Canada’s online legal magazine.

Refugees in Schools: Intersection of Municipal Law & Federal Obligations

To date, the Federal government has accepted 27,580 Syrian refugees into Canada through various government programs and private sponsorships. The processing of this volume of applications has been a monumental task. In meetings, the Deputy Minister described how they created a 24/7 processing machine, using their resources around the globe to increase efficiency and decrease processing times. These +27,500 refugees join the ~150,000 other refugees from other source countries. When they arrive, there is no doubt that they require significant settlement services and the children need access to education. This is where things can get messy. While the Federal government . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Miscellaneous

Amendments to the Customer Service Standard Under the AODA Effective July 1

On June 6, 2016, the Ontario government announced that changes to the Customer Service Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) will come into force on July 1, 2016, and apply to all organizations providing goods, services or facilities in the province. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Law’s Reverse Musical Chair Challenge

Despite recent years of decades-low law school application levels, law school seats are still heavily over-subscribed. Similarly, for those who graduate (which, to be honest, is nearly every single admitted student that manages to pay tuition), the opportunities to be called and to practice as a lawyer is case of too many grads and too few jobs. Yet when it comes to supporting the legal needs of the public, lawyers aren’t even close to filling the chairs that exist, much less the new ones added each day. Worse, we’re increasingly less interested in doing so.

Estimates and sources vary, but . . . [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. R. v. Olson, 2016 BCPC 150

[63] Mr. Olson’s entire relationship with the complainant, outside of the sexual one, was steeped in his role at the school: as a teacher, a house leader and as one of the group of teachers and house parents who stood in a parental role for all of the students. There was an inherent power imbalance . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Artificial Intelligence in Law: What Are the Consequences for Law Librarians?

Several Slaw contributors have written recently about the use of artificial intelligence in law (Tim Knight here, Nate Russell here) with particular reference to the program on “Computers in Legal Research” at the conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries held in Vancouver this past May, moderated by Slaw’s Steve Matthews. I attended the program. I was disappointed though not surprised that none of the speakers was a librarian; and, while there was much discussion of the potential and possible consequences of artificial intelligence (AI) in legal practice, there was, aside from the moderator’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

The Challenges of Developing and Maintaining a Precedent Database

Law firms have found, by hard experience, that creating and then – more important – maintaining a precedent library is a challenging task. Some firms have foundered in the seemingly straightforward process of simply creating firm precedents. Others that have succeeded in that task have found that ongoing maintenance is, if anything, even more challenging.

One firm that seems to have got it right is Gowling WLG. The person primarily responsible for this task is Graeme Coffin, the National Business Law Precedents Partner, Mark Tamminga, who is Partner, Leader of Innovation Initiatives, is working with Graeme on . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

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 research and writing, practice, and technology.

Research & Writing
Waffle
Neil Guthrie

This was my grade-10 English teacher’s expression for useless verbiage. Other ways to say it: throat-clearing, filler, circumlocution, BS. …

Practice
Is That an Assistant in Your Pocket?

Andrea Cannavina

I started this article a while back after reviewing a NY Times article entitled: “Siri, Alexa and Other Virtual Assistants Put to the Test” (http://ow.ly/XABKz) as it highlighted the issue I have . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Email: Friend or Foe of the Courts?

In Ontario most court documents are filed in paper, with e-filing appearing mostly to be a distant dream. Similarly, court documents, other than originating documents, tend to be served by fax and not by email. Everyone loves that fax confirmation page despite the fact that emails can come with a read receipt.

So should we be allowed to communicate with the court through email? Should the court be encouraged to communicate with litigants via email?

Email is a blessing and a curse. It is easy to use. It is fast. It is convenient. But on the other hand, important emails . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Technology

Ontario Lawyers: New Rule 48.14: Counterclaims, Crossclaims, and Third Party Claims Will Also Be Administratively Dismissed

This article is by Ian Hu, claims prevention and praticePRO Counsel at LAWPRO.

We have received inquiries regarding whether a defendant’s counterclaim, crossclaim, or third party claim is also dismissed when the main action is administratively dismissed under Rule 48.14. The answer depends on the kind of claim. The defendant’s counterclaim and crossclaim will be automatically dismissed unless certain steps are taken within prescribed timelines. In the case of a crossclaim against the defendant, the dismissal order will need to be served on the crossclaimant. See the analysis below.

As we know, Rule 48.14(1) sets out the circumstances under which . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings …?*

But a breakthrough won’t be hard. We only need to look at things from a slightly different angle—which might happen in a hundred years or this afternoon.”—David Gelernter

One thing that came up during the “Computers and Legal Research” session that I reported on in my last post was the issue of copyright, specifically: Does AI create new, secondary IP rights? Or, will a machine be able to claim copyright? Very interesting questions. I’m not sure if this is what Nate Russell meant when he wrote at the end of his excellent post from last week . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Judicial Confidentiality

Do judges and former judges owe a duty of confidentiality? This might seem like a silly question. After all, the legal system zealously protects judicial deliberations from compelled disclosure. However, when it comes to recognizing any restriction on judges’ ability to voluntarily disclose or use such deliberations, to date there has been silence. Hopefully, that may soon change as various actors consider the implications of retired judges returning to the practice of law.

The Supreme Court has recognized an absolute privilege that protects the confidentiality of communications between judges in cases: see Mackeigan v. Hickman (1989) and Ontario (Public Safety . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

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 seventy 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. Michael Geist 2. IFLS Osgoode 3. Canadian Class Actions Monitor 4. Susan on the Soapbox 5. National Magazine Blog

Michael Geist
Former Copyright Board Chair Vancise Takes Aim at the Board Critics

The Honourable William Vancise, the former Chair of the Copyright Board of Canada, recently delivered a combative . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix