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Ontario May Review Municipal Conflict of Interest Act

Ontario’s Municipal Conflict of Interest Act (MCIA) has played a central role in some of the legal disputes around some of our mayors.

The 2013 appeal of the conflict of interest case for Rob Ford illustrated some of the shortcomings of the MCIA. Prior to that, Justice Cunningham made recommendations over the MCIA in context of a judicial inquiry into Mississauga’s Hazel McCallion.

The Toronto Star reported this week that some much needed changes may be coming to the Act,

The ministry is reviewing the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, and is considering Justice Cunningham’s recommendations as well as stakeholder

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

How Law Libraries Can Help Self-Represented Litigants

This is a follow-up to a September 18, 2014 post on Slaw.ca entitled American Association of Law Libraries Report on Access to Justice that referred to a white paper about what U.S. law libraries are doing to assist self-represented litigants (SRLs).

The blog of the National Self-Represented Litigants Project funded by the University of Windsor Faculty of Law has a recent guest post on the role that Canadian law libraries can play to help SRLs.

It is written by Annette Demers, Acting Law Librarian, University of Windsor, Melanie Hodges Neufeld, Director of Legal Resources, Law Society of Saskatchewan, and . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Summaries Sunday: Maritime Law Book

Summaries of selected recent cases are provided each week to Slaw by Maritime Law Book. Every Sunday we present a precis of the latest summaries, a fuller version of which can be found on MLB-Slaw Selected Case Summaries at cases.slaw.ca.

This week’s summaries concern:
Evidence – Criminal Law – Practice

R. v. Labossière (D.J.) 2014 MBCA 89
Evidence – Criminal Law
Summary: The accused was convicted of three counts of first degree murder respecting the deaths of his brother and his parents. At trial, a Crown witness, Toupin, testified that he and another man committed the murders and . . . [more]
Posted in: Summaries Sunday

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 ) : Du délai de 45 mois retenu pour évaluer la demande d’arrêt des procédures présentée par le requérant, 34 mois sont jugés imputables aux actes de la poursuite; compte tenu du préjudice subi, ce dernier, qui était directeur des services de police à l’époque des faits, ne . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Four New Titles Enrich the Growing Osgoode Society List

Over 100 Titles To Be Published by 2015

A milestone is fast approaching for the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History.When the Society was founded in 1979, no one could have imagined that so extensive a collection of original research and writing on Canadian legal history would be the result. Bravo to Roy McMurtry and his merry band of authors and editors who have created a body of work that is the envy of the legal publishing world in just over fifty years, and to the university presses and commercial publishers that have supported this venture, including most notably . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Friday Fillip: Les Mots Justes and Justice

I’ve long thought that law and poetry share a number of interesting features, or, to put it another way, live on the same language axis. Look at what’s valued in both:

  • concision: indeed a parsimony, a precisely “shaped charge,” if you will, brought about in law’s case by the notion of relevance and the wish to do as little harm as possible, and in the case of poetry brought about by the poet’s wish to capture and express something real and true and specific.
  • precision: by this I mean taking very great care, word by word, to choose
. . . [more]
Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Slate

I recently visited Nth Wales the land my grandfather left 105+ years ago. Many of the original 3,000 workers in the Penrhyn Slate Quarry where he worked also left due to industrial disputes that dragged on and off for years. Such disregard for customers by the quarry owners meant customers found other suppliers in France and elsewhere, or simply alternative products, such as cheap mass-produced tiles.

My grandfather was not alone in abandoning the slate mining industry. Better conditions elsewhere, World War I, and lost skills resulted in a shortage of the skilled labour needed to extract the slate in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Look to the Future by Looking Outside Our Context

In August 2014, the CBA published its final report entitled “Futures: Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada”.

In January 2013, the Futures Committee published a very comprehensive report entitled “The Future of the Legal Profession: Report on the State of Research”. This report summarized research conducted around the world by or about Bar Associations, Other Legal Associations, law schools, firms and legal futurists, articles, books, conferences and blogs. The methodology makes it clear that the focus was “the future of the legal profession and law firms”, access to justice and the role of bar associations. The . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Jargon

Wired magazine has a regular column called “Jargon Watch” that defines terms relevant to existing and future tech and other issues. They are sometimes amusing, sometimes food for thought, sometimes telling of our culture. The November issue has some definitions I thought readers might relate to, including:

Rogeting: Using a thesaurus to disguise plagiarized writing. Such word substitution can thwart anti-plagiarism software, but the tactic becomes comically obvious when overdone, especially with contextually inappropriate synonyms. for instance: Rogeting “legacy networks” into “bequest mazes.”

Nearable: A smart, connected object that can share data about itself with a smartphone or computer. Retailers . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

The Client Impact of Your Retirement

More than 10% of lawyers in BC are 65 years old or older, and that’s probably why a lot of you are discussing, or at least pondering, your own firm’s demographic composition and the necessity for successful planning.

A LSBC Benchers’ Bulletin states:

“Over 1,100 (or 10.4%) of the 10,700 practising BC lawyers today are 65 years old of age or older, compared to only 380 practising lawyers 65 or older in 2003 (4.2% of ­total). That’s an annual growth rate of 11.2%. There has also been a significant increase in the number of practising lawyers between the ages of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Marketing

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. The Hearing Clinic (Niagara Falls) Inc. v. 866073 Ontario Limited, et al., 2014 ONSC 5831

[3] I have found it impossible to articulate a helpful overview of this trial. Sitting atop the evidence here is like scaling a very, very high mountain only to find that, when one reaches the summit, one is too far from everything to see anything. . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Time for a CASL Check Up

Some of the dust kicked up during the stampede to comply with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) has settled. In October, Ipsos released survey results showing that most Canadians are aware of the legislation and that they are taking advantage of it.

David Canton has published excellent commentary and practical advice regarding the legislation, which came into effect on July 1, 2014. Judging from discussions with clients and colleagues post-implementation, most compliance campaigns helped firms clean up their databases and wrangle administrative procedures. Although, some in-house marketers and administrative staff might still be recovering from the process….

Ipsos conducted the survey . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management