Canada’s online legal magazine.
Rogers OutRank
Canadian Bar Association

Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions’

Employment Reference Letters Required in Quebec?

Letters of reference can be very helpful when looking for employment. However, increasingly, due to issues with liability (great letter for an employee who turns out to be terrible), management and consistency, many employers have policies that prohibit formal reference letters for all departing employees – regardless of their performance.

In most of Canada, it doesn’t appear that there is any recognized common law duty to provide a letter of reference. However, the Court of Appeal of Quebec (QCA) has recently ruled that Quebec is also a distinct society when it comes to letters of reference.

In Arseneault (Succession de) . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Contingency Fee Lawyers Are Not Venture Capitalists

The Court of Appeal for British Columbia released a scathing judgment in Mide-Wilson v. Hungerford Tomyn Lawrenson and Nichols on New Year’s eve, upholding a Supreme Court decision earlier in the year which had reduced legal fees in a contingency arrangement from nearly $17 million to $5 million, in the interest of maintaining the integrity of the legal profession. The decision has implications for the understanding and application of contingency fee arrangements, which should be reviewed for contingency lawyers when evaluating the monetary worth of work in progress on their files.

The matter dealt with the million dollar estate of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Sensible Judgments

I don’t often write about court decisions. As a law librarian and not a lawyer, I try to leave this to the legal experts of Slaw. Sometimes, though, I feel compelled to point out specific decisions from the Alberta Courts.

Since it is New Year’s Eve, this day of frequent imbibing, I draw your attention to a relatively recent decision from Alberta Provincial Court Judge Bart Rosborough: R. v. Omeasoo, 2013 ABPC 328 (CanLII). In this decision, Judge Rosborough writes about bail conditions frequently imposed on alcoholics – refraining from consuming that which they are addicted to. Paula . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Google Street View Case Granted a Rehearing

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted a new hearing this past Friday in Joffe v. Google, Inc., while affirming the decision in September that denied a motion to dismiss by Google.

Google had requested the class action be dismissed on the basis that their actions in collecting information for Google Street View was not illegal due to an exemption in the Wiretap Act, on the basis that they transmitted the data over a WiFi network. The Street View vans had used the service set identifier names and media access control address from routers . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Supreme Court Rules for Bedford

The Supreme Court of Canada has released its decision in Attorney General of Canada, et al. v. Terri Jean Bedford, et al., the case involving prostitution that has been before Ontario courts eight times. In a 9-0 judgment delivered by the Chief Justice the Court dismissed the appeal by the Attorney-General and allowed the cross-appeal by Terri Bedford.

From the headnote:

Held: The appeals should be dismissed and the cross‑appeal allowed. Sections 210, 212(1)(j) and 213(1)(c) of the Criminal Code are declared to be inconsistent with the Charter. The declaration of invalidity should be suspended for one year.

. . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Wikipedia as Admissible Evidence?

For those of us lawyers who routinely use Wikipedia as a source of basic information, it may be tempting to adduce a Wikipedia printout into evidence in court. After all, Wikipedia is more complete and often more specific than other encyclopedia out there. But is it reliable? Believe it or not, this question has been considered and debated by judges on many occasions in recent years since the advent of Wikipedia in 2001.

This past summer, the Superior Court rendered judgment in a criminal law matter and specifically considered the admissibility of Wikipedia evidence. The main issue on appeal in . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Court of Appeal Says Private School’s Decision to Expel Pot Smoking Student Not Subject to Judicial Review

The Court of Appeal has unanimously ruled that a private school’s decision to expel a student is not subject to judicial review.

In September, 2012, the Divisional Court quashed Appleby College’s decision to expel a student on his last day of high school for smoking pot in his residence. A quick refresher on the facts of the case can be found in a post I wrote last November.

In a nutshell, Mr. Setia was caught smoking pot in his residence at Appleby College (a prestigious Ontario private high school) on the day before his final exam of high school. . . . [more]

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

Michael Rafferty Should Get Legal Counsel

The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled this week that Rafferty should receive publicly funded legal aid in preparation of his appeal as part of a s. 684 application.

Public anger towards Michael Rafferty is perhaps understandable. As I commented last year, Rafferty was referred to as a “monster” even by the judge presiding over his sentencing for his horrific murder of Tori Stafford.

The parties agreed that Rafferty did not have means to retain counsel, and had limited ability to do so himself as he has a grade 9 education, is imprisoned in segregation, and does not have . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Electronic Evidence: Spreadsheets Are Not Expert Evidence

In a recent civil case, the British Columbia Supreme Court had to decide on the admissibility in evidence of a database of transactions under a contract, and the results of SQL analysis of the database that produced a number of Excel format spreadsheets. The people who generated the spreadsheets were available to testify in person about how they had run the queries: Animal Welfare International Inc. v. W3 International Media Ltd., 2013 BCSC 2193 (CanLII).

The opposing party submitted that the analysis done in extracting the data constituted expert evidence, and the witnesses needed to be qualified as experts . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology: Office Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Have You Read 2013’s Top Cases?

In early December of 2011 and 2012, I posted top 10 lists of the most consulted cases. Two lists were published each year – one for all cases consulted and the other for consultations of cases decided in within that year. With the tradition now firmly established, I’m very pleased to present for 2013 the top 10 most consulted cases on CanLII.

As in prior years, I leave it to the readers to determine the significance of any case appearing on either list.

Top 10 most consulted cases of 2013

  • R. v. Duncan, 2013 ONCJ 160
  • Meads v. Meads, . . . [more]
  • Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

    Supreme Court Upholds Ban Against Private Label Pharmaceuticals

    The Supreme Court of Canada recently upheld in Katz Group Canada Inc. v. Ontario the decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal in finding that the Drug Interchangeability and Dispensing Fee Act Regulations, R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 93s. 9 and Ontario Drug Benefit Act Regulation, O. Reg. 201/96s. 12.0. were not ultra vires. The regulations in question had the effect of banning private label pharmaceuticals in Ontario.

    The facts were set out by Justice Abella as follows:

    [3] The sale and pricing of generic drugs is provincially regulated. In Ontario, two complementary and intersecting statutes were introduced

    . . . [more]

    Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

    Call for Corrections to the 2012 Federal Employment Insurance Reforms

    On November 27, 2013, Quebec’s National Employment Insurance Review Commission released its report regarding the impact of the federal government’s 2012 changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program. The report makes 30 recommendations, with three key recommendations calling for the provincial and federal governments to negotiate an agreement giving Quebec the power to manage its own EI system to meet the needs of the province’s labour market. . . . [more]

    Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation