Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for August, 2017

Increased Diversity in Provincial Appointments

One year ago, I called for greater diversity in judicial appointments. The federal government responded, implementing significant changes in the appointment process, and prioritizing diversity as a form of merit.

Our ad hoc group, Lawyers for Representative Diversity, representing the majority of diverse legal organizations in Canada, then approached the provincial government in Ontario. The situation in Ontario has long been different than that of the federal government, primarily because the province is the most diverse in Canada.

Earlier this month, the provincial government announced new policies around judicial appointments, including options on application forms ” to self-identify as Indigenous, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Legal Education Goes Digital

For the past few years, Queen’s Law has been exploring new teaching and learning tools in the classroom and beyond. “Blended” learning has been a growing component in our teaching: providing more course materials and videos online, so instructors can use more of the classroom time for discussion, problem solving and the application of the materials – and less time in a traditional top-down lecture format. And, while that approach is not new, it has led to other educational initiatives at Queen’s.

We are currently participating in a pilot project to explore Echo 360, a remarkable program developed by . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

2017 Annotated Quebec Civil Code Available for Free on CAIJ Quebec Legal Info Portal

The 20th edition (2017) of the Code civil du Québec annoté by Jean-Louis Baudouin & Yvon Renaud is now available on the website of the CAIJ.

CAIJ is the Centre d’accès à l’information juridique, the network of courthouse law libraries associated with the Québec Bar Association.

The annotated Civil Code includes:

  • links to caselaw and commentary on each section
  • links to section-by-section explanations produced in 1993 by the Quebec Ministry of Justice as the new Code was making its way through the National Assembly
  • links to parliamentary debates in the early 1990s
  • concordances for the Civil Code of Lower Canada
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Employee’s Appeal for Dismissal of His Wrongful Termination Action Rejected

The employee in this case appealed the dismissal of his wrongful dismissal action. One of the issues on appeal was whether the trial judge reversed the onus on the employee to prove just cause. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Time for Technology Ethics Opinions in Canada?

Lawyer competence is a relatively new concern for Canadian law societies. It was only in the 1970s, for example, that law societies really embraced the idea that they had a formal mandate to regulate the post-entry competence of lawyers. In addition to being a relatively new regulatory concern, lawyer competence is also an increasingly complex issue. Law practice has become highly specialized. Also, our understanding of lawyer competence has become more nuanced, now implicating a wide range of matters including, for example, technology, culture and wellness.

How best to handle this modern reality? Adding length and detail to rules of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Canada 150 and the Meaning of Citizenship

Last week, I attended a ceremony for 80 new citizens as a guest of Friends of Filipino Immigrants in Manitoba. The room was packed with folks from 18 different countries all coming together to celebrate becoming Canadian. The atmosphere was festive, bordering on jubilant. A choir of children started the national anthem and we all joined in. Some sang in English and others in French. And the Citizenship Judge, Dwight MacAulay, reminded us of some of the key events over the past 150 years that have built this country before he bestowed the prize that each of them . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

I’ve Got Nothing to Hide…

“I’ve got nothing to hide” is a common retort from people who are blasé about privacy. Their point is that they have done nothing wrong, so they don’t care how much of their information and habits are public.

The flaw in that retort is that information about us can be used in many ways and for many things that we might not expect. And things that we may think are normal and innocuous may be offensive to others who can make life difficult because of it. For example, the US Justice department is trying to get the names of over . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

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. Engel v Edmonton Police Association, 2017 ABQB 495

[87] I agree that given Mr. Engel’s profession, the statements in the Article are particularly injurious. The Article explicitly refers to incompetence, frivolous and vexatious conduct which implicitly suggests dishonest motives and overall suggests professional impropriety. Combined, when considering the lengthy and public career of the plaintiff, are all damaging to his reputation . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

What Do We Mean When We Talk About Legal Research?

I have been thinking about the great flow chart below that David Whelan created to illustrate this blog post called “Law Libraries and Legal Malpractice” from 2014:

Image credit: David Whelan, “Law Libraries and Legal Malpractice”, https://ofaolain.com/blog/2014/07/04/law-libraries-and-legal-malpractice/.

He even went so far as to claim that “Lawyers do not need law libraries to be competent” (shocking, I know).

It got me thinking about something I’ve noticed working in legal information: lawyers don’t mean the same thing when they talk about legal research as librarians do. Lawyers tend to refer to the entire process of research that forms . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Planning for Succession: Part One

Over half of my clients are focussed on how to survive the transition from a first to a second-generation law firm. This is a critical and difficult business subject to deal with so I will explain the issue and its solutions over two SLAW postings. In this first one, I’ll seek to broaden your perspective of succession, describe why its implementation is so critical to a firm, and set the framework for meeting this business need.

This Shouldn’t Be Emergency Planning

Lawyers are of course human beings, and they age just like the rest of us. That means that they . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing, Practice of Law

Paddling Together for Reconciliation and Legal Transformation

On July 14, 2017, the Government of Canada released a set of Principles Respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples. These principles are intended to guide an ongoing review of Canada’s laws, policies and operational practices designed:

[T]o help ensure the Crown is meeting its constitutional obligations with respect to Aboriginal and treaty rights; adhering to international human rights standards including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and supporting the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

A Working Group of Ministers chaired by Justice Minister Wilson-Raybould has been tasked . . . [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 more than 80 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. Erin Cowling 2. Michael Geist 3. Condo Adviser 4. Risk Management & Crisis Response 5. Legal Sourcery

Erin Cowling
 “Fairly Equal: Lawyering the Feminist Revolution”: A Must Read for the Next Generation of Feminist Lawyers

I’ve been a feminist as long as I can remember, even before

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix