Canada’s online legal magazine.

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. C.M. Callow Inc. v. Zollinger, 2020 SCC 45 (CanLII)

[197] The requirement that parties not lie is straightforward. But what kind of conduct is covered by the requirement that they not otherwise knowingly mislead each other? Absent a duty to disclose, it is far from obvious when exactly one’s silence will “knowingly mislead” the other contracting party. Are we to draw . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Who Is a Legal Information Specialist in 2021?

About a million years ago…wait, that was just 2020.

Back in 2011-2012 I was invited to collaborate with colleagues on Legal Information Specialists: A Guide to Launching and Building Your Career with colleagues from the Canadian Association of Law Libraries. At the time, Annette Demers asked contributors to gather some quotes from our colleagues about the value they considered in having a Legal Information Specialist team member. As uncomfortable as it was, I asked colleagues to write something. My colleague James T. Casey, QC who was then Managing Partner of Field Law wrote this which appears on page . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

Taking Mental Health Seriously: A Review of the American National Judicial Stress and Resiliency Survey

It was recently reported in the Law Times that lawyers’ mental health is worsening during the pandemic. Similarly, the American Bar Association released a study (conducted pre-pandemic) showing that judges are experiencing severe stress.

The National Judicial Stress and Resiliency Survey showed that:

  • almost 4 out of 10 judges reported stress from fatigue and low energy.
  • 1 in 5 judges met at least 1 criteria for depressive disorder (such as not having initiative, preoccupation with negative thoughts, work is no longer meaningful, can’t wait for the day’s work to end and depressed mood).

The National Task Force Report made recommendations . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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.

Research & Writing

More Redundancies
Neil Guthrie

Lawyers find it difficult to use one word when they could use two. Here are some further examples. Forward progress: All progress is forward-looking; that’s why it’s progress. Null and void: The two elements mean the same thing, so there is no need to use both. … . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Law Publishing, Editorial Freedom, Standards and Ethics

I would not have thought that in the relatively safe and narrow information publishing world with which I am familiar, I would ever encounter special interest, external interference and attempts to limit editorial freedom, other than, obviously, in giving and receiving training controls, rules and processes for the job and for other obviously legitimate and legally-compliant reasons. I have experienced it though, not for the first time, but most recently in my capacity as the editor of an information and communications periodical. It should be stressed that the publication in question does not overtly or primarily cover legal matters . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

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. Labour Pains 2. Mack’s Criminal Law Blog 3. Legal Post Blog 4. Canadian Combat Sports Law Blog 5. Pension & Benefits Law

Labour Pains
Top Three Cases of Importance to Ontario Employment Law – 2020 Edition

Twenty. Twenty. The year of 366 days, countless regulations and public

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

How the Law Abandons Those Who Speak Up in the Public Interest

On December 3, my new report titled Whistleblowers Not Protected: How the Law Abandons Those Who Speak Up in the Public Interest in Alberta was published by the Parkland Institute. The report looks at whistleblowing in a broad sense, meaning anyone who either publicly or anonymously discloses information that is in the public interest.

The report considers not only the gross deficiencies of Alberta’s whistleblower protection legislation but also looks at the need for both anti-SLAPP legislation, and a journalist shield law to protect confidential news sources.

The week before the report, a major controversy erupted in Alberta politics over . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Defining Essential Travel During the Pandemic

Like most countries around the world, Canada introduced early travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. These restrictions are necessary to limit the spread of the virus, and become increasingly important as new strains are being identified and also being brought into Canada.

In March 2020, the Canadian government began imposing restrictions on travel, initially to allow for citizens, permanent residents, international students on a valid study permit, transiting passengers, and temporary foreign workers, to enter the country.

By May 2020, foreigners who were exempt from the travel restrictions had to demonstrate that the purpose was for an essential reason. At . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Meaningful Access to Justice: What Is the Role for Tribunals and Adjudicators?

A review of “The Justice Crisis: The Cost and Value of Accessing Law”, Edited by Trevor C.W. Farrow and Lesley A. Jacobs (UBC Press, 2020)

This recent book arises out of the research done by members of the Costs of Justice research project with a focus on the cost and affordability of justice in the civil and family law areas. The two main research questions in this project are: what is the cost of delivering an effective civil justice system; and, what are the economic and social costs of failing to do so?

The main audiences for this book are . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Doing the Two-Step on Uneven Platforms: Successes and Setbacks of Human Rights Advocacy

Human rights advocates are sometimes asked whether human rights advocacy works. Most human rights defenders answer in the form of anecdotes, because empirical research on effectiveness is scarce in a world where human rights advocates have limited resources and are increasingly in danger. This report reviews some 2020 successes and setbacks experienced by the pro bono advocates of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC). The year 2021 will require renewed energy and resources for visionary and persistent human rights advocacy that makes a positive difference to people at risk.

The gap between international law and reality

It is undeniable that human . . . [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.

Research & Writing

Terrible Transitions
Neil Guthrie

In an op-ed piece prompted by the Ontario government’s threatened invocation of the Charter’s ‘notwithstanding’ clause (s 33), Professor Lissa Paul of Brock University mused about the prevalence of similar ‘useless adverbs’ in student writing: ‘”Notwithstanding” and the Transition Word Epidemic’ … . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

This US Election May Finally Be Over and Other Year End News From Washington, DC

I have good news from DC about the US election. On Monday, December 14 the United States Electoral College met virtually and certified that Joe Biden is the President-elect and Kamala Harris as Vice-President-elect. The drama continues to drag on due to the machinations of a very sore loser, but many Republicans are finally acknowledging the fact. I think that the Electoral College is an outdated institution that violates the principle of “one person, one vote”. Its state winner-take-all approach can result in the winner of the popular vote losing the election as has happened twice in this century. However . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information