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Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

New TOROG Document

As I hope everyone knows, TOROG — the Toronto Opinions Group — kindly allows Slaw to publish some of their memos and precedents on third party opinions. A new document has just been added to the collection: “Limitations Act, 2002 (Ontario) – Proposals for Improving Contract Drafting and Appropriate Opinion Qualification Practice – June, 2009,” which, like the others, is available in PDF.

This relatively lengthy document (18pp.) describes the impact of recent changes to the Ontario Limitations Act on one’s freedom to contract with respect to a limitation period. The document also contains a sample provisions of purchase . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information, Substantive Law

Just One Reason Why Judicial Appointment Hearings Aren’t a Good Idea

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings into the Judge Sonia Sotomayor appointment to the United States Supreme Court have reminded me why the idea of importing these hearings for real into our Canadian SCC appointment process bothers me. They’ve reminded me in a lot of ways, but one that stands out from this time around is the way in which the exchanges are antithetical to the process of judging. Judging should involve thoughtful consideration of the evidence, and, depending on the nature of the case, especially constitutional cases, of the context of the case. Of course, judges have predispositions, based on . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Canadian Copyright Consultations Begin

The Federal government has just launched public consultations intended to lead to a new copyright reform bill. The last few attempts to revise copyright law have not become law – but have been highly controversial. This is an important topic that affects things we do every day. The difficult part is striking the right balance between the entertainment industry desire to charge for and control everything, and the consumer expectation of getting everything free all the time. Past efforts have not accomplished that balance, and in some ways took a step backwards by being stuck in a digital time warp. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

Everyone this week seemed to be extending a helping hand:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Constitutional Lessons From an Israeli Supreme Court Justice

­­I had the opportunity to hear one of the Chief Justices speak at the Israeli Supreme Court today. He explained some of the basics of the Israeli judicial system, and shared some of the challenges that they currently face.

Unlike some jurisdictions, Israel has had no problem drawing on international law for their domestic discourse. For example, when developing their position on freedom of expression, they looked to the most robust and liberal legal discourse on the subject and borrowed freely from American case law.

As a Jewish state they also do use some Jewish religious law, although in . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

SCC Decision in R. v. Grant: Do the Ends Justify the Means?

The highly anticipated Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) judgment in R. v. Grant was released this morning. Grant was a young black man walking in a neighbourhood patrolled by both plainclothes and uniformed police. During a routine patrol, plainclothes officers stated grant “stared” at them and began “fidgeting”. A uniformed officer was tasked to “have a chat” with Grant and this officer requested biographical information from him during which time he told Grant to “keep his hands in front of him.” The two plainclothes officers who had observed Grant earlier joined the uniformed officer and the three of them took . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Facebook Privacy Report by Privacy Commissioner of Canada

In May 2008, University of Ottawa law students and The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) in Ottawa filed a complaint with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada over alleged poor privacy practices by social networking site Facebook. The office of the Commissioner has released its report today. The three biggest concerns found:

  • Facebook’s explanations of privacy are confusing and incomplete;
  • Facebook applications allow application developers access to private information where it is not necessary; and
  • when a Facebook account is deactivated, Facebook still retains personal information. This is in contravention of Canada’s privacy law
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Technology and Drafting Contracts

There’s a piece in the current Lawyers Weekly, “Commodification of contract drafting,” about some of the work that U.S. lawyer Ken Adams does. (The whole piece is on Adams’ site, page 1 and page 2, or here in a single page.) Much of the article deals with the obvious, such as the need for precision in expression and the dangers of using old-fashioned boilerplate. But three things caught my eye as being interesting.

First, Adams suggests that firms need rules when it comes to drafting contracts. The thought is that a firm style should be imposed where, presumably, certain . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

U.K. Set to Abolish Ancient Hate Crimes

According to a report in the Times, the U.K. Justice Minister has agreed to move to abolish the crimes of sedition and criminal libel.

An act of sedition is one that incites hatred or contempt for the king, government or constitution…

Criminal libel is rare but similarly oppressive. Even though the vast majority of libel actions are brought through the civil courts, crown prosecutors can press charges for criminal libel if it is thought to be in the public interest. The penalty is up to two years in jail and an unlimited fine.

Something is considered defamatory if calculated

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

CRTC Tries Compliance With Violating Telemarketers

Last week the CRTC announced that in two cases it has issued notices of violation with fines to two telemarketers who called numbers on the “do not call” list. These are the first two such notices since the DNC list became effective, on June 30, 2006, pursuant to CRTC “unsolicited telecommunications rules.”

The CRTC released no information about the identities of the telemarketers or the size of the fines proposed in the notices.

This reluctance concerning publicity is in line with stated CRTC policy, according to which enforcement of the rules proceeds in stages, the first of . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

LCO More Adventurous With Technology!

We recently tried something new with our consultation process and we’ll likely do it again. Lauren Bates, head of our project on developing a coherent approach to the law as it affects persons with disabilities, participated in a web based consultation with the assistance of Citizens with Disabilities – Ontario. Citizens with Disabilities provides on-line conference rooms that can accommodate various size groups for meetings, courses and interviews, among other uses, through their on-line Conference Centre. Apart from the convenience of format, there is the obvious advantage of accessibility. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

CRTC Hearings Continue

The CRTC hearings we reported on previously were supposed to have finished yesterday, but according to the CBC actually continued today. See: Internet throttling benefits customers: Rogers, Shaw (, July 13, 2009). The CRTC apparently postponed Bell Alliant’s appearance at the hearing until this morning.

Additional sources are listed on my previous post here. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology