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Archive for March, 2019

Improving Access to Family Justice by Promoting Alternatives to Full Representation

Lack of access to family justice and the increase in self-representation in family proceedings are growing concerns. According to the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Family Legal Services Review (the Bonkalo Report) in 2016, in over half of all family cases in Canadian courts, one or both parties are not represented by counsel. The report made several recommendations to the Ministry and the Law Society of Ontario, including the need to support the expanded use of legal coaching and other unbundled legal services, and the need to address liability concerns for counsel who are willing to act under . . . [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

Employer and Employee Disagree About Right to Disconnect

In France, the right to disconnect was made law on January 1, 2017, “requiring employers to have clear policies in place regarding when employees engage in workplace communication outside of the office and when on vacation.” This law is because of a French Supreme Court Case in 2001 that “held that “the employee is under no obligation either to accept working at home or to bring there his files and working tools”. In 2004, this principle was confirmed again by the French Supreme Court which added in this case, “the fact that [the employee] was not reachable on his cell . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Rule One: Calculate Precisely Why You’re Trading Your Mustang for a Horse

I was bemused, recently, when a highly-respected and knowledgeable professional publisher intimated to me a partial preference, presumably based on a degree of evidence, for content which was aimed at lawyers, that did not rely on or make significant reference to rules. It caused me to ponder, as a sometime law publisher and one who holds certain systems of rules in high esteem, on their value, not least for purposes of providing information to lawyers and their like.

It is not within my competence to attempt to deal in any depth with the complex jurisprudential analysis that has always . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Why Allowing Alternative Business Structures Could Help Articling Students

Recently the Toronto Star published an article on abusive workplaces for articling students. Although the broad range of abuse was not covered, it has been noted before by Dean Adam Dodek that the abuse ranges from unpaid or underpaid work, termination without cause, harassment, and the absence of proper supervision or feedback. In response, Dean Dodek called on the Law Societies to investigate the abuse of articling students. He suggested that qualitative and quantitative research be done.

I would add that in addition to research, Law Societies should allow Alternative Business Structures. I suspect that part of the reason . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Things You Didn’t Learn in Law School: Dealing With Vicarious Trauma and Other Issues

It’s common knowledge that lawyers suffer from disproportionately high rates of depression and addiction, while at the same time there’s the sense that they can’t really talk about what’s bothering them without breaching solicitor-client privilege, or raising questions about their own suitability for the job.

We blame it on various factors: the length and stress of the working day, and on the particular personalities lawyers tend to bring to the table. But for many lawyers the depression and addiction may also be a sign of vicarious trauma – lawyers traumatized by dealing with the traumatized, and by not always being . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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. Plange, 2018 ONSC 1657

[38] In my view, to sentence this offender, one without any prior criminal antecedents, to a penitentiary term would shock the conscience of the community. Not all lies are cast from the same mold and of the same gravity. Further such falsehoods may catch a more than insubstantial number of otherwise law abiding people. It . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

The SNC-Lavalin Controversy in IV? Acts: A Play About the Rule of Law

Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould’s resistance to the pressure by various actors to instruct the director of public prosecutions to offer to negotiate a remediation agreement (the Canadian name for a deferred prosecution agreement) with SNC-Lavalin and her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee have been explained in different ways: respect for the rule of law and the role of the attorney general, a lack of pragmatism or political experience, too much sense of self, a desire for revenge. The difference between the prime minister’s and other members of government’s relationship to political interference, and the clerk of the privy . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

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

That Awful Extra ‘of’
Neil Guthrie

You’ve already been advised in a previous post not to say outside of or inside of. The of is both unnecessary and incorrect in each case. Of creeps in elsewhere, where it should not. As in the shudder-inducing off of, Please, just off. Or perhaps from (I got it from the internet, not off of). …


Restore Support for . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Leaks to Media May Decrease After Vice Media Decision

The two biggest political scandals in the news right now – the Mark Norman trial, and the Trudeau/SNC-Lavalin controversy – were exposed by a reliable source who secretly shared information with a journalist. Increasingly this is only viable way that scandals are brought to the public’s attention in this country.

More traditional methods of uncovering corruption – access to information laws, and whistleblower protections that are supposed to encourage employees to disclose wrongdoing – are increasingly irrelevant. As to the former, we know that much information is categorically off limits, delayed, destroyed, not recorded, or access . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Ethics, Legal Information

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. Crossroads Family Law Blog 2. Double Aspect 3. Robichaud’s Criminal Law Blog 4. Great LEXpectations 5. Canadian Class Actions Monitor

Crossroads Family Law Blog
Unbundled legal services an underused access-to-justice solution

Unbundled legal services can fill the access-to-justice gap left by spiralling legal fees and dwindling legal

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Implied License for Differential Treatment

The interaction between law enforcement and notions of privacy in the security of our homes has always been a special focus of s. 8 Charter rights. The treatment of the home as a special place in the law was described by Justice Binnie in R. v. Tessling as a nuanced hierarchy protecting privacy of places, used to evaluate the reasonableness of a person’s expectation of privacy.

This privacy interest is not absolute, and although the “dwelling house” enjoys the greatest expectation of privacy, the perimeter space around the home enjoys a diluted measure of this same expectation.

One example of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions