Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for February, 2019

Are Canadian Law Societies Ready for the Legal Profession’s Me Too Moment? (Spoiler: Probs Not)

Sexual harassment has happened and is still happening in legal workplaces. This reality, while at one time largely unacknowledged or treated dismissively, is now openly discussed and approached seriously as a problem in need of a solution. The rise of the Me Too movement has given the issue additional prominence over the last year or so. A selection of recent articles and blogs on the subject can be found here, here, and here.

One question, however, that has not been given much attention is: how should Canadian law societies be responding? To be sure, it isn’t the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

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. Milne Estate (Re), 2019 ONSC 579

[22] Because a testator often executes their Last Will and Testament several years in advance of death, it is often not practical to provide a definitive list of assets which will require or do not require a Certificate of Appointment to be transferred or realized at the time the Primary and Secondary Wills are executed. . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Testing Our Assumption: Challenging Fossil Fuel Companies Helps Solve Climate Change

A growing number of communities, and lawyers, around the world are focusing their attention on global fossil fuel companies, arguing that they are legally liable for their products’ contribution to climate change and at least partially responsible for resulting climate-related costs. Other legal investigations and cases emphasize that the companies misled the public and their shareholders about the global risks of fossil fuel use, and that these actions have slowed progress on climate policies around the world.

Broadly, communities are asking:

  • Do oil, gas and coal companies bear some legal responsibility for selling products that they have known for decades
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues

Recognizing Trusted Intermediaries as a Systematic Part of the Legal System

Intermediaries are individuals (or organizations) that help to connect two other individuals (or organizations). They are not themselves “legal” actors, but they can be an important link between individuals with a legal problem and a legal professional who is able to assist them. For example, an individual working in a community centre dedicated to helping refugees might be able to direct a refugee facing legal problems to an immigration lawyer. They may also refer people to others who play a formal role as a “legal” actor in the system. However, the referral may be to another trusted intermediary: for instance, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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 practice, research, writing and technology.

Research & Writing

Deposition Two Ways
Neil Guthrie

One of the best headlines of 2018 was ‘Stormy Daniels’ Attorney Wants to Depose Donald Trump’. He’s not the only one … Of course the CBC was using depose in its US legal sense, which is to examine a witness for the purposes of discovery or a later trial….


Launch New Google Drive Files From Your Browser Address Bar
Emma . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Competent to Decide My Own Competence

The idea that an arbitrator has the authority to determine her or his own jurisdiction, including deciding the scope and validity of an arbitration agreement itself, may seem odd at first, but it is a core principle of international arbitration and has been adopted by the Canadian courts – with some reservations – in domestic arbitration.

The “competence-competence” principle, as it is generally referred to internationally and in Canada, is embedded in the UNCITRAL Model Law, adopted in 1985 and updated in 2006, and is credited with much of the growth of international commercial arbitration.

There are many reasons . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Supreme Court of Canada Weighs in on Henson Trusts

A Henson trust, named after an Ontario court decision from the 1980s, is an estate planning tool by which property can be held in trust for a disabled beneficiary such that it is not an asset of the beneficiary, thereby preserving and maximizing the beneficiary’s entitlement to government means-tested social programs. It is frequently employed by parents of disabled children.

In S.A. v. Metro Vancouver Housing Corp, released 25 January 2019, the Supreme Court of Canada gave full consideration to Henson trusts. It confirmed the Henson trust as an important estate planning tool in Canada.

The appellant S.A. lived in . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Ontario Courts Finally Go Digital (Almost)

The process of digitizing the legal system in Ontario has been fraught with challenges and setbacks.

In 2011, Precedent Magazine detailed some of the efforts to modernize legal records, with the Integrated Justice Project dating as far back to 1996, intending to create a centralized online electronic filing and case management system. These unsuccessful efforts cost taxpayers an untold millions of dollars, without anything significant achieved.

For anyone working in the legal system in Ontario, the lack of technology has added additional cost to the public through unnecessary use of paper and countless delays due to an archaic system. It’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

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’appel est rejeté à l’égard de déclarations de culpabilité sous des chefs d’agressions sexuelles et de voies de fait à l’endroit de 4 travailleuses du sexe entre 2002 et 2005; la technique policière utilisée pour obtenir un échantillon de l’ADN de l’appelant n’était pas objectivement condamnable et . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

The Problem of Supporting Family Law Research: Creating a National Research Fund

The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family closed its doors on 31 August 2018, largely as a result of its inability to make up the shortfall in its revenues from sources other than its primary funder, the Alberta Law Foundation. This reduced the number of national organizations conducting original social science and legal research on the impact of laws on Canadian families from one to none.

Perhaps as a result, noted lawyers Melanie Del Rizzo and Wayne Barkauskas, the current and former chairs of the Canadian Bar Association’s national family law section respectively, have tabled a resolution for . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Friday Roundup: Slaw Jobs

Each Friday, we share the latest job listings from Slaw Jobs, which features employment opportunities from across the country. Find out more about these positions by following the links below, or learn how you can use Slaw Jobs to gain valuable exposure for your job ads, while supporting the great Canadian legal commentary at

Current postings on Slaw Jobs (newest first):

. . . [more]
Posted in: Friday Jobs Roundup

L’attribution de Concepts Modernes du Droit International au Grand Dérangement

Depuis quelques années, certains historiens et citoyens ont commencé à utiliser des concepts contemporains pour qualifier le Grand Dérangement. C’est une idée qui apparaît notamment dans les travaux de John Mack Faragher et selon laquelle l’expulsion de la population acadienne (la majorité d’une population de 14 000 personnes), de 1755 à 1764, par les autorités coloniales britanniques de la Nouvelle-Écosse – appuyées par le gouverneur William Shirley du Massachusetts, au nom du roi George II de Grande-Bretagne –, vers les colonies britanniques de l’Amérique du Nord, puis vers l’Angleterre et la France (soit la Déportation des Acadiens ou le Grand . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education