Canada’s online legal magazine.

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

Has an Act Come Into Force?
Susannah Tredwell

While some acts come into force on Royal Assent, many require Proclamation or an Order in Council to do so. A number of provinces publish tables that let you see if a specific act has been proclaimed…


Use an Email Recall System That Actually Works
Luigi Benetton

People who try to recall an email after they’ve sent . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

“Boring Game Changers” to Improve Your Practice

I have attended my share of legal tech conferences in the last few years (as we all do), and I couldn’t help but notice that in comparison with events from, say, 5 years ago, many of them didn’t have any actionable content for attendees. The audience (lawyers, by a large majority) was sent home at the end of the day feeling like there was nothing left to do but watch the (AI, blockchain, you name it) train pass.

Yet, I’m a firm believer that there is still a lot of room for significant productivity improvements in a fairly traditional legal . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

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. Global Workplace Insider 2. Employment & Human Rights Law in Canada 3. First Reference 4. Lash Condo Law 5. Eloise Gratton

Global Workplace Insider
New York State issues final guidance on anti-sexual harassment law and delays mandatory annual training deadline

In September 2018, we reported on New

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Parliamentary Privilege Does Not Always Reign Supreme

The next few years are likely to reveal further insight into the demarcations between the judiciary and the legislature, given the election of the right-leaning political parties in Canada’s largest provinces.

With the introduction of Bill 31 in Ontario, the government justified it no no small part on the basis of parliamentary privilege. House Leader Hon. Todd Smith cited the House of Commons Procedure and Practice as the basis for the Bill during the debate on Sept. 1, 2018 as follows:

The exclusive right of the House of Commons to regulate its own internal affairs refers especially to its control

. . . [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.

PROCÉDURE CIVILE : Le jugement de la Cour supérieure ayant déclaré irrecevables les paragraphes des avis aux procureures générales intimées portant sur les moyens de contestation constitutionnelle des dispositions législatives encadrant l’aide médicale à mourir fondés sur les articles 7 et 15 de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Thursday Thinkpiece: Bowman & Brodoff on Linking Legal Writing and Clinical Learning Through Transference

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.

Cracking Student Silos: Linking Legal Writing and Clinical Learning Through Transference

Mary Bowman, Director of the Legal Writing Program and Associate Professor of Law at Seattle University School of Law
Lisa Brodoff, Director, Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic and Associate Professor at Seattle University School of Law

Forthcoming in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Building a Business Case for Investing in Community-Based Justice

There are examples all over the world of community-based efforts that facilitate dispute resolution. Community-based justice initiatives are local mechanisms that act in official and quasi-official ways to provide information, advice and services to people within communities who experience justiciable problems. Their scope, who they serve, how they connect with people within communities, where they work and how they provide assistance may vary based on a number of factors, including their location, staffing and other resources. The similarity of community-oriented justice services lies in their efforts to provide assistance to resolve legal problems, often in the face of geographical and . . . [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. Daviault, [1994] 3 SCR 63, 1994 CanLII 61 (SCC)

The facts of this case and the judgments below are set out in the reasons of Justice Sopinka. Although I agree with my colleague on a number of issues, I cannot agree with his conclusion that it is consistent with the principles of fundamental justice and the presumption of innocence . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Highlights From Ontario’s New Proposed Cannabis Legislation

Last week the Ontario government announced a radical change to the manner in which cannabis will be sold and consumed in the Province of Ontario.

Highlights of the announcement, which was initially made by Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli and Attorney General Caroline Mulroney, and followed by the introduction of Bill 36, An Act to enact a new Act and make amendments to various other Acts respecting the use and sale of cannabis and vapour products in Ontario (or the “Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act, 2018” for short), include the following:

Timeline for Implementation

The government confirmed that when legalization . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Ombudsman Impartiality Is a Delicate Balance

The recent announcement that another major Canadian bank is withdrawing from the national banking ombudsman service in favour of a private dispute resolution service for customer banking complaints raises interesting questions about independence and impartiality.

In September, the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI) confirmed that Bank of Nova Scotia will no longer use the service for banking complaints as of November 1. Instead, it will join Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank in using ADR Chambers Banking Ombuds Office (ADRBO) to resolve complaints, the Globe and Mail reported.

Scotiabank will still use OBSI for investment disputes, . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

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

The Case of the Disappearing Comma
Neil Guthrie

LinkedIn helpfully provides readymade comments on the updates that your connections post there. If your colleague Luisa has a new job, you can just click on a button below her update to post an immediate Congrats Luisa. …


Force PDFs to Download Instead of Load in Browser
Emma Durand-Wood

Are there fillable PDF forms on your website? . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

The Two Faces of Lawyer Altruism

After a year off from teaching legal ethics, I need to prepare before my course starts in January. Getting up to speed with the shifting “law of lawyering” is obviously part of the job. Students need to know the rules that they will have to follow when they practice law; that’s a big part of the reason why the course is mandatory. Obeying the law of lawyering usually accords with self-interest. It keeps one out of trouble with the law society, and it’s a good career move.

However professionals are ideally more than just rationally self-interested rule-followers. Lawyers (like other . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics