Canada’s online legal magazine.

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.

FAMILLE : Alors que la mère porteuse a choisi de ne pas déclarer de filiation maternelle, la présentation d’une requête pour ordonnance de placement pour adoption avec le seul consentement du père déclaré ne constituait pas une démarche illégale et contraire à l’ordre public.

Intitulé : Adoption — 161, 2016 . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

DIY A2J 3: Talk to Your Community

Pretty much every organization that serves the public and sees itself as having a mandate to educate is starving for new content, and if not new content then new content providers. Libraries, drop-in and community centres and social service groups usually welcome anyone prepared to provide a seminar and, best of all, they’ll do the advertising for you.

Providing public lectures, seminars and workshops is an easy and fun way (I was going to say something more bookish like “stimulating” here, but it really is fun) to improve access to justice that will take a minimum amount of time . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law

Technological Procurement as a Component of Judicial Independence

On January 6th, 2016, different media outlets reported that a certain number of federal courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada, were contesting the issue of a decree (2015-1071) stating that procurement for government IT services now needs to go through Shared Services Canada. As specified in the decree: “a department listed in Schedule I, I.1 or II of the Financial Administration Act must obtain the services specified in paragraph (b) exclusively from the Minister designated for the purposes of the Shared Services Canada Act through Shared Services Canada and is not permitted to . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Refugee Law: Reactive Legislation From Denmark

Denmark has been receiving significant attention for its so-called “Jewelry Law” that passed 81 to 27 on January 26, 2016. This new law gives authorities the power to seize valuables from asylum seekers (refugee claimants) who enter the country. Legislators included exceptions for items of “special sentimental value” such as wedding rings and medals; however, items such as cell phones and computers may be seized.

Based on reports from UNHCR, CCR and other organizations, the refugees flowing into Europe have been using their cell phones to communicate and exchange information about where to find shelter and safety, which borders are . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Family Law and Psychology Course Coming to Vancouver: Save the Date!

A brand new two-day course, “Assessments and Interventions: The Intersection of Family Law and Psychology,” is coming to the Pan Pacific in Vancouver, British Columbia in March. The course is being put on by the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC and the course chairs are myself and Morag MacLeod, a noted Vancouver family law lawyer, and Alyson Jones, a well-known registered clinical counsellor based in West Vancouver. Morag frequently presents for groups including CLEBC and the Trial Lawyers Association of BC. Alyson teaches at the Adler University and presents for the Association of Family . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD

Sometimes Laws Are Too Important to Be Left to Lawyers — Lawyers Without Technical Support

This article explains how to prevent the very damaging ignorance and avoidance of the technology that underlies widely used important laws. For example, the probability of wrongful decisions, in both civil and criminal cases, has been raised to what should be considered to be an unacceptably high level by the very false and unanalyzed (blind) assumption that electronic records technology is just a speeded-up and more convenient version of paper records technology. In fact the wordings of the electronic records provisions of the Evidence Acts declare the law to be that they are very different technologies.

As examples of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Electronic Designation of Beneficiaries

From time to time the question of electronic wills is raised for discussion. This Uniform Law Conference has visited the topic a couple of times.

I have a related question today: should people be able to use electronic means to designate beneficiaries of savings plans (pension plans, RRSPs, TFSAs etc.) or insurance policies? If so, how? And if not, why not?

Usually such designations have be in writing and signed. The Uniform Electronic Commerce Act permits both e-documents and e-signatures. However, the UECA excludes wills and codicils. Most if not all provinces and territories have adopted this exclusion.

It is . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Invasion of Privacy Tort Continues to Develop

In Ontario, conventional wisdom was that invasion of privacy was not something you could sue for. But that is changing, as evidenced by a just released decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice called Jane Doe 464533. That decision awarded damages and costs totaling $141,000, plus an order for the defendant to destroy any video or images he may still have, never to share any intimate images of the plaintiff, and to not communicate with the plaintiff or her family. A pdf version of the decision is here: Doe – redacted

Until this decision, the first case of a . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Union Grievances and Discrimination Under the Human Rights Code

Can a unionized employee who received settlement money as a result of a union grievance also make an application under the Human Rights Code, alleging discrimination as a result of the same situation? Two recent cases of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal have addressed this issue with opposite outcomes. In Ma v University of Toronto, an employee’s application was allowed to continue, whereas in Sikorski v Vaughan (City), the employee’s application was dismissed.

The tribunal reached these decisions after interpreting Section 45.1 of the Code, which states that: “The Tribunal may dismiss an application, in whole or . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Logic Models and Legal Education

Over the weekend, I had opportunity to speak with a high school student about the path to law school and into the legal profession. We spoke at some length about the importance of her pre-law education, in terms of ensuring her grades were high enough to get into law school but even more in terms of ensuring she has a strong background in relevant skills, e.g. business administration, project management, accounting or engineering. I urged her to be practical in terms of making her under-graduate choices so as to position herself well for a future in a changing profession.

The . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Consent in the Online World

Online consent is a mirage. Every day we are asked to click yes “I agree” to download the latest software or to use Wi-Fi connections. However, rarely do people read the license agreements or terms and conditions attached to the service. For all we know, we could be agreeing to the sale of our first-born child, as shown in this experiment.

Online contracts remain unread because consumers lack any meaningful incentive for reading the agreement. Before hitting “I agree”, people cannot call up Apple or any other provider and negotiate a different license agreement. We either accede to the . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

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. Elliott, 2016 ONCJ 35

One cannot understand this case without knowing about Twitter. The evidence about Twitter – what it is, how it works and how its users understand that it works – came from four sources: the evidence of Police Constable Dayler, who is qualified as an expert in Twitter; the evidence of Ms. Guthrie, who works as . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII