Canada’s online legal magazine.

Reasonable Notice: Relevance of Worker’s Past Experience Clarified

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

In a previous First Reference article I wrote on our news service HRinfodesk, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice’s decision in which a successor employer was held liable for a 20-month notice period was written about because of the legislative presumption of continued employment in these circumstances. Readers may refer to that article for an overview of the key facts. Since then, the case was appealed and decided by the Ontario Court of Appeal. In rendering its decision, the court analyzed the common law approach to the calculation of reasonable notice, concluding . . . [more]

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

Smart Contracts at the World Bank

The concept of smart contracts has been around since the 1990s. The basic idea is that contracting parties would reflect some part of their obligations in computer code. This code would be able to recognize (or be told) when conditions for action had been met, or not, and then perform the obligations (execute the contract) or impose penalties for failure to meet the conditions.

This seemed to promise significant reduction in transaction costs, notably of monitoring to see if conditions were satisfied and of execution of the obligations. (Other transaction costs of business, like finding potential deals and negotiating their . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Book Review: Criminal Law and the Man Problem

Several times each month, we are pleased to republish a recent book review from the Canadian Law Library Review (CLLR). CLLR is the official journal of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL/ACBD), and its reviews cover both practice-oriented and academic publications related to the law.

Criminal Law and the Man Problem. By Ngaire Naffine. Oxford: Hart, 2019. xiii, 205 p. Includes bibliographic references and index. ISBN 978-1-50991-801-0 (hardcover) £38.50; ISBN 978-1-50991-802-7 (ePub) £41.58; ISBN 978-1-50991-803-4 (ePDF) £41.58.

Reviewed by Ken Fox
Reference Librarian
Law Society of Saskatchewan Library
In CLLR 45:3

What is the “man” . . . [more]

Posted in: Book Reviews

Should We Clean Up Bad Speech With Artificial Intelligence Before It Happens?

Internet trolls are pervasive. Their comments can be found on websites, Apps (like Instagram), and online groups. “Once a message enters cyberspace, millions of people worldwide can gain access to it. Even if the message is posted in a discussion forum frequented by only a handful of people, any one of them can republish the message … And if the message is sufficiently provocative, it may be republished again and again. The extraordinary capacity of the Internet to replicate almost endlessly any defamatory message lends credence to the notion that ‘the truth rarely catches up with a lie’. The problem . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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. Elias Restaurant v. Keele Sheppard Plaza Inc., 2020 ONSC 5457 (CanLII)

[34] The Landlord’s counsel takes some umbrage at the allegation of racism against his clients, and submits that there is nothing in the record to establish that the Landlord or Manager were racially motivated. Motivation, however, is not the point here. Identifying a family-run restaurant as not family-friendly, and impugning a . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Lawyers

Lawyers work hard and their successes should be celebrated. Clients have a hard time self-evaluating the potential quality of legal services before hiring a lawyer. Both these statements are true; neither is a good reason for Canadian law firms to collectively spend millions of dollars and thousands of hours facilitating for-profit private lawyer rankings. This column argues that large Canadian law firms (and boutiques that serve similar clients) should collectively agree to stop participating in for-profit private lawyer ranking services.

Currently, there are multiple prominent lawyer ranking services that profile lawyers in large law firms/boutiques as well as the firms . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Does the Proposed 25% LSO Fee Reduction Make Any Sense?

The last six months have been a challenge for everyone. The impacts of the pandemic have differed but no one has been spared. Lawyers and paralegals are no different. We have all been affected, in varying degrees and in varying ways. For many of us, the fact that we provide professional services rather produce goods or provide retail services has helped as many professional services need not be provided in person. Remote work has been possible for many. But some have been particularly affected.

The incomes of those who are employed, whether in business, government, larger firms or otherwise, have . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

Never Say Never

In 2014 I wrote a column about researching Native American Law. In it I discussed the controversy over sports teams whose names and mascots were perceived as being derogatory and racist. The most egregious of these names was that of the Washington Redskins football team. In 2013 their owner, Dan Snyder told USA Today that “We’ll never change the name.” “NEVER – you can use caps.” To read more about the history of opposition to the name see this Wikipedia entry.

In 2020 never is now. The US is roiling with protests against systemic racism and its symbols. In . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

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.


Update the Most Important 120 Characters on Your LinkedIn Profile
Sandra Bekhor

When you post content on LinkedIn or even comment on someone else’s post, what part of your profile do your connections see in their feed? Three things. That’s it. A mini thumbnail of your headshot. Your name. A headline (120 characters or less). …

Research & Writing

Neil Guthrie

Long, long ago, when the interweb . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Lowering the Primary Barrier to Legal Innovation – Access to Good Data

[Editor’s note: does not typically publish releases or announcements, but we are making an exception here below. We wish Colin the best of luck in his new non-profit initiative.]

Ottawa, September 21, 2020 – The Legal Innovation Data Institute brings the power of many to meet the interests of all.

Imagine trying to write a story with only a partial alphabet. Or trying to write a song with access to just a few notes. It’s the same with legal data – the more you can access, the more you can do. Through a unique member and collaborator model, LIDI . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements

Thoughts on Why I Write (And Why You Might Want to Too)

I have been thinking about writing lately. There are so many reasons why people write and so much it can give them and the community, so I thought I would share a bit here about why I write and give some suggestions on why you might want to write too.

When I started writing for publication in about 2010, I wrote about issues that mattered to me professionally (You can read some of these early pieces here). This started because I found that I had things I wanted to say and talked about it when I went out . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Publishing

Youth Voices: A Call to Action for Family Lawyers and Mediators–Part 1

This is Part 1 of a two-part piece focusing on how family lawyers and mediators can participate in and support the Youth Voices Initiative.

It has been 10 years since Brené Brown published her book The Gifts of Imperfection. In Brené’s words:

This book was an invitation to join a wholehearted revolution. “A small, quiet, grassroots movement that starts with each of us saying, ‘My story matters because I matter.’ Revolution might sound a little dramatic, but in this world, choosing authenticity and worthiness is an absolute act of resistance.”

What does this have to do with the Youth . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution