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Archive for ‘Firm Guest Blogger’

The Ombudsman as “Architect of Better Governance”

Ombudsmen are a rather strange breed of public official –- we have very robust investigative powers, such as the ability to examine witnesses under oath and to gain entry into government premises. But we have no powers of enforcement. We cannot impose a solution or make our recommendations binding.

Nevertheless, we can recommend resolutions, not only to address individual grievances, but also to promote broad policy changes. In this way, we have the potential to positively affect thousands -– even millions –- of citizens.

Our key to success is the use of moral suasion -– persuading our governments to do . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Firm Guest Blogger: Ombudsmen

As our guest this month we have not a firm but the Ombudsmen from the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan.

Also, we are inviting our guests to join us a week earlier than usual this month because the Canadian Council of Parliamentary Ombudsman chose this week to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the modern parliamentary ombudsman — the first one was established in Sweden in 1809 — and to raise awareness of the important work that ombudsmen do today.

Speaking of “ombudsmen,” I should record here that the plural of “ombudsman” is a somewhat . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Firm Guest Blogger

Regulatory Intervention in Shareholder Rights Plans

On August 25, 2009, the Alberta Securities Commission dismissed an application by TransAlta Corporation to cease trade the shareholder rights plan of Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. The TransAlta take-over bid for Canadian Hydro Developers was scheduled to expire, unless extended, on August 27, 2009 and was effectively blocked by the rights plan. Although the impact of this decision will not be clear until the ASC releases its written reasons, it may be further evidence of a shift by the Canadian securities regulators towards providing boards of directors with greater deference in resisting unsolicited take-over bids.

Shareholder Rights Plans

Shareholder rights . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Green Energy Act

The Ontario Government has recently passed innovative legislation to stimulate investment in renewable energy, green jobs and energy conservation and demand management. One of the key features of the Green Energy and Economy Act, 2009 (“GEA”) are “Feed in Tariffs” for renewable generation such as wind, solar, biomass and hydro-electric power. This regime of Feed in Tariffs for renewable power has proved successful for many European jurisdictions that have been leaders in the development of renewable power projects.

At the present time, the Ontario Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure is working hard to draft the key regulations to support the . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Fight or Flight?

Michael Jackson’s sudden death and the skirmishes over who should be his executors, or remain so, should give you pause. You would not want your beneficiaries fighting over your estate and you should want executors with the necessary expertise to manage your assets after you are gone.

Not too much can be done to prevent the former. Jackson’s Will has a “no contest” clause, such that if a beneficiary takes issue with how much he or she is to get, they get nothing. Still, this has not prevented Jackson’s mother from seeking to have herself appointed as an executor or . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger

Waiver of Tort in Class Actions

It is fashionable for class counsel to plead “waiver of tort” as a common issue alleged to be certifiable in product liability class actions. Waiver of tort refers to a plaintiff’s election at a common issues trial to have recovery quantified not by provable tort damages but rather by the defendant’s gain arising from the alleged tortious act.

As merits-based classes defined by injury are impermissible in common law provinces, waiver of tort is the glue to hold together a claim on behalf of all users of a product — without regard to whether it is defective or causes injury. . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Be Careful When Drafting Termination Clauses

That’s the lesson from a recent Ontario Superior Court case.

The plaintiff was hired by the defendant on November 28, 2005 for the position of full-time receptionist and was promoted to the position of Executive Assistant in 2008 at an annual salary of $36,000. Her employment was terminated on November 28, 2008 at which time she was presented with a severance package that provided, in part as follows:

You will receive an additional five months pay in lieu of notice of termination as per our obligations under the Employment Standards Act of Ontario.


The Employment Standards Act would have . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Firm Guest Blogger: Borden Ladner Gervais

Our firm guest blogger this month is Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, who have kindly provided us with this firm profile:

At Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG), It Begins With Service.

BLG is a leading, full-service, integrated national law firm focusing on business law, litigation and intellectual property solutions for our clients. With more than 750 lawyers, intellectual property agents and other professionals in Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Waterloo Region, clients turn to us for assistance with their legal needs, from major litigation to corporate finance and patent registration.

Our goal at BLG is to provide our clients with

. . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Firm Guest Blogger

Change Ahead at Heenan Blaikie

Wrapping up a week of Guest Blogging from Heenan Blaikie lawyers across the country, we’re going to end by focusing on big changes at Heenan Blaikie’s Toronto offices.

After nineteen years at Royal Bank Plaza, the firm is moving 400 metres up Bay Street to the new Bay Adelaide Centre.

The move presents all sorts of practical and logistical challenges. Soon to join us at Bay Adelaide will be Goodmans and Faskens. They’ll be watching carefully to see how we move the Library. Physically packing and transporting an entire law library is not a trivial undertaking. Here is a . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Legal Information, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Have I Heard That Song Before?

Sometimes new law is very old. According to the OED, the term plagiarism was first applied to music in the Monthly Magazine of 1797, when a composition was described as “the most flagrant plagiarism from Handel” (The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works by Lydia Goehr, OUP). Since then a pantheon of musicians have been accused of lifting melodies – from Jerome Kern (Fred Fisher Inc. v. Dillingham, 298 F. 145, 1924.), George Harrison (My Sweet Lord costs over half a million 1981 dollars to settle: Bright Tunes Music Corp. v. Harrisongs, 420 F. Supp. 177 (S.D.N.Y. 1976)), Mick Jagger (co-author . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Legal Information, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Wired Lawyers

This week, the entertainment group at Heenan Blaikie has been commenting on various developments in the sector. But I thought it might be fun to ask how media and entertainment lawyers use the new media.

So I asked the group:

What sites are on your bookmarks, that you check daily or that you get email updates from or RSS feeds?

What are the must reads for clients? Does everyone read Variety or Hollywood Reporter? Is there an electronic equivalent?

Do you or your clients use social media? Facebook? MySpace? Linkedin? Legalonramp? Twitter? Follow any blogs? Contribute to any blogs? Or

. . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law

Farewell to Their Lordships

Courtesy of my friend and partner, Subrata Bhattacharjee, today is the last sitting of the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords (you can watch the feed here. So farewell to a court that has provided a vast range of legal judgments from Attwood v. Small in 1838, through Rylands and Fletcher, through M’ALISTER or DONOGHUE (Pauper) v. STEVENSON. In October, a Supreme Court will start sitting to hear appellate matters.

In this Guest Week on Media and Entertainment law at Slaw, it only seems fitting that they’ll spend part of the last day on pop . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions