Canada’s online legal magazine.

The Wheels of Justice in Exceptional Cases

Despite the pandemic, the wheels of justice continue to turn. With several hearings continuing to occur remotely due to social distancing protocols, the Ontario Court of Justice announced they are scheduled to resume in-person hearings on July 6, 2020.

The incremental plan includes the use of limited courtrooms for all trials and preliminary inquiries involving accused persons who are in custody and who are out of custody. All participants in a trial or preliminary inquiry, including the accused person(s), counsel and witness(es) will attend in person, are expected to attend in-person, unless a judge has directed otherwise.

In part, this . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

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 Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : La tenue d’un nouveau procès est ordonnée notamment pour les motifs suivants: l’exclusion apparente par le juge des infractions d’avoir conduit avec les facultés affaiblies et de celles prévues au Code de la sécurité routière des infractions pouvant donner lieu à une conclusion de profilage racial; son . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Annotated Model Parenting Assessment Order for Use in the Supreme Court of British Columbia

As mentioned in an earlier post, I am part of a small working group that has been developing a standard order for the appointment of mental health professionals to prepare parenting assessments, also known as custody and access reports and bilateral assessments, under section 211 of British Columbia’s Family Law Act. We have finished reviewing and incorporating the feedback we received on our last draft and are now ready to share what amounts to Version One of our model parenting assessment order.

Despite the importance of parenting assessments in the resolution of family law disputes, there is no . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Collective Licenses Under Copyright Are Not Mandatory

The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright) is a copyright collective meaning that it manages certain rights on behalf of copyright holders. Importantly Access Copyright does not itself hold any of the copyrights that it manages.

York University (York) is Canada’s third-largest university with over 50,000 students and approximately 1,500 full-time faculty members. York had a license to use some of the works licensed by Access Copyright from 1994 to 2010. Access Copyright applied to the Copyright Board for an interim tariff during a period when renewal negotiations were languishing. York initially complied with the interim tariff but then advised . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

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

It’s Not as Bad as You Think, Quitting Employee Learns

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

No one wants to work in a toxic work environment. Some may persevere despite the negativity. Others may make a formal complaint and await an investigation, while others may resign. In Gibb v. Palliser Regional School Division No 26, 2020 ABQB 113 (CanLII), Madam Justice J.C. Kubik considered the plight of an employee who chose the third option and then sued her former employer alleging constructive dismissal. Before rejecting the claim, the court summarized the law on resignations and constructive dismissal. Ultimately, while an employee may feel that a workplace . . . [more]

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

Zooming in on the Importance of Upholding Legal Values in Virtual Trials

The current COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to move many of our daily activities online. Trials have been no exception to this transformation, relying on platforms such as Zoom to give people their day in court (to be clear, Zoom is not the only platform to have been used by the courts, but, according to a survey done by Norton Rose Fulbright, it seems to be one of the most prevalent). As demonstrated by some of the cases that have gone forward in this fashion, the use of videoconferencing in court proceedings is not without sizeable risks. In a . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Should the Government Grant Immunity From Civil Lawsuits Related to COVID-19?

The Ontario government is considering granting immunity from civil lawsuits related to COVID-19. Other jurisdictions have already done so to varying degrees. In New York, Governor Cuomo signed legislation immunizing health care providers for medical decisions that they make in the course of treating victims of the pandemic. (Reported in the New York Times.)

Similarly, in British Columbia, the government has shielded essential service providers from liability for damages relating to COVID-19. Immunity may be available if services are provided in accordance with all applicable emergency and public health guidance.

The CBC reports in the article “More . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Admissions Season Reflections

This spring, I read 200 applications from people who want to study law at the University of Windsor. Our law school, like every other in Ontario, receives more than eight applications for each available place in first year. Across the province, there are roughly 4300 applicants for 1600 spots. The figures are comparable across the country; Canada still has among the fewest law school spots per capita in the developed world.

Those of us on admissions committees must rank applicants on the basis of our respective institutions’ admissions criteria. We must recommend that many people who want to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education, Legal Ethics

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. Sandhu v Siri Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara of Alberta, 2020 ABQB 359 (CanLII)

[1] The applicant contests his ouster as president of the respondent organization. He applied, unsuccessfully, for an interim injunction reinstating him. As part of the “no injunction” order, I directed the parties to attempt to draw up the procedural roadmap for the reinstatement litigation, which they were unable . . . [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

Definitions: A Drafting Point
Neil Guthrie

Two lawyers at my firm asked which formulation I preferred: “Notice” has the meaning ascribed to it in Section 9.1. “Notice” has the meaning ascribed in Section 9.1. “Notice” has the meaning ascribed thereto in Section 9.1. Being a dangerous radical, I opted for the second one. It’s the simplest. …


Pitch a Book to CanLII
Emma Durand-Wood

CanLII . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Quarantine Diaries: Law Students Reflect on Their New Reality

[This post was a collaboration written by Julie Macfarlane, along with NSRLP research assistants Katie Pfaff, Negin Shahraki and Arathi Arit.]

How are students in law school coping with the impact of the lockdown on their studies, their lives, and their feelings of well-being and optimism?

I asked our NSRLP research assistants for their thoughts and reflections on what it was like to finish out last semester – and anticipate beginning next semester – in a virtual learning space. Below, three 1Ls share their hopes, their challenges, and their ongoing questions about what happens next.

Katie Pfaff

When the announcement . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues