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Archive for May, 2016

Diversify Without Dabbling: Before Expanding Your Practice, Expand Your Competence

This article is by Nora Rock, corporate writer & policy analyst at LAWPRO.

Think you have the confidence to bluff your way through a file that’s outside your normal scope of practice? It might work if you were playing a lawyer on TV… but that’s only because your opponent (and the judge, if it’s a litigation file) would be actors, too. In the real world, trying to “fake it to make it” in an unfamiliar area of law is unfair to the client, dangerous to the lawyer’s reputation, and risks a potential legal malpractice claim.

In a challenging economy, many . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Reading: Recommended

Competition and Tech Patents

On March 31st, the Canadian Competition Bureau released new Intellectual Property Enforcement Guidelines (IPEGs). These guidelines directed to explain the Bureau’s approach to enforcing competition law with respect to intellectual property, particularly patents.

Patents are an exclusionary right; the owner has the right to exclude others from practicing the claimed invention (see Section 42 of the Patent Act) as an incentive for innovation and new technology. This exclusivity can, in some circumstances, run counter to the goals of competition law to maintain vigorous rivalry among firms. The courts have looked to “something more” than merely exercising or . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

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 seventy 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. Welcome to the Food Court  2. Labour Pains 3. Rule of Law  4. The Factum  5. Legal Feeds

Welcome to the Food Court
Welcome to the Food Court Cited in Globe and Mail Article on the Practice of Tipping

Welcome to the Food Court Episode 5: Ryan Donovan was . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Independence and Diversity of Appointments

This past Friday, I heard Jeffrey Simpson of The Globe speak in Ottawa to the 18th Biennial National Conference: New Developments in Communications Law and Policy on “Canada’s Policy Challenges and the Trudeau Government.”

Simpson noted that this was the most talented government he has ever seen, but also the most ambitious. Too much ambition on too many things, Simpson warned, may note bode well in accomplishing anything.

If there’s anything this new government does accomplish, it should be a good hard look at the appointments process.

Andrew Griffith, former Director General for Citizenship and Multiculturalism and author of several . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : L’ex-conseillère financière Carole Morinville, reconnue coupable de fraude et de fabrication de faux, est condamnée à 42 mois de détention.

Intitulé : R. c. Morinville, 2016 QCCQ 2237
Juridiction : Cour du Québec, Chambre criminelle et pénale (C.Q.), Montréal, 500-01-051047-113
Décision de : Juge Louise Villemure
Date . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Learnings From the Demographic Data on Litigants Without Counsel

The demographic information on litigants without counsel available to date reveals a number of interesting patterns: most litigants appear to be 40 years old and older, and people in that age range are involved in litigation at rates far higher than those in younger age groups; although most litigants have lower incomes, a significant number have incomes around or exceeding the average income; and, litigants’ often high incomes match their educational achievements, which often exceed the average. All of this information strikes me as potentially useful when designing services and reforming processes for litigants without counsel.

In her 2013 report  . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Current Awareness Services in Law Libraries

One useful service that libraries can provide is current awareness. This service lets lawyers know about new or proposed developments in legislation, case law of interest, and articles relevant to their practice. It can also function as a business development tool by keeping lawyers up-to-date with what is happening in a specific industry or by letting them know if a client (or competitor) has been mentioned in the news.

Journals and newsletters

Traditionally libraries have routed a periodical or a photocopy of its table of contents around the firm. Routing a physical copy has problems: it is fine for the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Publications Nominated for the 2016 Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing

Every year, the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) hands out the Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing.

It honours a publisher that has demonstrated excellence by publishing a work, series, website or e-product that makes a significant contribution to legal research and scholarship.

The nominees this year are:

  • BC CLE Online (Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia): CLE Online is the home of CLEBC’s online subscription services
  • Quickscribe 2.0 (Quickscribe Services Ltd.): Quickscribe provides up-to-date consolidated legislation, point-in-time legislation, and the current status of bills, regulations and Orders in Council from British Columbia
  • WestlawNext Canada
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Amendment to the Charter of the French Language: Signage in French and Trademarks

The Charter of the French Language currently allows for the exclusive use of trademarks in languages other than French unless a French version of the trademark has been registered. Seeing an increase in the presence of trademarks in a language other than French displayed on outdoor signage all over the province, the Québec Minister of Culture and Communications and Minister Responsible for the Protection and Promotion of the French Language, Hélène David, tabled proposed amendments to regulations under the Charter of the French Language (Loi 101). The amendments are to ensure a greater visibility of French in the display of . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Yet Again the Question Is “Where Were the Lawyers?”

Jasminka Kalajdzic recently highlighted a New York Times column entitled Panama Papers Show How Lawyers Can Turn a Blind Eye. The column reported that Ramón Fonseca, one of the founders of the Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca, “told The New York Times that the lawyers did nothing wrong in helping their clients set up shell companies”. Mr. Fonseca was quoted as saying:

We are like a car factory who sells its car to a dealer (a lawyer for example), and he sells it to a lady that hits someone. The factory is not responsible for what is done with the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Ethics

Enemy of the State – Still Topical

I recently watched the 1998 movie Enemy of the State . It is a spy thriller about a lawyer being smeared by politicians because they believe he has information that can implicate them in criminal matters – the murder of a politician who was opposing a privacy bill that is really a bill empowering mass surveillance. They use sophisticated, unsavoury, unethical, and illegal methods to watch him, discredit him, and retrieve the evidence. No one is watching the watchers, who are out of control.

While like any disaster movie the plot is a bit over the top, it was fascinating . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology

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. Pritchard v. Van Nes, 2016 BCSC 686

[65] I find Mr. Pritchard has proven that Ms. Van Nes’ initial Facebook posts and her subsequent replies to her “friends”’ comments were defamatory, in that they tended to lower the plaintiff’s reputation in the eyes of a reasonable person. The ordinary and natural meaning of Van Nes’ comments unequivocally described Mr. Pritchard as . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII