Canada’s online legal magazine.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Legal Services in Ontario

Can you spare 10 minutes to help researchers understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to legal services and its effects on the legal profession in Ontario?

A team at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Ryerson University is studying how the pandemic has affected legal clinics, law associations, law firms (lawyers, practitioners, paralegals, etc.), and other legal entities.

The purpose of the study is to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to legal services and in particular, how the changing circumstances have affected civil law firms, including their key performance indicators, revenue, costs, . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Practice of Law

Regulating Artificial Intelligence and Automated Decision-Making

The Law Commission of Ontario has been reviewing the principles and impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in the Canadian justice system for some years. Its three points of focus have been on the use of AI in criminal justice, in civil justice and in government. A report was issued in late 2020 on criminal justice aspects. It was described in Slaw.ca here.

The second report is on government uses, under the title Regulating AI: Critical Issues and Choices. As with the criminal paper, there is a helpful Executive Summary as well.

Regulating AI presents a lot of challenges, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

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:

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

Court Denies Privilege and Compels Worker’s Evidence

By Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

The vague yet intriguing title of the case, in the Matter of B, 2020 ONSC 7563 (CanLII), foretells some of the secrecy and confidentiality of the facts behind the matter. The Honourable Barbara A. Campbell, Justice of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice authors an interesting decision sure to please any aficionado of the law of evidence. In it, she considers whether an employment agreement’s confidentiality clause sufficiently shields an employee from testifying about his or her employer in an investigation by the Ontario Securities Commission. Does the clause render the information . . . [more]

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

Are Virtual Hearings the Same as the Real Thing?

In my view, the simplest answer to this issue [videoconference or in-person] is, “It’s 2020”. We no longer record evidence using quill and ink. In fact, we apparently do not even teach children to use cursive writing in all schools anymore. We now have the technological ability to communicate remotely effectively. Using it is more efficient and far less costly than personal attendance. We should not be going back.

Justice Frederick L. Myers, Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Arconti v. Smith, 2020 ONSC 2782

What will be the place of virtual hearings in a post-pandemic world? Can . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

The Right to Research During and After the Pandemic

For all the hardship and tragic loss of human life that the current pandemic has wrought – even as we look for signs of the scourge’s end – it has had, I would hold, a positive effect on science. The last year or so has impressed upon many in the sciences that the more open and collaborative forms of research that mark the fight against Covid-19 will be worth retaining as a better way of doing science across the board. Among the earliest points of this opening, which came before the WHO classified this novel coronavirus, was the move of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

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. Prowse et al. v. Noroozi, 2021 ONSC 3099 (CanLII)

[52] There is no genuine issue that the Plaintiffs are entitled to claim the foregone interest on the VTB. While not an out of pocket expense per se, it would be a recoverable loss to the Plaintiffs in the form of expectation damages. However, I would infer that the purpose of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Proposed Rules Under the Legal Aid Services Act, 2020: Impact on Community Legal Clinics

In July 2020, the Ontario Legislative Assembly enacted new legislation governing the provision of legal aid in the province, Legal Aid Services Act, 2020 (“2020 Act”). The legislation does not come into force until it has been proclaimed by the Lieutenant-Governor and that won’t happen until new rules have been finalized. The board of Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) (called “the Corporation” under the 2020 Act) has the authority under section 46 of the 2020 Act to make rules governing the provision of legal aid. The proposed rules are currently available for comment on Legal Aid Ontario’s website (more on that . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation

Evaluative or Facilitative Mediation? – the Wrong Question

Conflict management professionals have struggled for many years whether to take a “facilitative” or an “evaluative” approach in mediation. This either/or analysis is much too simplistic and grounded in false assumptions. We need a more nuanced approach, drawing on a wide variety of “styles” and tools which are tailored to meet the needs of the situation and the parties. Professor John Lande recently published a concise and helpful article advocating for such an approach.

My mediation training was based in the facilitative approach, but I found this difficult in practice because of my legal training and experience. It seemed to . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

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

Finding Ontario Court Information Online
Susannah Tredwell

Ontario now allows legal professionals to search for Superior Court of Justice court cases online. To search, you will need to set up a ONe-key account. (There is no cost to set up an account.) … . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Regulatory Innovation With a Legal Tech Sandbox

On April 22, 2021, the Law Society of Ontario approved a “Regulatory Sandbox for Innovative Technological Legal Services”, a five-year pilot project through which non-licensee providers will be given the LSO’s blessing to provide “innovative technological legal services” directly to consumers, under the LSO’s supervision. The sandbox was recommended by the LSO’s Technology Task Force in its report released on April 13, 2021. The sandbox is currently slated to launch in October 2021.

The proposed regulatory sandbox emerges after over three years of study by the Technology Task Force, which the LSO established in February 2018. Although it has taken . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

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.The Docket 2. Eloise Gratton 3. SOQUIJ | Le Blogue 4. The Court 5. BC Provincial Court eNews

The Docket
Ford’s Pandemic Police State

After months of ignoring the warnings of experts, Doug Ford, Ontario’s murder clown Premier, finally decided to take some steps to deal with

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix