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LawNow Special Report: Self Represented-Litigants

In the most recent issue of LawNow, a publication of the Centre For Public Legal Education Alberta, there is a “Special Report” on self-represented litigants.

It includes 3 articles:

What Self–Represented Litigants (Actually) Want by Sarah Burton, a lawyer with the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre in Calgary: “Countless reports, working groups, and studies have asked this question, and reached diverse and creative conclusions. However, these papers often share one critical failing: none of them actually ask SRLs what they think. Enter the Self-Represented Litigants Project (Dr. Julie Macfarlane, “The National Self-Represented Litigants Project: Identifying and Meeting . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Privilege for Patent and Trademark Agents

More changes are coming to intellectual property legislation as part of the latest federal budget announcements. Changes have been announced for the Patent Act, the Trade-marks Act, the Copyright Act and the Industrial Design Act.

These changes follow an overhaul of the intellectual property legislation last year (see previous article) to make Canada’s legislation more consistent with international treaties. The implementing regulations from last year’s changes are still being developed with implementation not expected until late 2016.

The latest changes were announced in the Budget in April 2015 and the specific proposed amendments included in . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Be Heard: The Ontario Ministry of Labour Wants to Hear From You!

Public consultations commenced in Toronto on June 16th as part of the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s (“MOL”) implementation of the Changing Workplaces Review, and are expected to continue throughout the summer until mid-September.

The Changing Workplaces Review was announced earlier this year as part of MOL’s mandate to increase protection for workers and create a support environment for businesses to thrive. The review will consist of public consultations in regions across Ontario to address the changing nature of the modern workplace. The consultations will focus on potential amendments to the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (“LRA”) and the Employment . . . [more]

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

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. Sorochan v Bouchier, 2015 ABCA 212

[39] Thus, another equally plausible inference is that, given her age and the permanent and significant nature of her disability, it was not reasonable for the appellant to apply for Long Term Disability Benefits and meet its rehabilitation requirements with a view to someday returning to the classroom. It is far from certain that she . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Practice Compassion

July 1 and Q3 begin after midnight. I cannot believe that the year is flying by so quickly, again. One strategy that is helping me to maintain focus with my very busy portfolio is to have a theme for the week. These themes are meant as reminders – I guess they are in the spirit of mindfulness – on ways to approach being part of a team/firm/practice/group.

Last month’s theme, it was a good one so it prevailed, was resilience. Picturing Dory from Finding Nemo singing “just keep swimming” was useful and entertaining. As far as resilience goes, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Geographical Scope of the Master Expanding

Masters have been a fixture in the Toronto Court system for many years. For those who are unfamiliar, a Master is an adjudicator who is permitted to hear certain proceedings and make certain Orders. Unlike a Judge who has inherent jurisdiction, the Master takes his/her jurisdiction from statute and the Rules of Civil Procedure.

In municipalities and counties where there are no Masters a Judge hears all matters. As such, in municipalities and counties where there are Masters, the Masters typically lift a heavy burden off of the Judges in those jurisdictions. Indeed, the Toronto Masters carry a heavy . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Integrating the Profession in Experiential Legal Education

Experiential legal education has been the subject of numerous papers, conferences, and innovative curriculum changes in the United States in the past decade. In October 2012 the first National Symposium on Experiential Education in Law was held at Northeastern University in Boston. I attended that symposium, and came away inspired by the topics and discussions.

In June 2014 the Second National Symposium on Experiential Education in Law took place at Elon University in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Alliance for Experiential Learning in Law and Elon University School of Law hosted the symposium. To my regret, I was unable to attend . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

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.

Research

Say Thank You
Shaunna Mireau

When someone does or says something nice to, for, or about you, it is appropriate to express your gratitude. This holds true for someone who goes out of their way to assist you with your legal research problem. I am not especially advocating a regular contribution to the wine fridge of your local law librarian who helps you all the time – I leave . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Communications Breakdown: When a Lawyer Doesn’t Share

After getting some work done on his cottage, Dale Orlando, partner at McLeish, Orlando LLP in Toronto, had a dispute with the contractor over fees.

“He was doing work that needed to be done but without clearing it with me first,” Orlando says. As a result the project went over budget. “I should have been communicated with before the work was done, not afterwards.”

Imagine going for surgery without the doctor telling you where they will be cutting. That would be unthinkable. Similarly, why should the client allow the lawyer to proceed without knowing what was being done?

Clients need . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Indigenous Law Portal Celebrates Canada’s National Aboriginal Day

National Aboriginal Day was on June 21. The Library of Congress celebrated this event by providing access to Canadian aboriginal law on the Indigenous Law Portal. This is the first time the Indigenous Law Portal has provided coverage that extends beyond the United States.

The Indigenous Law Portal: Canada is organized in three regions: Northern Canada and Arctic, Eastern Canada and Western Canada. The information can also be searched alphabetically or by province. Jennifer Gonzalez has written a nice introductory blog post including information about the origins of Canada’s National Aboriginal Day.

For more information . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Novel Approaches to Sentencing in Occupational Health and Safety Convictions

The Nova Scotia Provincial Court is taking new approaches to dealing with occupational health and safety violations. Recently, it sentenced a company found guilty of breaching Occupational Health and Safety laws to complete community service hours.

The sentence was delivered pursuant to Section 75 of Nova Scotia’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, which allows the court to order any number of creative conditions which serve the purpose of “securing the offender’s good conduct and…preventing the offender from repeating the same offence”.

The company’s conviction came after an experienced employee was fatally electrocuted. In determining culpability, the Court found that . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Two Factor Belt and Suspenders

Weak passwords are out. Strong passwords are in but may not be enough to protect you. When you use dual or two factor authentication, you add a hurdle to those attempting to get unauthorized access to your law practice information. It doesn’t involve your finger or your face, which are password replacements and not necessarily better. Instead, you supplement your username and password with a one-time code.

You already use two factor authentication in other parts of your life. Probably the most common is the PIN and cash card. You have to have both the card, inserted in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology