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Keeping Client Confidences and Acting With Commitment

“Lawyers must keep their clients’ confidences and act with commitment to serving and protecting their clients’ legitimate interests. Both of these duties are essential to the due administration of justice.”

Canada (Attorney General) v. Federation of Law Societies of Canada, 2015 SCC 7 at para. 1

This recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada resolves nearly fifteen years of litigation regarding the lawyer’s role in protecting against anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing. This decision is significant to those interested in legal ethics on several points.

Solicitor-client privilege

The Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Does Including a Forwarding Feature to Defamation Amount to Republication?

The Supreme Court of Canada in Crookes v Newton held that the mere linking to a web site that contained defamatory material did not make the linker liable for defamation. Adding content to the link might change that result.

The Supreme Court of British Columbia has recently held, however, that offering a link to an email program (e.g. ‘mailto:’) on a web page that contains defamatory material constitutes republication of that material, apparently whether or not anyone used it.

Weaver v Corcoran 2015 BCSC 165 (CanLII)

Here is the main passage on that point:

[261] The invitation to email the

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

Report on the Accessibility for Ontarians With Disabilities Act Review

Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure released the 79-page report on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act review to the public on February 13, 2015. Overall, the report indicates that although the government and public and private sectors have shown strong support and commitment to accessibility, the slow implementation of the AODA has resulted in rather modest improvements for persons with disabilities in the areas of jobs and access to goods or services.
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Save the Bails

Polar bears are adorable. I have nothing against Beluga whales. But if we save just one thing this year, I hope it’s Ontario’s Bail Program.

To properly grasp the value and importance of the Bail Program it is first necessary to internalize a quick primer on Ontario’s bail situation. Despite a Criminal Code that endorses pre-trial detention only where absolutely necessary for public safety, decades of ‘bail creep’ have made it more or less standard for police officers and crown attorneys to insist on ‘show cause’ hearings in all but the most trifling of cases. Practically speaking this means that . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Question – When Is a Digital Case Citation Not a Case Citation?

Answer – When it appears in the McGill Law Journal’s Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (the “McGill Guide”)

In the McGill Guide, a case citation to decision of a court or tribunal in an online database is described as “an online case identifier”. It does not qualify to be considered as a case citation like any other. This makes no sense.

What is a case citation anyway?

Simply stated, a case citation is a reference to a reliable source of the full text of the decision of a court or tribunal. In his Foreword to the McGill Guide John . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Privacy Commissioner Issues Guidance on Police Body Cameras

The federal Privacy Commissioner has just released a report giving guidance on the privacy implications of police wearing body-worn cameras, and what police need to do to comply with privacy laws.

It points out that the issues around body-worn cameras are more complex than on fixed cameras.

As is usually the case with privacy issues, it is about balance – in this case balancing the advantages of the cameras with privacy concerns.

The report has this to say about balance:

There are various reasons why a LEA might contemplate adopting BWCs. LEAs could view the use of BWCs as bringing . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Paying It Forward

When I was a new, fresh lawyer, I often lamented the lack of a network of legal professionals who could mentor and support me in my career development. I came from a rural, agricultural background and didn’t know a single lawyer before I went to law school. As I soon learned, that put me at something of a disadvantage in both job seeking and finding the right career path for me.

In the result, I learned early the value of forging and nurturing relationships within the legal profession and began to work hard at developing my own networks.

These days, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

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. Lloyd v. Napanee (Town), 2015 ONSC 761

[170] Having identified Rankins Corner as a “hot spot”, I find that Napanee either knew or should have known that in a winter event such as the snow fall on January 3, 2003, Rankins Corner would likely become an unreasonable risk to users of Cty Rd 9 and would, for that reason, require special . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

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 technology, research and practice.

Technology

Use the TAB Key to Move From Field to Field in an Online Form*
Dan Pinnington

If you buy something online, you will likely have to enter various details into a form of some sort (e.g., name, address, phone number, email, credit card number, etc.). This can be a tad tedious if there are many fields on the form – you type a few characters, stop, reach for the . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Anti-Wind Cases Lose Constitutional Challenge

According to the Energy & Policy Institute, Ontario is a world-wide hot-spot for litigation opposing wind energy. Opponents of wind power often have a heartfelt and deeply held belief that wind farms threaten their health and property values. But they have lost all Ontario legal cases based on concerns about human health, now including a constitutional challenge.

Wind farms have been actively expanding in Ontario since the Ontario Green Energy Act, 2009, took away municipal power to block wind farm development, and a Feed in Tariff for selling the resulting power provided a solid economic case. Such farms . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Of Digital Legacies and Changes to Facebook’s Memorial Pages

I must preemptively refer you to John Gregory’s post from last year when it comes to canvassing the laws, and lack thereof, around how third party services (like Google, Facebook, PayPal, etc.) are obliged to act upon the death of an account holder. The whole legal terrain is fascinating, and consists of a stewing heap of conflicting rationales, policies, privacy legislation and common laws around the rights of heirs, deceased people, states and private corporations. It’s all heading in a better direction, probably, with the advent of uniform legislation like FADA, but for some time it has been quite . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Internet

Disruptive Innovation Revisited

I’m still thinking about the “great disruption” that John O. McGinnis has been talking about and thought it might be useful to revisit the Disruptive Innovation in the Market for Legal Services conference held at the Harvard Law School in March of last year. Specifically the first panel of speakers where Clayton Christensen (author of the Innovator’s Dilemma and Harvard business administration professor) outlined what constitutes “disruptive innovation” in the market place.

Christensen defines disruptive innovation as something that transforms products or services “which are complicated and expensive into things that are so affordable and . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice