Canada’s online legal magazine.

It’s Finally (Sort Of) Here!: A Duty of Technological Competence for Canadian Lawyers

For years, Slaw commentators (including myself) have called for Canadian law societies to adopt a duty of technological competence for lawyers. On October 19, 2019, a major development occurred, which has largely gone unnoticed. The Federation of Law Societies of Canada amended its Model Code of Professional Conduct to add the following commentary to the competence rule (r. 3.1-2):

[4A] To maintain the required level of competence, a lawyer should develop an understanding of, and ability to use, technology relevant to the nature and area of the lawyer’s practice and responsibilities. A lawyer should understand the benefits and risks associated . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Which Tables Do You Pull Your Chair Up To?

As the President of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries, I was privileged to spend a few days with my fellow volunteer board members recently. Part of our time was devoted to planning around the strategic direction of our association. Though our board includes a diverse cross-section of legal information professionals when measured by geography, institution type, and role, we all self identify as “law librarians”. Even me and I am semi-retired and work in legal research technology sales.

Our strategy discussion asked what is going well or poorly, who are we today and is that different from how we . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

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 more than 80 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. Double Aspect 2. Canadian Appeals Monitor 3. BC Injury Law Blog 4. Pension & Benefits Law 5. Canadian Combat Sports Law Blog

Double Aspect
Rafilovich: A Textualist (or Quasi-Textualist) Turn?

Since Telus v Wellman, the Supreme Court of Canada has moved towards a sort of “textually

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

One of the Poorest Countries Can Be the Most Innovative

Not many of my friends knew much about Niger. Most assumed I mispronounced. “You mean Nigeria?”. Those that had heard of it had wondered why I was going to a place full of jihadis, weapon smugglers, and human traffickers. They had not seen the nation’s capital Niamey’s Diori Hamani airport. It is brand new and reflects determination. The first customers were the African Union heads of state at their summit in July.

Now it served me. Liman, the protocol officer, stood behind the customs with a sign bearing my name. “Welcome to Niger!”, he smiled, and talked me through customs. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Digital Assets Revisited

A recent news story, on CBC and elsewhere, told of a woman whose son went missing for two years. When she found his body (in a morgue), she did not know why he died. She has been trying to get information about his social media accounts, in order to see if there was something particular on his mind that might explain his death.

She has not been very successful, especially with the US social media giants like Yahoo and Google. (She did get an order from a Canadian court that got her some information from Canadian sources.)

Question: should the . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Planning Tribunal Upholds Toronto’s Short-Term Rental by-Laws

Housing affordability has become a policy priority for Canadians. For the first time, Statistics Canada has measured wait-lists for social and affordable housing, in an attempt to determine the extent of the crisis.

The results of the Canadian Housing Survey, 2018, were released this week providing the first set of results,

The place we call home, whether it be a small high-rise flat downtown or a large house on the edge of town, is one of the defining features of our lives.

The housing landscape in Canada has changed markedly over the past decade. There has been a shift

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

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.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : Pour empêcher que le meurtre d’honneur soit réduit à un homicide involontaire coupable, le législateur a choisi de restreindre la notion de «geste provocateur» à celui «qui constituerait un acte criminel prévu à la présente loi passible d’un emprisonnement de cinq ans ou plus»; cette modification apportée . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Let There Be Light – the Primary Function of AI in Legal Research

Imagine a library that tried to save money by relying on candles instead of electricity. Any dollars saved come at the expense of knowledge lost. Without adequate light, the contents of a library are as inaccessible as if the doors were closed.

In the world of legal information, light comes to the “library” through indices, key number systems, topic digests, abridgments, and more. Digitization, electronic access, multi-field search, hyperlinks and boolean logic add more light, but are still merely candles.

Candles are discrete tools designed to provide light only within a limited range of where the candle is placed. Compare . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Technology

Friday Jobs Roundup

Each Friday, we share the latest job listings from Slaw Jobs, which features employment opportunities from across the country. Find out more about these positions by following the links below, or learn how you can use Slaw Jobs to gain valuable exposure for your job ads, while supporting the great Canadian legal commentary at Slaw.ca.

Current postings on Slaw Jobs (newest first):

. . . [more]
Posted in: Friday Jobs Roundup

Injured at Work: Tribunal Clarifies the Limits

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

In a recent “right to sue application,” Decision No. 550/19, the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal considered whether a truck driver who sustained an injury at the workplace a short time after his work assignment ended was entitled to sue the employer. In reaching its conclusion that the right to sue was taken away by legislation, the Tribunal made key findings on the issues of whether the truck driver was a worker or an independent contractor and whether the injury was sustained in the course of the . . . [more]

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

Thursday Thinkpiece: What Makes Court Forms Complex?

Periodically on Thursdays, 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.

What Makes Court Forms Complex? Studying Empirical Support for a Functional Literacy Approach
15:1 Journal of Law & Equality 31 (2019)

Amy Salyzyn, Associate Professor, Faculty of Common Law, University of Ottawa
Jacquelyn Burkell, Associate Professor, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, Western University
Emma Costain, Associate Lawyer, Nelligan . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Change, Hard Truths, and Project Management

This is the fourth and final column of a series on the Ten Laws of (Legal) Project Management. This column covers the last four laws, followed by a recap of all ten.

7. The Only Constant Is Change, So Plan on It

In some ways, this law gets to the heart of project management. As General Eisenhower once said, “Plans are useless, but planning is essential.” (Different sources offer slightly different phrasings for this quotation… which I suppose is a type of change, too.)

Another project maxim suggests, “You can have it good, you can have it fast, you . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law