New scholarship by CALE/ACEJ Board Member Pooja Parmar
“Reconciliation and Ethical Lawyering: Some Thoughts on Cultural Competence” (2019) Canadian Bar Review
This paper critically examines the turn to cultural competence as a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (“TRC”) Calls to Action 27 and 28. I suggest that an uncritical embrace of cultural competence, as currently understood, is inadequate and might even prove to be counterproductive despite best intentions. While acknowledging that the focus on cultural competence is often driven by genuine commitments to reconciliation within the legal profession in Canada, I outline concerns which show that a limited and deficient conception of cultural competence is unlikely to assist lawyers in representing Indigenous clients better or change Indigenous peoples’ experience with the legal system more broadly. I suggest that the TRC Calls to Action demand a response that centres accountability, and that the legal profession must recognize Calls 27 and 28 as a unique opportunity to innovate and lead by rethinking legal education, competence, and ethical lawyering in a multi-juridical space such as Canada. I conclude with two suggestions for taking this conversation forward.
On January 31, 2020, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the Governor General had appointed W. Brent Cotter as an independent Senator for Saskatchewan. CALE/ACEJ extends its warmest congratulations to Brent, a founding member of CALE/ACEJ who has served on its board of directors and as its Board Chair.
Prof. Cotter is one of Canada’s foremost legal ethicists. Over the course of his career, he has taught at universities across the country. He was the Dean of the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan. His scholarship on legal ethics has been foundational to the development of the field in Canada. He is a co-author of Canada’s leading legal ethics casebook. He has been a tireless mentor to many other more junior legal ethics scholars.
The Federation of Law Societies of Canada has initiated a consultation regarding proposed Model Code amendments that address issues related to the duties related to (1) non-discrimination and harassment and (2) ex parte communications with courts and tribunals.
The proposed amendments can be found here: English, French. The consultation report can be found here: English, French.
Information can also be found on the Federation’s website.
The deadline for providing feedback is May 29, 2020.
The Board of CALE/ACEJ will review and consider providing feedback. Any feedback that we provide will be posted on our website.
Professors Amy Salyzyn and Richard Devlin (CALE/ACEJ President and Chair, respectively) have written a column that is now up at Slaw.ca which calls on the Canadian Judicial Council to adopt binding ethics rules (as opposed to just advisory guidelines) for federally-appointed judges in Canada.
The annual CBA-FLSC Ethics Forum will be held on Friday, March 13, 2020 in Toronto. The Forum brings together legal academics and professionals for a day of discussion, debate and review. This year it features a keynote address by Justice Alice Woolley, former professor of law at the University of Calgary and President of CALE.
The detailed program of events for the day is available here.
Information about registering is available here. You can register online. We hope to see you there!
Further to its initial feedback to the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) regarding its review of the Ethical Principles for Judges (EPJs) (see here and here for previous correspondence), CALE/ACEJ has written to the CJC to provide feedback on the draft EPJs released on November 22, 2019. Our letter, sent today, can be found here.
Noel Semple has posted a remarkably detailed summary of CALE’s annual conference, held October 24-26, 2019 at the University of Windsor. The post is on slaw.ca and is available here. It provides the important highlights of 21 separate presentations. Thanks Noel!
CALE/ACEJ President Amy Salyzyn has a new post on slaw.ca (available here) about recent changes to the FLSC Model Code dealing with the obligation to be competent in the use of technology.
The Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) has posted a draft of the revised Ethical Principles for Judges. Information about the process of revising this important document is available here and the draft itself is available here. The changes are sufficiently substantial that a blackline or mark-up drawing attention to the specific changes is not available.
CALE/ACEJ, through its Board of Directors, will provide feedback on the draft to the CJC by its new deadline (updated December 3, 2019) of February 14, 2020. It will post this feedback on this website.
The revision of Ethical Principles for Judges is a generational event. It is therefore important for the process to be as inclusive and responsive as possible to ensure continued public confidence in the Canadian judiciary. CALE/ACEJ encourages anyone interested in judicial ethics and conduct to review the draft and to provide feedback to the CJC, either at email@example.com or Canadian Judicial Council, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0W8. If you provide feedback, you are most welcome to also share it with CALE/ACEJ.
CALE member and Law Society of Ontario Treasurer Malcolm Mercer has a new column up at Slaw.ca that explores the self-regulation of the Canadian legal profession.