Canada’s online legal magazine.

Don’t Let Personal Issues Lead You to Bend the Rules

At least two of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s discipline decisions in the last few months referenced a lawyer’s “loss of moral compass.” Even honest and well-intentioned lawyers have, when under pressure or when suffering from illness, addiction or a personal crisis, succumbed to the belief that it’s perfectly fine to bend the rules “just this once.”

Unfortunately, bending rules and getting away with it has the effect of weakening a lawyer’s scruples over time – especially when the pressures that led to the first transgression persist. Preserving your integrity will help you steer clear of serious threats to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Dianne Saxe Appointed Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

On behalf of the Slaw community, we congratulate our colleague Dianne Saxe on her appointment as Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. Her new role takes effect on December 1st, 2015.

As one of Canada’s most respected and knowledgeable environmental lawyers, Dianne has been a key columnist with us here at Slaw since June of 2010. While we are uncertain at this time whether her new role will allow her to continue writing (we hope she will), we are exceptionally proud of her achievement. Dianne is a tireless advocate for our environment and we know she will do well.

Well worth noting: . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Law as an Instrument of Change

When I was at law school, many years ago, Stephen Lewis visited as a speaker.

At the time he was Canadian ambassador to the UN. He flew up from New York for the afternoon.

There are two things I still remember about his talk.

The first is a humerous anecdote about his experience at law school. He told of how he went to the library to research an assignment and when, after some difficulty, he found the volume that contained the key case for the topic, the relevant pages had been torn out. This convinced him to quit law school, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

A Judge’s Place Is on the Bench . . . Not in the Political Arena

Judges and politics don’t mix. Political involvement by sitting judges is an accepted taboo. Political involvement by former judges is a relatively recent development. But as the political candidacy of former Chief Judge of the B.C. Provincial Court Carol Baird Ellan is showing, there is a serious danger of political blowback against the bench as an institution when one exchanges her black judicial robes for the Blue, Red or Orange colours of a political party.

The Progressive Conservative Party is running an attack ad targeting the NDP’s so-called “star candidate”. The ad is found at and says:

Carol Baird

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Ethics

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 sixty 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. FamilyLLB  2. Susan on the Soapbox 3. Henry J. Chang’s Canada-US Immigration Blog  4. Legal Feeds  5. First Reference Talks

More On Whether a Kid Can Launch His or Her Own Child Support Claim Last

Last year we wrote about a case in which a now-16-year-old girl had . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Opposition to Green Party Through Debate Exclusion

The Green Party of Canada has a filed a complaint with the Canada Revenue Agency over its exclusion from the upcoming Munk Debate on Sept. 28, 2015.

The party claims that by not allowing them to participate in the debate, the Aurea Foundation, the registered charity organizing the event, is in violation of the Income Tax Act. The party meets the definition of a political party under s. 149.1(6.1)(c) of the Act.

In a news release earlier this year, the Munk Debate organizers stated,

There are two ways in which someone is a leader of a party in

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

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) : Reconnus coupables d’avoir pris part à une émeute et d’avoir séquestré plusieurs personnes au poste de police de Kanesatake lors d’événements survenus en janvier 2014, les appelants voient leurs verdicts de culpabilité confirmés.

Intitulé : Conway c. R., 2015 QCCA 1389
Juridiction : Cour d’appel (C.A.), Montréal, . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

The Friday Fillip: Lawyer, Guns, and Money

For the next while the Friday Fillip will be a chapter in a serialized crime novel, usually followed by a reference you might like to pursue. Both this chapter of the book and the whole story up to this point can be had as PDF files. You may also subscribe to have chapters delivered to you by email.


Chapter 29
Lawyer, Guns, and Money

The odour was complex, an olio of scents now uncommon. All the woods: sweet cedar, rosewood with its attar, dark and mossy mahogany, cherry, walnut. Then the fungal, metallic tang

. . . [more]
Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Thomson Reuters Labs in Waterloo Research Partnership

Cloaked in several “cliches and meaningless metaphors” (in the words of a colleague) is an announcement of a research partnership intended to improve access to “Thomson Reuters vast and unique datasets”. This could lead to significant developments in legal research. Then again maybe just cliches and….

Thomson Reuters to launch data and innovation lab in Waterloo, Ontario
By GlobeNewswire, September 16, 2015, 11:00:00 AM EDT

NEW YORK, September 16, 2015- Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, today announced the establishment of Thomson Reuters Labs – Waterloo Region, in Ontario, Canada. The Lab will . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Thursday Thinkpiece: A Barrister’s Perspective of the New Zealand Supreme Court, 10 Years In

Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt, usually from a recently published book or journal article. In every case the proper permissions have been obtained. If you are a publisher who would like to participate in this feature, please let us know via the site’s contact form.

The Supreme Court of New Zealand 2004-2013
© 2015 Thomson Reuters New Zealand
edited by Matthew Barber and Mary-Rose Russell, Senior Lecturers in Law, Auckland University of Technology

Excerpt: selections from Chapter 3: A Barrister’s Perspective by James Farmer QC

[Footnotes omitted. They can be found in the original via the link . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

‘La Bâtonnière’ No More After Settlement With Quebec Bar Association

The Quebec Bar Association and bencher-elect Lu Chan Khuong have released a joint statement, indicating that Khuong has decided to resign her position and duties. The joint press release, dated Tuesday, September 15, 2015, announces a settlement agreement of the legal action opposing the board of directors of the Bar Association and Khuong. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Ontario Court Takes Jurisdiction in Internet Defamation Case – Ho Hum?

The Superior Court of Ontario has recently held that an Israeli newspaper should face a defamation action in Ontario on behalf of an Ontario resident, since the newpaper’s website was read in Ontario. Goldhar v

The Court made short work of the ‘jurisdiction simpliciter’ argument, based on SCC decisions, and not much longer work, it would appear, of the forum conveniens arguments. It did order that the costs to bring the Israeli witnesses to Canada should be paid by the plaintiff.

Are these cases now routine? Is there any realistic chance for a defendant to avoid a trial . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list