Canada’s online legal magazine.
Solo lawyer start-up guide
LexisNexis Legal Products

“Brian Sinclair Did Not Have to Die”

Brian Lloyd Sinclair died in September 2008 in the emergency department waiting room of Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre at the age of 45. He was pronounced dead in the early hours of September 21, 2008 after he had spent some 34 hours in the emergency room awaiting attention for what was initially a relatively minor health concern.

Brian Sinclair was an Aboriginal man who lived his early years on the Fort Alexander First Nation and went on to live in Powerview, Manitoba and ultimately, in Winnipeg. He faced a number of health challenges and as well as some cognitive impairment. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Avoiding Communications Claims in Litigation

No matter what the area of practice, the number one source of claims at LAWPRO is a breakdown in communication between the lawyer and client.

Between 2008 and 2013, nearly 4,600 communications claims – an average of 762 a year – have been reported to LAWPRO. The total cost of these claims to date is about $158 million – and likely to rise as more recent years’ claims are resolved.

In the Fall 2011 issue of LAWPRO Magazine we asked LAWPRO claims counsel with expertise in the various areas of law to provide insights into the communications mistakes they see . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Should the ICC Do Anything About CIA Torture?

It shouldn’t come as any surprise to you that, before December 2014, the United States tortured its detainees. However, when the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a 525-page excerpt of its findings on the US detainee program last week, there was still a genuine sense of shock about the extent of that torture.

There were some pretty damning details in the 525-page excerpt report, many of which were horrific and somewhat draconian methods used by the CIA in interrogating detainees. Among the most horrific details are:

  • The use of “rectal rehydration”, where detainees are forcibly rehydrated by inserting
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues

Taking Time for a Social Media Sabbatical

By this time each year, most of us need a break from the onslaught of information available on our phones, tablets and computers. I’ve planned to take a carefully planned break from online activity during the next few weeks.

Why a mini social media sabbatical is a good idea

Why I need . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Encryption: Its Time Has Come

Lawyers tend to cringe when they hear the word “encryption.” To most lawyers, encryption is a dark art, full of mathematical jargon and incomprehensible to the average human being.

When South Carolina suffered a major data breach of taxpayer data, what did Governor Nikki Halley say? “A lot of banks don’t encrypt. It’s very complicated. It’s very cumbersome. There’s a lot of numbers involved with it.”

Leaving aside the laughable notion that a lot of banks don’t encrypt data, the rest of her quote is in keeping with what we hear from lawyers. What we hear always translates into the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

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. Fearon, 2014 SCC 77

[1] The police have a common law power to search incident to a lawful arrest. Does this power permit the search of cell phones and similar devices found on the suspect? That is the main question raised by this appeal.

[2] Canadian courts have so far not provided a consistent answer. At least four approaches . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Creative Use of Six Sigma Tools

I am on a path toward certification in Lean Six Sigma; I should probably say further certification since I passed a Green Belt certification exam in November. One of the most interesting aspects of the courses that I am taking is the introduction to a plethora of analysis tools. One such tool is the House of Quality.

A House of Quality is a method to reconcile what customers want with what can be designed. Often referred to as “Quality Function Deployment”, this tool originated in Japan (in a shipyard), and it graphically links customer needs to product capabilities. It also . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Have You Read 2014’s Top Cases?

For the past few years (2011, 2012 and 2013), I’ve had the pleasure of sharing two “top 10” lists of the most consulted cases on CanLII with Slaw readers. One list is of all cases consulted and the other pertains only to consultations of cases decided within the year.

I’m very pleased to present the results for 2014.

I invite readers to weigh in with their thoughts on the significance of any case appearing on either list.

Top 10 most consulted cases of 2014

  1. Morland-Jones v. Taerk, 2014 ONSC 3061
  2. Meads v. Meads, 2012 ABQB 571 (holding
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The More That Law Society Committees Change, the More Things Stay the Same

As an exception to the universally accepted view that law society committees are “all form and no substance” in regard to the “unaffordable legal services problem” (“the problem”), there is one Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) committee that has produced a Discussion Paper that has great substance, although some ingrates are so inconsiderate as to say that it’s not “the right stuff”; see: Alternative Business Structures and the Legal Profession in Ontario: A Discussion Paper. It was released by LSUC on September 24th, asking for comments by December 31st.[i] It proposes “alternative business structures” (ABS’s). They have . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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 technology, research and practice.


Visit the Wirecutter for Recommendations on the Best Electronics, Gadgets and Gear.
Dan Pinnington

When it comes to purchasing things, I will admit that I tend to be a tad on the anal side. I always spend a ton of time researching the available options. This has been a lifelong issue for me. In the old days (read pre-Internet), one of my favourite sources of information and reviews was . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Plaintiff Nearly Loses $8,000 Because She Went to Trial Too Fast

In an unusual case, a plaintiff nearly lost out on $8,000 in damages simply because she got to trial too fast.

The plaintiff’s employment with the defendant was terminated due to downsizing after 14 years of service.

She was paid approximately four months compensation in lieu of reasonable notice. She felt like it was not enough and sued the company for 22 months of compensation.

Justice Pollak agreed with the plaintiff that four months was not sufficient compensation and awarded the plaintiff twelve months of compensation.

However, at the time that the case was tried it had only been . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

Of Senate Vacancies and Canada’s Constitutional Galahads

On Parliament Hill there stands a statue depicting one of King Arthur’s knights, Sir Galahad. It was erected in honour of a heroic young civil servant who perished in the Ottawa River while trying to save a cabinet minister’s daughter who had fallen through weak ice. The tragic hero was Henry Albert Harper, and the statue of Sir Galahad, King Arthur’s most virtuous knight, was meant as a testament to Harper’s selfless heroism.

Speaking of Harper and paladins of another kind, 2014 might well go down as a banner year. The recent batch of Galahads on Parliament Hill kind of . . . [more]

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