Canada’s online legal magazine.

Thursday Thinkpiece: The Elephant in the Courtroom

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.

Understanding Justice Needs: The Elephant in the Courtroom

Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL) | November 2018

Excerpt: Project Introduction & Chapter 6: Enabling the Justice Sector Transition

Project Introduction

For the first time, we quantify and pinpoint the yearly need for fair solutions. In this report, we estimate that each . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Electronic Signatures Revisited (But Why?)

Is an electronic signature valid in law? Twenty-five years after the Internet was opened to commercial use, that may seem to be a surprising question. An off-the-cuff response might be, “why shouldn’t it be?” The law does not prescribe a form or medium for a signature. Any method of associating a legal entity (human being, corporation, government) with a piece of information (document, text, inscription) will do the job, if the legal entity had the intention that the association should be for the purpose of signing it.

A signature may have many purposes, of course: to indicate consent, to show . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Advocates Providing “Legal Services”

There’s change on the horizon for Manitoba’s legal community, and not everyone is on board with it.

If you’ve ever read my posts here (and I haven’t written in quite a while, so you may not have), you will likely not be surprised to learn that I support the current efforts of Legal Aid Manitoba to seek permission from the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (“IRB”) to use trained advocates rather than lawyers to represent asylum-seekers where appropriate to do so.

According to this CBC News report, Legal Aid Manitoba is seeking to have its advocates not only . . . [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. Heller v. Uber Technologies Inc., 2019 ONCA 1

[3] The appellant commenced this proposed class action on behalf of “[a]ny person, since 2012, who worked or continues to work for Uber in Ontario as a Partner and/or independent contractor, providing any of the services outlined in Paragraph 4 of the Statement of Claim pursuant to a Partner and/or independent contractor agreement” . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

The Turducken of Services Challenge

Traditionally, most businesses used software installed on their own systems that was documented by a software license. 

It is becoming more common to use cloud based software or SAAS that is documented by a services agreement.  

One difference is that there can be multiple layers. The services agreement may be subject to or intertwined with a software license, a cloud platform provider, and a reseller. Those can all be different parties with different terms. Each layer may impose the terms of underlying providers.  

The business using the services can be stuck with the terms of the agreements and parties underneath  . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Frank v. Canada (Attorney General): Renewing Voting Rights

In its first major decision of 2019, the Supreme Court of Canada has held that Canadian citizens who have been residing outside Canada for at least five consecutive years are entitled to vote in federal elections, contrary to provisions in the Canada Election Act. Although the prohibition was first enacted in 1993, until 2007 Canadians living abroad could reestablish the connection considered necessary to vote — and begin to recount their five years — by returning from time to time; however, as of 2007, Canadian had to reestablish residency in Canada before they could vote. (Exceptions were members of . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

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.


How to Save a Specific Paragraph From a Decision From CanLII on Lexbox
Alisa Lazear

Lexbox was designed to make your legal research faster and easier. To help you use Lexbox to the best of its ability, we are sharing Lexbox tips with you from time to time. Here’s one if you are using Lexbox on the CanLII website. Today’s tip is about saving a specific paragraph from . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

For Want of a Distinction: The Copyright Act and the York University Appeal

A year ago in this blog, I addressed York University’s appeal of the federal court’s decision against its clams to “fair dealing” in its instructors’ reproduction of course materials in Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (CCLA) v. York University. I am returning to this case, even as the appeal proceeds, because I’ve begun to think that it reveals the extent to which the Copyright Act is currently unable to serve both party’s legitimate rights and interests.

Judge Michael L. Phelan’s ruling in the original case, rendered July 12, 2017, denied York’s claim that the copying of materials by instructors . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Publishing

Impact on Legal & Public Information of Partial US Government Shutdown

The US federal government has been in partial shutdown since just before Christmas 2018.

There has been a lot of well deserved focus on how the shutdown is affecting the hundreds of thousands of US federal employees who are not being paid. Or air travel. Or the poorly housed. The list goes on.

Many observers are now starting to worry about how this will impact access to various kinds of government and legal information south of the border.

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) issued an eBriefing today on the Impact of the Partial Federal Government . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

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. Doorey’s Workplace Law Blog 2. Michael Spratt 3. Erin Cowling 4. Know How 5. Michael Geist

Doorey’s Workplace Law Blog
Heller v. Uber: Some Thoughts from Ontario on Uber’s Arbitration Clause

By now, you have no doubt heard about the big Ontario Court of Appeal decision in

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Fonting Fraud Reveals Sham Trust

High-stakes litigation often involves the use of experts, who are expected under the Rules of Civil Procedure to provide fair, objective and non-partisan evidence to assist the court to determine issues under dispute. These experts are required to limit their evidence to matters within their expertise, and it’s not uncommon to see experts in a wide range of technological, medial, and other areas.

Typically, the opinion evidence provided by an expert evidence must comply with certain requirements under rule 53.03, such as their area of expertise, qualifications and employment, and a review of the basis for which the opinion is . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

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) : En l’absence d’un objet de droit criminel, on doit conclure que la Loi sur la non-discrimination génétique édictée par les articles 1 à 7 de la Loi visant à interdire et à prévenir la discrimination génétique ne constitue pas un exercice valide de la compétence fédérale en . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday