As I’ve mentioned before, I read “What’s hot on CanLII” every week to find out what decisions a significant number of viewers found interesting. Sometimes, I make surreptitious finds that I like to share with you.
This week, the number 2 case was R. v. Morris, 2018 ONSC 5186. What was so significant about this case? It was written reasons for sentencing, provided by Nakatsuru, J. The importance of the decision is the language and the writing. Justice Nakatsuru wrote as if he was speaking directly to the offender. He used short sentences, plain English, and he explained every detail of how he came up with his decision and why he chose to accept some evidence even though the Crown objected.
This is not the first time Justice Nakatsuru has written in this manner. In R. v. Armitage, 2015 ONCJ 64, a decision of the Gladue court in Toronto, he also wrote directly to the offender.
I find this approach incredibly heartening. To me, it shows that justice is listening to offenders and not only taking into account their background, but explaining it to them so they can understand. In a law library like we have, we’re surrounded by works that require significant literacy skills to understand. Thank you to J. Nakatsuru for considering his audience while writing his decision.
This week in the library we’ve created a display around our most relevant immigration resources. Most of these are online resources that you can access in the library, or behind the Law Society Member’s Portal.
The Manitoba government has just released a report titled Modernizing Our Family Law System, by Manitoba’s Family Law Reform Committee. The 10 page report, followed by 4 pages of appendices, is written in plain English, befitting the audience it is intended for. The Committee suggests a three year pilot project.
Our model would by legislation, require all matters proceeding
under the Family Maintenance Actto be commenced by
an application form which would be simple enough that an
individual could complete it with or without the assistance
of a lawyer.
While restricting this pilot project to Family Maintenance Act
matters will significantly limit the scope of this initiative, we
believe there will be a large volume of matters, sufficient to
test the effectiveness of this approach during the pilot phase.
The Committee was formed in the fall of 2017, and completed their report in record time, as mandated by Justice Minister Stefanson.
As many studies have noted, the adversarial court system does not work well for family law matters. Families must continue to work together after divorce and custody issues are taken care of. We will be watching for the government to introduce legislation to enable this project, and keep you informed when it has been released.