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Archive for December, 2011

Electronic Seals: The Public Sector

In my last column, I reviewed the uses of seals in transactional documents and the means by which seals could be created in electronic communications. Here I will deal with seals on public or official documents, when they are issued in or converted to electronic form. Contracts to which the Crown happens to be a party are of course transactional documents so fall within the previous topic.

Functional analysis

Public sector seals are placed on documents for a different purpose than the seals on transactional documents. They are not used to show that the state takes the subject matter . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Supreme Court Rules Securities Act Not Valid Under Commerce Clause

The judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Reference re Securities Act 2011 SCC 66 has just been released. The opinion of the Court—a single judgment—finds, in sum, that:

This is not a case of a valid federal scheme that incidentally intrudes on provincial powers. It is not the incidental effects of the scheme that are constitutionally suspect; it is rather the main thrust of the legislation that goes beyond the federal power. . . .

The Securities Act as presently drafted is not valid under the general branch of the federal power to regulate trade and commerce

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Have You Read 2011′s Top Cases?

Subjective top ten lists are great for starting arguments given the improbability of any two people sharing precisely the same worldview. It’s a little tougher to engender heated debate over objectively measured top ten lists, but not impossible. After all, we can still dispute methodology and relevance! I invite Slaw readers to infer meaning and to offer analysis of the results.

So with that, I’m pleased to present for 2011 the top 10 most consulted cases on CanLII.

  1. Bruni v. Bruni, 2010 ONSC 6568
  2. Indalex Limited (Re), 2011 ONCA 265
  3. Dunsmuir v. New Brunswick, 2008 SCC 9
  4. Bedford v. Canada,
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Mandatory Reporting of Internet Child Pornography by Persons Who Provide an Internet Service Now Law

On December 8, 2011, the federal Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service (formerly Bill C-22) came into force. The new legislation aims to protect children from online sexual exploitation, by requiring suppliers of Internet services to the public to:
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Disaster Planning for Smaller Libraries

A few months ago we had a minor flood in the library. It wasn’t catastrophic, in large part due to the observant eyes of a lawyer browsing our tax section. Nonetheless it was a reminder of how important it is for libraries, regardless of size, to have a disaster recovery plan. In addition to our firm-wide business recovery plan, we now have a specialized library disaster plan.

Key tips for the disaster plan include:

  • Keep the plan simple. Guy Robertson, a specialist in disaster planning, recommends that the plan be small and portable; wallet-sized is ideal.
  • Clearly delineate responsibilities of
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research

Colleague and fellow law librarian Sarah Sutherland let me know of her article “On Hiring Library Staff in Rural Areas” in Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research.

The article of course is good and worth mentioning for that reason alone but Sarah’s email made me realize I had forgotten about this online journal, which was mentioned a number of years ago on SLAW. As such, I thought I would also remind SLAW readers since many of the articles would be relevant to most of you. In the current edition, for . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing

Law Firm Partnerships and the Retention of Women Lawyers

The retention of women in private practice continues to be a challenge. Although women now form the majority of graduates from law school, they leave the profession at much higher rates than men. The BC Law Society reports that 36 per cent of women leave the profession in their first five years in practice compared to 22 per cent of men.

Over the years, many women lawyers have tried to convince law firms to adopt broader alternate work arrangements or entry requirements into partnership but have found law firms very difficult to change. When change has not happened as quickly . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Hockey and Language

Language debates fascinate me. My local hockey team gets me going, whether winning or losing. Now both interests are combined.

You may not have heard, but the appointment of new Habs coach Randy Cunneyworth is creating quite the stir in Quebec. So much so that it has become a question of politics. In his editorial, Henry Aubin, journalist for the Montreal Gazette, writes strong words to this effect:

The club’s federalist ownership is inadvertently blowing fresh oxygen on the cooling embers of sovereignist fervour. Defence of the language is what powered sovereignty in the 1970s, and Molson’s Canadiens could be

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

A Request to Vote, and Holiday Wishes

You’ll know from our announcement a couple of weeks ago that Slaw is in the running for best legal blog (legal technology category) in the ABA Journal Blawg 100 event. Seems we’re doing well in the voting but could use a last minute flurry to get us to the top. So if you’re minded to vote for Slaw but haven’t got around to it yet, this would be a good time to nip on over to the ABA site, register to vote, and cast your ballot for us in the Legal Technology category. It only takes a few seconds, and . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

What’s Hot on CanLII This Week

Here are the three most-consulted English-language cases on CanLII for the week of December 13 – 19.

1. Ontario Korean Businessmen’s Assoc. v. Seung Jin Oh 2011 ONSC 6991 —for the third week in a row.

2. Combined Air Mechanical Services Inc. v. Flesch 2011 ONCA 764—for the second week in a row.

3. Morabito v. DiLorenzo 2011 ONSC 7379—700 views since release on December 12.

[1] The defendants move for an order to compel the plaintiff Jeffery Morabito to produce the contents of his Facebook and MySpace pages.

The rest

Significant SCC decisions came . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

The Season of Giving

I just attended the 30th annual Christmas Bureau Breakfast. This local charity has been providing festive meals to Edmonton families in need since 1940. The breakfast, hosted by Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP, and sponsored by The Westin Edmonton, Sobeys and IGA was a wonderful event this year.

Field Law has been supporting the Christmas Bureau since the war years and we have participated in the Breakfast since its beginning. I am proud that our firm supports this worthy organization with an annual Craft auction as well as cash donations from lawyers and staff.

Many lawyers and law firms . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

A Lesson in Appellate Advocacy

Here’s the scenario: you’re retained to argue an appeal in the tough U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit; there’s a precedent from that very court that appears clearly to stand in your way; you’re about to prepare your brief for filing. What do you do about the obstinate precedential obstacle?

I’d be willing to be that if you took a poll of appellate advocates, something on the order of 99.4 percent of them would say that, whatever you do, you don’t just ignore it. But that’s exactly what counsel did in Gonzalez-Servin, et al. v. Ford Motor Company, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions