Canada’s online legal magazine.

Regulatory Offences: The Duty to Cooperate, and the Right to Silence

In highly regulated fields and industries, participants are often under a statutory obligation to cooperate with the auditors, inspectors and peace officers who investigate contraventions of the applicable regulatory regime, typically comprised of an Act, Regulations and sometimes the terms of a licence. This coerced cooperation comes in many forms: from retaining and turning over records and documents, to permitting access for physical inspection, to answering probing questions. More often than not inspections occur without warning, and happen quickly before the individual or entity subject to inspection is fully able to take stock of the situation. While this element . . . [more]

Posted in: Administrative Law

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award­-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from more than 80 recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. BC Injury Law Blog 2. McElroy Law Blog 3. Doorey’s Workplace Law Blog 4. Official Clio Blog 5. Risk Management & Crisis Response

BC Injury Law Blog
Potentially “Harsh” Result No Reason To Strike Jury in Injury Claim

Reasons for judgment were published today by the BC

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Law Firms Moving Into the Innovation Space

A few firms have flirted with technological innovation, but most of the developments in Canada are coming from start-ups, institutions (i.e. incubators), and some universities. What some firms can do is leverage their name and reputation to help bring a product to market.

One example would be Hull & Hull, who not only built their name from years of practice in wills and estates over half a century, but provided free public information through their website and podcast. The podcast in particular became so popular that many estates lawyers I know routinely listen to it, even if it’s general . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

CONSTITUTIONNEL (DROIT) : La Loi sur l’immatriculation des armes à feu québécoise n’est pas invalide constitutionnellement, car son caractère véritable est la sécurité publique et elle se rattache aux compétences provinciales en matière de propriété et du droit civil ainsi que de l’administration de la justice.

Intitulé : Association canadienne . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Are Social Media Posts by Politicians Official Documents?

The US Department of Justice has declared that President Trump’s tweets are official statements of the President – at least in one case. In another, mentioned in the same ABA story, it is saying that they are not, at least to the point that the President can block people from his Twitter account.

What is your view? Are the posts subject to freedom of information laws and official records laws, so that they have to be preserved, they have to be accessible on request, they have to respect privacy rights?

There is a difference between politicians in government with official . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Tiny Care, or Saying Yes to Saying No


I usually write a column about a foreign, comparative, and international law (FCIL) aspect of legal information, but I’m taking a little break to discuss a general aspect of legal information – law librarian “self-care”. I don’t really like that term, so let’s call it something else. A legal information professional has to stay healthy, to maintain good mental and physical health for themselves, and also to be able to provide the best service possible at work in the present and in the future. Sometimes this is called “work-life balance”. I’m going to call it “tiny care” after @jonnysun’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Strengthening the Prevention of Workplace Violence and Harassment

Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1, introduced on November 7, 2017, by the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Patty Hajdu, seeks to amend both the Canada Labour Code and the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act to, according to the federal government, replace the patchwork of laws and policies that address violence and harassment within the federal jurisdiction, putting into place one comprehensive approach that takes the full spectrum of harassment and violence into consideration. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Accountability Justice and Mundane Justice

Syria. The scale of displacement, destruction, violence, and victimhood is unprecedented by all standards. The UN refugee organisation UNHCR tells us that 6.5 million people are internally displaced and that there are over 5 million people who have fled Syria to other countries. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported in March this year that the war had killed 465.000 people; current estimates are at over half a million. Statistics from UN Habitat say that 760.000 housing units have been destroyed, that 50% of the hospitals don’t function; the numbers are probably much higher. I have talked to credible . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Justice Starts Here

A new report focusing on issues of access to justice in Manitoba was released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (Manitoba). The report titled Justice Starts Here: A one-stop shop approach for achieving greater justice in Manitoba was authored by Allison Fenske and Beverly Froese, working with Legal Aid Manitoba’s Public Interest Law Centre.

The report examines access to justice in Manitoba, looking at both the landscape of legal services and the needs of those with legal problems. Building upon prior research efforts undertaken by the Manitoba Bar Association and the Manitoba Law Foundation, the authors also explore . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

CRTC Compufinder Decision Lowers CASL Spam Penalty

The CRTC recently released 2 CASL decisions on Compufinder. If this sounds familiar, it is because this is an appeal from an initial finding in 2015 that levied a $1.1 million penalty.

Compufinder took the position that CASL is unconstitutional. Many legal experts have questioned the ability of the Federal Government to pass this legislation. The CRTC decided that CASL is constitutional. But this is not the last word. Inevitably this will be argued in court. This decision is required reading for anyone who finds themselves in a position to challenge the act in the courts. Ironically, the delay . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law

Appointing Judges: Can Statistics Help?

The appointment process for judges is somewhat opaque. We may know how many judges there are in Canada, but why some lawyers are chosen over other lawyers remains a bit of a mystery.

Can statistics help us identify who would make a good judge? Can it help us answer a very difficult question?

Over the years, it has been observed that humans have a tendency to substitute a hard question with an easy question. For instance, “the question we face is whether this candidate can succeed. The question we seem to answer is whether she interviews well.” (Thinking Fast . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Three Research Challenges for Law Faculties

In my work with the Canadian Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee and the Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education, I have observed three major research opportunities for law faculties that are not being given the attention I feel they demand. These opportunities involve “big picture” issues in our Canadian legal system, and I believe law faculties (with some exceptions) do not focus enough on them. Here they are:

1. Access to justice

This is the biggest legal issue of our generation. Our democracy is based on the rule of law, and if our citizens cannot get access to the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education