation Introduced

As most people know, the Government has introduced the proposed changes to the Motor Vehicle Act to bring back "Fail" 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibitions, also known as IRPs or Automatic roadside driving prohibitions. You can find the press release here and the proposed legislation here. Apparently the press release was issued, there was a statement from the Minister, and then she refused to answer questions. We can understand why she would want to get out of there. The media are now well-armed with questions that the Government understandably would like to never answer. First, the Garbage: The Minister said that the Reports will...

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Incentives in the justice system

We do not have awards ceremonies for the judges who convict the most people, or who send the greatest number of people to jail in a year. There is no such thing as a Bankie Award for the judge who renders the most decisions in favour of banks in civil suits. And this is all very simple -- the reason we do not reward outcomes such as this is because it would make the judges a party interested in the outcome of the litigation. The system would be patently unfair. The party making the decision, the judge, would have an...

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