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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

The Alleged Blackmail of Jeff Bezos: Did Legal Counsel for the National Enquirer Breach His Professional Duties?

It is alleged that the National Enquirer blackmailed Jeff Bezos by threatening to publish humiliating photographs and messages. In exchange for not publishing the information, the National Enquirer wanted Bezos to stop his criticism of the paper.

To manage the situation, Bezos wrote an article titled “No Thank You, Mr. Pecker”. In the article, Bezos exposed multiple emails directed at him from the National Enquirer (American Media, LLC). One of the emails included an email message from American Media, LLC’s legal counsel, as seen below.

From: Fine, Jon [jfine@amilink.com] (Deputy General Counsel, AMI)
Sent: Wednesday, February

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law

The Need for a Code of Conduct for Family Law Disputes, Part 2

Last Tuesday, I was honoured to be presented with the Distinguished Service Award for service to the community from the Law Society of Alberta and the Canadian Bar Association Alberta. I took advantage of the more or less captive audience to discuss the need to improve the Code of Conduct to better reflect the practice realities of family law lawyers and the needs of their clients, and the needs of their clients’ children. As my remarks were received with more interest than I’d expected, I thought I would take this opportunity to describe in more detail the sort of changes . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

The Conundrum of the Difficult Client

From the moment I created my first public legal education family law website, BC Family Law Resource, in 2001, I have been contacted by people from across Canada, mostly in British Columbia, dealing with difficult family law issues on their own. Although a study of the users of the website’s current incarnation, JP Boyd on Family Law, found that a significant share of users are legal professionals, it was litigants without counsel and people simply browsing for legal information who I originally set out to help.

In the years that passed, hundreds, maybe thousands, of people have gotten in . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Video Surveillance of Employees and Issues of Evidence

The use of surveillance cameras in the workplace in Canada is quite common. Often, surveillance cameras are installed to deter theft, vandalism, assault, harassment and suspected criminal or improper activity. However, many employees question the right of employers to record them in the workplace and state that it is a breach of their privacy. Do employees’ privacy rights compete with employers’ needs to ensure that his or her employees do their job, come in at the right hours, and don’t behave inappropriately?

This case involves a union’s application to exclude video footage from the admissible evidence in a recent grievance . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

British Columbia Employment Standards Reforms Coming

On December 10, 2018, the British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI) released its final report on their independent Employment Standards Act review. The British Columbia labour minister responded to the report by pledging action in 2019 to implement certain of the 71 recommendations found in the BCLI final report. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Federal Omnibus Bill Employment Law Changes Passed

Bill C-86, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018, and other measures received royal assent December 13, 2018. This new law extensively amends the Canada Labour Code, makes changes to the Employment Insurance Act, the Wage Earner Protection Program Act and introduces a federal Pay Equity Act. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Designing Rules of Procedure for the Arbitration of Family Law Disputes

In Canada, the available sets of arbitration rules are designed for corporate-commercial disputes and general civil disputes. None are designed for family law disputes, which is especially problematic in jurisdictions like British Columbia, where the Arbitration Act specifies the rules that will be used absent the parties’ agreement to the contrary. Those rules, by the way, are the domestic rules of the BC International Commercial Arbitration Centre, which are hardly ideal for family law disputes and require hefty payments to the Centre.

As a result, in many jurisdictions lawyers taking a case to arbitration simply adopt the local rules . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Employment and Labour Law Related Changes in Ontario Bill 66 and More

On December 6, 2018, the Ontario Conservative government introduced Bill 66 – An Act to restore Ontario’s competitiveness by amending or repealing certain Acts in the legislature. Bill 66 impacts several employment and labour related laws, such as the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Labour Relations Act, 1995. This blog post outlines the Bill 66 changes and my thoughts on these continuous employment and labour law government driven changes. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

The Gloomy Future of Access to Family Justice in British Columbia: Outcomes of the Law Society’s 2018 Annual General Meeting

In December 2014, the Benchers of the Law Society of British Columbia unanimously agreed to act on the recommendations of its Legal Services Regulatory Framework Task Force and pursue “an amendment to the Legal Profession Act authorizing it to establish and regulate new classes of legal service providers in order to address unmet and underserved legal needs.” The creation of this task force stemmed from the recommendations of the Legal Services Providers Task Force the previous year, which found that “to address unmet and underserved legal needs in our society,” it was necessary “to explore in more detail a liberalization . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

The Latest Word on Unjust Enrichment

This is an important decision for everyone who comes across equitable relief in their practice.

In March 2017 a divided panel of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Moore v. Sweet overturned a finding of unjust enrichment on the ground there was a “juristic reason” for the enrichment. The decision was appealed. On 23 November 2018 the Supreme Court of Canada, splitting 6-2, applying precisely the same legal test, found there was there was no “juristic reason” for the enrichment, and restored the unjust enrichment remedy awarded at first instance.

The facts of the case are simple.

During their marriage . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Changes to ESA and LRT Passed, EHT Exemptions and Provincial Income Tax

1. Employment Standards and Labour Relations law changes

On November 21, 2018, the Ontario conservative government gave third reading to Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018, effectively rolling back many employment and labour law changes brought in by the previous Liberal government Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (introduced as Bill 148). Bill 47 although passed is awaiting royal assent to become law. Most of the provisions will come into force at a later date, on January 1, 2019. To summarize certain key employment standards provisions: . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Federal Government Omnibus Bill Includes Employment Law Changes

Bill C-86, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures received first reading on October 29, 2018. Bill C-86 is another omnibus budget Bill that, if enacted, would among other things, make changes to the parental leave EI benefits under the Employment Insurance Act (again), significantly amend the Canada Labour Code (again), introduce pay equity legislation and amend the Wage Earner Protection Program, among other Acts. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation