Canada’s online legal magazine.

Lawyers Earning Our Respect Amongst the Public

The perception of lawyers among the general public is a concern that often emerges among those in leadership positions in the profession.

Granted, some of that negative reputation may be warranted, and there are lawyers who put their own self-interests before their clients, or who behave aggressively and inappropriately with other parties. But these lawyers are still the exception, even in an era of controversy over civility.

Those of us in the field usually know and appreciate that lawyers are the fabric of civilized society, and we ensure that fairness and justice permeate every aspect of society where we are . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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) : Reconnu coupable de voies de fait simples dans une affaire où il a appliqué la technique de contrôle articulaire, l’appelant, un policier dont la défense reposait sur l’article 25 C.Cr., échoue dans tous ses moyens d’appel.

Intitulé : Paul c. R., 2017 QCCA 245
Juridiction : Cour . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Hold the Phone: Telephone Hearings and Access to Justice

The telephone is old technology. Recent reports have shown that speaking by phone may be on the way out. However, the telephone is still an important part of the toolkit for tribunals in ensuring access to justice. Videoconferencing is the (relatively) new flavour in administrative justice, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the telephone as an accessible and technologically easier tool.

A recent Ontario Divisional Court decision has highlighted the advantages of teleconference hearings: “[a teleconference hearing] can be a useful tool for Tribunals to have to hold hearings fairly and expeditiously, especially given the size of this Province”. . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Supreme Court of Canada Statistics 2006-2016

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of Canada published a statistical overview of its work for the decade from 2006 to 2016.

It provides data on the following:

  • “Cases Filed”
  • “Applications for Leave Submitted”
  • “Appeals Heard”: by category of law, by regional origin, as of right/by leave
  • “Appeal Judgments”: the number of judgments rendered each year, how many were unanimous, how many were delivered from the bench/reserved
  • “Average Time Lapses”
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

If Only Law Firms Knew What Law Firms Know…

I was recently honoured with an invitation from Dave Bilinsky and Tom Spraggs to present at the Law Firm Knowledge Management webcast as part of the recent CLE TV Solo and Small Firm Seminar Series hosted by CLEBC. Having moved from running the Knowledge Management program at one of BC’s largest firms to practising law at an IP boutique this year, I possibly had a unique perspective to bring to the table.

I started the webcast with Lew Platt’s famous lament while CEO of Hewlett Packard, which is a kind of touchstone in Knowledge Management, and one I often hear . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Privacy Commissioner Posts New Case Summaries

Privacy breaches and complaints can often be resolved cooperatively. We usually hear about the large, dramatic, far reaching breaches more so than the smaller ones that get resolved.

The privacy commissioner just released some examples.

In one example, a malfeasant social engineered some information from customer service representatives that enabled the malfeasant to contact customers and try to obtain more information that could be used for fraud. The business investigated, contacted the individuals who may have been compromised, and took steps to reduce the chances of it happening again.

In another situation, a rogue employee took customer information . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

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. Clifford, 2016 BCCA 336

[19] In this case, there was no “independent” or “other” evidence of fabrication that would bring the appellant’s statements into the exception to the general rule that a disbelieved alibi cannot be used to support an inference of guilt. Although my colleague takes the view that the appellant’s response to the RCMP that he did . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

“Verifiable” E-Signatures

The transition from a world of legal documents on paper to one of electronic documents still encounters difficulties after all these years. One of the main ones seems to be the nature of the electronic signature. I recently described the focus on e-signatures as a “fetish” for its ability to distract analysis from the real issues or to create them when none really exist.

Much of the early law that intended to remove legal barriers to electronic commerce required that valid electronic signatures needed to be as reliable as appropriate in the circumstances. This requirement is misguided. It leaves the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Can Algorithms Help the Courts?

Algorithms are behind the most sophisticated kidney exchange programs in the world. In Canada, the Canadian Blood Services has built a national Living Donor Paired Exchange Registry. The Registry helps incompatible living donors receive a kidney transplant.

Pairs are matched by comparing the medical information from all pairs in the database and by identifying pairs that might be able to exchange donors. The Registry may also identify a series of pairs that could exchange kidneys in a chain like fashion. For example, your mother is willing to donate a kidney to you but you are incompatible with her. But another  . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

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

Creating a Complete History of Legislation
Susannah Tredwell

The easiest way to create a history of an act is to start with the most recent version of the legislation and work your way backwards. Going forward tends to be more complicated. Depending on your jurisdiction and how far back you need to go, you may be able to do this entirely using electronic resources. … . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Of Amateurs Teaching Intellectual Property in the Age of Trump

I come to intellectual property law as an amateur. My interest in it has grown from a passing interest in sensational literary-estate cases, through a good deal of advocacy work on behalf of open access to research, into something of an educational mission. With the fervor of a convert, I now look for ways of introducing lessons on intellectual property into my teaching in the school of education and in the program in science, technology, and society (STS). I may throw a mini-lesson into a discussion of the materials that students are using for a project or on a headline . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing