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Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

Partisan Political Arguments in the Workplace, Part 2

In February, we posted a discussion with respect to how workplace political expression could go awry with human rights law. The article also provided best practices on how human resources professionals and employers can appropriately address human rights complaints specifically on the basis of political belief, activity or association. However, a comment sparked further discussion on how workplace political expression could also contravene harassment provisions under occupational health and safety legislation. . . . [more]

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

Is a Docusign E-Signature an Original for the Purpose of a Court Rule?

If a court or regulator allows e-filing but requires the filer to retain an original signed document, can that original itself be electronic?

A bankruptcy court in California recently issued sanctions against an attorney who filed electronic documents without retaining an “original” of the documents as required by the Rules – because the documents held by the attorney were signed using Docusign, and they did not qualify as originals for that purpose. Here is an article about the decision.

Here is the rule in the Court Manual:

Court Manual section 3.4(1)(4): Retention of Original Signatures. The registered CM/ECF User

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

The Mandatory Nature of CPD

Love it or hate it, we all have to do continuing professional development (CPD).

One lawyer hated it so much that he refused to do it at all. When the Law Society of Manitoba automatically suspended him, he took his challenge all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

As you might expect, the lawyer was unsuccessful on his appeal in Green v. Law Society of Manitoba, released this week. The law society was empowered under the Legal Profession Act to achieve its mandate of self-regulation and protecting the public interest. The power to create a CPD scheme . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Letter on Eliminating Print Version of Statutes of Canada

Connie Crosby, President of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL), has written a letter to The Honourable Judy M. Foote, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada, explaining the many concerns law librarians have about the idea of discontinuing the paper publication of the annual Statutes of Canada.

The letter is in response to a CBC News report that the federal government might consider changes to legislation that requires that Canada’s annual laws be made available in print.

In her letter, Crosby calls on the government to take care before any move to a digital-only policy, in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Legislation

What Rights Do Commercial Landlords Have When a Tenant Defaults?

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has reaffirmed that when a commercial tenant fundamentally defaults on its lease, the landlord is entitled to treat the lease as ongoing and sue for rent, as it comes due, without any obligation to mitigate.

 

In the instant case, the tenant, Pet Valu Canda Inc., ceased paying rent to the landlord. The landlord did not terminate the lease and instead elected to sue for ongoing arrears of rent.

 

The landlord moved for partial summary judgment on the rent that had already accrued and was undisputedly owing at the date of the motion. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law

Balancing Safety and Freedom of the Press

The state of the media in Canada is increasingly precarious, with several newspaper chains demonstrating indicators of financial difficulty. Reader’s Digest filed for bankruptcy in 2009, and just last year Postmedia merged with Sun, La Presse in Montreal ceased weekday prints, Guelph Mercury went digital only, and the Toronto Star announced layoffs and shutdowns.

Except for some niche news outlets, newspapers might be soon just be a thing of the 20th century.

The biggest casualty in these financial woes is the lack of independent and investigative journalism, given the resources and difficulty in producing this type of content. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Did Transport Canada Just Ground the Canadian Hobbyist Drone Market?

Transport Canada just put in force an order regarding the recreational use of model aircraft, enforceable by a $3,000 fine. Details are in the graphic below and on the Transport Canada Web site.

Operation of a drone over 35 kg, or for commercial use, has not changed, and still requires a Special Flight Operations Certificate.

Restrictions on flying near airports and aircraft are understandable.

But you can’t operate a model aircraft “at a lateral distance of less than 250 feet (75m) from buildings, structures, vehicles, vessels, animals and the public including spectators, bystanders or any person not associated with . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

UK Supreme Court Re-Visits Testamentary Freedom

In a decision released on 15 March 2017 , overturning the Court of Appeal, the UKSC reminds courts that when considering claims for financial support from the estate of a deceased, the test is not whether the deceased behaved unreasonably in leaving the will they did.

The right question for the court is: did the will/intestacy make reasonable financial provision?, not whether the deceased acted unreasonably.

Unreasonable testamentary behaviour of the deceased may be considered, but English law, the court confirmed, recognizes the freedom of individuals to dispose of their assets by will in whatever manner they wish, subject to . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

University of Virginia Website on US Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch

The University of Virginia School of Law has launched the Gorsuch Project, a website devoted to the career of Neil Gorsuch, US President Donald Trump’s nominee to fill the vacancy left on the US Supreme Court by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016:

“Hearings on the nomination of the Honorable Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court are scheduled to begin March 20 and interest in the nominee’s judicial record is high. To assist researchers, we’re proud to announce the launch of the Neil Gorsuch Project, a website that assembles all of Gorsuch’s written opinions, as well

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Sometimes Legal Aid Is the Problem, Not the Solution

Introduction

Legal aid is intended to assist the most vulnerable in our society, and ensure that they obtain justice irrespective of their financial situations. Often it accomplishes this lofty objective. Far too frequently it does not.

What is more concerning is how references to legal aid are frequently invoked as an obstacle to legal reforms.

One such example would be for the proposal by the Bonkalo Report for paralegals to practice family law. Not unexpectedly, there are family lawyers and judges who have already come out against it. The most recent are several lawyer organizations and some judges of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

What if Your Personal Digital Assistant Defames Somebody?

We recently had a discussion about police access to the recordings made by in-home digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and its (her?) ilk.

Now our focus turns to the actions of these devices if they do bad things themselves. This story reports that Siri, Apple’s version, routinely answered requests in Toronto for prostitutes by referring the inquired to an “eSports bar” – one where clients play electronic sports games. Apparently the word may be too close to “escorts” for Siri’s sense of discrimination. It is clear – take it as established for the present discussion – that the bar is . . . [more]

Posted in: International issues, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

EFF Publishes New Guide to Mitigating Digital Privacy Risks at US Border

If you care about solicitor-client privilege, travel to the US and use computing technology, then read this:

By its own admission, US border protection conducted five-times as many electronic media searches in a single year—4,764 in 2015 to 23,877 in 2016.

Yup. That’s 500% more cause for anyone travelling to the US to be concerned. Should Canadian lawyers be cautious too? Yes.

America’s digital rights sentinel, Electronic Frontier Foundation, just released its 2017 reboot to its guide for mitigating risks to digital privacy when travelling to the US. The newly minted guide (last revised in 2011) is titled “Digital . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Office Technology