Canada’s online legal magazine.

Fighting Hate Speech

The Quebec government tabled Bill 59, An Act to enact the Act to prevent and combat hate speech and speech inciting violence and to amend various legislative provisions to better protect individuals on June 10, 2015. The Bill prohibits publicly broadcasting hate speech or speech inciting violence aimed at a group of people protected from discrimination in Section 10 of the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Enabling or counseling such acts would also be prohibited. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Loose-Leaf Redux

The latest round of columns on loose-leaf publications contains plenty of useful discussion about the format of legal information and the legal publishing business generally (see here, here, and here). I have a serious interest in these topics: CLEBC publishes 50 titles: practice manuals, annotated precedents, and annotated statutes on BC law and practice. We publish online and in print, mostly loose-leaf and some softcover.

I’ve written before about “Death to Loose-leaf?”. I’ve concluded that the fury that seems to attach to this format is only partly related to the format itself. Yes, filing is . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Five Ways to Make a Fast Decision

Time and money almost always need to be balanced with quality in legal projects. When you’re faced with increasing project constraints, the ability to make good decisions quickly becomes especially important.

Decisiveness requires the type of confidence that comes from taking action, rather than accumulating theoretical knowledge. You might not make the best choice. You might even offend. But you’ll move things forward.

  1. Seek disconfirmation of assumptions. Ask “Is this wrong?” instead of “Am I right? Talk to someone with relevant experience.
  2. If you’re working in a team, understand your role and the decisions you are expected to make.
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

More Than Semantics

Are we actually making progress toward the outcome of increased access to justice?

Dan Lear doesn’t think so. As he noted in an ABA Legal Rebels blogpost this week, to date the evidence in the U.S. points to the ineffectiveness of access to justice initiatives. In his post Lawyers need to move beyond access to justice to close the “legal services” gap, Lear notes that this lack of progress is due in part to the fact that solutions are complex and challenging to implement.

He suggests that an important, though small step in the right direction would begin with . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. Modry v Alberta Health Services, 2015 ABCA 265

[109] Whether or not the respondent surgeon is, in fact, entitled to reinstatement on account of his status as a medical staff appointment with AHS under the Hospitals Act does not end the analysis under the balance of convenience arm of the tripartite test. The evidence of harm to the respondent surgeon (in . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Of Lions and Lawyers

Walter Palmer killed Cecil the lion. According to media reports, Cecil was lured from his sanctuary by food and then shot by Dr. Palmer with a crossbow. The shot didn’t kill the lion; Dr. Palmer and his guides tracked the lion for two days and killed him with a gun (New York Times, July 28, 2015). The response to Cecil’s death on social media was overwhelming. Palmer received death threats, his home was vandalized and his dental practice shut down.

The problems with mob justice in an Internet world have been explored elsewhere, including in relation to the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Acting on the Ridiculous

An eBook published by the American Society for Quality in 2010 and written by Matthew Maio came my way recently. It has the engaging title Quality Improvement Made Simple…and Fast!”. The book is all of 46 pdf pages and is a fast read. It is also an engaging primer of the Plan – Do – Study – Act model for understanding what customers (clients – internal or external) want and need and making simple and quick improvements that align with those needs.

Wondering if you should read this book? The answer is captured in the first paragraph of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Basis for Optimism About the Future

Should young persons be optimistic about the future?

Does history set the context for the present and the future? Is the past prologue?

Based on history, I submit that a young person should be optimistic about our future.

Some of our history that supports an optimistic outlook are :

  1. improvements in the health sciences and life expectancy;
  2. the growth of educational opportunities;
  3. the consolidation of governments;
  4. the growth of democratic government;
  5. the decline in violence over the centuries;
  6. the decline of wars by the major powers;
  7. the expansion of global trade.

1. Health:

In Canada our life expectancy has increased . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Publishing

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 technology, research and practice.


Expert Witnesses
Shaunna Mireau

Finding an expert or seeing if an expert has been qualified as such can be a challenging legal research exercise. Here are some tips and links to help you. Tip 1: Use the Canadian Expert Witness Directory through Litigator on WestlawNext Canada….


Manage Chaos! Create a Shared Family Calendar*
David Bilinsky & Laura Calloway

Our lives as lawyers are hectic enough even before we . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Independent Legal Advice Checklist

When providing independent legal advice, a checklist provides you with a handy tool to ensure that you are covering all the bases when discussing the underlying transaction and your client’s relationship to that transaction. Using this checklist, created by Phil Epstein Q.C., will allow you to be in a better position to successfully defend a negligence claim in relation to the provision of independent legal advice. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

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 sixty 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. Social Media for Law Firms  2. Access to Justice in Canada 3. The Court  4. Legal Sourcery  5. Ontario Condo Law Blog

Social Media for Law Firms
How Brian Tannebaum Defines Social Media Success

According to his Twitter bio, Brian Tannebaum is a Criminal/Bar Defense Lawyer, a Certified Sommelier, . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development & Justice

A few days ago, on 11 August, the co-facilitators of the process that had to produce the successors to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) sent a letter to the President of the UN General Assembly that their mission had been accomplished. In diplomatic speak: an outcome document containing a draft of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) had been adopted by consensus. In the diplomatic universe this means that the Heads of State and Government and High Representatives will rubberstamp the document when they meet at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 25-27 September 2015 for the UN’s 70 . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law