Farewell Thoughts from Bakerlaw’s Intern from Denmark

  • December 22, 2016
  • BakerLaw

This fall, bakerlaw hosted Hiba Chanchiri, an intern from Denmark. She shared with us some reflections of her experience:

This autumn, I had the opportunity to intern with bakerlaw and explore Canadian law through the many cases I got to work on. I am a law student at the University of Southern Denmark currently doing my Master’s Degree. During my time I learned a great deal about what it means to be a lawyer in Canada – and through this, I got at better understanding of Danish law. Throughout the internship, I found myself comparing what I knew from my studies and work in Denmark, and what I was learning every day in Toronto.

Not surprisingly, there are many differences between the “legal world” in Canada and Denmark – the most obvious difference being the legal systems; Canada (mainly) operates with a common-law system, while Denmark (mainly) has a civil-law system. Since there are numerous articles, entries, etc. on the differences between common law and civil law systems and where in the world these can be found, this blog entry will instead describe how differently some things are perceived in the two countries. Since I have some expertise – and a lot of interest – in employment relations, I will illustrate this differentiation with an example from the area of Employment Law: termination.

As a point of departure, Danish law considers an employment as any other contractual agreement. Upon termination of an employee, an employer is to give adequate notice so that the former may have a chance of finding another job while still having the security of a regular income. The longer the seniority, the longer the notice. A long termination notice – in which the employee continues to work, and the employer continues payment – is perceived as a benefit. A luxury, even. What I learned during my time with bakerlaw is that this is not necessarily the same understanding of a long notice that is found in Canada. Being “forced” to continue working for an employer for months who has terminated your employment is perceived negatively and, to some extent, as a petty act from the employer’s side. Pay in Lieu is therefore more frequently used – and perhaps even expected – in Canada than it is in Denmark.

I could probably write a book on all the differences, pros and cons, and similarities between the countries’ laws, and how much I have learned and experienced during my internship – both inside and outside the office. But for now it will have to be enough with this entry. But I do want to thank everyone at bakerlaw – including clients – for letting me be a part of the best legal team in Toronto. Thank you all!


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