Canada’s online legal magazine.

Proprietary Algorithms for Public Purposes

It is now generally recognized that “code is law”: how computers process the millions of on/off, yes/no signals in their binary universe can have legal effects beyond their obvious output. Deciding how computers handle data they receive is a matter of choice, and those choices have consequences. These consequences arise whether or not the software writers, the coders, are aware of their choices or assumptions.

Two developments have brought the coding issue back to the fore in public discussion. The first is the computerization of what used to be purely mechanical devices. The analysis of physical phenomena is done, pursued . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

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. Library Technician Dialog 2. Legal Post Blog 3. Slater Vecchio Connected 4. Employment & Human Rights Law in Canada 5. Labour Pains

Library Technician Dialog
Readers’ Advisory

You think you know where to find books in the library, when you are a librarian. But my experience proves . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Problems in Family Law Are More Than Just Gender

Lawyers agree on few things, but one of the issues that there appears to be consensus on is that the legal system is in crisis. The family law system is particularly strained, and complaints about family law go back decades.

I touched on this briefly in my recent column in National Magazine,

From 1997 to 1999, the Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access studied the impact of family law on children. The main complaint was that the process affected parents’ relationships with their children.

Litigants (sic) pointed to a presumed gender bias in the courts, unethical practices

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Summaries Sunday: OnPoint Legal Research

One Sunday each month OnPoint Legal Research provides Slaw with an extended summary of, and counsel’s commentary on, an important case from the British Columbia, Alberta, or Ontario court of appeal.

Hansra v. Hansra, 2017 BCCA 199

AREAS OF LAW:   Family law; Special costs; Rehearing; Limits of discretion

~ A judge’s discretion to reopen a matter, while broad, is not unfettered. It is governed by established principles. ~

BACKGROUND:

This was a family law case that resulted in a special costs order against the Respondent, Jagtar Singh Hansra. The Appellant, Puran Jote Hansra, sought a reapportionment of assets in her . . . [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.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : Lorsque des transactions criminelles distinctes sont sanctionnées de façon concomitante par un même juge au cours d’une même audience de détermination de la peine, toutes les peines d’emprisonnement imposées consécutivement doivent être additionnées sans tenir compte de la détention présentencielle; si le total est inférieur à deux . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Summaries Sunday: Supreme Advocacy

On one Sunday each month we bring you a summary from Supreme Advocacy LLP of recent decisions at the Supreme Court of Canada. Supreme Advocacy LLP offers a weekly electronic newsletter, Supreme Advocacy Letter, to which you may subscribe. It’s a summary of all appeals and leaves to appeal granted, so you know what the S.C.C. will soon be dealing with (June 17 to July 19, 2017 inclusive).

Appeals

Civil Procedure/International Law: Forum Selection Clauses

Douez v. Facebook, Inc., 2017 SCC 33 (36616)

While s. 4 of the B.C. Privacy Act does not override forum selection clauses, strong reasons . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

New Report: Parenting Assessments and Their Use in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia

The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family has just released a new report on parenting assessments, prepared by Calgary articled student and UBC graduate, Zoe Suche. These assessments, also called “custody and access reports” and “bilateral assessments,” are usually requested when the views and opinions of an independent expert are needed to help separated parents or the court determine the parenting arrangements that are in the best interests of minor children. The report uses a mixed methodology of case law research and interviews with assessors, and examines practice and procedure in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario.

Ms . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Open Justice?

Last year The Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG) released a report that examined public perceptions of access to justice in Ontario. For those of us who work in the legal and justice sectors, the results were dismal. Here’s what we heard: 40 per cent of Ontarians do not believe that they have fair and equal access to the justice system. In addition, members of the public chose these descriptors of the justice system: old fashioned, intimidating, broken.

These results seem discouraging, particularly for those of us working to build supports and establish resources that enhance access to . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Public Hearings on Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act

The Ontario Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs met from July 10 to July 14, 2017 (we were informed that hearings are continuing to July 21, 2017, Hamilton is today and Toronto closes the tour tomorrow) to consider and hold public hearings on Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. The Bill amends the Employment Standards Act, 2000, the Labour Relations Act, 1995 and makes related amendments to other Acts. The government wanted to be sure that there are no unintended consequences because the changes in the Bill contain complex policies. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Against Tradition

In a recent column in Canadian Lawyer, Ian Holloway, my Dean and friend, wrote in defence of lawyerly traditions, such as calling Ontario’s law society the Law Society of Upper Canada, and barrister’s robes. At the same time he emphasized the importance of professional innovation, particularly in legal education. He concluded that the ambition of lawyers should be “Change in substance, tradition in form”.

I have some serious reservations with Ian’s position. I agree that some of our traditions have modern advantages (e.g., robes neutralizing class and gender-based judgments of lawyers based on their clothes). But when we weigh the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Dürer and New Law: Everything Old Is New Again?

One of the many advantages of studying history and the arts is that one gets a very broad sweep of perspective that other subjects can’t provide.

Business school case studies are very interesting but are usually always based on contemporary successes as anything older than ten years is deemed irrelevant. However, if like me, you enjoy reading the books of economic historian Niall Ferguson, you will appreciate that everything old will become new again – if you wait long enough.

It is trite to say that although there are many other different ways lawyers can bill their clients, no . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

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. Flirty Girl Fitness Inc. v Hottie Body Boutique Inc., 2017 ONSC 4158

[83] There was, in any event, no breach of fiduciary duty by either sister in negotiating the agreement with Hottie Body Boutique, which was fully disclosed to the shareholders of Flirty Girl Fitness and beneficial to the corporation. The breaches of fiduciary duty were to the fellow shareholders who . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII