Manic Mondays – a Prologue

As of tomorrow, the modern remnant of the “Long Vacation”[1] is over for us Canadian civil litigators. Some of us might be starting trials, tomorrow.

Tell me why
I don’t like Mondays
I want to shoot
The whole day down

from I Don’t Like Mondays (c) The Boomtown Rats, Bob Geldof (1979)

Especially if one isn’t prepared. Preparation means facts and law. One can’t know what facts might be relevant unless one knows the relevant law. And, one owes it to one’s client, and the judge, and the jury where there is one, to go to court with the current law.

Big firms mostly and medium firms commonly have knowledge management and library science personnel. (Take a bow, folks: you’re indispensable. Tell your compensation committees I said that. It’s like chicken soup. It may not help but it can’t hurt.) Small firms, usually, need to rely on, if they’re lucky, their own humanmentat“, or external sources, the kindness of strangers, friends, acquaintances, or worse. In the external sources or kindness groupings, we have the Cavanagh Williams Update – Insurance and Litigation News blawg, for Ontario litigators, actually all lawyers who have to advise clients on what they can or can’t do that may get to court.

I can’t recommend the Cavanagh Williams site highly enough.[g] Don’t parse the sentence. Understand it for what it’s supposed to mean.

If you take a few moments to do your research properly – it is very easy if you combine text and online resources – it’ll reduce the chances of you having to explain to your client why the case succeeded, but the judge didn’t award costs. It’ll also help you avoid having to read lines like this, not all that far below your name on the list of counsel:

Since neither counsel cited the binding decisions of the Court of Appeal (or indeed, any authority at all), neither party is entitled to costs of this motion. Wilson v. Bobbie 2006 ABQB 22 at para. 42 (CanLII)



[1] Wikipedia states: “In England the word “vacation” referred specifically to the long summer break taken by the law courts (and later universities)—a custom introduced by William the Conqueror from Normandy where it was intended to facilitate the grape harvest.” Anybody who has sampled the reputed contents of the LSUC wine cellar would, I gather, agree that William had at least one good idea.


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