Voices, My Personal Demons

slaw - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 06:00

I am not sure if the voices in my head were inherited or created for survival. I suffer from the disease of alcoholism and medical opinion suggests that the predisposition to this disease is inherited. All I know is that the voices are part of my disease and long before I took a drink and for as long as I can remember they were there.

At first the voices helped me cope with a very abusive father. However, even from a young age the voices were more detrimental than helpful. They told me “you are bad, you deserved it, you don’t belong, you are worthless, you are fat, you are stupid” and so on. I could quiet them down or make them even go away for a time through a variety of strategies; reading, studying, being a workaholic, holidaying, social Interaction, having a relationship, having a baby. In the end they would always come back with renewed vigour each time.

I spent a lot of my life feeling like a fraud. I pretended to the world that I had everything together, that I was a strong successful woman, wife, mother, daughter and friend. Inside I felt the absolute opposite. As a result of this extreme dichotomy I felt I was going Insane. I thought surely “normal” people did not have this war going on inside them. Further, as part of this insanity was my total inability to share the secret of my “voices” and my pain with anyone. It was a very lonely and crazy existence. My strategies to control the voices worked less and less as time went on.

Eventually I found a much better way of coping with the voices, alcohol. It was great! Alcohol completely banished them for periods of time and I felt, for the first time in my life, comfortable in my own skin. But of course my love affair with the bottle came to an inevitable crashing end. I had to keep upping the amount of alcohol until no amount of alcohol worked. In fact the voices were stronger than ever as I had created so much chaos in my life as the alcohol had taking over and my life was spinning out of control.

Now the voices had more traction and ammunition than ever, “look at what you did, look at the chaos, look at the hurt, you are flawed, you are disgusting, you are a terrible mother”, etc. The shame, guilt, hangovers, shakes and the destructive cravings for more alcohol fueled the voices like nothing before had ever done.

I felt like I would die if I could not drink and at the same time I knew that I would likely die if I continued to drink. I felt physically very ill, spiritually empty and emotionally at the end. I could not see a way out except death to quiet the chaos in my head and the extreme physical cravings in my body.

Fortunately through my family’s intervention I did get into recovery a number of years ago and by the Grace of God I hope to continue there.

Although putting the alcohol down wiped out the cravings it did not wipe out the voices. They were and will continue to be part of my disease for the rest of my life. I do know now that the voices in my head are telling me lies designed to make me hate myself. The voices, when they are not telling me how awful I am, tell me that I am a victim and cannot change my situation, another lie. I continue to battle these obsessive negative “tapes” on a daily basis.

To help with this battle I am involved in 12 step programs as well as counselling. I have tried to clear some of the wreckage of my past and make peace with it. I have taken ownership of my actions. I cannot afford to see myself as a helpless victim because then I would wallow away in justified and unjustified resentments and let the voices take over again. I have come to realize that I alone am responsible for my happiness. The only person that I can change is me. I strive for a positive attitude and I surround myself with positive people. I try to help others with similar problems. Most importantly I work on my spiritual connection with God.

Since I have been actively treating my disease my life has become filled with joy and miracles. Every day is a blessing, to be free from alcohol and for the most part free from the voices.

However should the slightest thing go awry, whether I make a work mistake, hurt a friend, have an argument with a family member or experience a financial or health problem the voices come pouring back in. Every time it happens I am offended as I was under the delusion that I had become “normal”. But I am not “normal”, I have a disease that twists my thoughts and wants to make me feel so worthless that I cannot stand to be “me” any longer. Furthermore it wants to keep my “condition” a secret. It wants to shame and embarrass me into living in my head. I cannot and do not do this. No matter how embarrassing or serious the problem I must and do share it with my support people and take the next right steps no matter how hard it might be.

I recently encountered a situation where I had made a mistake. My voices instantly screamed “of course you made a mistake, it was only a matter of time, you are so lousy at what you do, you are worthless”, etc. Then they said “you better hide this, tell no one and panic”. I did so for a few days then did the opposite. I shared the problem and took all the appropriate actions and the voices once again were relegated to the dark corners of my mind where they will however always be at the ready to attack.

I am writing this article so that people who suffer from the same disease as I do can have hope that these debilitating voices (or tapes, bad thoughts or whatever you call them) can be diminished to the point that one can lead a healthy, happy and productive life. One filled with joy and freedom. The best advice I can give is; get help, tell someone, share the burden, work on building a connection with a higher power and join a support group. This is not shameful and it can be treated. Don’t suffer in silence!

Elke C.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Surden: Computable Contracts – Part 2

Legal Informatics Blog - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 03:29

Professor Harry Surden of the University of Colorado has posted Computable Contracts – Part 2, at Concurring Opinions.

Here is a summary of the post:

This is the second part of a series explaining “computable contracts.” For more about what a computable contract is, please see the first part here.

[...] The goal of this second part is to explain the intuition behind how an ordinary contract can become a computable contract.

Three Steps to Computable Contracting

There are three steps to creating a computable contract:

  1. Data-Oriented Contracting
  2. Semantic Contract terms
  3. Automated assessment of contract terms

I will discuss each of these steps in turn. [...]

Click here for video of Professor Surden’s May 2014 presentation on Computable Contracts, for Professor Michael Genesereth and Dr. Roland Vogl’s course on legal informatics at Stanford Law School.

For details, please see the complete post.


Filed under: Applications, Others' scholarly or sophisticated blogposts, Technology developments, Technology tools, Videos Tagged: Artificial intelligence and law, Automated assessment of contract terms, Automated evaluation of contract terms, Automated evaluation of contracts, Automated evaluation of contractual terms, Computable contracts, Concurring Opinions, Contract compliance systems, Contract information systems, Contract law information systems, Contracts as data, Contractual rules as data, Data-oriented contracting, Digital contracts, Electronic contracts, Harry Surden, Legal compliance systems, Legal rules as data, Modeling contract provisions, Modeling contracts, Modeling contractual obligations, Modeling legal rules, Semantic contract terms
Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Surden: Computable Contracts – Part 2

Legal Informatics Blog - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 03:29

Professor Harry Surden of the University of Colorado has posted Computable Contracts – Part 2, at Concurring Opinions.

Here is a summary of the post:

This is the second part of a series explaining “computable contracts.” For more about what a computable contract is, please see the first part here.

[...] The goal of this second part is to explain the intuition behind how an ordinary contract can become a computable contract.

Three Steps to Computable Contracting

There are three steps to creating a computable contract:

  1. Data-Oriented Contracting
  2. Semantic Contract terms
  3. Automated assessment of contract terms

I will discuss each of these steps in turn. [...]

Click here for video of Professor Surden’s May 2014 presentation on Computable Contracts, for Professor Michael Genesereth and Dr. Roland Vogl’s course on legal informatics at Stanford Law School.

For details, please see the complete post.


Filed under: Applications, Others' scholarly or sophisticated blogposts, Technology developments, Technology tools, Videos Tagged: Artificial intelligence and law, Automated assessment of contract terms, Automated evaluation of contract terms, Automated evaluation of contracts, Automated evaluation of contractual terms, Computable contracts, Concurring Opinions, Contract compliance systems, Contract information systems, Contract law information systems, Contracts as data, Contractual rules as data, Data-oriented contracting, Digital contracts, Electronic contracts, Harry Surden, Legal compliance systems, Legal rules as data, Modeling contract provisions, Modeling contracts, Modeling contractual obligations, Modeling legal rules, Semantic contract terms
Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Maharg: Emergent educational designs and distributed autonomous organisations

Legal Informatics Blog - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 03:05

Professor Dr. Paul Maharg of Australian National University has posted Emergent educational designs and distributed autonomous organisations, at his blog.

The post begins with comments on Kate Galloway, LL.M.‘s earlier post: Legal education in a digital context.

Professor Maharg’s post continues:

[...] The nature of how we teach will change radically; and how will affect what. Problem-based learning, simulation, clinic are (to quote Lee Shulman) the shadow pedagogies that are slowly emerging from the shadows. But behind them, waiting to emerge, hand-in-hand with digital technologies, are even more shadowy, much more powerfully technologized and personal curriculum designs, which we need to understand and adapt.

What are these shadowy pedagogies? See for instance Eris – a platform for distributed autonomous organizations (DAOs) that use Ethereum blockchain technologies. [...] In the WG Hart presentation a few days ago I summarised some of the uses of this open technology [...] In legal education, a blockchained environment might include learning objects, a comms system, a badge system (eg Mozilla Badges), a payment system, access to knowledge and skills environments and other decentralised functions. Decentralisation — what’s the role of the LMS then? I’d guess that we’re already moving away from it, and blockchained legal education will probably render it unwieldy, pointless.

More fundamentally, and given disintermediation, what does this do to the nature, role and status of the law school as educational institution? And how should this be regulated? We have papers on Bitcoin regulation to use as a model, but we need much more imaginative thinking, and we need to do that with regulators, as I argued at the WG Hart Workshop, and bring them with us in our thinking. Above all, we need to do it for ourselves and our students, so that we can greet the technologies as they emerge from the shadows, and draw them into the endless educational conversation, glancing awhile at the figures behind them, waiting their turn to emerge into the light.

For more details, please see the complete post.


Filed under: Applications, Others' scholarly or sophisticated blogposts, Policy debates, Slides, Technology developments, Technology tools Tagged: Blockchain technology and legal education, Distributed autonomous organizations, Eris, Ethereum, Kate Galloway, Law school technology, Legal applications of blockchain technology, Legal education and blockchain technology, Legal educational technology, Legal instructional technology, Paul Maharg, Technology in legal education, W. G. Hart Workshop, W. G. Hart Workshop 2014
Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Maharg: Emergent educational designs and distributed autonomous organisations

Legal Informatics Blog - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 03:05

Professor Dr. Paul Maharg of Australian National University has posted Emergent educational designs and distributed autonomous organisations, at his blog.

The post begins with comments on Kate Galloway, LL.M.‘s earlier post: Legal education in a digital context.

Professor Maharg’s post continues:

[...] The nature of how we teach will change radically; and how will affect what. Problem-based learning, simulation, clinic are (to quote Lee Shulman) the shadow pedagogies that are slowly emerging from the shadows. But behind them, waiting to emerge, hand-in-hand with digital technologies, are even more shadowy, much more powerfully technologized and personal curriculum designs, which we need to understand and adapt.

What are these shadowy pedagogies? See for instance Eris – a platform for distributed autonomous organizations (DAOs) that use Ethereum blockchain technologies. [...] In the WG Hart presentation a few days ago I summarised some of the uses of this open technology [...] In legal education, a blockchained environment might include learning objects, a comms system, a badge system (eg Mozilla Badges), a payment system, access to knowledge and skills environments and other decentralised functions. Decentralisation — what’s the role of the LMS then? I’d guess that we’re already moving away from it, and blockchained legal education will probably render it unwieldy, pointless.

More fundamentally, and given disintermediation, what does this do to the nature, role and status of the law school as educational institution? And how should this be regulated? We have papers on Bitcoin regulation to use as a model, but we need much more imaginative thinking, and we need to do that with regulators, as I argued at the WG Hart Workshop, and bring them with us in our thinking. Above all, we need to do it for ourselves and our students, so that we can greet the technologies as they emerge from the shadows, and draw them into the endless educational conversation, glancing awhile at the figures behind them, waiting their turn to emerge into the light.

For more details, please see the complete post.


Filed under: Applications, Others' scholarly or sophisticated blogposts, Policy debates, Slides, Technology developments, Technology tools Tagged: Blockchain technology and legal education, Distributed autonomous organizations, Eris, Ethereum, Kate Galloway, Law school technology, Legal applications of blockchain technology, Legal education and blockchain technology, Legal educational technology, Legal instructional technology, Paul Maharg, Technology in legal education, W. G. Hart Workshop, W. G. Hart Workshop 2014
Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Fourteen LinkedIn Tips for (the Rest of) 2014

LLRX - Sun, 06/29/2014 - 18:37
With over 300 million users, LinkedIn is the most popular social media platform for business and professional use, and attorneys Dennis Kennedy and Allison C. Shields clearly and concisely outline how to leverage this space with smart, targeted and effective ways that positively identify you in communities of best practice, proactively communicate with peers and potential clients, and expand your business reach.
Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Comforting Witnesses, Discomforting Due Process

LLRX - Sun, 06/29/2014 - 15:18
Many of us are aware of, and have had contact with various types of therapy dogs, in places that range from the workplace to our public transportation systems. But we may not be aware of the growing use and integration into the legal system of therapeutic "comfort dogs" or therapy dogs in several aspects of criminal proceedings, including victim-offender mediation. Ken Strutin lays the groundwork for analysis of how "dog therapy" techniques are well suited to this type of mediation by discussing the psychological dynamics of victim-offender mediation, including how the mediator must confront and deal with them. Of special interest and importance is the changing role of the mediator, who is often called upon to wear different hats. Of importance in this article are the jobs of "therapist" and "magician." Strutin describes the "therapist" role as it focuses on the therapeutic effect that a dog's presence will have on victim-offender mediation, namely the psychological benefits for the participants. He explores the "magician" role through a discussion of how the mediator will use the dog's presence to aid in the process of discussing and resolving conflict, with both parties' emotional needs receiving equal attention. And finally, Strutin discusses the training required by mediators who wish to employ therapy dogs in their practice. These new "mediator-handlers," as these types of mediators are known, will have a challenging task in specializing in this type of mediation, but one that can be truly rewarding." The research and commentary provided here are seminal to understanding how dogs are engaged in increasingly critical roles in the lives of people in many facets of social and legal interaction with critical implications for all involved.
Categories: Teknoids Blogs

My Twitter Digest for 06/28/2014

<CONTENT /> v.5 - Sun, 06/29/2014 - 14:30
Categories: Teknoids Blogs

National Digital Library Endowment Plan Makes New York Times of Philanthropy

LLRX - Sun, 06/29/2014 - 14:17
David Rothman encourages Librarians and friends to think like Willie Sutton, who supposedly said he robbed banks because "That's where the money is." Rothman is quick to say the quote in fact is iffy, but he wants us to focus on the logic behind supporting a national digital library endowment.
Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Reform Access to Information for Health Sector

slaw - Sun, 06/29/2014 - 10:56

The Canadian Open Government Initiative was announced on March 18, 2011. The project focuses on 3 main streams:

  • Open Data, which is about offering Government data in more useful and machine-readable formats to enable citizens, the private sector and non-government organizations to leverage it in innovative and value-added ways.
  • Open Information, which is about proactively releasing information, including on Government activities, to Canadians on an ongoing basis. It is about proactively making Government information easier to find and accessible for Canadians.
  • Open Dialogue, which is about giving Canadians a stronger say in Government policies and priorities, and expanding engagement through Web 2.0 technologies.

Since that time there have been some notable developments, including an Open Data Portal, publishing Access to Information Requests online, and updates to the Values and Ethics Code for public officials.

Yet the legislation governing information requests, the Access to Information Act, is outdated and has not been properly amended to reflect modern commercial practices. Members of the Advisory Panel on Open Government are already already calling for its reform, in advance of announcements expected this fall, and some are calling it a threat to Canadian democracy.

Private member bills have been introduced by both Pat Martin (defeated) and Justin Trudeau (just tabled this month) to introduce more transparency. But the current government does not appear to be willing to make the changes voluntarily,

Asked for Justice Minister Peter MacKay’s position on reforming the access law, spokeswoman Paloma Aguilar defended the government’s administration of the current law, saying the Conservatives had answered more requests than all previous administrations subject to the law combined.

One issue that has not been particularly emphasized in recent debates around the Act are the confidentiality provisions under s. 20, which provide trade secret and confidentiality provisions.

Subsection 20 (1)(b), which protects information which has been consistently treated as confidential by a third party, as well as subsection 20 (1)(b.1), covering information provided to the government in confidence, is considered redundant in light of the protections under subsection 20 (c), which encompasses information which could reasonably be expected to result in a financial loss or prejudice a competitive position.

The Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada has subsequently recommended repealing subsection 20 (1)(b) on several occasions, stating,

Government holds a vast array of information about private businesses information unrelated to government contracts. Ours is a highly regulated society. In many fields–agriculture, health, communications, environment, fisheries, native affairs, regional development–information from private sector firms figures prominently in government files. With government downsizing and privatization, more and more matters affecting the public interest are dealt with by the private sector. Government officials and private firms should not be able to agree among themselves to keep information secret. Yet, paragraph 20(1)(b) comes perilously close to giving authority for just such a cozy arrangement.

The Act also contains a public interest clause in subsection 20 (6) when dealing with public health and safety, or if the public interest outweighs any financial considerations. Despite this flexibility, the Commissioner suggested this provision is still being too narrow and recommended it be broadened beyond this narrow application.

The result of these restrictions do have significant impacts on our health and regulatory system. Whereas the US FDA announces topics under examination, has public timetables for hearings and public submissions, posts evidence considered with their competing interest, and provides complete rationale for their decisions, Health Canada refuses to provide any of this information by indicating that commercial interests exceed the need for disclosure.

This system has been criticized nearly 15 years ago by the chair of Health Canada’s Scientific Advisory Committee, Dr. Roberta Bondar, “for a level of confidentiality that is inconsistent with public expectation and contributes to public cynicism about the integrity of the process.”

Paul C. Hébert et al. state in the Canadian Medical Association Journal,

If the Harper government has truly changed its attitude and hopes to open government to Canadians, it should start by instructing Health Canada to make all regulatory submissions more open — by releasing the data it used, or mandating companies do so, by regularly holding open meetings, just as the FDA does, and publicly posting detailed rationales for its decisions.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

slaw - Sun, 06/29/2014 - 06:00

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

Famille : L’appelante, qui a fait appel à une donneuse d’ovules et à une mère porteuse, obtient la placement de l’enfant née au terme de cette démarche auprès d’elle en vue de son adoption.

Intitulé : Adoption — 1445, 2014 QCCA 1162
Juridiction : Cour d’appel (C.A.), Montréal, 500-08-000409-120
Décision de : Juges Yves-Marie Morissette, Jacques J. Levesque et Manon Savard
Date : 10 juin 2014

FAMILLE — adoption — ordonnance de placement — demande présentée par la conjointe du père — consentement spécial — mère porteuse — intérêt supérieur de l’enfant — ordre public.

Appel d’un jugement de la Cour du Québec, Chambre de la jeunesse, ayant rejeté une requête pour ordonnance de placement en vue d’une adoption. Accueilli.

Sur les conseils de ses médecins traitants, consultés dans une clinique de fertilité, l’appelante, la conjointe du père, a résolu de faire appel à une donneuse d’ovules et à une mère porteuse. Après avoir trouvé une donneuse d’ovules, elle s’est adressée à une amie qui avait déjà donné naissance en 2009, et dans des circonstances identiques, au premier enfant qu’elle avait adopté, et il a été convenu que l’enfant à naître serait adopté par l’appelante avec le consentement de la mise en cause. La procréation a été réalisée en implantant dans un ovule fécondé in vitro par le père dans le corps de la mère porteuse. Peu de temps après sa naissance, X a été confiée à l’appelante et au père, chez qui elle réside, et une requête pour ordonnance de placement en vue d’une adoption a été déposée. La juge de première instance a rejeté cette requête après avoir conclu que le consentement spécial à l’adoption des parents biologiques donnait effet de manière détournée à une entente contractuelle prohibée par la loi, que la mère porteuse avait reçu une rémunération en promettant qu’elle consentirait à l’adoption, contrevenant ainsi à l’article 135.1 de la Loi sur la protection de la jeunesse, que le père et l’adoptante avaient contourné par une démarche illégale et contraire à l’ordre public une disposition prohibitive et qu’aucune autre issue n’était possible dans l’état actuel du droit puisque le consentement de la mère de l’enfant était vicié.

Décision
M. le juge Morissette: En indiquant qu’il fallait conclure que 7 900 $ avaient été versés à la mère porteuse et 2 000 $ à la donneuse d’ovules à titre de rémunération, la juge a commis une erreur manifeste. En effet, il n’y avait pas matière à déduire de la preuve que l’entente entre l’appelante, le père et la mère porteuse équivalait à la rémunération ou rétribution de cette dernière en sa qualité de mère porteuse. L’appelante et le père ont décidé d’entreprendre une démarche semblable à celle qui avait mené à l’adoption d’un premier enfant, et rien de cette expérience ne laissait présager que de nouvelles formalités ou exigences, notamment quant à la preuve des dépenses engagées, encadraient désormais leur demande d’ordonnance de placement. Il y a lieu de rectifier cette erreur, compte tenu de la prohibition se trouvant à l’article 6 de la Loi sur la procréation assistée, de celle édictée par l’article 135.1 de la Loi sur la protection de la jeunesse et des conséquences qui peuvent résulter d’une violation de ces dispositions. En ce qui concerne le pourvoi de l’appelante, il y a lieu de le trancher à la lumière de ce qui paraît avoir été l’intention législative sous-jacente à l’article 541 du Code civil du Québec (C.C.Q.). À cet égard, quoique le commentaire du ministre de la Justice (Québec (prov.). Ministère de la Justice. Commentaires du ministre de la Justice: le Code civil du Québec. Tome 1. Québec: Publications du Québec, 1993. P. 327) n’apporte pas d’éclairement, le silence du législateur quant à la possibilité d’une adoption en ligne collatérale semble avoir été délibéré et il est significatif. Par ailleurs, le fait que le contrat de mère porteuse soit nul de nullité absolue ne signifie pas que, ipso facto, tous ses effets, même indirects ou sur des tiers — tel un enfant —, doivent être combattus par le droit. En l’espèce, l’analyse la plus juste et la plus mesurée des effets de l’article 541 C.C.Q. sur la filiation par adoption est celle formulée dans Adoption — 09185 (C.Q., 2009-06-29 (jugement rectifié le 2009-07-09)), 2009 QCCQ 8703, SOQUIJ AZ-50571870, et ce, même si l’appelante n’est pas la mère génétique ou génitrice de l’enfant en cause. En l’espèce, alors que les démarches de l’appelante et du père se sont faites dans la transparence, faire droit à la requête pour ordonnance de placement en vue d’une adoption est la solution qui, conformément aux articles 33 et 543 C.C.Q., sert le mieux l’intérêt de X. Celle-ci vit depuis sa naissance avec son père, son frère aîné ainsi que l’appelante, et cette cellule familiale est la seule qu’elle connaisse. Par ailleurs, la mère porteuse, dont le nom figure sur l’acte de naissance, n’a jamais eu la moindre intention d’exercer une quelconque autorité parentale sur cet enfant. Dans ces circonstances, si l’autorité parentale devait être exercée par le père et la mère porteuse, il en résulterait une situation tout à fait artificielle qui compliquerait diverses circonstances de la vie courante. Autoriser l’adoption est aussi la solution qui respecte le mieux le principe fondamental de l’article 522 C.C.Q., qui veut que tous les enfants dont la filiation est établie aient les mêmes droits et les mêmes obligations, quelles que soient les circonstances de leur naissance. Dans le contexte d’une requête pour une ordonnance de placement en vue de l’adoption, le critère de l’intérêt supérieur de l’enfant doit prévaloir sur les circonstances de sa naissance. Il appartiendra aux autorités compétentes de veiller à la sanction des actes illégaux selon la Loi sur la procréation assistée et non au tribunal saisi de la requête pour l’ordonnance de placement de l’enfant. Enfin, il faut retenir que l’ordre public ne peut servir à contrecarrer la volonté de parents adoptifs qui, avec transparence et dans le respect des lois sur l’adoption, ont voulu avoir recours aux ressources de la science médicale pour que soit conçu un enfant, le leur, et qu’il lui soit donné une famille.

Le texte intégral de la décision est disponible ici

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Summaries Sunday: OnPoint Legal Research

slaw - Sun, 06/29/2014 - 06:00

One Sunday each month OnPoint Legal Research provides Slaw with an extended summary of, and counsel’s commentary on, an important case from the British Columbia, Alberta, or Ontario court of appeal.

Hughes v. Hughes, 2014 BCCA 196 

1. CASE SUMMARY

Areas of Law: Family law; Child support; Contempt of court; Change in circumstances

~ An order for a custodial parent to pay child support to the non-custodial parent pending the return of the child may be cancelled in circumstances where the child is not returned~

Background: At the beginning of the proceeding that gave rise to this appeal, the parties had joint custody and guardianship of their child. The child’s primary residence was with the Appellant, Ms. Hughes. The Respondent, Mr. Hughes, had reasonable and generous access. In December 2007, the child was hospitalized as a result of having ingested an adult tranquilizer, Clozapine, which the Appellant accused the Respondent of administering. In February 2009, the court ordered by consent that a doctor investigate the Clozapine incident and prepare a report. The doctor was unable to determine how the drug came to be in the child’s system, and found that both parties were loving and capable parents who would not harm the child intentionally. Following the report, the court granted the Respondent scheduled unsupervised access visits. The Appellant responded to this by taking the child to Italy. She ignored the court’s order for the child’s return and was found in contempt. The divorce trial took place in late 2009, with the Appellant participating sporadically from Italy by telephone. In December 2009 the Appellant was found in further contempt of court, and on December 16, 2009 a warrant was issued for her arrest. Two days later, the Respondent initiated Hague Convention proceedings in Italy for the child’s return. The matter was heard in Italy on January 13, 2010. On January 15, 2010, the trial judgment of the divorce proceeding was released. It gave the Respondent custody of the child, but noted that as there was no way to know when the child would be returned to Canada, it was reasonable to order child support from the Respondent until the child came into his care. The Hague Convention court subsequently refused to order the child’s return due to a risk of “serious physical or psychological danger or an intolerable situation for the child if returned”. The Respondent’s appeal of this decision was dismissed, and he subsequently ceased child support payments. Meanwhile, shortly after arriving in Italy the Appellant had begun custody proceedings in the Italian court. In March 2012, the Italian court awarded custody to the Appellant and revoked the Respondent’s parental authority. In November 2012, the Respondent brought an application for orders to cancel or reduce unpaid, accrued child support, to relieve him from his child support obligations for the future, and to pay to him money garnished by the Appellant. In February 2013, the Appellant applied for orders calculating arrears of child support owed, an increase in the monthly amount payable, and committal of the Respondent for contempt of the January 2010 child support order. On June 11 2013, a chambers judge granted the orders sought by the Respondent. He remarked that the Respondent’s decision to cease child support payments was not right, but found that the child support order had been intended as a pro tem order pending the child’s return. Furthermore, he found that the Appellant had deliberately removed the child from the protection of the BC courts, and that she must return to BC and purge her contempt before seeking her relief.

Appellate Decision: The appeal was dismissed. The majority found the chambers judge had correctly found that the Appellant’s refusal to return the child to the Respondent constituted a material change in circumstances. The trial judge’s award of child support was transitional pending the child’s return, after which the Respondent would be in a position to financially support his child. The Appellant’s conduct in refusing to comply with the order to return the child had the effect of thwarting the Respondent’s ability to support her. The majority noted that the Italian court saw the matter differently, and concluded that it would be in the child’s best interests to remain in the Appellant’s custody. This arrangement resulted in the Appellant bearing the responsibility of supporting the child.

Chiasson JA would have allowed the appeal in part. There had been no material change in circumstances. At trial, the judge knew the Appellant was in contempt of court, but allowed her participation anyway. She knew the child was in Italy and she had no idea when the child would return to Canada, but she expressly refused to disentitle the child from support because of the mother’s conduct. The Italian court’s custody order did nothing to supplant the BC child support order. Chiasson JA would have set aside the order cancelling child support and remitted the question of whether child support arrears should be cancelled to the Supreme Court. The order paying to the Respondent money garnished by the Appellant remained because the Appellant was not entitled to relief from the court.


2. COUNSEL COMMENTS:

Provided by Wesley Shields, Counsel for the Respondent

“The question the Court of Appeal was required to decide in this case was whether the husband should be relieved from paying child support and whether the arrears of child support should be cancelled. The basis for the relief sought was as a result of the wife’s conduct in removing the child from British Columbia to Italy in 2009, contrary to court orders granted in this jurisdiction, one of which granted Mr. Hughes custody of his daughter after a six-day trial.

The application to cancel the child maintenance arrears and prospective support was initially heard before Justice McEwan on June 11, 2013. At the time of the application, the mother had not returned the child from Italy since moving there in 2009. The father had not seen the child since the mother left in 2009. The mother was in contempt of two court orders and had no intention to return to British Columbia. On June 11, 2013, the court ordered that all of the child support arrears would be cancelled, and no child support would be paid until further court order. Justice McEwan stated that: “I do so on the basis that the claimant’s (Mr. Hughes) responsibility is that of a custodial parent and that the exercise of that responsibility has been prevented by the respondent (Ms. Hughes) for three years.” Ms. Hughes appealed this order.

Prior to the appeal being heard on January 15, 2014, Mr. Hughes applied to have Ms. Hughes post security for costs, given that Ms. Hughes had no assets in British Columbia and was a resident of Italy. The matter was heard before Madam Justice Smith in the Court of Appeal on November 20, 2013. The Court of Appeal was called upon to balance competing interests, including that of a child to obtain support with the request by the husband for the posting of security for costs. The application of the father was ultimately dismissed, despite the unlikely ability of the mother to post security. The court felt that the important issues raised on the appeal required the matter to proceed. The court held that “where the issue involves the rights of a child to child support, an order for security for costs should not be ordered”. Justice Smith felt that the wife would be unable to continue her appeal if it required her to post security for costs.

On January 15, 2014, the husband also made a preliminary application to the Court of Appeal, requesting that the mother not proceed with the application until she had purged the two previous contempt orders made in the British Columbia Supreme Court. Mr. Justice Groberman acknowledged that the mother was in contempt of the orders granted by Mr. Justice Barrow and Madam Justice Beames, but exercised his discretion to hear the appeal, as the issues “concerned the rights of a child to financial support”.

When the appeal was ultimately heard on January 15, 2014, the court was required to revisit the well-established doctrine that child support is the right of the child. The argument is that it is generally inappropriate to link child maintenance to custody and access matters. In this case, the husband argued that a departure from the general proposition was justified in the circumstances which were before the Court of Appeal. The leading case of Turecki v Turecki, (1989) previously dealt with similar circumstances as this case. In Turecki, The British Columbia Court of Appeal cancelled child support arrears where the custodial parent deliberately thwarted court orders and denied the non-custodial parent access to the child. The court; however, held that the mother’s misconduct was not relevant to considerations with respect to further obligations of the father to pay prospective support.

In this appeal, the court was tasked with determining what was in the child’s best interest under the appropriate statutes. The Federal Child Support Guidelines, Divorce Act, Family Relations Act and Family Law Act specifically address the issue of child maintenance and the obligations of the parents to support children. The Divorce Act also empowers the court to make orders respecting access to children, and in making such orders, section 16(10) of the Divorce Act requires the court to ensure maximum contact with each parent. The British Columbia Court of Appeal was faced with the task of balancing these competing interests.

The decision of the Court of Appeal ultimately reaffirmed the decision reached by Mr. Justice McEwan in cancelling child support arrears and prospective child maintenance payments and held that: “…It is her conduct in refusing to return the child to the father’s custody that precludes the child from obtaining support from the father.”

At the conclusion of the hearing on January 15, 2014, the court directed supplemental written submissions be made to address how the conflicting custody orders made by the British Columbia Supreme Court (January 2010) and by the Italian court (March 2012), could be reconciled. The court requested submissions on the extent, if any, to which the order made by the Italian court has any impact upon this court in rendering a decision on the issue of child support.

Mr. Hughes argued that the British Columbia Supreme Court custody orders and the Italian court custody order do not expunge each other. Under the circumstances, the two conflicting orders appear valid in each of the jurisdictions where they were granted. Justice Smith in her decision for the majority of the Court of Appeal, addressed this issue and felt that the mother was “cherry picking those parts of orders from each jurisdiction the mother is in agreement” and held that: “Having chosen to pursue a claim for custody in Italy that is inconsistent with existing Canadian orders, in my opinion the mother can only look to the Italian courts for an ancillary order dealing with child support.”

The result is that Mr. Hughes pays no child support or any arrears, given the egregious conduct of Ms. Hughes. Mr. Hughes has yet to purge her contempt of British Columbia court orders, and if she returns to this jurisdiction with the child to purge the contempt orders, a court may revisit the maintenance issue. The reality is that Ms. Hughes is unlikely to return to British Columbia with the child, given the civil contempt and the fact that she would likely be required to return the child to Mr. Hughes.”

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Summaries Sunday: Maritime Law Book

slaw - Sun, 06/29/2014 - 06:00

Summaries of selected recent cases are provided each week to Slaw by Maritime Law Book. Every Sunday we present a precis of the latest summaries, a fuller version of which can be found on MLB-Slaw Selected Case Summaries at cases.slaw.ca.

This week’s summaries concern:
Civil Rights/ Courts / Trade Regulation / Criminal Law / Evidence / Extradition

R. v. Spencer (M.D.) 2014 SCC 43; 2014 CSC 43
Civil Rights – Criminal Law – Trade Regulation

Summary: The accused was charged with possession of child pornography and making available child pornography. The accused brought an application, alleging several violations of his rights under the Charter. The Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench, in a decision reported at 361 Sask.R. 1, dismissed the application. The accused was found guilty of possession of child pornography and not guilty of making available child pornography. The accused appealed the conviction. The Crown appealed …

R. v. Jacobs (P.G.) 2014 ABCA 172
Courts – Civil Rights – Criminal Law – Evidence – Practice

Summary: The accused was convicted of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking (Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, s. 5(2)) and two counts of failing to comply with conditions of release (Criminal Code, s. 145(3)). The accused appealed. At issue was whether the Charter applied to the search which led to the discovery of cocaine in her possession and whether the trial judge erred in the use and …

France (Republic) v. Diab 2014 ONCA 374
Extradition – Statutes

Summary: Diab was wanted in France for his alleged role in a 1980 bombing outside a Paris synagogue. France sought to have Diab extradited. The Ontario Superior Court (extradition judge), in a decision reported [2011] O.T.C. Uned. 337, committed Diab to await surrender. Thereafter, the Minister of Justice ordered Diab’s surrender to French authorities. Diab appealed from his committal and sought judicial review of the Minister’s decision to surrender. The Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal …

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Online Dispute Resolution Forum 2014, 25-27 June: Video, storify, links, and resources

Legal Informatics Blog - Sat, 06/28/2014 - 16:06
Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Online Dispute Resolution Forum 2014, 25-27 June: Video, storify, links, and resources

Legal Informatics Blog - Sat, 06/28/2014 - 16:06
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Law Blog Week in Review: Watch Out for Human Botnets Spewing Social Media Spam!

The Lawyerist - Sat, 06/28/2014 - 15:20

Each weekend, I round up the best law blog posts I have found during the previous week. You can help by sending me links using our contact form, starting discussions in the Lab, or tweeting the link to @lawyerist. Or just tell me what I missed in the comments.

Slate Thinks It’s Time to Go To Law School

No. [ATL: Redline]

In Which A Not-Yet-Licensed Law School Grad Recommends a Change to Rule 1.5 on Billing

Here:

In my mind, there is no question that Model Rule 1.5 needs a makeover. Rule 1.5, “Fees,” lists eight factors to be considered in determining whether a fee is reasonable. Of these eight factors, only one accounts for the value of the legal service to the client. In contrast, at least three of the eight factors directly address the cost of the representation to the attorney, including preclusion from the attorney seeking other work, the time and labor required, and time limitations.

And here is the marked-up rule. [Legal Rebels]

Get a Warrant, Bitches

Nobody expected the Supreme Court to come out so clearly in favor of requiring police to get a warrant before searching a cell phone:

Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple— get a warrant.

I think Scott Greenfield best characterized that sentence:

This may be the first time I have ever felt it unfortunate that Supreme Court opinions don't end their holding with "bitches."

— Scott Greenfield (@ScottGreenfield) June 25, 2014

[Everybody]

Assessing Your Work Product

At Attorney at Work, Mary Lokensgard lays out three questions you should ask yourself about every piece of legal writing you do, whether it is a contract or a brief:

  1. Does this document, as it’s written, accomplish everything my client wants?
  2. Is it appropriate for the parties involved?
  3. What would a litigator do with this?

[Attorney at Work]

Logical Fallacies

I’m officially making an appeal to the Internet to make this graphic pop up every time an argument breaks out online:

[Associate's Mind]

Watch Out for Human Botnets Spewing Social Media Spam!

Can you be successful on social media if all you do is go through the motions? Adrian Dayton thinks so, and he’s building the service to make it happen. Bob Ambrogi just revisited ClearView Social, Adrian Dayton’s master plan/app. Apparently, it is essentially a human botnet for distributing ghostwritten Findlaw blog posts. But lawyers who use it will at least be able to raise their hands at the next marketing seminar when someone asks the room how many lawyers are using social media. Oh yeah, we’re engaging now, baby! [LawSites]

Big Bird on the Lam

Last and sort of least, if you’re going to steal a giant yellow bird costume, maybe don’t wear it when the police come looking for you. [Lowering the Bar]

Featured image: “High resolution render of an / Botnet Herder / and small bots” from Shutterstock.

Law Blog Week in Review: Watch Out for Human Botnets Spewing Social Media Spam! is a post from Lawyerist.com. The original content in this feed is © 2013 Lawyerist Media, LLC. This feed is provided for private use only and may not be re-published.

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My Twitter Digest for 06/27/2014

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Go Rural, Young Lawyer!

The Lawyerist - Fri, 06/27/2014 - 15:15

In tough economic times like these, some new lawyers may want to open their minds to a different type of risk and go west — or north, or south, or east — to find a job beyond their urban dreams.

I met with a lawyer a couple of weeks ago in a small town about two hours outside of the Twin Cities. Our conversation turned to operating a law firm in a small town and the lawyer told me two things I probably knew but did not really appreciate. One was a complaint about how difficult it is to attract new lawyers to join law firms in rural areas. The other was the lawyer’s prediction that in the next ten years, half the lawyers in her quarter of the state were going to retire from the practice of law.

RelatedNew Graduate taking over an existing [rural] law firm

That prediction probably is not unique to Minnesota. New lawyers unable to find a job in a major American city may want to broaden their job searches beyond their local beltways.

There are many benefits to practicing in a smaller community. First off, there is plenty of work to do. All those farms you pass as you drive that two-lane road into the country? That farmland is worth several thousand dollars an acre in many areas. Those farm families need estate plans, contracts, and business advice. There are teachers, small business owners, bankers, and other professionals as well. The folk in small towns sometimes get divorced, commit the occasional DWI, and get in car accidents. They need local lawyers and they do not want to pay for some lawyer from the city to drive out to the rural courthouse to represent them. They need trusted advisors they can form life-long professional relationships with. That could be you.

Not sure what area of practice is best for you? In small towns, many lawyers are generalists. They take a variety of cases and get experience in multiple areas. Eager to get inside a courtroom? You may get more opportunities in a small town than you would as an associate in the big city.

The economics can work as well. The cost of housing may be less than half of what you would find in a major city. Your mortgage could be so small that even with your law school debt you would have less overall debt than you would have living in the city.

I know, you could never give up the city. You would miss the theater, even though you only go once or twice a year. Where would you shop? (Although you do most of your shopping online nowadays.) A small town only has one movie theater! (Of course, you stream most of the movies you see through Netflix.) These fears of cultural isolation may be just that — fears. The lawyer I met with told me that she and her colleagues are simply more intentional about going to the city for entertainment and probably do so more than city-folk. Many people in the city think nothing of traveling three hours each way in the summer to go up to the family cabin; rural residents just do a “reverse commute” to attend sporting events, concerts, and other big city attractions. I have a client who lives 2½ hours from Minneapolis and has seasons tickets to the Minnesota Twins.

Granted, there are some impediments. If you are single, it may be harder to find a mate in a smaller community. Even if you are married, your spouse may not be able to find suitable work in the same area.  But rural lawyers love to tell you how nice it is to raise children in a small town, where they can ride their bikes to every friend’s house and you know the parents of all of their playmates.

Quite frankly, rural lawyers probably do not want you to just show up for two or three years and then pack your bags and go back to the city. But there is always the possibility that once you get out to the country, you might like it and stay. There is risk in any venture, whether it is joining a big firm or starting your own practice. In tough economic times like these, some new lawyers may want to open their minds to a different type of risk and go west — or north, or south, or east — to find a job beyond their urban dreams.

This was originally published on September 7, 2010, but it seems equally relevant in 2014.

Featured image: “Main Street and Old Common Road sign in autumn” from Shutterstock.

Go Rural, Young Lawyer! is a post from Lawyerist.com. The original content in this feed is © 2013 Lawyerist Media, LLC. This feed is provided for private use only and may not be re-published.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Who Ought to Underwrite Publishing Scholars’ Books?

The Chronicle Wired Campus - Fri, 06/27/2014 - 14:46

New Orleans — At almost any gathering of academic publishers or librarians, you’ll hear someone float the idea—sometimes phrased as a question—that the model for publishing scholarly monographs is broken. Two sets of ideas aired at the Association of American University Presses’ annual meeting, held here this week, don’t say the model is damaged beyond repair. But the proposals, both from groups outside the university-press community, suggest that it needs to be retrofitted, at the least.

One possible approach came from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the other from a task force on scholarly communications run jointly by the Association of American Universities and the Association of Research Libraries. Both raised the question of how to better subsidize the digital publication of scholarly monographs, and both included the notion that faculty authors’ home institutions might do more to help pay for those books to be published. Such support would help deal with what university-press people often call the “free-rider problem,” in which institutions without presses—most of them, in other words—leave it to those with presses to support the system that gives faculty authors publication credentials.

The AAU/ARL task force describes its plan as a “prospectus for an institutionally funded first-book subvention” that would shift the burden of payment to authors’ home institutions. That would “address the principal causes and effects of the market failure for monographs,” the prospectus says. It envisions that colleges and universities would agree to pay for an openly available “basic digital edition” of some faculty members’ first books; scholarly publishers could offer those titles for sale in other formats too.

The plan also envisions that universities with a high level of research activity would offer subventions for three or four books a year, with an “annual subvention exposure” of roughly $68,000 to $73,000. Small colleges would pay for one or two books a year, and offer more modest subventions. (See the table on Page 6 of the prospectus.)

As for Mellon’s approach, Donald J. Waters, of the foundation’s scholarly-communications program, described it in an email as “a set of ideas to stimulate discussions with a broad range of constituents—presses, scholars, university leaders, libraries, and others.” In  late May the foundation sent out a request for proposals to the AAUP’s member presses, soliciting ideas for partnerships that would make it easier to publish scholarship digitally. Mr. Waters’s presentation at the AAUP meeting explored several options, including the possibility that Mellon could provide seed money to universities to pay for the digital publication of some faculty members’ work and to make it openly accessible online.

Gregory M. Britton, editorial director of the Johns Hopkins University Press, moderated the AAUP session. Afterward, he shared some thoughts via email.

“It’s interesting that these ideas come from outside the university-press community, but that proponents of each have been quick to recognize that university-press participation is essential for its success,” Mr. Britton said. “I am pleased publishers have been invited into the conversation.”

But it’s not just publishers who need to be persuaded. “These plans will not work if scholars see these works as lesser than books published under a market-focused model,” Mr. Britton said.

Scholarly publishers will also want “good data on the usage of these books,” he said. “Having them openly available in a central location will ensure that we can measure their ongoing usage.”

Alan G. Thomas, editorial director for the humanities and social sciences at the University of Chicago Press, attended the AAUP session. “Mellon has made clear that this is not an attempt to overturn our model but to supplement it,” he said in an interview afterward. “I see the initiative as a worthwhile experiment.”

Mr. Thomas suggested that university-press editors were intrigued by the ideas being circulated but also have concerns: For instance, how many institutions would really benefit from Mellon seed money, and would it be a diverse enough group? With either the Mellon or the AAU/ARL approach, would university administrators instead of press editors decide which books got singled out for support?

“Many of the university-press editors believe it would be better for the presses to make the selection,” Mr. Thomas said, because the presses have a better sense of which fields would benefit most from open-access publication.

University presses will be watching closely to see how both the Mellon and AAU/ARL conversations develop over the next few months. Mellon’s call for proposals sought the submission of preliminary statements of interest by August 1.

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My Twitter Digest for 06/26/2014

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