Canada’s online legal magazine.

Do Peremptory Challenges Help Make a Jury More Impartial?

“Peremptory challenges, by enabling each side to exclude those jurors it believes will be most partial toward the other side, are a means of eliminat[ing] extremes of partiality on both sides… assuring the selection of a qualified and unbiased jury.” – Justice Scalia in Holland v Illinois.

Today, the Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments in the Pardeep Singh Chouhan case about the significance of peremptory challenges in jury selection. “Bill-C-75 — An Act to Amend the Criminal Code — came into effect on Sept. 19, 2019. The legislation modified the jury selection procedure under the Criminal Code by . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

On a Clear Day – You Won’t Be in a Police Lineup

Clearview AI’s business model is to scrape images of people from wherever they can on the web. Then sell facial recognition services – mostly to police – based on that database. Some police forces in Canada used their services. But investigations by Canadian Privacy Commissioners and other public outcries resulted in Clearview AI pulling out of the Canadian market.

Readers of our Tech Law Weekly newsletter watched this unfold.

You may have put your picture on your social media profile or your business website – but did you agree to it being harvested into a massive database so you could . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

What Kind of Fool Am I (That Doesn’t Use MFA)?

Those of you of a certain age will remember the song “What Kind of Fool Am I?” That song was about love, but for Pete’s sake, why is it that some lawyers keep insisting that they won’t use MFA (multi-factor authentication)?

Thanks to our good friend Ben Schorr (who works at Microsoft) for sending us an August 7 Microsoft update on why multi-factor authentication is so critical. It is short, sweet and should be read by anyone who has resisted multi-factor authentication (and there’s a lot of you!).

From the post:

When you sign into your online accounts –

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology

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. Hannam v Medicine Hat School District No. 76, 2020 ABCA 343 (CanLII)

[194] In our opinion, a robust case management system is the protocol that has the greatest potential to generate resolutions at the earliest possible stage of the litigation spectrum and at the lowest possible cost.[262] We are familiar with other jurisdictions that have authorized courts to compel litigants to . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Judicial Independence: An Ethical Issue for Individual Judges

When we think about judicial independence in the Canadian context, we usually think about judges’ tenure, judges’ salaries and judicial administrative independence, all of which affect all judges as relevant. Administrative independence can affect the judicial system as an institution, but there are times judges are asked to apply law that they consider fundamentally flawed or when the judicial system is merely one aspect of a morally questionably regime. What should individual judges do in response? . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Introducing Legal Listening: A Brave New World of Legal Audio & Commentary

As we embrace technology in our courtrooms, meetings, and classrooms, it is time we do the same with delivery of legal information. The law’s track record on disability within the profession is mixed, at best. While some universities and employers have an excellent track record with students and lawyers with disabilities or learning difficulties, others do not. Law, and wider society, also tend to ignore less visible or invisible disabilities. Those among us who have difficulty with traditional learning methods often struggle with the barriers created by traditional learning. There is a gap in access to legal information for people . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing

Failures of Project Leadership

I’m fascinated by project failure.

First, I believe we learn more from our failures than our successes. Success usually has an element of chance, of circumstances cohering… or at least not pulling out the rug. Yet in looking back (e.g., at after-action reviews/project debriefs), we rarely recognize the extent to which what-didn’t-happen played a part in our success.

Second, failure stories are often mesmerizing, especially big failures. They frequently read like thrillers, with plot twist after plot twist conspiring against the heroic project manager. Actually, at least half of them read more like lampoons, with the project manager anything but . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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

Is It Treble or Triple?
Neil Guthrie

They mean the same thing: consisting of three parts or things, three in number, three times an amount. A treble is also a singer with a soprano voice, often a choirboy, or a musical instrument in a high key. … . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

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.Ontario Condo Law Blog 2. BC Provincial Court eNews 3. Crossroad Family Law Blog 4. BC Injury Law Blog 5. Paw & Order

Ontario Condo Law Blog
COVID policy upheld, oppression lessons and “welcome” expanded CAT

For the most part, policies passed by the board of directors

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Access to Justice Is Not (Just) About Lawyers and Judges

Imagine for a moment that starting tomorrow, every lawyer in the world could be hired at no charge. They’re not working for free — maybe Jeff Bezos has decided to subsidize every lawyer’s income for some unfathomable reason. Basically, anyone can hire a lawyer for whatever they need at no cost.

Consider this, and then ask yourself: Would this make access to justice better, or worse?

Are we likely to see more cases filed, or fewer? Court backlogs grow, or shrink? Go a little further and ask: Do you think you’d be able to hire a lawyer at all? Or . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Terminology in Family Law Fuelling Conflicts

The potential for conflict in litigation is likely no higher than it is in family law. This tension is created in part by an adversarial system around children, which should in most cases be collaborative or at least solution-oriented (child-centred, by another name), but also the terminology that is used in these conflicts.

The current legislative scheme in Ontario was recently summarized by Justice McArthur in Morrison v. Morrison, as follows,

[14] The legal issue involves what is in the best interests of the child. The court is required to consider the provisions outlined in Section 24(2) of the 

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

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.

DROITS ET LIBERTÉS : Le locateur, qui a refusé de louer un logement aux plaignants et à leur fils X en raison de la présence du chien d’assistance de ce dernier, a compromis leur droit à la reconnaissance et à l’exercice, en pleine égalité, de leur droit de conclure un . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday