Canada’s online legal magazine.

Lawyers Helping Law Students (In Smaller Bites)

You’ve likely come across Peter Sankoff’s #100interns project over the past few months. Peter executed a very successful campaign of connecting law students with various practitioners, small firms and educational institutions around the country.

Students with an interest in Criminal law were paired with practitioners or researchers; giving them the experience they would normally have found during summer intern positions. The idea of filling this “COVID gap” for law students is incredibly admirable; though the project has since finished, and was limited to those seeking criminal law experience.

Over the past couple weeks I have been contacted about two student-led . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Education & Training

Provincial Insolvency Decision Hangs in Balance

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

On March 26, 2020, the Supreme Court of Canada granted leave to appeal the decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal in Canada v. Canada North Group Inc., 2019 ABCA 314 (CanLII). The decision canvasses the priority that attaches to money that is borrowed in restructuring proceedings to preserve value in an insolvent company. The decision considered whether these charges rank ahead of other claims that are also granted priority under federal legislation. The issue, therefore, was the relative ranking of “super-priority” court-ordered charges in proceedings under the Companies’ Creditors . . . [more]

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

Double Whammy on Law Firms: COVID-19 and the Troubled Economy

When lawyers turned the calendar page to January 2020, they could not have dreamt of the two-fold nightmare that would descend upon the profession so quickly. A global pandemic and a tanking economy at the same time? We thought we had seen the end of hard times when we finally emerged from The Great Recession in 2009. Some of our lawyer friends still have lines of credit to pay down from that recession.

While government leaders say the economy will “come roaring back” or “I’ll bring the economy back,” most lawyers are skeptical, to say the least.

The New Normal

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology

Book Review: Assisted Death: Legal, Social and Ethical Issues After Carter

Several times each month, we are pleased to republish a recent book review from the Canadian Law Library Review (CLLR). CLLR is the official journal of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL/ACBD), and its reviews cover both practice-oriented and academic publications related to the law.

Assisted Death: Legal, Social and Ethical Issues after Carter. Edited by Derek B.M. Ross. Toronto: LexisNexis, 2018. xlii, 544 p. Includes table of cases. ISBN 978-0- 433-49868-1 (softcover) $125.00.

Reviewed by Kim Clarke
Director, Bennett Jones Law Library
University of Calgary
In CLLR 45:2

Considering that Carter, 2015 SCC 5, . . . [more]

Posted in: Book Reviews

Should Affidavits of Service Be Required?

Recently lawyers have been debating online about whether the rules about affidavits of service should be reformed. Particularly in the context of serving documents by email, and there is a clear record of service.

Service is important. It ensures that parties know about important court events before they happen. Sometimes self-represented litigants do not know that they must serve materials before filing. Requiring an affidavit of service before filing prevents litigants from unintentionally bringing ex parte motions.

However, we may be able to reach the same outcome without requiring affidavits of service. We can design a better system.

On Twitter . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Dealing With the Death of a Lawyer

I had another article ready to go but in these unusual times, talking about marketing plans felt a little like ignoring the elephant in the room. So today I’ll post what I’ve been dreading but what is inevitable -and potentially very valid these days. It is also an important and necessary skill for anyone assisting with Law Firm Marketing: dealing with the death of a lawyer.

Throughout my career, I’ve had to deal with the death of a Partner, and advise clients on how to deal with the death of lawyers in their firm. It’s not surprising, really. Like taxes, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing, Practice of Law

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. Meads v. Meads2012 ABQB 571

[1] This Court has developed a new awareness and understanding of a category of vexatious litigant. As we shall see, while there is often a lack of homogeneity, and some individuals or groups have no name or special identity, they (by their own admission or by descriptions given by others) often fall into the following . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

The Constitutionality of Interprovincial Boundary Closures (Part II)


In my post last week, I blogged the background to an analysis of constitutional challenges to interprovincial border closures. I briefly referred to the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Comeau, which considered the constitutionality of barriers to interprovincial trade represented by section 134 of the New Brunswick Liquor Control Act limitations on the amount of liquor and beer that someone could bring into New Brunswick from another province. I also set out some of the border closures established by provinces and territories during the coronavirus pandemic, with an emphasis on the situation as the jurisdictions begin . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

The Year of Distancing Physically: Six Tips for Online Learning in Law Schools

Already here in May, it seems inevitable that the new law school year in September will not be carried out entirely in person. Universities ranging from McGill in Canada to Cambridge in the UK have already announced that their Fall 2020 classes will begin online, and while most American universities have delayed making similar announcements, it’s hard to see how campuses can be retrofitted over the summer to accommodate the physical distancing demands that the pandemic has created. Even if some schools insist on starting in person, will that continue through an expected second wave of infections in Autumn?

Law . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education, Practice of Law

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 Government of Canada Publications
Susannah Tredwell

One of the challenges of the last few months has been accessing materials that my library does not own. With the majority of libraries being closed, we have not been able to borrow these materials from the usual suspects. …


Master Research Tools While Working Remotely
Emma Durand-Wood

The Law Society of Saskatchewan has just launched a new . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

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. Environmental Law and Litigation 2. Lash Condo Law 3. Darin Thompson’s CPD podcast 4. Vincent Gautrais 5. Paw & Order

Environmental Law and Litigation
A review – inspection vs. investigation?

We have written numerous blogs over the years on the difference between inspections vs. investigations. This blog

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Judicial Council Overturned on Dean Appointment

The Bora Laskin Faculty of Law was founded in 2013, to much fanfare. It was the first Canadian law school to offer an integrated licensing curriculum, and has mandatory courses in Aboriginal law.

Since that time, the school has also had its challenges, most significantly, the resignation of Angelique EagleWoman as Dean in June 2018, citing systemic racism in the law school. Given that she was the first Indigenous law dean in Canada, this resignation sent shock waves throughout the school.

EagleWoman expressed these concerns internally in writing as early as March 7, 2018, leading the university to request that . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions