Link Round-Up: June 23, 2017

‘Link Round-Up’ gives you a glimpse into the articles that got the most airtime around the Loom Analytics water cooler this week. Published every Friday, article topics include access to justice, big data, legal technology, and what’s happening in the Canadian legal landscape.

  • R v Cody, the case many were hoping would be an opportunity for the Supreme Court of Canada to revisit and possibly relax the stringent timelines put in place in R v Jordanhas instead confirmed the Court’s commitment to the ruling. The R v Cody decision was released on June 16th, with a unanimous ruling in favor of staying the charges against an alleged cocaine dealer whose trial had been delayed for five years.

“Trial judges should suggest ways to improve efficiency, use their case management powers and not hesitate to summarily dismiss applications and requests the moment it becomes apparent they are frivolous,” the Court said.  “(E)very actor in the justice system has a responsibility to ensure that criminal proceedings are carried out in a manner consistent with an accused person’s right to a trail within a reasonable time. Under the Jordan framework, every actor in the justice system has a responsibility to ensure that criminal proceedings are carried out in a manner that is consistent with an accused person’s right to a trial within a reasonable time.”

  •  Bill C-6, which proposed amendments to the Citizenship Act, including removing the grounds for revocation of Canadian citizenship related to national security, has passed through the Senate and been sent for Royal Assent. Omar Ha-Redeye breaks down the changes here.
  • The BYU Law School in Provo, Utah has decided to take access to justice into their own hands with LawX, a legal design lab in which second and third-year law students will engage with access to justice issues. Each semester’s LawX class will focus on a single legal problem, with students in each cohort having to brainstorm a solution, test, and implement it within the span of the semester. Kimball D. Parker, the practicing lawyer who will direct the lab and teach the corresponding course, says that ‘LawX will be uniquely positioned to develop simple and practical products because it won’t be constrained by the profit motive’. D. Gordon Smith, the Dean of BYU Law, agrees.

“A legal design lab embedded within a law school is an ideal platform for addressing these issues,” said Smith. “LawX will use design thinking to address these problems, and when appropriate, to create products to solve them.”

  • The United States Congress has begun the process of regulating self-driving cars, reports Aarian Marshall for Wired, adding that ‘nearly everyone working on this emerging technology, from automakers to the tech companies to the government watchdogs, agrees that it’s about time.’ House republicans have started circulating drafts of a 14-bill package which would pave the way for federal regulation of autonomous vehicles. How self-driving cars will fit into the current regulatory framework is uncertain, as states generally regulate the operation of vehicles while the Department of Transportation dictates how they are built. But as Marshall points out, ‘that division of labor doesn’t work when how the car is designed governs how it is operated.’

In the absence of any federal oversight, California, Nevada, Michigan, and other states wrote their own rules. Each takes a different approach to ensuring public safety without stifling innovation … Which is why the legislation making the rounds of Capitol Hill this week prioritizes “preemption”—a fancy way of saying the federal rules would supersede state and local regulations.