Canada’s online legal magazine.

The Internet Can Be as Deadly as It Is Empowering

All child deaths due to illness are a tragedy, but some tragedies are more pronounced than others.

When a child’s death could have been properly prevented through medical intervention which was deliberately refused by the children’s parents, most of us are at least shocked, if not outraged.

This week David and Collet Stephan of Lethbridge, Alberta were convicted for failing to provide the “necessaries” (sic) of life under s. 215 of the Criminal Code. This section is used more commonly to address insufficient feeding for underweight babies, babies drowning in bathtubs, and even with the risk of physical abuse by . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

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 cases.slaw.ca.

This week’s summaries concern: Armed Forces – Civil Rights – Criminal Law – Administrative Law – Constitutional Law – Courts – Indians, Inuit and Métis – Crown – Equity – Statutes – Arbitration – Education – Evidence – Labour Law – Practice – Family Law – Wills

R. v. Gagnon (J.G.A.) 2016 CMAC 2
Armed Forces –  . . . [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.

COMPAGNIES : La juge de première instance a erré, un tribunal ne devant pas, sauf circonstances exceptionnelles, permettre à l’actionnaire majoritaire d’acquérir sans contrepartie les actions de l’actionnaire minoritaire.

Intitulé : Li c. Wang, 2016 QCCA 641
Juridiction : Cour d’appel (C.A.), Montréal, 500-09-024834-145
Décision de : Juges Julie Dutil, . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

The Need for a Code of Conduct for Family Law Disputes

The Codes of Conduct of Canada’s various law societies set the standards of conduct expected of members of the profession. They are enforced through the law societies’ enabling legislation, which uniformly empower the societies to punish breaches with sanctions ranging from reprimand to disbarment.

The Codes of Conduct require us to find a balance between our obligations as advocates and the general duty to uphold the rule of law and practice with honour and integrity. It seems to me, however, that bar admission courses, intending to simultaneously instill a healthy respect for practice standards and a dread fear of complaints, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

It’s a Law Firm, Not a Love Song: It Can Carry on Without You (For a Week or Two)

“(T)o build my career is to make myself indispensable, demonstrating indispensability means burying myself in the work, and the upshot of successfully demonstrating my indispensability is the need to continue working tirelessly.”

That’s journalist Ryan Avent talking about why he’s reluctant to do something that would help his personal life even though it would have a minimal effect on his professional one.

His circular argument will sound very familiar to lawyers. In a business where success is measured by the billable hour, busy-ness is the key to upward mobility. No one wants to miss a step on the career path . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Thursday Thinkpiece: Troke-Barriault on ODR and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Each Thursday 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.

Online Dispute Resolution and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Levelling the Playing Field in Disputes Involving Autistic Parties

Roland Troke-Barriault
First published in the Western Journal of Legal Studies, (2016) 6:2 online: UWO J Leg Stud 1 <http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/uwojls/vol6/iss2/1>.

Excerpts from: Abstract, Introduction, Sections I-III
[Footnotes omitted. They can be found in the original via . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Barreau Du Quebec Position on Hourly Billing Report Long Overdue

On March 24, 2016, the Barreau du Quebec (Quebec Bar Association) released a report « La tarification horaire à l’heure de la réflexion » (in French only and translated to say Hourly Billing: A Time for Reflection) calling for an end to hourly billing by lawyers and law firms in the hope of improving access to justice for the public and a better work-life balance for lawyers. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Office Technology

Scholarly Publishing Has Its Napster Moment

It has become widely known that scholarly publishing has been hit by its own version of Napster, with Alexandra Elbakyan’s creation of Sci-Hub, which offers up to 48 million pirated journal articles and, as we have more recently learned, hundreds of university press books through its dark-web companion site LibGen. Elbakyan’s site, which she initiated in 2011 when she was a graduate student in Kazakhstan, has since been sued for infringing and other causing “irreparable harm” to Elsevier’s copyright. The suit heard by the Southern District of New York Court has resulted in a preliminary injunction that managed to close . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Raising Court Fees and Nudging Litigant Behaviour

The Ontario provincial government will be raising court fees effective July 1, 2016. This increase will be based on the Ontario Consumer Price Index.

Although I welcome the injection of money into the court system, I take issue with the government’s approach to raising fees. The government is squandering a golden opportunity to positively nudge the public’s behaviour.

Scholars Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein explain a “nudge” as something that alters people’s behaviour in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing economic incentives. An example of a nudge would be putting fruit at eye level in . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Lawyers and Audits – the New Joint Policy Statement Effective December 1, 2016

Shareholders, investors, lenders and others have a vital interest in proper financial disclosure by entities in which they have an economic interest. Making sensible business decisions is often difficult. It is impossible without proper information. Audited financial statements play a central role in financial disclosure.

Disclosure is a good thing and a bad thing

Some assets and liabilities are simply reflected in financial statements. Some are not so simple. Contingent assets and liabilities can be tricky. The contingency may or may not arise. Assuming the contingency, the value of the contingent asset or liability is often uncertain. The uncertainties may . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Third US National Symposium on Experiential Learning in Law Coming in June

I first became aware of the movement in US law schools towards experiential learning with the publication of the Carnegie Report in 2007. The Carnegie Report recommended that law school should integrate “the three apprenticeships”: theory, practical skills, and ethics.

A few years later, New York Law School and Harvard Law School joined forces, with each hosting a conference on this topic.

Building on this momentum, in 2012 Northeastern Law School in Boston hosted the first ever National Symposium on Experiential Learning in Law. I was fortunate to attend, and it was an eye-opener for me. I learned how diverse . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

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. Gauthier v Starr, 2016 ABQB 213

[35] Gauthier’s initial and Amended Statement of Claim arguably could be the product of a poorly informed lay litigant, though taking the step of modifying the Rules Form 10 template Statement of Claim to make this an action where Gauthier is “Prosecutor”, and the Defendants are “Wrongdoers”, is a rather implausible innocent civil litigation error. . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII