The Law of Witnesses and Evidence – First released in 1991, Witnesses has grown into a two volume looseleaf set that addresses the law governing witnesses in civil and criminal proceedings. In recent years, the book has slowly expanded to cover a range of evidence topics as well, and over the next two years, beginning with the first looseleaf release of 2017, the text is being reworked to become a complete guide to Witnesses and Evidence. [In progress – Estimated Completion: December 2018]
The Portable Guide to Witnesses, 4th ed. – A revised edition of this portable version of Witnesses, scheduled for release in 2018. [Planning phase]
Why Does Animal Protection Law Fail to Protect Animals? – This long-term project will explore common misconceptions about animal protection law, and explain why the paradigm so often results in animal suffering. I am working on this project while on sabbatical in 2016-17. [In progress]
An Unfair and Costly Burden: Assessing the Impact of Section 794(2) of the Criminal Code on the Criminal Justice System [co-authored with Sarah Denholm and Brandyn Rodgerson]: This article considers the unusual operation of section 794(2) of the Criminal Code, which states that the “burden of proving that an exception, exemption, proviso, excuse or qualification prescribed by law operates in favour of the defendant is on the defendant”. Recent jurisprudence suggests that this provision places a persuasive burden of proof in summary conviction offences upon the accused. I will consider the validity of this interpretation and go on to consider the desirability of it, as well as its constitutionality. [Accepted for publication in the Queens Law Journal – Publication in progress]
Learning by Doing: The Benefits of Experiential Learning in Animals and the Law: In recent years, I have added several experiential learning elements to my course on animals and the law, as: I illustrate in this video blog. In this article, I wish to describe the experiential elements I use in the course, and make a case for the benefits of doing so. Finally, I will look more broadly at ways in which experiential tasks in the classroom can benefit a student’s educational experience. A copy of the draft is available on my ssrn.com page. [Accepted for publication in the Australian Animal Law Protection Journal – Final Draft Submitted]
We Should Probably Take a Look at That! The Procedure of Taking a View in Criminal Proceedings: Though it is by no means a common procedure, a criminal trial court possesses the discretion to permit the trier of fact to leave the courtroom in order to view any place, thing or person, albeit under controlled conditions. The act of “taking a view” amounts to precisely what it sounds like: a visual examination of a place, thing or person, without commentary or testimony. Views of this sort are extremely rare, and in this article I will explore why this is, and recommend factors a court should consider in deciding to use this procedure. [Accepted for publication in the Criminal Law Quarterly]
In-Breeding Pain and Suffering: Can Dog Breeders Be Sanctioned for “Reckless Breeding”?: Dog breeding in Canada is mostly unregulated, and as a result, it is not uncommon for unscrupulous breeders to do so without any regard for genetic problems that cause animals to be born with a variety of birth defects. In this project, where I will be working with Australian and Swiss researchers, the route to liability for this sort of conduct will be examined, with a few recommendations made for the best path forward. [On hold until 2018].
“Here There (Don’t Have to) Be Dragons”: A New Map for the Perpetually Troublesome Section 13 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Section 13 of the Charter has proven itself to be on the constitution’s most troublesome clauses. Since 1985, the direction and scope of this provision has been changed by the Supreme Court at least four times. Lower courts continually misinterpret and misapply its protections. In this article, I will chart the difficulties that have arisen in using this clause, and attempt to provide a new course for its future that allows it to be more efficiently applied. [Planning phase]
Canada’s Experiment Towards Industry Self-Regulation in Agriculture: Radical Innovation or Means of Insulation?: First presented at the Global Animal Law Conference in Barcelona, Spain in July 2014, this explores Canada’s fragmented system for protecting agricultural animals, concentrating in particular on the efficacy of Codes created by the National Farm Animal Care Council – a non-governmental body dominated by farming industries – in helping to promote better welfare for animals. [On hold]
Punishing Innovation: How Student Evaluation and Faculty Decision Making Discourage New Teaching Ideas in Law School: Every law school likes to think of itself as being teaching innovators, providing the newest and brightest ideas to students in a race to differentiate their faculty from others that look remarkably similar. But do law schools really promote innovation, and do students value it? In this research project, I will explore the extent to which innovation is valued at law schools, drawing on my own experience. I will suggest six different factors that work to thwart innovations, and return professors to the lecture style they grew up with, and are most familiar with. This is not to suggest that innovation is impossible, or does not occur, but rather an attempt to isolate what inhibits such innovation, and raise possibilities to address the concern. [On hold].
Reforming Canada’s Animal Cruelty Provisions: A Practical Approach: Long criticized, Canada’s animal cruelty provisions are regarded as some of the worst in the Western world. Amazingly, the substantive elements of the Criminal Code dealing with animal cruelty have not been reformed significantly since 1892. The problem, it would seem, is that everyone is scared of opening up this difficult area of the law. A wide-scale 1999 attempt at reform, which would have transformed the law entirely, failed to receive political support, and no one has gone near the file since. In this article, I plan to identify the reasons why some reform is so drastically needed, and put forth a practical reform proposal, creating a new cruelty law that has the potential to achieve wide-scale legislative support. [On hold]
Making Sense of Mens Rea: Still in the planning stages, this project will involve multi-media (e-book and/or podcasts) to provide a “simplification” of the Canadian approach to proof of mental elements in Criminal Law. The paper will be designed to identify: what makes mens rea so complex and how can it be simplified in theoretical and practical terms for law students and lawyers. [On hold]
The Animal Justice Podcast: I have long wanted to create my own law podcast and this is my chance. Working with colleagues at Animal Justice, and still in the early planning stages, I hope to eventually put out a monthly podcast that explains many of the complexities of animal law. [Planning phase]