Canada’s online legal magazine.

Canada 150 and the Meaning of Citizenship

Last week, I attended a ceremony for 80 new citizens as a guest of Friends of Filipino Immigrants in Manitoba. The room was packed with folks from 18 different countries all coming together to celebrate becoming Canadian. The atmosphere was festive, bordering on jubilant. A choir of children started the national anthem and we all joined in. Some sang in English and others in French. And the Citizenship Judge, Dwight MacAulay, reminded us of some of the key events over the past 150 years that have built this country before he bestowed the prize that each of them . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

I’ve Got Nothing to Hide…

“I’ve got nothing to hide” is a common retort from people who are blasé about privacy. Their point is that they have done nothing wrong, so they don’t care how much of their information and habits are public.

The flaw in that retort is that information about us can be used in many ways and for many things that we might not expect. And things that we may think are normal and innocuous may be offensive to others who can make life difficult because of it. For example, the US Justice department is trying to get the names of over . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

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. Engel v Edmonton Police Association, 2017 ABQB 495

[87] I agree that given Mr. Engel’s profession, the statements in the Article are particularly injurious. The Article explicitly refers to incompetence, frivolous and vexatious conduct which implicitly suggests dishonest motives and overall suggests professional impropriety. Combined, when considering the lengthy and public career of the plaintiff, are all damaging to his reputation . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

What Do We Mean When We Talk About Legal Research?

I have been thinking about the great flow chart below that David Whelan created to illustrate this blog post called “Law Libraries and Legal Malpractice” from 2014:

Image credit: David Whelan, “Law Libraries and Legal Malpractice”, https://ofaolain.com/blog/2014/07/04/law-libraries-and-legal-malpractice/.

He even went so far as to claim that “Lawyers do not need law libraries to be competent” (shocking, I know).

It got me thinking about something I’ve noticed working in legal information: lawyers don’t mean the same thing when they talk about legal research as librarians do. Lawyers tend to refer to the entire process of research that forms . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Planning for Succession: Part One

Over half of my clients are focussed on how to survive the transition from a first to a second-generation law firm. This is a critical and difficult business subject to deal with so I will explain the issue and its solutions over two SLAW postings. In this first one, I’ll seek to broaden your perspective of succession, describe why its implementation is so critical to a firm, and set the framework for meeting this business need.

This Shouldn’t Be Emergency Planning

Lawyers are of course human beings, and they age just like the rest of us. That means that they . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing, Practice of Law

Paddling Together for Reconciliation and Legal Transformation

On July 14, 2017, the Government of Canada released a set of Principles Respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples. These principles are intended to guide an ongoing review of Canada’s laws, policies and operational practices designed:

[T]o help ensure the Crown is meeting its constitutional obligations with respect to Aboriginal and treaty rights; adhering to international human rights standards including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and supporting the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

A Working Group of Ministers chaired by Justice Minister Wilson-Raybould has been tasked . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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. Erin Cowling 2. Michael Geist 3. Condo Adviser 4. Risk Management & Crisis Response 5. Legal Sourcery

Erin Cowling
 “Fairly Equal: Lawyering the Feminist Revolution”: A Must Read for the Next Generation of Feminist Lawyers

I’ve been a feminist as long as I can remember, even before

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

An Online Newspaper Is Not a Newspaper

Newspapers have for centuries played a central role in giving effect to freedom of expression in Western democracies. The limits, and privileges, afforded to them have changed over time. The courts are still struggling to redefine these limits, especially in a digital era when even traditional newspapers are increasingly moving their content online.

The inception of the printing press in the 15th-16th c. revolutionized Western Europe, widely disseminating ideas like never before. Many of these ideas were considered dangerous to the state, either treasonous or heretical (or both, given the close relationship between church and state at that time), and . . . [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.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : Le jury n’a pas à être unanime quant à laquelle des infractions de l’article 231 (5) C.Cr. est sous-jacente au meurtre, mais il doit être unanimement convaincu que le meurtre est survenu lors de la commission de l’une ou l’autre de ces infractions.

Intitulé : R. c. . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Personal Plight: Mending the Market

“Personal plight” legal services are those provided to individual clients whose legal needs arise from disputes. Personal plight areas such as family law, refugee law, and human rights are the site of Canada’s worst access to justice problems.

The market for personal plight legal services functions poorly, as Malcolm Mercer and Amy Salyzyn have shown in this space. A key problem, I suggest here, is that it is too difficult for consumers to shop intelligently. This undermines healthy competition and legal professionalism, in addition to access to justice. Regulators can and should mend the market for personal legal services. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

British Columbia Human Rights Commission Coming Back After 15 Years

On August 4, 2017, the newly elected NDP government announced that they will “re-establish a human rights commission to fight inequality and discrimination in all its forms.” . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Personal Liability Under Canada’s Anti-Spam Law

Under Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (“CASL”) not only may a corporation that fails to comply be liable to pay a monetary penalty but personal liability may also arise. Section 31 provides that “An officer, director, agent or mandatary of a corporation that commits a violation is liable for the violation if they directed, authorized, assented to, acquiesced in or participated in the commission of the violation, whether or not the corporation is proceeded against”.

An example of application of Section 31 is the case of Mr. Halazon and TCC reported by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (“CRTC”) in June . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property