Canada’s online legal magazine.

Is Delivering Access to Justice Perceived as Women’s Work?

I noticed it first this past summer when I attended the joint International Journal of Clinical Legal Education – Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education conference in Toronto. It was my first time attending and I had no idea what to expect.

What I found was a group of very smart, dedicated and focused academics and lawyers engaged in the field of clinical legal education. What I noticed was that the gender balance among conference attendees was weighted heavily in favour of women.

Upon returning to the office after the conference, I looked around at our summer students – 5 . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Justice Issues

Measuring “Serious Harm” in a Data Breach

The prevailing legislative standard in Canada for a duty to report a breach of data security (loss of data, compromise, etc) seems to be that there is a real risk of serious harm as a result of the breach.

Have Canadian courts or regulators given useful guidance on when that happens, and what kind of harm is serious and likely? I am especially interested in court rulings, since the threat of litigation can focus the data holder’s mind as much as or even more than a regulator’s order. (Have privacy regulators cracked down on reporting requirements or other useful follow-up . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, ulc_ecomm_list

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. Bhasin v. Hrynew, [2014] 3 SCR 494, 2014 SCC 71

[1] The key issues on this appeal come down to two straightforward questions: Does Canadian common law impose a duty on parties to perform their contractual obligations honestly? And, if so, did either of the respondents breach that duty? I would answer both questions in the affirmative. Finding that there is . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Give, and You Will Receive: The Power of the Network

Have you ever wondered how some people always seem to have the inside track? Or always “know someone” who can give them the inside scoop? Or can always “call a friend” to find out something or ask a favour?

That’s not just family connections or personal charm at work. It’s the power of the network, that invisible web that we all need, whether it’s new parents looking for advice, hand-me-downs and babysitters, or lawyers looking for business. You may feel that you’ve got where you are today by hard work, not by who you know. You may even feel offended . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Ethics: A Case Every Civil Litigator Should Know

In May 2016, Justice Bondy of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice quietly released an important decision. A decision that every civil litigator should know because the principles enunciated in this case seem to elude many lawyers. Maybe greed blinds them, maybe wishful thinking envelopes them, or maybe it never occurs to them that they are in a conflict of interest. Either way, this pervasive behaviour is bringing the administration of justice into disrepute.

Far too often, plaintiff lawyers represent an injured child and his/her parents, who are also defendants by counterclaim. This is a conflict of interest. And in . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Legal Technology and Access to Justice

Legal Technology is often reported as being intrinsically linked to access to justice. Apps, AI, and digital access suggest an Uber-like ability to receive legal services at the push of a button. A recent Globe and Mail article by University of Ottawa law professor Jena McGill, for example, bore the headline “Better access to justice in Canada? There’s an app for that”. However, while there are increasing numbers of apps and technologies being developed and integrated into the legal world, it is a mistake to assume that technological developments on their own will necessarily improve access to justice for those . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

No Merit? No Problem! Eviction Order Stayed During Bogus Appeal

A recent decision demonstrates just how easy it is for residential tenants to game the system and live rent free.

The tenant entered into a one year lease for a residential premises in mid-town Toronto. The lease started March 1, 2015 and the monthly rent was $3,800.

By September, 2015 the tenant had started paying rent late. By January, 2016 he had stopped paying rent completely.

At a hearing at the Landlord and Tenant Board on June 16, 2016, the Board ordered the termination of the tenancy on consent and ordered the tenant to pay over $22,000 in arrears and . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

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

Using a Canned Search to Find Definitions
Susannah Tredwell

A frequently asked question is “what does this word mean in a legal context?” In my last SLAW tip, I talked about using legislation to find definitions, in particular interpretation acts. However, legislation cannot define every term used, so if you can’t find your term in the legislation, you may want to check if it has been judicially . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Draft Report on Non-Discrimination Provision and the National Requirement

The National Requirement Review Committee (NRCC) has launched a consultation on its draft report on the question of whether to amend the National Requirement to add a non-discrimination provision.

The Draft Report for Consultation on Non-discrimination in Legal Education includes a detailed analysis of the nature and regulatory purpose of the National Requirement, the current legal landscape, and the mandates of the law societies. The report does not include any recommendations, but it does suggest that amending the National Requirement to include a non-discrimination provision may not be appropriate.

Feedback from the consultation will be considered before the NRRC makes . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements

The Use of Artificial Intelligence to Facilitate Settlements Through ODR

Fellow Slaw columnist Omar Ha-Redeye recently wrote a blog entry on how artificial intelligence is making its way into the Canadian legal community more slowly that expected (by some) due to the fact that the data repositories that are behind SOQUIJ, CanLII, and other caselaw search engines are simply too limited in size to allow for true predictive capacities. In other words, there are too few decisions to generate reliable trends that can be identified through A.I. This has pushed Mr. Ha-Redeye to question how successful and useful a tool like Premonition will be on the Canadian market. . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

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. Startup Source 2. Michael Geist 3. BC Injury Law and ICBC Claims Blog 4. AvoidAClaim 5. Blogue du CRL

Startup Source
Alberta’s New Exemptions for Startup Businesses

In a welcome development for Alberta-based startups and small businesses, the Alberta Securities Commission (the “ASC”) has adopted a new rule – . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

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.

CONTRAT DE SERVICES : Bell Mobilité inc., condamnée en première instance au remboursement de près d’un million de dollars à des clients qui ont payé des frais de résiliation pour avoir mis fin à leur contrat à durée déterminée avant terme, n’obtient pas le rejet de l’action collective intentée contre . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday