Canada’s online legal magazine.

Of Tweeters Laureate and Judicious Public Outreach

Last week’s BC Provincial Court’s #AskChiefJudge Twitter Town Hall went off with nary a glitch, and even received some fanfare in the Vancouver Sun for its being the first (known) instance of a time when a Canadian chief judge has taken to Twitter to answer live questions. Dave Bilinsky and Colin Lachance both shared news of this last week.

It proved many things—one of them being 2010 really is a pretty long time ago.

The Courts’ Affair with Twitter Since 2010

Back in 2010 only a fraction of courts even held a Twitter handle—7% according to a CCPIO report of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Technology

CALIcon 2016: “The Year of Learning Dangerously”

CALIcon is coming. In fact registration for the June 16-18 conference taking place at Georgia State University College of Law in Atlanta is now open. I haven’t had the opportunity to attend CALI’s* “Conference for Law School Computing” but very intrigued by their theme this time around: “The Year of Learning Dangerously.”

One of the nice things about CALIcon is the availability of sessions from previous conferences including a YouTube archive grouped by year. These are full one hour sessions with abstracts, video and often slides and other documents. I took a quick look at last year’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Technology

Lay Legal Advisers

In the UK in 1970 a husband who could not afford legal representation in his divorce proceedings used an Australian barrister, who was not qualified to appear in an English court, to help him. The judge barred the Australian from sitting next to McKenzie at the hearing. McKenzie appealed this decision on the ground he had been unfairly denied help. The Court of Appeal agreed, and according to an article last week in the UK Guardian newspaper, “broke lawyers’ monopoly on providing legal representation”.

There is a healthy industry of lay legal advisers in the UK today. They are called . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Talk Claims Prevention With Your Articling Students

This article is by Nora Rock, corporate writer & policy analyst at LAWPRO.

While it’s easy to view articling students as a source of extra help, the primary purpose of articling is to provide a valuable apprenticeship to the student, not simply to lighten the lawyer’s load. Today’s law school curriculum has a strongly theoretical focus. Students spend a great deal of time learning to research the law and to “think like lawyers”, and limited time learning about how to operate a law practice.

That’s where articling comes in. As an articling principal, you are charged with teaching students about . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Professional Responsibility as Reconciliation: Law School and Legal Obligations

An accused has a constitutional right to a fair trial and may raise concerns about race and discrimination if they identify it as an issue in their case. Furthermore, lawyers have an obligation to remind their client of this right. This very issue arose in R v Fraser (Fraser). In Fraser, a white student accused a Black high school teacher of committing “sexual improprieties”. The appellant raised concerns about racial bias both before and during the jury selection, but his lawyer nonetheless failed to tell Fraser that he had the right to challenge for cause. Upon . . . [more]

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

The Perspectives of Future Members of Our Profession

We have been fortunate to have taught legal ethics over the past two decades at four law schools: U of T, Osgoode, Windsor and uOttawa. We quickly came to appreciate the multiplicity of experiences and perspectives that students bring to the discussion of these issues. We both have included requirements that students write short analytical papers, along the lines of the blogs that appear here on Slaw, or newspaper op-eds.

We both encourage students to dissect a particular issue, to push themselves and to be creative. We have been well-rewarded with thoughtful and original pieces. The work of these . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week

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. BC Injury Law and ICBC Claims Blog  2. Legal Sourcery 3. Off the Shelf  4. Alcohol & Advocacy  5. Environmental Law and Litigation

BC Injury Law and ICBC Claims Blog
$45,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Persistent but Not Disabling Soft Tissue Injuries

Reasons for judgement were released today by the . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

UNCITRAL Adopts Technical Notes on ODR

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law’s Working Group III on Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) met for one last time between February 29th to March 4th 2016 to put the finishing touches to UNCITRAL’s Technical Notes on Dispute Resolution, and, in the same breath, complete the mandate – or should we say revised mandate – it had been given by the commission.

As regular readers will remember, the working group was originally given a very broad mandate back in 2010. As stated in document A/CN.9/WG.III/WP.105:

“After discussion, the Commission established a working group to undertake work

. . . [more]
Posted in: Dispute Resolution

SCC Tosses Tough on Crime Agenda Out the Window

Let’s say it’s a Friday night, on April 20, 2007.

At the end of a long day, and the end of a long week, and you come home from work to smoke a joint with your spouse at home on your front porch. You don’t go out on the town, you don’t drive a car, you just stay home for the evening.

But because you smoked it on your porch your neighbor decides to call the police. They come over, and you get into a bit of a legal jam. Not any big deal, mind you, but it’s on your . . . [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.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : L’accusé est acquitté sous tous les chefs d’accusation liés à la possession de différents appareils de radio et d’un balayeur d’ondes; en outre, la poursuite n’a pas démontré qu’il avait contrevenu à l’article 191 C.Cr., qui fait référence à l’interception clandestine de communications privées.

Intitulé : R. . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

World First – Twitter Town Hall With Chief Judge Crabtree

♫ Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song
And I’ll try not to sing out of key
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends…♫

Lyrics and music by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, recorded by The Beatles.

On Thursday April 14 between 1-3 pm pacific time, a world-first happened. Chief Judge Crabtree of the British Columbia Provincial Court hosted a Twitter Town Hall. Ian Mulgrew of the Vancouver Sun wrote about it: “Chief Judge hashes issues out on Twitter for first time.” The Canadian Bar Association – BC Branch storified . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Be Careful What You Wish for – the Pitfalls of Electronic Legal Deposit

Legal deposit

‘We all start out with hope and end with experience’

I wrote in the past about our role as a legal deposit library, and the joys and frustrations this brings. Things have moved on a lot since then, and the changes that have come about have created a whole new range of issues for us to consider.

For a law library the downside of paper legal deposit was that not all publishers deposited as a matter of course; that parts of loose leaf services often were missed and unable to be claimed; and the law report and journal . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information