Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for February, 2016

Climate Change 2016

Canada entered 2015 internationally condemned as a climate laggard, and enters 2016 with a new government that received praise for its role in the Paris Climate negotiations. But the country’s work on climate change is far from done. The government has promised, within 90 days after the Paris talks, to sit down with the Premiers to develop a national framework on climate change.

In this post we review the Paris Agreement, its strengths and shortcomings, and what it means for Canada.

Evaluating the Paris Climate Agreement

In December the nations of the world gathered in Paris to negotiate a new . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

A Definite Yes!

One of my 2016 New Year’s resolutions was to start with “Yes.” Happily, every so often an opportunity comes around that makes saying “Yes!” the only logical response.

The Law Society of Manitoba’s annual Lawyers for Literacy event is just such an opportunity. Each year for the past 5 years, lawyers and Law Society staff have signed on to spend the better part of a Saturday reading to children at West Broadway Youth Outreach (“WBYO”). As well as reading to kids, participating lawyers raise pledges to support the work of WBYO and donate books and toys for use in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

Jurors and the Lure of the Internet

The Internet taunts jurors. Promising them answers. Beckoning them to Google the parties, the law, the lawyers. And after-all, how bad could one search be? If only those lawyers weren’t so boring. If only the evidence was presented clearly. If only the judge’s instructions weren’t steeped in legalese, then we could decide it without the Internet. Whatever the justification may be, whether curiosity got the best of them or it was something else, jurors are Googling. And they are compromising the appearance of justice and maybe justice itself by going beyond the evidence in the courtroom.

Last year, the Ontario . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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. R. v Tran, 2015 ONSC 5607

[58] Harrison and Blake both demonstrate that even where police misconduct falls short of obstruction of justice, it can serve as a basis to stay a prosecution involving the possession and trafficking of a substantial quantity of drugs. Here, the false creation of a pretext to search the Defendant’s vehicle, combined with the collusive fabrication . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Summary Resolution of Intellectual Property Cases

If you have decided to go to court to assert your rights, or someone has taken you to court, there are several summary options, short of a conventional trial, that may save time and money yet still get the result you are interested in.

In 2009 the Federal Courts Rules were amended to expand the availability of summary judgment and summary trial options. The number of proceedings that have used or are using these provisions has expanded in recent years, perhaps in part as a response to greater discussion of summary options in the superior courts and by the Supreme . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

The Year-End Roundup: Trends in Legal Technology

The end of one year and the beginning of another is the usual time for commentators to review what happened during the year and discern the trends. What follows is my synthesis of the recent year-end roundups and what they seem to me to say.

Here are the most pertinent articles:

Among the trends identified are the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

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 research and writing, practice, and technology.

Research & Writing

What Is a Limited Revision of an Act?
Susannah Tredwell

The Local Government Act, R.S.B.C. 2015, c.1, came into force on January 1, 2016. If you know that the last Revised Statutes of British Columbia were produced in 1996, this citation looks a little confusing. The explanation is that the new Local Government Act is what is known as a limited revision of an act. . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Are Employers’ Financial Circumstances Relevant in Calculating Termination Pay?

In a word. No.

The Ontario Court of Appeal has reaffirmed, definitively, that an employer’s financial circumstances are not relevant to the determination of reasonable notice in a particular case.

The lower court judge had awarded teachers who had their employment terminated from their school 12 months of pay in lieu of notice. However, the judge reduced this by half, to 6 months, in large part due to the financial circumstances that the school was in. The lower court judge cited a passage from a prior decision that noted that “The law does not ignore the dilemma of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law

“Canadian International Lawyer” Call for Papers

Canadian International Lawyer, a journal published bi-annually by the Canadian Bar Association’s international law section, has put out a call for papers for its Volume 11(2). CIL welcomes submissions of original articles, case commentaries, practice notes, treaties, and legal developments on significant current issues of international law in French or English.

Among all other submissions for Volume 11(2), CIL encourages articles dealing with the following topics:

  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
  • The recently concluded Paris Agreement on climate change
  • Legal aspects of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Electronic submissions should be emailed to Noemi Gal-Or and Andrew Lanouette.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Announcements, Legal Information: Publishing

Of Cryptoviruses and Hope for a Cure From Malwarebytes

If you’re in a rush, skip on over to the official security blog at Malwarebytes for the original post on this possible anti-ransomware breakthrough. It’s early news about a beta release tool at this point, and not ready for prime time, but it could be a ray of hope for law firms who live in fear of infection by the most dreaded of malware variants: the cryptovirus.

I feel like this may particularly be a good sign for small firms who cannot afford active threat protection services from premier providers. If average users can rely on standard anti-virus tools, it  . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Background Material on Québec’s New Code of Civil Procedure

Quebec’s new Code of Civil Procedure came into force on January 1, 2016. It involves an ambitious overhaul of the way cases are supposed to work their way through the courts and it is intended to increase access to justice.

CAIJ, the Centre d’accès à l’information juridique (the network of courthouse law libraries associated with the Québec Bar Association), recently added an annotated version of the province’s new Code of Civil Procedure to its website (in the lefthand column of the eLois page, click on “Code de procédure civile (nouveau)”). 

 The annotation includes the sections of the new Code, a . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation

Potential Claims Related to Serving Indigenous Clients

Last week’s post about Providing High Quality Service to Indigenous Clients discussed the breadth and complexity of “Aboriginal law.” To follow that with some strategies to avoid claims in this area of law, here is advice gathered from LAWPRO claims prevention specialists.

To avoid claims, lawyers need to know how they develop. What are the key areas of risk when practising Aboriginal law?

Communication errors:
As noted by all of the lawyers we’ve consulted, Indigenous people often have a perspective on the law that is radically different from that of non-Aboriginals. This creates a “culture gap” that becomes an additional . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended