Canada’s online legal magazine.

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.

FISCALITÉ : Le juge de la Cour supérieure, siégeant en appel, a commis une erreur en rejetant les requêtes en exclusion de la preuve présentées par des contribuables accusés d’évasion fiscale, en annulant les verdicts d’acquittement et en ordonnant de nouveaux procès; le jugement de première instance ne comportait . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

The Future of Our Courts: Online Courts

“The Future Has Arrived — It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed Yet.” – William Gibson

In “Online Courts and the Future of Justice”, Richard Susskind proclaims that our courts are moving towards radical change. Conceived in the dark ages and modified in the 19th century, our courts are now overwhelmed by paper and archaic processes. The operations of our courts seem increasingly out of place in our digital society.

Susskind predicts that we will see court services delivered in a blend of physical, virtual, and online courts. The 2020s will be a period of redeployment of lawyers and judges. By . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

The End Is Not Yet Nigh: Remote Dispute Resolution in the Age of COVID-19

It would be nice if there was an inverse correlation between the frequency of family law disputes and the gravity of social crises, but, thanks to the peculiarities of human nature, such is not the case. As Canada’s provincial and superior courts batten down the hatches, it’s important to remember that efficient and effective dispute resolution alternatives exist, and are available even where trial dates have been set. Best of all, in this time of social distancing, many of these alternatives do not require the participants to be in the same room at the same time.

Mediation and arbitration can . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

It Kind of Works

You can’t really miss it: a huge square concrete wall full of graffiti. In the middle, a dignified sign in UN blue & white. Casa Justitia Cuidad Bolivar. This is not a chique neighbourhood. Small taxi’s, old trucks, and most people take the bus. There’s also the cable car to get to the higher parts of the barrio. The building is attached to the municipal offices. Local justice and administration, hand in hand. Around them, the small shops and café’s that form the livelihood of some and a critical service for others. This is down-town, everyday life.

Houses of Justice . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Houston, We Have a Problem With Your Termination

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

In modern times, employers and investigators alike must be increasingly technologically savvy. Evidence can take on many forms, including texts, emails and information posted to social media accounts. Many employers provide phones to their employees which are password-protected and rely on virtual storage of data in the “cloud.” As the workplace becomes further digitized, and as more offices become mobile or virtual, workplace investigations will increasingly target such elusive electronic data. As illustrated in the recent British Columbia labour arbitration decision District of Houston v. Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology, Technology: Office Technology

Incentives for Internet Security

Almost everything of social or financial value is now online in some form, benefitting in many ways from the interconnection with the world, and tempting in many other ways to the world’s thieves and saboteurs. As a result, Internet security has never been more important to personal, corporate and political interests than it is now.

Yet we read weekly of new damage done to online resources: legal service firms taken offline by ransomware, virtual currencies highjacked, endless personal records stolen from enterprises in all lines of business. It is remarkable how rarely critical infrastructure – power supplies, transportation, communications – . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Covid-19 Tech and Security Resources

For every good deed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic (such as telcos not charging for long distance or data overages) there is someone trying to take advantage of it.

It’s not just people buying all the hand sanitizer they can get and reselling it online for a profit. Bad actors have been sending malware and phishing attempts disguised as Covid-19 emails.

At the same time, more people than ever before are working remotely. IT departments are scrambling to set people up who have not worked remotely before, and to scale up to support larger numbers. Some businesses are revisiting . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology

The Future of Justice in a COVID-19 World

I wrote this column and submitted it to Slaw on March 6, back when we didn’t know how good we had it. I’m writing this new prologue on March 17, with much of Canada and the world effectively in lockdown because of COVID-19.

I thought about rewriting the column to reflect our new reality. Instead, I’m adding a frame around it, because I think the column still stands on its own merits. But COVID-19 and our societal responses to it are in the process of crushing our slow, creaky, in-person justice system, and the lessons here about human-centred design are . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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. Wilcox v Alberta, 2020 ABCA 104 (CanLII)

[44] The foregoing suggests that there is an important difference between an initial placement in a given facility (often stemming from a security classification) and placing an inmate in solitary confinement within that facility. While the former might not implicate habeas corpus to the extent it forms part of the initial deprivation of liberty . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Mismanaging Time: How Not to Manage Projects, Part 2

This is the second article in a series about mismanaging projects. In other words, if you can avoid doing the stuff here, you’ll be on the road to managing projects effectively.

There are five aspects you have to manage to move projects forward effectively:

  1. The project itself, discussed in the previous column.
  2. Time.
  3. Money.
  4. The client.
  5. The team.

Let’s talk about mismanaging time. This topic is complex, and I’ll break it into two sections, concluding in my next column.

The Matrix of Project Times

The table below flags time-related issues on three different scales for various aspects of a project . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

The Coronavirus Pandemic and Access to Justice

Slightly over 30 years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a self-initiated injunction by the Chief Justice of British Columbia to prevent picketing in front of the courthouses in British Columbia: B.C.G.E.U. v. British Columbia (Attorney General). As Dickson CJ said in his opening statement in the majority decision, “This case involves the fundamental right of every Canadian citizen to have unimpeded access to the courts and the authority of the courts to protect and defend that constitutional right.” The union did not have the right to impede access to the courts. Twenty years later, the unprecedented spread . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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.

Practice

Lawyers Ahoy-Hoy: Six Tips for Better Telephone Calls
Shawn Erker

Like fashion, communication methods evolve, change, and sometimes come back again. During the twentieth century, telephones became ubiquitous, largely replacing the need for written telegrams and letters. …

Research & Writing

More on (Non-)Latin Plurals
Neil Guthrie

I groan (inwardly) every time I see or hear the word syllabi at the law school where I teach. Syllabus has . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday