All three parts of the Fall Seminar of the Superior Court of Justice touched on what Justice Stephen Goudge described as “the heavy burden of being the ultimate gatekeeper in protecting the system from unreliable expert evidence.” The civil law program reviewed the analytical framework for the admission of expert evidence and discussed recent appellate case law in the civil law area. The family law program considered the judge’s gatekeeping role at the pre-trial stage, exploring the challenges that can arise with experts at the conferencing, temporary care, summary judgment, and trial management stages. On Friday morning, the admissibility of expert evidence after Abbey #2 was discussed with a focus on the return to admissibility when evidence is unfolding, recent cases on independence and impartiality, and emerging areas of expert evidence in criminal law.
In addition, the civil law program of the Fall Seminar provided an overview of recent Supreme Court of Canada tort cases, and include an interactive session on the top five issues that arise in personal injury trials and how to manage them. Continuing in a practical vein, the family law program explored critical developments in family law and provide participants with practical guidance on how to navigate the complex issues of variation of spousal support as a result of retirement, re-partnering or passage of time.
The Thursday afternoon allowed participants to choose between three conference clinics, including sessions: personal injury causation; trial management techniques across all three lines of business; and training on the new LexisNexis Advance platform.
The objectives of this seminar were to enhance the participants’ awareness of key developments in civil, criminal and family law matters before the Court with a focus on the admissibility of evidence and procedural matters.
Tort Law Update: Recent Supreme Court of Canada Cases
With particular focus on duty of care and factual causation in negligence, this session reviewed recent tort law jurisprudence from the Supreme Court of Canada.
Expert Evidence: The Gatekeeper Function
This session reviewed the analytical framework for the admission of expert evidence and discuss recent appellate case law in the civil law area.
The Top 5 Issues You Will Face in a Personal Injury Trial…and How to Manage Them
In this interactive quick snapper session, a panel of experienced judges provided practical suggestions for addressing issues commonly confronted in personal injury trials such as: threshold motions, limiting the number of experts, picking a civil jury, pre-charge and mid-trial settlement discussions, and jury verdicts.
The Gatekeeping Role at the Pre-Trial Stage
The judge’s gatekeeping role at the pre-trial stage poses particular challenges. This session explored the issues that can arise with experts at the conferencing, temporary care, summary judgment, and trial management stages of family law proceedings.
Need to Know: Critical Updates in Family Law
This session provided updates on the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Office of the Children’s Lawyer v. Balev, the new voice of the child options from the Office of the Children’s Lawyer, and the changes brought about to the Divorce Act under Bill C-78.
Connecting the Dots: Spousal Support and Variation as a Result of Retirement, Re-Partnership, Passage of Time
The goal of this session was to provide participants with practical guidance on how to navigate the complex issues of variation of spousal support in the context of retirement, re-partnering or the passage of time.
CONFERENCE CLINIC: Causation in Tort Cases
This session featured an interactive presentation on causation in tort cases.
CONFERENCE CLINIC: Controlling Your Trial – Trial Management Techniques Across all Three Lines of Business
Panelists discussed techniques applicable in civil, family and criminal law contexts for working effectively with self-represented litigants, managing the court day, and controlling counsel. Discussions were complemented by video vignettes which brought certain common challenges to life.
CONFERENCE CLINIC: LexisNexis Advance
By the end of 2018, Quicklaw will no longer be available and all users will be transitioned to a new platform: LexisNexis Advance. In the future, JLS plans to add full text resources to this new platform, including the following titles: The Law of Evidence, Ontario Courtroom Procedure, Law of Civil Procedure in Ontario and Ontario Family Law Practice.
The Admissibility of Expert Evidence After Abbey #2
The Crown tenders an individual with impressive academic, research and clinical credentials to give expert evidence about the meaning of a teardrop tattoo. The trial judge rules the evidence inadmissible. The expert does not testify. The accused is acquitted. The Crown appeals. The court of appeal decides the evidence was admissible. A second trial is held. The expert testifies. The accused is convicted. The accused appeals. Fresh evidence is presented. The court of appeal decides that the evidence was not admissible. Sound familiar? This session examined the impact of the appellate court decision in Abbey #2 on the admissibility of expert evidence in criminal cases, including the importance of the judge’s gatekeeper function and the focus on reliability of expert evidence.
Practitioners Panel: Emerging Areas of Expert Evidence in Criminal Law
What are the emerging areas of expert information and opinion that may pose admissibility questions for trial judges? The panel discussed topics such as forensic extraction of data and identification of metadata, probabilistic genotyping, the operation of the Dark Web, and the neurobiology of trauma.