Canada’s online legal magazine.

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. Peters v Peel District School Board, 2016 ONSC 4788

[44] I find that Ms. Peters had experience in doing the long jump and would understand the difference between a run-through, a pop up, and a regular jump. It is clear from her testimony and it is clear from the Agreed Statement of Facts. In Windsor in Grade 10 she participated on . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Invitation to Participate: Survey on Scientific Evidence in the Legal Profession

Slaw readers are invited to participate in a research study conducted by Professor Jacob Shelley, and law students, Gabriella Levkov and Michelle Noonan at the Faculty of Law, Western University.

Briefly, the study involves a short multiple choice online survey regarding scientific evidence in the legal profession. Participation in the survey is completely voluntary, confidential, and independent of your professional responsibilities, and identifiable information will not be collected. Your participation should only take 10-15 minutes.

To participate in this study please click on the link below to access the letter of information and survey link. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

When Justice Doesn’t Scale: Some Thoughts on the First Nations Court

I was recently lucky to attend the Law Courts Center‘s Truth and Reconciliation Dialogues – “A View from the Bench” with Judge Marion Buller. Judge Buller talked about having a crisis of conscience in adjudicating cases with Aboriginal defendants and approaching the Chief Justice with the idea of a First Nations court, which was founded almost ten years ago.

The court is run out of the courthouse in New Westminster, British Columbia, with duty counsel and elders who get honoraria, but it has been unfunded until recently. It is a sentencing court that is open to people who self . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Agent Not Liable After Client Buys Useless Parcel Located Near Former Dumpsite

In a recent case, the plaintiff sued the defendant agent and her brokerage for negligent misrepresentation in connection with the plaintiff’s purchase of a vacant three plus acre parcel of land that the plaintiff acquired with the intention of building a house on the property.

The agent initially acted for the vendors and prepared an MLS listing based on information from the vendors. The listing indicated that the property was “suitable for building your dream home” and was zoned as “residential.”

The listing agreement ultimately expired and the vendor decided to re-list the property with another broker. The second . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

A2J: Unaffordable Legal Services’ Concepts and Solutions

I’ve posted this article on the SSRN: “Access to Justice—Unaffordable Legal Services’ Concepts and Solutions,” for download (pdf). It provides a solution to the unaffordable legal services problem in Canada (“the problem”), so as to: (1) maintain law society management structures as they are; (2) fulfilling their duties in law to make legal services adequately available; and thus, (3) law societies can avoid being abolished. What is needed is to convert the way the work is done to provide legal services from a handcraftman’s method to a support services method. There are parts of the work done . . . [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 research and writing, practice, and technology.

Research & Writing

So What Should I Write About?
Neil Guthrie

The law, for starters – but there is a bit more to it than that. Here are some suggestions, adapted from the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Guide to Business Development for Women Lawyers (January 2013). They are equally applicable to men. …


Know Nothing, Network Well
Ian Hu

When you go to a conference and . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Open a File for Pro Bono Matters Too

Pro bono work is something nearly every lawyer does occasionally. Here’s one practical tip for avoiding some pro bono pitfalls: open a file for every matter you handle.

By “open a file”, we mean treat the work like you would any other work. Run a conflicts check; diarize deadlines; document the client’s instructions, your advice and the steps you take; and docket your time (even if you won’t bill it).

Treating an “off-books” matter like any other case makes it less likely that you will skip steps, overlook conflicts or deadlines, or fail to take the notes that may protect . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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 seventy 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. The Lean Law Firm  2. Vancouver Immigration Blog 3. First Reference Talks  4. ABlawg  5. Startup Source

The Lean Law Firm
Buy-In: When the Managing Partner Gets Out Her Sharpie

We get asked a lot about mapping software. People look at the paper-intensive way we conduct our mapping projects . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

How Do I Begin Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

You know that professional reputations can be made and maintained by what you write. But if you’ve ever struggled to write a blog post or a legal commentary or a presentation to the local Chamber of Commerce, you know it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Sometimes, just getting the opening sentence gets you going.

In my last column, I said that if you haven’t captured your readers in your opening sentence, you can kiss them goodbye. So what makes a good opening sentence? Let’s look at 10 good ways and 10 more very well-used—but not good—ways.

A question

I . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Using Social Science Research as Judicial Notice

Judicial notice is an important underpinning of litigation in Canada. The need to prove every trite and accepted fact as evidence would make litigation even more unwieldy than it already is.

Some of the problems emerge when judicial notice is used for facts which may be disputed by the parties. For example, in R. v. Zundel, the Court dealt with hate speech and the denial of the Holocaust. To provide the defendant to litigate the purported evidence against the facts around the Holocaust would only give him a platform to extend his hate speech further. Instead, the trial judge . . . [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.

DROITS ET LIBERTÉS : L’humoriste Mike Ward est condamné à verser une somme totale de 42 000 $ pour avoir outrepassé les limites de la liberté d’expression en portant atteinte au droit à l’égalité de Jérémy Gabriel, atteint du syndrome de Treacher Collins, et de sa mère.

Intitulé : Commission . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Identifying E-Filers Through Strict Security Measures: Why?

[Sarit Mizrhi assisted in the preparation of this column.]

As discussed abundantly in previous posts, numerous court systems worldwide have begun harnessing the power of modern technology in general (and online dispute resolution (ODR) mechanisms in particular) due to the many benefits it stands to offer to the judiciary. Essentially, information and communications technologies have proven to enhance court performance in several manners, such as by reducing trial delays, increasing the efficiency of the judicial system and thus ultimately access to justice, as well as increasing the level of confidence that citizens have in the legal system. As is well . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution