Canada’s online legal magazine.

Law, Regulation, Policy, Rule, Guideline, or Mere Suggestion?

Or As My Kids Might Say, “Do I Have To?”

For some who do not routinely work in the field of administrative law, the idea of statutory authority is generally thought of as the statute itself and whatever regulations might be created by cabinet in relation to the statute. However, administrative law is replete with examples of statutes that grant administrative bodies the authority to create regulations or other kinds of rules.

There is also ample case law regarding scope of an administrative body’s authority to create regulations, rules, guidelines, or other principles by which it might compel or direct. . . . [more]

Posted in: Administrative Law

Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on practice, research, writing and technology.

Technology

Remove Formatting From Copied Text
Luigi Benetton

Researching articles. Writing school assignments. Quoting other people in blog posts. During each activity, I usually cut text from one document and paste it into another. …

Research & Writing

Is It OK or Okay?
Neil Guthrie

Not a question that arises in connection with drafting a contract or pleadings (one hopes), but certainly in composing e-mail. Both are recognised forms. . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Still More on Electronic Wills

Here are some further thoughts on how Canada might authorize electronic wills. Perhaps the Uniform Law Conference of Canada could use them in the mix of policy proposals when and if it takes up the topic, as it is almost bound to do sooner or later – as companion jurisdictions move towards law reform.

Speaking of those jurisdictions:

• In July, 2018, the Uniform Law Commission in the US gave first reading to its Uniform Electronic Wills Act. No further draft has been released to follow up on the discussion. The developments in that project so far are online at

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

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. Risk Management & Crisis Response 2. Canadian Combat Sports Law Blog 3. IFLS at Osgoode 4. Civil Resolution Tribunal blog 5. Know How

Risk Management & Crisis Response
DOJ launches FCPA investigation into Major League Baseball

The U.S. Department of Justice (the DOJ) has reportedly commenced an

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

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.

FAMILLE : Alors que certaines dispositions du Code de procédure civile viennent conférer aux notaires le pouvoir d’accomplir des actes autrefois réservés aux avocats, le demandeur n’a pas démontré qu’il est du ressort exclusif de l’avocat de rédiger la demande conjointe sur projet d’accord réglant les conséquences de la séparation . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

The Rights and Responsibilities Of Self-Represented Parties in Arbitration

About eight years ago I published a document called The Rights and Responsibilities of Self-Represented Litigants that took rights-based approach to the role of litigants within the justice system and the expectations they should have as to how they will be treated. It was a response to the attitude, common among the bench and bar at the time, that litigants without counsel are irritating interlopers who gum up the finely oiled machine that is the justice system, and was intended to spell out, in a positive way, the expectations such litigants should have as they navigate the justice system.

As . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Ontario’s Third Annual Access to Justice Week Begins on Monday, October 22

Improving access to justice is about pushing boundaries in our understanding of key issues at the forefront of the justice sector. It’s about engaging in discussions to move the dial forward, to break down barriers and develop meaningful solutions. This cannot happen in the justice sector alone. It takes stakeholders and experts from a diverse range of backgrounds, each with their own unique relationship to the law, to bring their perspectives and experience forward.

How does a senior investigative correspondent for the CBC understand mental health challenges in the justice system? How can we close the gap in representation in . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Careful, Lawyer’s Communications Are Not Always Protected

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently found that the communications and conduct of the employer’s lawyer regarding sexual harassment investigation were not privileged and could be referred to in the employee’s Statement of Claim in the litigation against the employer

What happened?

A long-service employee (employed since 2002), while being placed on a performance improvement plan (PIP), raised allegations that her supervisor was bullying and sexually harassing her. In response, her employer:

  • Conducted an investigation but failed to interview the complainant employee during this process;
  • Concluded that the claims were unsubstantiated.
. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

At Whose Expense? the Intolerable Human Cost of Articling

We know that there is significant discrimination and abuse in articling. We’ve heard the stories and we have the stats too. To cite just a small amount of recent information we have in Ontario:

  • Over 100 articling students responding to a 2017 Law Society survey reported unwelcome comments or conduct related to personal characteristics (age, ancestry, colour, race, citizenship, ethnic origin, place of origin, creed, disability, family status, marital status, gender identity, gender expression, sex and/or sexual orientation).
  • The Law Society’s Discrimination and Harassment Counsel (DHC) recently reported that it has observed a significant trend of complaints about abusive
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Ethics

Speak to the Street

I was walking down the street with Nelson, one of the regional finalists of our 2018 Innovating Justice Award. He’s co-founder of Gavel (and, more visible: @citizen_gavel on Twitter). A social enterprise that calls itself “a civic tech organisation aimed at improving the pace of justice delivery through tech”. As part of the entrepreneurship training we give the finalists we ask the justice entrepreneurs to speak to the street. Find and talk to justice customers. Learn what they need. How they need it. When they need it. What they do when they need it. This was a busy street . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Thursday Thinkpiece: Benched–Passion for Law Reform

Periodically on Thursdays, we present a significant excerpt, usually from a recently published book or journal article. In every case the proper permissions have been obtained. If you are a publisher who would like to participate in this feature, please let us know via the site’s contact form.

Benched: Passion for Law Reform

Author: Hon. Nancy Morrison
Foreword: Stevie Cameron
ISBN: 9781988824130
Page count: 336
Publication Date: November 1, 2018

Excerpt: Chapter 30: Juries, and Chapter 53: Speaking to Sentence (Court Vignettes)

Chapter 30: Juries

I am a fan of juries. Twelve persons from all walks of life who serve . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Challenging Technology’s Ability to Produce Reliable Evidence

Access to Justice (A2J): for our work as lawyers, we don’t know enough about the technology that produces much of the evidence we have to deal with. So how to be educated affordably? This is an outline of three articles that I have recently posted on the SSRN. (Click on each of the three hyperlinked headings below to download a pdf. copy of each.)

1. Technology, Evidence, and its Procedural Rules (SSRN, October 1, 2018, pdf., 64 pages)

The rules of procedure that govern proceedings concerning discovery, disclosure, and admissibility of evidence have to be flexibly applied . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law