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2010 Annual Meeting Press Release

Uniform Law Conference of Canada Concludes its 92nd Annual Conference in Halifax

Halifax, NS – Senior lawyers from across the country gathered in Halifax this week to consider legal reforms
respecting a number of important public issues, including assisted human reproduction, identify theft, and preventing abuse of court process, at the 92nd annual meeting of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada.

"The Uniform Law Conference of Canada makes a vital contribution to Canadian law and society," said Justice Minister Ross Landry. "This national organization provides principled and practical civil and criminal law reform in a timely and cost effective manner."

The Uniform Law Conference of Canada is a national organization composed of public and private lawyers from every jurisdiction in Canada, members of the judiciary, representatives of independent law reform agencies, and professors of law. The Conference works throughout the year and meets annually in two sections. The Civil Section develops modernized and harmonized uniform and model laws for consideration by Canadian jurisdictions. The Criminal Section considers and recommends reforms to the criminal law of Canada. Over 70 delegates and presenters participated in this year's annual meeting.

Conference President Russell Getz said that "It has been wonderful that the delegates have been able to enjoy the incomparable hospitality and beauty of Halifax and Nova Scotia, while conscientiously working on a wide range of issues affecting family law, personal privacy, criminal law, commercial law, succession law and international private law."

During the week, the Conference considered a new Uniform Child Status Act to provide for clear and consistent rules for the determination of parentage. Advances in the area of assisted human reproduction have provided opportunities for many Canadians wishing to have children. These developments in technology have created legal uncertainty for parents and children, as existing legislation in provinces and territories does not address these issues clearly and consistently. The uniform act would be based on the work of a joint working group composed of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada and the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Coordinating Committee of Senior Officials on Family Justice. The guiding principles are those informing Canada's obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, including recognizing the best interests of the child, protecting the child from discrimination, and ensuring that the status of the parent-child relationship is protected from birth.

The Uniform Law Conference also adopted the Uniform Prevention of Abuse Act, designed to enhance the ability of the courts to deal with potentially abusive lawsuits.

Other subjects considered by the Civil Section included legislation to address identity theft; to  establish clear rules respecting money raised by informal public appeals for emergency donations; and to modernize the law dealing with fraudulent practices.

The Criminal Section considered twenty-eight resolutions recommending amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada and related statutes.

A joint session of the Criminal and Civil Sections dealt with the proper use of prosecution records in non-criminal proceedings, malicious prosecution lawsuits, extra-provincial service of offence notices, and provincial legislation relevant to criminal law.

The Conference has built co-operative relationships with its counterparts in the United States and Mexico to share ideas and information and to develop principled approaches to matters of common concern. A current topic of mutual interest is improvement of the enforcement of domestic protection orders between Canada and the United States. This year, the Conference was very pleased to welcome as its guests President Robert Stein and Executive Committee Chair Michael Houghton of the United States Uniform Law Commission.

For further information about the Uniform Law Conference of Canada or its ongoing projects, please contact Clark Dalton at talaria@shaw.ca.