June, 2016 Archives – Slaw
Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for June, 2016

Artificial Intelligence: “If You’re Not at the Table …”

I seem to have fallen off the blogwagon lately and am now attempting to turn my mind back to some writing. So I’ll start by reporting on one of the sessions I attended at the recent Canadian Association of Law Libraries conference held in Vancouver, from May 15 to 18. The session took place on the afternoon of May 16 and featured: Steve Matthews, Slaw publisher and contributor and founder of Stem Legal Web Enterprises; Ivan Makonov, Executive Director at Lexum; Eric Laughlin, Managing Director of the Corporate Segment, Thomson Reuters; and Nate Russell, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Human-Centered Design and the Justice System: Lessons From the Field

For the past two years, through my roles at the Winkler Institute for Dispute Resolution (Winkler Institute) and the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice (CFCJ) I have been working on applying the principles of human-centered design to the justice system. For those who may be unfamiliar, human-centered design (HCD) is a design method used to develop products and services from the perspective of those who use them. It is an intentional process, but also a creative one. It involves immersing yourself in the problem you are trying to solve, working with the people experiencing the problem, experimenting with solutions, and, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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. Clicklaw Blog 2. Eloïse Gratton 3. Law & Style 4. Excess Copyright 5. McElroy Law

Clicklaw Blog
MyLawBC helps you with common legal problems

There’s no doubt that the law is complicated. What further complicates matters is when laws vary by jurisdiction (from province to province, and from country . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Increasing Funding for Legal Aid Is Not Enough

Lawyers pushing for greater access to justice constantly fall back on the refrain that Legal Aid needs more funding. That might be true, but the real problem with access is the eligibility criteria for Legal Aid certificates.

This was illustrated recently in a recent criminal case in Toronto, R. v Moodie, where Justice Nordheimer reviewed a Rowbothom application. The Ontario Court of Appeal created a process R. v. Rowbotham whereby the right to fair trial can demand public funds be used for representation

[170] …where the trial judge finds that representation of an accused by counsel is essential to

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

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.

PROFESSIONS : La seule délivrance de lentilles ophtalmiques au Québec par une entreprise de Vancouver, comme c’est le cas en l’espèce, ne peut constituer une contravention à l’article 16 et au premier alinéa de l’article 25 de la Loi sur l’optométrie ni un exercice illégal au Québec de l’optométrie.

Intitulé . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

The Role of Arbitrator Disclosure in International Arbitration

There is a very natural human tendency to claim the game is rigged when one loses.

“The referee was obviously biased against us,” the coach says, explaining the team’s loss.

Donald Trump kept complaining that the Republican Party primary rules were rigged against him, even though he was winning.

So, too, in arbitration, when the losing party seeks to overturn an unfavourable award. This is particularly evident in international arbitration, where there is no right of appeal. Also, in some domestic arbitration cases, where appeals are increasingly limited.

In these situations, lack of jurisdiction or arbitrator bias may be the . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

The Oppression of Legal Technology?

I hate talking about “legal technology.”

I mean, I love talking about the possibilities and advantages that specific types of technology can offer, but I hate it when the various types of tools and programs are reduced to a single, amorphous entity. When we do that, it’s too easy to reduce it to just “good” or “bad”. To “useful” or “hype”. Soon it becomes a choice that people must make: are you pro or con legal technology? And then we start to make assumptions about the types of people that fall into each camp and make broad claims about them. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Unlimited Copying Versus Legal Publishing

In John Willinsky’s, Scholarly Publishing Has Its Napster Moment, it’s clear that unlimited “napster”-like copying was a challenge to academic publishing, and notably to some of the large academic publishing houses that dominate legal publishing.

The situations are similar, and worldwide legal publishing seems just as concentrated, as noted by Gary Rodrigues. It’s not, however, clear if the risks are the same in the legal-publishing world, or if they apply to (law-)books.

The Common Bits

Legal publishing starts out very similarly to academic publishing, with an author who is paid for the work he does, but not for . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

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 de Grood, 2016 ABQB 294

[129] Each of the three experts concludes that Mr. de Grood did appreciate the nature and quality of his acts in stabbing his victims but did not know, or appreciate, that his behaviour was morally wrong as he was acting under a delusion that he was being threatened at the time. Having reviewed all . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Working Towards a Next-Generation Environmental Assessment Law for Canada

Environmental Assessment (EA) is a critical part of our repertoire of environmental law tools, designed to allow us to “look before we leap” into activities with potentially significant effects on the environment. A massive overhaul of Canada’s Canadian Environmental Assessment Act in 2012 resulted in the elimination of over three thousand assessments of proposed projects and activities, reduced public involvement in environmental decision-making and weakened environmental protection. EA processes and decisions have been increasingly subject to lawsuits, criticism and protests, with the target of dissent being either the project (say, Kinder Morgan’s controversial proposed oil sands pipeline) or the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Highlights From the 2016 LMA P3 Conference

The Legal Marketing Association recently hosted its annual conference on project management, process improvement and pricing (P3) in Chicago. Billed as a forum where innovative practice management approaches are shared, the event continues to showcase progressive ideas and practical experiences from firms transforming the business of law.

It’s wise to take any presentation of best practices with a proverbial grain of salt. But you also have to give credit to those who proactively invest in new ideas and risk failure. That’s something we don’t see enough of in law.

Here are some of the ideas heard at this year’s P3 . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management