Canada’s online legal magazine.

Osgoode AI Sets Vision for Canadian Leadership

When the Government of Canada earmarked $125 million for a Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, it was premised on the assumption that this area will be a future economic growth engine,

Artificial intelligence is a burgeoning area of research with implications for everything from better medical diagnoses to self-driving cars. The market for artificial intelligence-related products is predicted to reach $47 billion in 2020, and the field has attracted significant investment from Google, Facebook, Baidu and other major technology players.

The 2018 Budget reaffirmed this commitment, with one of the five innovation superclusters focusing on artificial intelligence-powered supply chains that would . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, 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.

SOCIAL (DROIT) : Les requérants, dont la fille est décédée dans un accident d’automobile, ne sont pas des victimes au sens de l’article 6 de la Loi sur l’assurance automobile parce que le préjudice qu’ils présentent n’a pas été subi «dans un accident».

Intitulé : D.V. c. Société de l’assurance . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Lawyers Should Not Abuse Their Perceived Legal Authority in Public Debate

Professor Bruce Pardy is not a constitutional law expert. His scholarship in peer-reviewed journals is largely on environmental law. Yet, over the past several months, the Queen’s Law professor has commented in the lay media on constitutional law issues.

In one instance, on October 3, 2017, the National Post published Pardy’s opposition to the Law Society’s new Statement of Principles requirement, citing selected Charter free speech jurisprudence as his underlying support. A policy that compels lawyers to privately acknowledge equality-related obligations, Pardy argues, is compelled speech and akin to authoritarian rule.

Publicly sharing opinions in the Post is not . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Looking at Women’s Contribution to Computing to Learn How to Fix the Internet

As you may be aware, something was brewing at CanLII in recent weeks (and months) so I skipped my last turn as columnist. This means my last post here was the one I wrote before the holidays.

When I write something and (finally) ship it, the mere fact of reading it “in production” makes me see new flaws that I didn’t even come close to seeing while I was in the thick of drafting. I’m sure many of us are like that. The flaw I saw with my last post when live on Slaw was that while the multiplication . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Significant Employment Law Changes Coming in Quebec

On March 20, 2018, the Quebec government tabled Bill 176, An Act to amend the Act respecting labour standards and other legislative provisions mainly to facilitate family-work balance to facilitate work-family balance and to modernize and reform Quebec labour standards. Labour Minister Dominique Vien said, "The many proposed changes take into account the new realities of workplaces, such as the changing family patterns, the aging population and ensuing retirements, and would encourage the retention of staff in a context of scarcity of labour." Measures in the Bill include: . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Measuring Legal Service Value, Part 1

If you work at a law firm, how good is that firm? If you’re a client or potential client, how good are the different legal services providers that you might choose to patronize?

It’s too difficult, at present, to answer these questions in an objective and reliable way. This is most obviously true for individual people with legal needs. They generally confront a mysterious landscape populated with apparently indistinguishable law firms, as well as proliferating alternative sources of legal services.

However, even experienced corporate clients, and lawyers themselves, lack solid information about the respective merits of different legal service providers. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics, Practice of Law

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. Schnarr v. Blue Mountain Resorts Limited, 2018 ONCA 313

[51] As the instant appeals amply demonstrate, the result is a clear conflict. On the one hand, Blue Mountain and Snow Valley have lawful waivers that would exclude their liability for the injuries suffered by Mr. Schnarr and Ms. Woodhouse, respectively, and yet they are told that those waivers are of no . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Wellness at Law School

The move towards wellness programs at law school is both puzzling and important. Important because, in some ways, it is terribly overdue. But puzzling because it is happening at all. At law school of all places.

Law school is hard. It always was. But conversations with alumni of the past sixty years have really convinced me that law school today is harder than ever. It is certainly harder to get in – our students have higher LSAT scores than ever, and stunning academic achievements. The move toward holistic admissions means that these attributes are just a starting point. Once admitted, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

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

Your Queries Answered, Part 3
Neil Guthrie

From the mailbag! Baffled in British Columbia enquires, ‘I have this feeling that I shouldn’t use “hopefully” in the way that I do. Can you shed some light?’ Let there be light, Baffled. The standard meaning of hopefully is ‘in a hopeful manner’. Example: The articling student started work hopefully, confident that she would find the answer. There is . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Seeking Success in All the Wrong Places

Last year, a friend asked me in all seriousness how I defined success. She confessed that she was feeling unhappy and almost obsessed by her own lack of success.

Her confession took me aback.

She is the most successful person I know. She is an entrepreneur who sold a business for seven figures. She now runs another profitable business doing work she greatly enjoys while also having the time to engage in high impact pro bono investments in the community. She is wealthy enough that she could retire tomorrow with all the comforts she could ever want.

If she wasn’t . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Feds Introduce Justice Reforms With C-75

The combined effects on Jordan and Cody on the justice system have been noticeable and palpable for anyone who regulars the courts, with 11(b) waivers by defence echoing the halls of courtrooms, and judicial pressure to have matters heard in a timely manner.

The impact on civil matters is even more pronounced. Without a Charter right to timely proceedings in private matters, many civil lawyers have been complaining about an even more pronounced delay in civil proceedings. The oft touted solution of increased judicial appointments obviously comes at an increased cost to the public purse, and so the government has . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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) : Dans le contexte de l’enquête et du procès criminel de 6 personnes accusées notamment de fraude, d’abus de confiance et de corruption, le tribunal autorise la divulgation, par la journaliste Marie-Maude Denis, des renseignements ou documents qui pourraient révéler ou qui seraient susceptibles de révéler la source . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday