Canada’s online legal magazine.

Words, and Black Lives, Matter

In 1977, the Supreme Court of Canada heard the case of Smithers v. R., where two young hockey players who got into it, in and outside of the rink. In the brief altercation that ensued, one of the players died. The other player was charged and convicted of manslaughter.

The accused appealed unsuccessfully around the cause of death, which was due to asphyxiation. However, this was not due to any choking, but either the aspiration of foreign materials due to vomiting, and a malfunction of the epiglottis.

The unusual cause of death has therefore become one of the examples . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Summaries Sunday: Supreme Advocacy

One Sunday each month we bring you a summary from Supreme Advocacy LLP of recent decisions at the Supreme Court of Canada. Supreme Advocacy LLP offers a weekly electronic newsletter, Supreme Advocacy Letter, to which you may subscribe. It’s a summary of all appeals as well as leaves to appeal granted so you will know what the SCC will soon be dealing with (May 16 – June 12, 2020 inclusive).


Criminal Law: Entrapment
R. v. Ahmad, 2020 SCC 11(38165)(38304) (joint reasons for 2 appeals)

Police cannot offer a person who answers a cell phone the opportunity to . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Ju stice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

RESPONSABILITÉ : Le juge de première instance n’a pas commis d’erreur en ce qui a trait à la norme de conduite que doit respecter l’Agence du revenu du Canada (ARC) dans le contexte d’une vérification; la négligence est suffisante pour établir une faute et il n’est pas nécessaire de . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Friday Jobs Roundup

Each Friday, we share the latest job listings from Slaw Jobs, which features employment opportunities from across the country. Find out more about these positions by following the links below, or learn how you can use Slaw Jobs to gain valuable exposure for your job ads, while supporting the great Canadian legal commentary at

Current postings on Slaw Jobs (newest first):

. . . [more]
Posted in: Friday Jobs Roundup

Does a Computer Generated Letter Need a Signature?

This morning I had by email a long-wished-for letter (laid out like a typical business letter, with letterhead and date and address etc.) from the company financing my car, telling me my loan was now paid in full. It finished with the usual cordial invitation to contact them if I should need any further services, then ‘sincerely, [name of company]’, then:

“NOTE: This letter is computer generated; no signature is required.”

And sure enough, it looked like an old computer printout, as if it had holes up the side to feed it through a printer, and an ancient font, pre-Courier. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Office Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Statements and Commitments From the Canadian Library World on Racism

The website has put together a list of statements made by the Canadian library, archives, and museum community on racism, injustice, and violence.

The statements and commitments come from local, regional and national groups.

This includes a communiqué on anti-Black racism by the Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA). The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is one of the member organizations of the CFLA.

Earlier today, the CALL Executive Board and the CALL Diversity, Inclusion, and Decolonization Committee issued a separate Open Letter to Membership: Black Lives Matter which outlines some of the association’s commitments to action: . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Arbitrator Upholds Properly Drafted and Applied Absenteeism Policy

By Lewis Waring, Paralegal and Student-at-Law, Editor, First Reference Inc.

One of the most important crucial aspects of managing the employment relationship is written policies. Company policies, when drafted and applied properly, can be an effective shield against liability in many employment law cases. Through policy, an employer sets the rights and obligations of the employer and the workers within the workplace. When employers draft up-to-date policy that stays within legal boundaries and workers are kept notified about their rights and obligations under that policy, employers may often successfully fend off legal action such as wrongful dismissal or constructive dismissal. . . . [more]

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

On Memories Lived and Living

“One cannot, in reality, suffer from memories all the time; one can rest and enjoy oneself in the intervals” – The Eternal Husband, Dostoevsky

Siobhan woke up, soaked in sweat in the darkness of her apartment. City lights snuck in under her curtains, flickering shadows across her dresser. It was another hot summer night, and she had turned her air conditioning up so high it was, as her father would say, cold as an ice box, and by that he meant the huge ice lockers that stored the day’s catch. As a child her brother had locked her in . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

New Med-Arb Rules and Professional Designation for Canada

The ADR Institute of Canada (ADRIC) has recently adopted Med-Arb Rules and announced a new Chartered Mediator-Arbitrator (C.Med-Arb) professional designation to enhance the use of med-arb in Canada.

The new Rules and professional designation recognize that med-arb is a distinct process that is different from either mediation or arbitration on their own.

In med-arb, the same person acts as both mediator and arbitrator, typically endeavouring to help the parties settle their dispute in a first mediation phase, then making a binding decision on all unresolved issues in a second arbitration phase.

The process offers parties both flexibility and finality, and . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. R. v. Sullivan, 2020 ONCA 333 (CanLII)

[42] The trial judge was correct in finding s. 33.1 to be in prima facie violation of both ss. 7 and 11(d) of the Charter. Section 33.1 violates each of the constitutional principles that were identified by Cory J. for the majority in R. v. Daviault, 1994 CanLII 61 (SCC), [1994] 3 . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on practice, research, writing and technology.

Research & Writing

Curbside Pick-Up
Neil Guthrie

Who would have thought, back in January, that we’d be doing quite so much of this? It feels like shopping in Bulgaria in the mid 1970s, lining up for the remaining 40-watt bulb on the shelf. If you live in the United Kingdom or other parts of the Commonwealth, you would be doing it at the kerbside. … . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

The Unintended Consequences of Innovation

The Legal Health Check-Up (LHC) is an innovation that has been successfully implemented by several community legal clinics in Southwestern Ontario. Reviewing the outcomes of the LHC over the past 5 years reveals how this innovation has had transformative impacts on service delivery in 3 community legal clinics in Ontario. The LHC was first piloted by Halton Community Legal Services (HCLS) between October 2014 and January 2015, after which it became a permanent component of the delivery approach. Three other clinics began experimenting with the LHC at about the same time. Hamilton Community Legal Clinic, the Legal Clinic of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues