Canada’s online legal magazine.

Ontario Land Titles System to Add Risk to Owners

The Ontario Land Titles Act pushes onto an owner the risk of the owner’s transfer being void. It does so, even if the owner took proper care when buying. This is an outdated idea. Most modern land titles systems don’t use it.

Ontario’s Bill 27, the Burden Reduction Act, 2016, includes a major change to the Ontario Land Titles Act. The bill aims to modernize Acts and reduce their burden. The bill would put a new definition of a “fraudulent instrument” into the Ontario Land Titles Act. This would push even more risk onto an owner. It . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

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, writing, and practice.

Research & Writing

Search Strategy—Cast Your Net Wide
Ken Fox

Good keyword searching practice varies from database to database, depending on how the data is structured and how the search engine works. But there are some principles that apply to most situations. …

Confusing Pairs, Part 1
Neil Guthrie

Words you mix up at your own peril. Adverse: unfavourable (‘adverse weather conditions); opposite (‘adverse in interest’). Averse: against, opposed to . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

How Would Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Comments About Donald Trump Play Out in Canada?

Donald Trump and his polarizing ideas have attracted widespread criticism. However, I suspect that few expected to find a harsh, vocal critic in a United States Supreme Court justice. Judges, after all, are held to the highest standards of impartiality, and political statements can easily raise the question of judicial bias. Against this backdrop, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s comments about Trump’s presidential campaign present an interesting case study. What happens when a judge is openly opposed to a presidential candidate but has no relevant case on the docket? Could such a comment lead to a finding of bias in Canada? . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

New Legal Trends Report Provides Data Insights for Small- to Medium-Sized Law Firms

In the 4,000-year history of the legal profession, unbiased information sharing has never been the norm. Instead, insights have remained siloed in large institutions—or traded anecdotally among groups at networking events.

That changes with today’s release of the Legal Trends Report. The Legal Trends Report is being published by Clio, the world’s most widely-used legal practice management platform (disclosure: I am the founder and CEO of Clio). By leveraging anonymized, aggregate data from 40,000 active Clio users and over $60 billion in billing volume, the Legal Trends Report provides new insights into topics including average billing rates by state, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading: Recommended, Technology, Technology: Internet

Working Together for Change: Strategies to Address Issues of Systemic Racism in the Legal Professions

The Law Society of Upper Canada created the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group in 2012 to identify the challenges faced by racialized lawyers and paralegals and consider strategies for enhanced inclusion at all career stages.

After gathering extensive information about the challenges faced by racialized licensees and best practices to address these challenges, the Working Group prepared a consultation paper, which was presented to Convocation on October 30, 2014. The paper included a series of questions for the professions and public to consider and provide feedback. Consultation meetings were held in key cities during the winter of 2015. . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements

Like Moneyball for Lawyers?

There is a growing trend to bring the tools of data analysis into legal practice, and much of the media coverage references Michael Lewis’ 2003 book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game*, or perhaps the movie based on the book:

With so many things being described as being “like moneyball”, I started to wonder what Moneyball actually said. It also made me wonder what analytics can best be used to illuminate legal information, and where the data could come from, so I read the book:

Lewis discusses the development of the statistics required to adequately measure baseball . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

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. Susan on the Soapbox  2. Slater Vecchio Connected 3. McElroy Law Blog  4. IPilogue  5. Pensions & Benefits Law

Susan on the Soapbox
Never Watch a Presidential Debate When You’ve Got the Flu

Ms Soapbox has the flu and missed Thanksgiving dinner last night with her family and friends. . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Entire Agreement Clause Doesn’t Trump Unconscionability

Donald Trump is estimated to have been involved in over 3,500 lawsuits, unprecedented for any presidential nominee. Most recently, he threatened to sue for defamation over further allegations of groping. Sources, however, indicate he hasn’t actually sued a news outlet in decades, and his threats may have a boomerang effect.

It’s clear that he has other legal disputes on this side of the border as well. Many of them involve the tower in downtown Toronto which bears his name. Only one of them has been reported though, and the Court of Appeal recently weighed in on this action . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, 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) : Accusés de complot, de corruption et d’importation de drogue à l’issue de l’opération policière «Projet Colisée», les appelants voient leurs verdicts de culpabilité confirmés par la Cour, ainsi que les peines de détention à purger au sein de la collectivité qui leur ont été imposées.

Intitulé :  . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Summaries Sunday: Supreme Advocacy

On one Sunday each month we bring you a summary from Supreme Advocacy LLP of recent decisions at the Supreme Court of Canada. Supreme Advocacy LLP offers a weekly electronic newsletter, Supreme Advocacy Letter, to which you may subscribe. It’s a summary of all appeals and leaves to appeal granted, so you know what the S.C.C. will soon be dealing with (August 26 – October 14, 2016 inclusive).


Aboriginal/Municipal Law: Assessment
Musqueam Indian Band v. Musqueam Indian Band (Board of Review), 2016 SCC 36 (36478)

A use restriction under a lease can be considered in determining the value

. . . [more]
Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Student Loan Debt: A Crisis for Law Students, Young Lawyers and Far Too Many Underserviced Communities

It is a distinct honour for me, in my capacity as Dean of Law at Thompson Rivers University (TRU Law), to provide a contribution to the Canadian Council of Law Deans series of important issues affecting legal education and the legal profession. I have chosen to select the critical challenge for today’s law students (and recent law graduates) of the ever increasing costs of legal education in Canada. I recently was talking with a law classmate of mine (UBC ’75,) who is now a distinguished justice, about tuition fees. His recollection was that we were paying approximately $450/year to pursue . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

New Law Library of Congress Reports on Encrypted Communications and Foreign Intelligence Gathering

In Custodia Legis, the blog of the Law Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., reported earlier this week on two recent comparative law reports published by the institution.

The first, Government Access to Encrypted Communications, “describes the law of 12 nations and the European Union on whether the government, pursuant to a court order or other government process, can require companies to decrypt encrypted communications or provide the government with the means to do so”.

The other one is an updated version of an earlier report entitled Foreign Intelligence Gathering Laws that examines the legislation regulating the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Foreign Law