Legal Updates

Supreme Court Rules that Iranian Government Cannot be Sued in Canada for Zahra Kazemi’s Torture and Death


The Supreme Court of Canada recently released a decision -Kazemi Estate v. Islamic Republic of Iran 2014 SCC62 - that concluded that foreign states and their functionaries cannot be sued in Canada for acts of torture committed abroad.  The Court held that the State Immunity Act (“SIA”) in its present form, does not provide for an exception to foreign state immunity from civil suits alleging acts of torture occurring outside Canada.    
 
As the Court commented, the facts of this case are horrific.  Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian citizen, visited Iran in 2003 as a freelance photographer and journalist.  In June of 2003, Ms. Kazemi attempted to take photographs of individuals protesting against the arrest and detention of their family members outside the Evin Prison in Tehran.  Ms. Kazemi was ordered arrested and detained by Saeed Mortazavi, Tehran’s Chief Public Prosecutor. 
 
During her time in custody, Ms. Kazemi was not permitted to contact counsel, the Canadian Embassy, or her family.  She was interrogated by Iranian authorities.  She was beaten.  She was sexually assaulted.  She was tortured. 
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Extension in the Period Parents Are Able to Take Off Work

Parental leave, which is for employees to be allowed time off work to further their child’s welfare, can presently be taken only up to the child’s fifth birthday. However, beginning in April 2015, the age limit will increase to any child under the age of 18 years.

If an employee has completed one year’s service with an employer then they are entitled to 18 weeks unpaid parental leave for each child born or adopted. Presently, employees can take this leave at any point up until the child’s fifth birthday or until five years after the child is placed in their care after adoption. Additionally, if the child has disabilities, they can take a period of 18 weeks off until the child’s 18 birthday.

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My next car will be….

Recently, I have been thinking that my next car will be an electric car. There are new electric car models coming onto the market each week (ranging from the Kia Soul EV to the $145,000 BMW i8).

But I might be wrong. Maybe my next car will be driverless. Google has developed a driverless car. Audi tested an unmanned car at speeds as fast as 305kmh today.  Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, has said that there will be truly “autonomous” driving by 2023, where the driver could literally get in the car, go to sleep and wake up at their destination.

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Multistate Tax Update — October 16, 2014

In 2011, in an effort to make Ohio’s government smaller, more efficient, and more effective, Gov. Kasich worked with the General Assembly to enact his fiscal year 2012-13 budget. This budget cut taxes, streamlined regulations, and reformed government.

In mid-2014, the administration conducted a Mid-Biennium Review (MBR), which resulted in a package of bills that sought to initiate reforms to state spending, agency operations, and state policies and programs.

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FSMB Releases Completed Draft Framework for Interstate Physician Licensure

On September 5, 2014, the Federation of State Medical Boards, a nonprofit organization representing the 70 state medical and osteopathic boards nationwide, announced the completion of its drafting process for its Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (“Compact”). Finalizing the Compact is a critical step toward removing one of the major barriers preventing a greater proliferation of telehealth technologies and services. Under the Compact, a physician who is licensed in his or her principal state and who meets certain educational, certification, and disciplinary criteria would be eligible to apply for an expedited medical license in another state that has adopted the Compact. Adoption of the Compact by states not only will increase license portability for physicians by alleviating the traditional rigid state licensure requirements that impede the practice of telehealth, but also will help improve access to health care for patients across the nation who will benefit from greater adoption of telehealth.  You can read more here.

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Issues for the International Trade and Customs Industry from the release of the New “Industry Innovation and Competitveness Agenda” by the Australian Federal Government

Introduction

Yesterday (14 October 2014), the Australian Federal Government released its much-awaited document entitled the “Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda” (“Agenda“).

The “Action Plan for a Stronger Australia” represents a broadly-based initiative as part of the commitment of the Federal Government to improve Australian competitiveness both here and overseas.  It also links to the current de-regulation agenda.  The Agenda includes a number of items which will have an impact on those in the international trade and customs community. More…

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Sale of a leased property – pleasure or pain?

In the property market it is usual to sell such commercial or residential real estates that are leased out. On the basis of the new Civil Code, the seller of such property will not be relieved, by the sale, from its liability towards the tenants. If the purchaser breaches any of its obligations towards the tenants, then the seller may also be held liable, even if the property had been sold many years ago. More…

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Illinois Appellate Court Draws Distinction Between Officers And Non-Officers When Determining What Is An Impermissible Solicitation

In determining what is an impermissible “solicitation” by a current employee, the Illinois Appellate Court recently drew a distinction between officers and non-officers. See Xylem Dewatering Solutions, Inc., d/b/a Godwin Pumps of America et al. v. Szablewski et al., Case No. 5-14-0080 (Ill. App. 5th  Dist. 2014).

In Xylem Dewatering Solutions, the defendants were accused by their former employer of wrongfully soliciting customers and suppliers on behalf of a competitive business that they were planning to launch. According to the Appellate Court’s decision, while still employed by their former employer, the defendants “asked customers and suppliers what they ‘thought’ about” the defendants’ formation of a new, competitive business. However, the defendants never “actually solicited any business or sold goods and services” to their then-employer’s customers on behalf of their new business until they had resigned and started the new business.

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New Freedom of Information Act 2014 (15.10.2014)

The President signed the new Freedom of Information Act 2014 into law on 14th October 2014. The new act now extends the Freedom of Information obligations to all public bodies unless specifically exempt under legislation. The €15 application fee for Freedom of Information requests is also being eliminated under the new act. This act will have various other implications for public bodies and also for those making Freedom of Information Reque…

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BC Mega Dam Granted Environmental Approvals

Today, the proposed Site C 1,100 MW hydroelectric dam in northern British Columbia received environmental assessment (EA) approvals from both the Provincial [pdf] and Federal [pdf] Governments.

In issuing its EA certificate, two provincial ministers decided that that the mega-dam project is “in the public interest and that the benefits provided by the project outweigh the risks of significant adverse environmental, social and heritage effects.”  The provincial EA certificate sets out  77 legally-binding conditions.

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