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Time to Say Goodbye to an Employee?

You’ve tried clarification, reminders, warnings, patience and tolerance, maybe even retraining. But it isn’t working, and you both know it. Firing employees is not likely a task you took into consideration when you thought about becoming a lawyer; but here you are, an employer, in the position of having to fire an employee.

It will never be pleasant; but there’s a right way and a wrong way. The wrong way can lead to lawsuits, reputational damage, maybe even stolen clients or breaches of confidentiality. The right way can lead to the same things, of course; but the odds are . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Developing Ontologies: An Ontology for Legal Research

Almost exactly a year ago Amy Taylor, Emerging Technologies Librarian and Adjunct Professor at the Pence Law Library, Washington College of Law, wrote about creating a legal ontology for basic 1L legal research instruction. She shares her experience and provides a useful methodology that can guide you if you ever set out to create your own ontology.

Taylor was motivated to start thinking about this when she saw a change in headnote presentation in the then new (Fall 2012) WestlawNext platform. The change, in both style and content, prompted her to ask a couple of good questions: . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

UKSC Compels Disclosure of Prince Charles’ Letters to Government Ministers

A year ago I posted here on the UK Court of Appeal’s ruling which set aside the government’s veto of a decision under freedom of information legislation for the release of “advocacy correspondence” from Prince Charles’s to government ministers.

Last week the UK Supreme Court dismissed the government’s appeal. No date has been fixed by which the letters must be disclosed.

It is not known whether there will be redactions in the documents produced.

An interesting legal issue is how the court dealt with statutory language permitting the Minister to veto. It provides that “an accountable person” (in this case . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Alternative Business Structures Proposals or Solving the Unaffordable Legal Services Problem

Alternative business structures proposals (ABS proposals), the basis of which is to allow commercial investors to own law firms, have no capacity to solve the problem of unaffordable legal services (“the problem”). Their other two major features are to automate routine legal services, and to enable related non-legal services to be provided with legal services. But the cause of the problem is the high cost of legal advice services. They cannot be automated (pdf). Therefore there is nothing in the analytical literature that states that they can solve the problem. But the published arguments used to promote ABS proposals imply . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of 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 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. Pierre Roy & Associés Blogue 2. Eloïse Gratton 3. ABlawg 4. BC Injury Law and ICBC Claims Blog 5. Legal Post

Pierre Roy & Associés Blogue
Payer ses cartes de crédit : ça peut prendre plus d’une vie !

Le 1er septembre 2010, une nouvelle information d’une importance majeure . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

English Court of Appeal Expands Privacy Rights

The Court of Appeal in England has upheld a 2014 decision against Google about its scraping of information from users of the Safari browser. It classified a privacy action as a tort that will support a class action (called a ‘group action’ there) and also service out of the jurisdiction. The Court allowed the action to proceed without proof of pecuniary damages. It also held that ‘browser generated information’ (BGI) was personally identifiable information to which the Data Protection Act applied, though it did not contain the name of the person using the browser.

Google v Vidal-Hall : [2015] EWCA . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, ulc_ecomm_list

Justice Delayed in Brampton

Courthouses across the GTA, Canada’s most populous region, are already overwhelmed. Under particular strain are the suburbs of Toronto, which have exploded in population over the past few decades, with few corresponding increases in services.

One particular courthouse is in Brampton, where the Ministry of the Attorney General has announced they will build a 3-story expansion. The expansion will not be completed until December 2017, and that time both the bar and the bench appear to be alarmed.

Justice Van Melle, former Regional Senior Justice for Ontario’s Central West court region, took the unusual step of writing a letter to . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Summaries Sunday: Maritime Law Book

Summaries of selected recent cases are provided each week to Slaw by Maritime Law Book. Every Sunday we present a precis of the latest summaries, a fuller version of which can be found on MLB-Slaw Selected Case Summaries at

This week’s summaries concern:
Real Property Tax – Criminal Law – Evidence

Saskatoon (City) v. North Ridge Development Corp. 2015 SKCA 13
Real Property Tax
Summary: The City of Saskatoon applied for leave to appeal two decisions of the Assessment Appeals Committee pursuant to s. 33.1 of the Municipal Board Act. Both decisions concerned the same land owned . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

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.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : L’incompétence manifeste de l’avocat de l’accusé, qui porte atteinte à la présomption de compétence généralement reconnue aux avocats, fait en sorte que la tenue d’un nouveau procès s’impose.

Intitulé : Agnant c. R., 2015 QCCA 465
Juridiction : Cour d’appel (C.A.), Montréal, 500-10-004555-106 et 500-10-004672-109
Décision de . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

The Friday Fillip: Relating

For the next while the Friday Fillip will be a chapter in a serialized crime novel, interrupted occasionally by a reference you might like to follow up. Both this chapter of the book and the whole story up to this point can be had as PDF files.

Now you may also subscribe to have the chapters delivered to you by email.


Chapter 4

“Aren’t you going to write any of this down?” Her name was Gladys Tremaine, Mrs. Gladys Tremaine, thank you very much — Mr. Harold Tremaine had died almost twenty years

. . . [more]
Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Family Justice 3.6: Rethinking Family to Reduce Conflict

All law, with the exception of animal cruelty laws, concerns the interaction of human social groups ranging in scale from the individual to the state, either for the purpose of regulating those interactions or providing remedies when things go awry. It’s the humanness of these interactions which makes the law as complex as it is, family law especially so; we are messy, irrational creatures with priorities, goals and emotions that are highly variable and difficult to predict.

It seems to me that the contortions into which family law twists itself largely result from efforts to address, accommodate and anticipate the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Why Do Lawyers Resist Ethical Rules Requiring Competence With Technology?

Recently, the Virginia State Bar Council voted to adopt changes to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The changes were based on the American Bar Association’s modifications to the Comments of Rule 1.1 respecting Competence (“…a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with technology…”) and Rule 1.6 respecting Confidentiality (“(c) A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the unintended disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.”)

What’s reasonable? The Comments go on to list relevant factors:

  1. the sensitivity of
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology