Canada’s online legal magazine.

Tony Merchant and the Missing Fee Agreement: Why All the Fuss?

In an article in the National Post last week, Justice Belobaba is described as having ‘scorched’ Merchant Law Group for its “profoundly unacceptable fee agreement” with its client, the class representative in McCallum-Boxe v. Sony. While there are many unsavoury and arguably unethical practices for which Merchant may be justly criticized, this fee arrangement does not merit the same level of excoriation.

The case involved a very small settlement in a class action against Sony. The judge approved the $8000 payment to the class, but was shocked to discover that class counsel had not required the class representatives to . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

The Blurring of Music Copyright?

Last month I heard an excerpt from the Slate podcast Culture Gabfest presented as part of CBC’s Podcast Playlist. The excerpt was from the Culture Gabfest March podcast and the “gabbers,” along with “pop-chart columnist” Chris Molanphy, were discussing the “Blurred Lines” court case. It was something Molanphy said during the conversation that has been nagging at me ever since:

“… if something recaptures the atmosphere, or the vibe, or the feel of a record without actually duplicating its melody, its tempo, its syncopation, certainly its lyrics … that is now litigable, that’s kind of unprecedented.”


You . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

Is LinkedIn All It Was Cracked Up to Be?

Our friend and colleague Bob Ambrogi thinks LinkedIn is losing its luster – and we agree. He wrote a blog post recently on this subject. So we tip our hat to Bob before we begin.

Author Simek isn’t active on any social media other than LinkedIn, largely because he is a professional testifying expert on IT and digital forensics topics – and he didn’t want to risk being hung by his own petard because of something he had posted on other kinds of social media. But LinkedIn, in its original incarnation in 2002, was pretty much a resume site and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award­-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from sixty recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. Environmental Law & Litigation 2. First Reference Talks 3. The Stream 4. 5. Blogue du CRL

Environmental Law & Litigation
Why buy contaminated site, then sue?

I continue to be amazed by the number of people who knowingly (or carelessly) buy a contaminated site, wrongly assuming that they . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Even Pedophiles Have Charter Rights

The true test of a society is how we treat the most vulnerable, despicable, and heinous members of our society. The ability of the legal system to temper passions, quell inflammatory biases, and dispense justice to all individuals is the reason why the justice system is valued and respected by society at large.

R. v. Williamson, an interesting case awaiting a hearing before the Supreme Court, helps illustrate these tensions. The case was debated this year at the 2015 Paralegal Cup.

Kenneth Williamson was accused of multiple charges of sexual assault of a minor between 1979-1980. These allegations . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

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.

COMPAGNIES: Le respect par Air Canada des dispositions que la Loi sur la participation publique au capital d’Air Canada lui impose d’intégrer à ses statuts n’a pas à être déterminé en fonction des normes reconnues sous le régime de la Loi canadienne sur les sociétés par actions, dont la . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Summaries Sunday: Maritime Law Book

Summaries of selected recent cases are provided each week to Slaw by Maritime Law Book. Every Sunday we present a precis of the latest summaries, a fuller version of which can be found on MLB-Slaw Selected Case Summaries at

This week’s summaries concern: Administrative Law – Labour Law – Unemployment Insurance

Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc. v. Public Service Alliance of Canada et al. 2015 MBCA 94
Administrative Law – Labour Law
Summary: An arbitrator was appointed to determine 65 grievances. At issue was whether employees could receive two premiums for the same hours worked: the shift premium, . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

The Friday Fillip: A Very Very Important Small Book of Rights and Things You Are Free to Do

I once threw a book across the room in annoyance and disgust. I might have done it more often, I suppose, were it not for my dubious but stubborn position that meaning can be had from almost all prose. But at that moment Derrida defeated me, I recall. It’s no secret, and presumably no shame, that I prefer the analytical school to the post structuralists, when it comes to philosophers. Clear writing seems … better writing.

(I pass over the argument that it’s hard — perhaps impossible — to tell us something new in “clear writing.” That “clarity” is bred . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Crikey! Warnings About Lawyer Independence From Across the Pond

The issue of lawyer independence has been a hot topic over the last year. It’s been frequently mentioned in the debate about whether to introduce alternative business structures in Ontario. Additionally, the Supreme Court of Canada declined to find that the independence of the bar, broadly defined, was a principle of fundamental justice in a decision earlier this year. These two high profile examples reflect the clear continuing relevance of lawyer independence when new regulatory reforms are proposed or instituted.

What are not always so apparent, however, are challenges to lawyer independence that emerge in the absence of any regulatory . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Welcome to Our New Slaw Tips Contributors

You may have noticed that there have been a few new faces (well, names, really) over on our companion site, Slaw Tips. For the unfamiliar, Slaw Tips is where a few select members of our contributor team share short and to-the-point weekly tips directed toward practicing lawyers and those working within the legal field.

We’ve been very lucky, by the way, that our three founding Editors — Dave Bilinsky, Dan Pinnington and Shaunna Mireau, are all still contributing to the site. Not to mention Dave B.’s partner in law practice musings, Garry Wise.

It was actually Dave and Garry’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Thursday Thinkpiece: Cunningham on Reducing Oral Argument Nervousness With CBT

Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt, usually from a recently published book or journal article. In every case the proper permissions have been obtained. If you are a publisher who would like to participate in this feature, please let us know via the site’s contact form.

Using Principles from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Reduce Nervousness in Oral Argument or Moot Court

Larry Cunningham, Associate Academic Dean and Professor of Legal Writing, St. John’s University School of Law
Nevada Law Journal, Vol. 15, No. 586, 2015

Excerpt: Opening anecdote, Introduction, and Section IV
[Footnotes omitted. They can be . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Proposed Ontario Changes to Accessibility Regulations

The Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure has proposed changes to the Customer Service Standard and Integrated Accessibility Standards regulations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). If approved, the changes will be enacted on July 1, 2016, and take immediate effect.

This proposal includes incorporating the Customer Service Standard into the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation and making changes to requirements of the Customer Service Standard (see details below). . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation