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Accessing Justice : Beyond Barriers

The annual Isaac Pitblado Lectures are coming up in a couple of days and will focus attention this year on issues in access to justice. The agenda is filled with thought-provoking and intelligent discussions led by some very smart people on how we move forward on these issues.

The Honourable Mr. Justice Thomas Cromwell will open the Lectures on Friday, speaking about the culture shift that is necessary if the legal profession is to get a handle on ensuring access to adjudication of disputes through the courts. He’s followed on the agenda by Professor Trevor Farrow talking about the decision . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

CASL Software Provisions Explained – Sort Of…

I’ve had some time to reflect on the CASL software provisions as interpreted by the CRTC . As I’ve said before, the CASL software consent provisions are tortuous and unclear, and if taken literally could cause huge problems for the software industry. The CRTC has tried to interpret them in a way that aligns with the intent of stopping people from installing malware on computers. While the CRTC interpretation may not line up with the act, we basically have to work within it for the time being. (Lawyers advising clients would be well served to include caveats that we . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology

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. R. v. Wills, 2014 ONCA 178

[26] Counsel for the appellant submits that the evidence could not reasonably support a finding that the appellant was one of the perpetrators. Counsel maintains that, without that finding, the appellant could not be convicted on any of the charges.

[27] Jury verdicts are regarded as the gold standard in criminal law. However, as with . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Stay of Environmental Order Pending Appeal? Not Likely.

Does the public interest in environmental protection allow the sacrifice of the innocent? The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, and the Environmental Review Tribunal, think it does.

Few people, however innocent, can afford to appeal environmental orders, if they must also comply with the order throughout the appeal, with no prospect of recovering the funds even if the order is found to be illegal. A recent decision of the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) shows how difficult it has become to obtain a stay pending appeal of environmental orders in Ontario, with no immediate prospect of improvement. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Engaging Ideas

“Is anybody out there?” Have you ever looked at your website traffic or social media engagement statistics and wondered if you’re all alone in cyberspace?

The good news is, you’re not alone. Most of your colleagues have probably asked the same question. The bad news is, you’ll need to move beyond your comfort zone if you want to break away from the silent online majority.

Why Engagement Matters
There are two perceptions of you as a lawyer: who you are and what you do. It’s easy to publish a list of what you do on a webpage. But a client . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing, Technology: Internet

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.

Technology

Back up before you install updates to avoid data loss*
Dan Pinnington

It is very important to remember that installing updates can unintentionally interfere with the way your computer/device or individual programs/apps on it operate. It is possible that a program/app may not operate properly or at all, that data could be lost, or that a device will fail to restart after an update is installed. Creating a restore . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

LSUC’s Worrisome ABS Proposals

The Law Society of Upper Canada’s (LSUC’s) “alternative business structures” proposal (the ABS proposal in its Discussion Paper)[i] will bring about a critically important and worrying change to the practice of law in Canada. Therefore all of Canada’s lawyers should consider the following three categories of factors when questioning candidates for all Bencher elections, particularly the April 30, 2015, Bencher election in Ontario:

A. Such proposals are particularly vulnerable to a questionable initiation process and subsequent use because:

  1. They are not subject to the established methods of prevention and discipline, i.e., by: (a) legislation; (b) the regulator (the
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

LSBC Clears Up Cloud of Confusion

Last Monday, I asked if the LSBC has just killed cloud computing for lawyers in BC. My question was prompted by statements made by the LSBC’s President, Jan Lindsay, that led me and others to believe that the LSBC had come down against non-BC-based cloud computing providers.

Ms. Lindsay has published a response to this question on the LSBC President’s Blog, and clarifies that non-BC-based providers are permitted, with the caveat that lawyers acting for clients that are prohibited from out-of-jurisdiction data storage must act accordingly.

David Bilinsky, also of the LSBC, posted a helpful response on Slaw with . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

What Keeps Family Lawyers Up at Night? Providing Effective Service While Managing Expectations

Like many areas of practice, family law is going through a period of change. Both clients and their lawyers are questioning traditional modes of practice. Economic woes both cause legal problems, and leave clients with limited resources with which to resolve them. Stress – for both families in crisis and for their lawyers – is a constant reality. Still, within this challenging climate, family lawyers are expected to work diligently and professionally in the service of their clients’ interests.

To understand how the bar is coping with the demands of modern family law practice, LAWPRO invited a sampling of lawyers . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Innovative Use of Civil Injunctions Where the Criminal Standard May Not Be Met

Birmingham U.K. social services have successfully sought a civil injunction (balance of probabilities), to protect vulnerable teenagers in their care from sexual exploitation, where the evidence is unlikely to secure convictions on the criminal standard (beyond a reasonable doubt).

The injunction granted last week restrains the men named as respondents from contacting a particular 17 year old girl in the City’s care, and from associating with any female under 18 with whom they are not personally associated.

If the men breach the injunctions, the City intends to seek jail terms for contempt of court.

The proceedings do not depend on . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law

Storytelling and Visual Literacy in the Courtroom

Last year I wrote a short review of Richard K. Sherwin’s 2011 book, “Visualizing Law in the Age of the Digital Baroque: Arabesques and Entanglements.” My review ended with the following conclusion:

Despite the fact that we are awash in images at almost every turn Sherwin suggests that we don’t often think about visual literacy which is problematic because, as he points out, “humans are notoriously blind to their own prejudices.” (p. 40) This is an important book that succeeds in raising our awareness for a more robust application of visual literacy within the context of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law

The New International Outsourcing Standard: ISO 37500:2014

On October 31, 2014, the International Organization for Standardization (“ISO”) published a new standard ISO 37500:2014 – Guidance on Outsourcing (the “Standard” or “ISO 37500”) to provide general guidance on outsourcing. It is likely that the Standard will impact outsourcing practices in Canada, both because of the comprehensive nature of the Standard and because of Canada’s role in its development. In this note I want to look at ISO 37500 in more detail. The discussion is divided into three parts:

(i) Part I provides some background to the publication of the Standard;
(ii) Part II summarizes ISO 37500’s approach to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law