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Archive for September, 2012

Real Estate Matters Top List of Legal Malpractice Claims in New ABA Survey

Real estate, personal injury-plaintiff and family law are the top three areas in the “Profile of Legal Malpractice Claims: 2008-2011,” released today by the ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers’ Professional Liability. It is the first time that insurers reported a higher percentage of claims involving real estate than any other area of law in this survey, first conducted in 1985. In all five previous versions of the survey dating to 1985, personal injury-plaintiff matters were No. 1 in generating lawyer malpractice claims.

Eleven member insurers of the National Association of Bar-Related Insurance Companies (link:NABRICO) from the United States and nine . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Four Christians Arguing for Their Right to Religious Freedom at Work Before the European Court of Human Rights

On Wednesday September 5, 2012, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg heard arguments from four workers challenging British judgments over the expressions of their religious faith in the workplace. Two are arguing for the right to wear a cross at work, while the others object to dealing with same sex couples.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Fair Dealing Becomes a Whole Lot Fairer of a Deal for Educators

On July 12, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a ruling on Alberta (Education) v. Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright) that, on the surface at least, appears to be a game-changer for the educational contribution of “fair dealing” in Canada’s Copyright Act. While in practical terms, the ruling will do no more than cause the Copyright Board to reconsider a case in which it had ruled that a teacher copying short excerpts to use with her class did not constitute fair use. This is actually a pretty standard interpretation of fair dealing, if not a particularly favorable . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Phone & Tablet Wars Continue

Apple fans will already know that Apple has scheduled an event for next Wednesday. While Apple did not specifically mention the iPhone 5, it is rather obvious from the invitation.

Rumour has it that the iPhone 5 will be available September 21.

This comes on the heels of the jury decision in the US that awarded Apple a billion (yes, that’s a “b”) dollars in damages against Samsung for violating Apple patents. No word yet on whether it will be appealed, but given the amount of the damage award, and what the decision could mean for the future of Android . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Ten Tips for Building a Law Firm Publishing Culture

If you’ve been paying any attention at all to the zeitgeist of legal web marketing the last couple years, you know that producing and publishing content is the best possible way to grow your online reputation. But “content, content, content” is so much easier said than done. Firms need specific strategies for building an internal publishing culture. Here, I’ve assembled a list of ten tips to do this.

1. Think inside the firm, but make it smaller

If your firm is bigger than say, a dozen people, the idea of coordinating publishing across the board is pretty daunting and not . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Ontario Law Foundation Grant to Study Charter Right to Housing

It’s odd, if you think about it, that with the advance of industrial capitalism we’re now born having to pay rent. There’s no place on the planet where you may be simply because you are. At least, I think it’s odd. And so does Tracy Heffernan, it would seem. She’s the program director at the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario and the recent recipient of a Community Leadership in Justice Fellowship from the Ontario Law Foundation.

According to the Law Foundation press release, her project:

will study the ways in which the Charter has already been used to advance

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Lawyers – Leaders to Be Proud Of

The names of two lawyers are included in this years list of individuals being recognized as Leaders to be Proud Of and champions of diversity by Out on Bay Street.

Douglas Elliott, a Partner at Roy, Elliott and OConnor, is to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for having demonstrated exceptional leadership throughout his professional career in advancing the rights of the LGBTQA community.

Kate Broer, a Partner at Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP, is to receive the Leading Executive Ally Award for making a significant contribution to advancing LGBTQA issues through advocacy and outreach as an active and . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Judges Do Not Stop Bank Robberies

The 10th anniversary of the entry into force of treaty that set up the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a good moment to look back and ahead. There are now 15 cases from 7 situations before the court. Three are so-called self-referrals – Uganda, DRC, and the Central African Republic – and two cases came via the Security Council: Darfur and Libya. The Prosecutor, with leave from the judges, used his own powers to examine the situation in Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire. These are great achievements for an institution that is only 10 years old. There is also criticism. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

What’s Hot on CanLII This Month

Here are the four (bonus!) most-consulted English-language cases on CanLII for the month of August.

1. D’Amico v. Hitti 2012 ONSC 4467 [See also Matt Mauer’s recent post on Slaw about this case.]

[1] My recent experience sitting as a single judge of this Court to hear motions has convinced me that there is a growing practice by unscrupulous residential tenants to manipulate the law improperly, and often dishonestly, to enable them to remain in their rented premises for long periods of time without having to pay rent to their landlords. It is practice that imposes an unfair hardship

. . . [more]
Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

An Annotated Insurance Act. Is It an eBook?

Back in July I promised to post about the results of my Summer Writing List project. I determined that there has long been a need, based on reference questions, for an annotation to the Alberta Insurance Act. Proving that all things happen when they are meant to, a recent major revamp of Part 5 of our act dealing with Insurance Contracts was finally proclaimed in force as of July 2, 2012. I say finally because these amendments were published as S.A. 2008, c.19. This post is the story of the process of creating an Annotated Alberta Insurance Act.

First, I . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Patents, Prosecution and Pitfalls

A decision last year of the Federal Court of Appeal stated a clear rule about the relationship between the patent office and patent agents: once a patent issues, most aspects of the patent application process are beyond challenge (Weatherford Canada Ltd. v. Corlac Inc., 2011 FCA 228):

[150] To be clear, the concept of abandonment in paragraph 73(1)(a) operates during the prosecution of the application for a patent. Its operation is extinguished once the patent issues.

As a result of the decision, parties challenging the validity of an issued Canadian patent may no longer point to . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Will Podcasts Have a Comeback?

In today’s Huffington Post Canada, Mitch Joel poses the question “Is Podcasting Poised for a Comeback?

Podcasts, you may or may not know, are like internet-based audio or video shows, created in a series, syndicated via the internet often through iTunes, and portable i.e. viewable on computer or mobile devices such as iPods, tablets or smartphones.

Mitch points specifically to five podcasts that could help the medium make a resurgence:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology