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The Decade in Legal Education (2010-2019)

The end of a year is a time to reflect upon the previous 12 months. The end of 2019 also provides the opportunity to reflect on the past decade.

Is it an exaggeration to say that the past decade has seen more changes in legal education in Canada than at any point in the past half-century? Since the opening of Queen’s, Western, and Ottawa in the 1950s? Or perhaps since the transfer of Osgoode Hall to York University by the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1965?

The decade that ended saw the opening of two new law schools (Thompson . . . [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. Tremear v. Park Town Motor Hotels Ltd.1982 CanLII 2683 (SK QB)

[19] To constitute a defence, there must have been an express or implied understanding between the parties whereby the plaintiff gave up her right of action for negligence. The evidence here does not support any such understanding or agreement. There is nothing to warrant a finding that the plaintiff . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

The Wondrous World of Creating Constitutional Law

Senator Mike Duffy is suing the Senate for the pay he lost when he was suspended from the Senate. His lawsuit raises the constitutional issue of parliamentary immunity, on the basis of which Justice Sally Gomery of the Ontario Superior Court dismissed his claim. Duffy’s appeal is based on the loss of Senate immunity if it has engaged in wrongdoing, as the Senate did, he says, in taking its direction from the executive (Prime Minister Stephen Harper). (For this story, see The National Post).

For no particular reason whatsoever, this case made me think about how so much of . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

As the Law Is Blind to Research’s Intellectual Property Distinctions

This is the third in a series of blogs based on excerpts from an early and ongoing draft of a book (here for comment) in which I develop a case for amending copyright in the United States so that it is once again serving research and scholarship. The book’s working title is Copyright’s Constitutional Violation: When the Law Fails to “Promote the Progress of Science” (While Promoting Practically Everything Else). What follows is a key piece of the argument for reform. For now that there is an agreement that open access serves science best (as per my last . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

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.

Research & Writing

Free Access to Early Canadian Historical/Legal Documents on Canadiana
Alan Kilpatrick

Canadiana Online’s unparalleled online collection of historical materials is now free to access. The collection, available at no charge at Canadiana.ca, contains more than 60 million digitized pages of books, periodicals, and government publications from early Canadian history. Why should lawyers and legal researchers take note of this thrilling development? Canadiana Online features an outstanding . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Common Law Expansions to Anonymous Defamers Online

The issue of anonymous parties engaging in defamation has been one of the primary issues in online defamation. In many cases, the matter is often resolved as soon as this identity is ascertained. As such, de-anonymizing has been one of the primary strategies employed by plaintiff’s counsel in such actions.

In Manson v John Doe, Justice Goldstein granted judgment against an anonymous blogger who had been noted in default, and stated,

[20] There are few things more cowardly and insidious than an anonymous blogger who posts spiteful and defamatory comments about reputable member of the public and then

. . . [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) : La compagnie CFG Construction, déclarée coupable de négligence criminelle ayant causé la mort de l’un de ses employés, se voit imposer une amende de 300 000 $, assortie d’une période probatoire de 3 ans et d’une suramende compensatoire de 15 %.

Intitulé : R. c. CFG Construction . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

End of 2019 Update From Washington, DC

This has been another very interesting year in the US Capitol. The most recent excitement is about the process of impeachment. I remember the previous two attempts, which ended in a resignation and a failure to convict. I am not going to even try to predict how the process will end this time. But if you want to learn more about this, the Library of Congress has it covered.

On December 9, Andrew Winston posted that “The Library of Congress has updated the Constitution Annotated essays pertaining to impeachment and incorporated them in the annotations to Article IArticle . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Friday Jobs Roundup

Each Friday, we share the latest job listings from Slaw Jobs, which features employment opportunities from across the country. Find out more about these positions by following the links below, or learn how you can use Slaw Jobs to gain valuable exposure for your job ads, while supporting the great Canadian legal commentary at Slaw.ca.

Current postings on Slaw Jobs (newest first):

. . . [more]
Posted in: Friday Jobs Roundup

The Federal Duty of Workplace Inspection: Reasonableness and Workplace Control

By Lewis Waring, Paralegal and Student-at-Law, Editor, First Reference Inc.

In Canada Post Corp v Canadian Union of Postal Workers, 2019 SCC 67 (“Canada Post”), the Supreme Court of Canada (“Court”) limited federally regulated employers’ duty to conduct safety inspections. Namely, the Court found that such employers only had a duty to inspect in workplaces over which they exercise control. Canada Post was an application of judicial review of a decision by the Occupational Health and Safety Tribunal of Canada (“OHSTC”). The rule-at-issue was Canada Labour Code, RSC 1985, c L-2, Part II, s 125(1)(z. 12) (“CLC”), which . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

How Are We Doing on the Shift to Use-Centred Approaches?

In 2015 I wrote a Slaw post entitled “What Does a “user-centred” Approach Really Mean??” I tried to paint a picture of what “user-centred” means in the context of the BC justice system. I would say it was a good first try but drew mostly on examples from other sectors.

Four and a half years later, we have more local examples of how the BC justice system is shifting towards a more user-centric approach including the following:

ONE: The first example is the work of Access to Justice BC (A2JBC). It advocates for a new approach to justice . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Encryption Backdoors – a Very Bad Idea

Encrypting our data and devices keeps our information safe. It keeps thieves out of our banking information, protects our personal health info from prying eyes, prevents fraud, lets us have candid private conversations, and helps keep the surveillance state at bay. 

But far too often law enforcement and governments view encryption as a hindrance, and call for backdoors to encryption so they can circumvent encryption when they want access. 

Security experts are adamant that backdoors to encryption would cause far more harm than good. It’s like a team of people with sledgehammers trying to kill a fly in a . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet