Canada’s online legal magazine.

We Should Start Making a Business Case for Legal Aid in Canada

In countries that were early adopters of legal aid governments became major funders of legal services. This remains the case in many countries today. Funding programs that facilitate access to legal services for low-income populations was established in these years as a responsibility of the government. In nations in which the state does not accept access to justice as a government responsibility or simply cannot afford to do so, organizations with global reach, among other groups and bodies, have often stepped in to support initiatives that promote access to legal help, information, empowerment and other forms of dispute resolution. Whether . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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. SOQUIJ | Le Blogue 3. Timely Disclosure 4. NSRLP 5. University of Alberta Faculty of Law Blog

Labour Pains
Arbitrator Orders Nurse Who Was Caught Stealing Narcotics to be Reinstated

Is it a discriminatory practice and potential breach of the Ontario Human Right Code

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Creating the AI in Our Own Image

Human being, as a self-absorbed species, tend to perceive ourselves as the most superior organism on the planet. The apex predator among apex predators.

This trope is is found throughout our popular culture, and often explains our relationship with other animals and the environment around us. The notion of dominance can even be found in the Bible, with humans being created in the image of the creator, specifically so that they could rule (רְדּוּ֩) over the world (Gen 1:26). In contrast, many Indigenous cultures to North America perceive a more harmonious and interdependent relationship with the others around us.

The . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

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) : Le tribunal détient un pouvoir exceptionnel de rejeter sommairement une requête n’ayant aucune chance raisonnable de succès; la présente affaire en constitue une illustration et envoie le message de mettre fin aux recours extraordinaires voués à l’échec.

Intitulé : R. c. Bruno, 2019 QCCS 65
Juridiction :  . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

The Need for a Code of Conduct for Family Law Disputes, Part 2

Last Tuesday, I was honoured to be presented with the Distinguished Service Award for service to the community from the Law Society of Alberta and the Canadian Bar Association Alberta. I took advantage of the more or less captive audience to discuss the need to improve the Code of Conduct to better reflect the practice realities of family law lawyers and the needs of their clients, and the needs of their clients’ children. As my remarks were received with more interest than I’d expected, I thought I would take this opportunity to describe in more detail the sort of changes . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Friday Roundup: Slaw Jobs

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

The Coming End of Lawyer Control Over Legal Regulation

At the end of last year, as John-Paul Boyd ably chronicled on this website, members of the Law Society of BC voted on three resolutions regarding access to justice. The second of these resolutions — directing the law society to bar paralegals from providing family law services under new provincial legislation and to postpone any other enlargement of paralegals’ scope of practice — received overwhelming approval.

While this was a disappointing outcome from an access standpoint, as John-Paul explains, it was hardly a surprising one, given lawyers’ entrenched opposition to expanding the scope of “law practice” beyond the legal profession. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

An Employee Could Have Received 36 Months’ Notice

In a recent Ontario Superior Court case, the unofficial rule of thumb of one month of notice per year of service with an upper limit of about 24 months was set aside when an employee was awarded a 30-month notice period. The Court also held that it would have awarded more, 36 months in fact, if the employee had asked for it.

The Court stated in the decision that,

[30] As a general principle, 24 months has been identified as the maximum notice period in most cases.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Are Canadian Law Societies Ready for the Legal Profession’s Me Too Moment? (Spoiler: Probs Not)

Sexual harassment has happened and is still happening in legal workplaces. This reality, while at one time largely unacknowledged or treated dismissively, is now openly discussed and approached seriously as a problem in need of a solution. The rise of the Me Too movement has given the issue additional prominence over the last year or so. A selection of recent articles and blogs on the subject can be found here, here, and here.

One question, however, that has not been given much attention is: how should Canadian law societies be responding? To be sure, it isn’t the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

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. Milne Estate (Re), 2019 ONSC 579

[22] Because a testator often executes their Last Will and Testament several years in advance of death, it is often not practical to provide a definitive list of assets which will require or do not require a Certificate of Appointment to be transferred or realized at the time the Primary and Secondary Wills are executed. . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Testing Our Assumption: Challenging Fossil Fuel Companies Helps Solve Climate Change

A growing number of communities, and lawyers, around the world are focusing their attention on global fossil fuel companies, arguing that they are legally liable for their products’ contribution to climate change and at least partially responsible for resulting climate-related costs. Other legal investigations and cases emphasize that the companies misled the public and their shareholders about the global risks of fossil fuel use, and that these actions have slowed progress on climate policies around the world.

Broadly, communities are asking:

  • Do oil, gas and coal companies bear some legal responsibility for selling products that they have known for decades
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues

Recognizing Trusted Intermediaries as a Systematic Part of the Legal System

Intermediaries are individuals (or organizations) that help to connect two other individuals (or organizations). They are not themselves “legal” actors, but they can be an important link between individuals with a legal problem and a legal professional who is able to assist them. For example, an individual working in a community centre dedicated to helping refugees might be able to direct a refugee facing legal problems to an immigration lawyer. They may also refer people to others who play a formal role as a “legal” actor in the system. However, the referral may be to another trusted intermediary: for instance, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues