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Does #A2J Need a Strategic Plan?

I’m in the midst of preparing a presentation for Manitoba’s upcoming Pitblado Lectures describing various online and new media approaches to access to justice. In doing so, I have been struck by the range and variety of players in this game. Though they may be providing access to justice services and supports for different reasons (whether for profit, for the public good or as a public service more generally) the resulting innovations show great promise to enhance access to justice and reduce gaps.

Groups like HiiL based in The Hague, are supporting innovative approaches to access to justice worldwide. Technology . . . [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. Miller v. Carley, 2009 CanLII 39065 (ON SC)

[1] After a busy day conducting illegal drug transactions, the plaintiff, the defendant and a mutual friend stopped at a corner store where the defendant purchased some “scratch” lottery tickets. One of the tickets proved to be a $5-million winner.

[2] The parties dispute ownership of the winning ticket. If the ticket were . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

A National Holiday, a Sports Team’s Name, and Researching Native American Law

In the United States we recently celebrated Columbus Day on October 13th. The day was established in 1934, as a national holiday to celebrate the Italian-American heritage of exploration; then was moved to the second Monday in October in 1968. Its celebration has become controversial, however, because Columbus did not in fact discover America and his arrival unleashed genocide against the indigenous people already living in the Americas.

This year both Seattle and Minneapolis celebrated the day as “Indigenous People’s Day”. Since 1990 the state of South Dakota has called this second Monday in October “Native . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Simple Questions in Complex Situations

How many lawyers consistently use a checklist of questions to ask clients at the beginning of a personal legal matter? Many customize the checklists published by provincial Law Societies for a particular practice area, client service style or matter management process. The focus is often on quality assurance, risk mitigation and scope of work. Is there a way to include the human element too?

I attended a lecture by Atul Gawande in New York a few weeks ago. Gawande is a surgeon who teaches at Harvard Medical School, writes for The New Yorker and leads two health care organizations. He . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading, Reading: Recommended

Statistics Cheat Sheets

In my spare time lately, I have been studying. My partner Patric deserves special recognition for handling the bulk of homestead related activities as I park myself in front of the computer each evening to delve into the specifics of Z scores, standard deviation, degrees of freedom, probability and regression analysis.

It is interesting and also quite challenging to be facing an exam with the practice question: “43.5% of students pass this certification exam. The department head is sending 12 people from your company to take the exam and says that if you all pass you will each receive a . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training

Drowning in Alphabet Soup

“You need to return on a Wednesday at 9:00am or a Friday at 2:00pm.”

“Excuse me?”

“Oh wait, sorry. You’re client’s last name begins with ‘G’. That’s a Tuesday matter.”

“But I’m back here this Monday…”

“Oops. Hang on. It’s a domestic. Thursdays at 10:00am. Definitely Thursday.”

***

The above is a pretty faithful recounting of nearly every day in set-date courts across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and, perhaps to a lesser extent, across Ontario. I don’t have a sufficient personal sample size to gauge whether the alphabet soup insanity that has infected my home province has spread its . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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
Dan Pinnington

To Avoid Corruption – Formatting a Memory Card Is Better Than Erasing Images on It*

With DSLRs, it has become very easy to fill your SD or memory card to capacity. Many of us have will have found ourselves deleting pictures when we run out of space. Doing this in the middle of a photo shoot is fine. However, if you are taking a bunch of pictures . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Superior Court Overturns Result of Youth Soccer Match

In an unusual case, Justice Nordheimer of the Superior Court of Justice has overturned the result of a youth soccer match.

The Cobras defeated the Strikers 2 – 1 in the semi-final match of the Ontario Cup in the Under 16 Boys Tier 1 Division.

After the match, the Strikers alleged that the Cobras had improperly used six players as “call-ups”. The Ontario Soccer Association (“OSA”) sent notice of the Protest to the Cobras.

A few days later the Cobras received another email from the OSA raising a new issue regarding the semi-final match. In particular, the OSA was . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

Paths to Success: As Varied as the Lawyers Who Follow Them

“Diversity” describes the characteristics of a group. When we examine how diversity influences the profession as a whole, it’s easy to lose sight of the experience of being an individual lawyer, with specific identity characteristics, practising law in Ontario. While cultural sensitivity benefits all lawyers, what is it like to practice law when, at least with respect to some aspect of your identity, you are in the minority?

We posed that question to the four lawyers profiled in the in the newest issue of LAWPRO Magazine. While their stories are very different, all four agreed that success depends on . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

The Honourable Louise Arbour Inducted Into Canada’s Walk of Fame

On Saturday The Honourable Louise Arbour‘s star was unveiled on Canada’s Walk of Fame along with those of the other inductees The Band, Jeff Healey, Rachel McAdams, Ryan Reynolds and Hayley Wickenheiser.

From her bio included with her webpage:

The Honourable Louise Arbour is currently a jurist in residence at Borden Ladner Gervais providing strategic advice to lawyers of the Litigation Group, in particular on issues pertaining to international disputes. Her great legal mind,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Supporting Open Access at the Osgoode Hall Law School

It’s Open Access Week this week, an opportunity to highlight efforts to promote, facilitate and otherwise support access to cultural, scientific and legal information. If you’re on campus at York University this Friday afternoon Osgoode Hall Law School professor Carys Craig will introduce the screening of “The Internet’s Own Boy” a presentation of the York University Libraries Scholarly Communication Initiative. If you can’t be there Friday I encourage you to watch this wonderful telling of Aaron Swartz’s life story which is also openly available on the Internet Archive.  . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

14th Century Legislation, as Amended.

A distinguished Ontario litigator I know has made it a personal rule never to cite a case that was reported before the year he was called to the bar.

The British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond might want to enquire whether any of the lawyers he likes to retain harbour any such sentiments. Last week Mr Hammond appeared to entertain the thought of laying charges of treason against Britons who go to fight in Syria and Iraq.

The law of treason dates back to an English statute of 1351.

Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators in the gun powder plot were convicted . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous