Canada’s online legal magazine.

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 practice, research, writing and technology.

Research & Writing

Use Sessional Clippings Books for BC Legislative Research
Susannah Tredwell

British Columbia’s Hansard (the transcripts of the Legislative Assembly) was not published until 1970, making researching the intent behind a piece of pre-1970 legislation challenging. … . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Harassment in the Legal Profession: A Few Bad Apples?

Far too many people who work in law firms are subject to harassment by lawyers and paralegals. What, if anything, should our law societies do about this? Much depends on whether one sees the problem as “bad apples,” or as symptomatic of problems with the entire “barrel” which is the legal profession in Canada.

“Harassment” is defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code as “a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.” Harassment is often (but not always) sexual in nature. It is distinct from discrimination, but is often . . . [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 more than 80 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. Canadian Combat Sports Law Blog 2. Ontario Condo Law Blog 3. Juriblogue 4. Know How 5. Hull & Hull Blog

Canadian Combat Sports Law Blog
Elias Theodorou Granted First Ever MMA Cannabis Therapeutic Use Exemption

In most jurisdictions cannabis is banned in-competition for combat sports athletes. Generally

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Natural Justice Need Not Always Apply

The Federal Court of Appeal recently released a decision in Democracy Watch v. Canada, denying two appeals, from two separate complaints, regarding Canada’s first Commissioner of Lobbying. The court concluded that the Governor in Council’s interpretation of the Lobbying Act was reasonable, and rejected the allegations of bias.

Though it might come as a surprise to some, the general principles of independence and impartiality, though clearly principles of natural justice, are not necessarily required throughout our justice system in the same way.

International human rights law generally entitles individuals to a fair and public hearing, by an independent and . . . [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.

Deux actions en réclamation de dommages-intérêts sont autorisées contre la société pharmaceutique Valeant et d’autres défendeurs en vertu de l’article 225.4 de la Loi sur les valeurs mobilières.

Intitulé : California State Teachers’ Retirement System c. Bausch Health Companies Inc., 2020 QCCS 275
Juridiction : Cour supérieure (C.S.), Montréal . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Whither Legal Apps?

The first conference I attended in 2020 was the Innovations in Technology Conference hosted by the Legal Services Corporation in Portland, Oregon, last month. Initially I thought that having a conference in January was highly eccentric, then I booked my hotel room and saw the rates for staying in Portland in January, and I immediately saw how brilliant it is.

For those of you who don’t know, it’s the national conference on technology aimed at a legal aid audience, most of whom are grantees of the Legal Services Corporation. One of the themes of the conference that I was particularly . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Welcome to 2020: A Federal and Ontario Employment and Labour Law Summary

We are almost at the end of the second month of 2020 and have compiled for you a number of upcoming employment and labour law changes and key compliance issues that federally regulated and Ontario employers need to consider in their HR and payroll practices. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Thursday Thinkpiece: Bankruptcy Law Picture Book

Periodically on Thursdays, 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.

Bankruptcy Law Picture Book: A Brief Intro to the Law of Bankruptcy, in Pictures

Wela Quan is a proud Albertan living in New York City. A former corporate lawyer in Toronto and in New York City, she now spends her time running a Brooklyn based ed-tech start-up and writing visual legal guides. . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Who Owns Your Data? Is That Even the Right Question?

Who owns your data is actually the wrong question to ask. The better question is what are others able to do with information about you?

You may have heard the saying “data is the new oil”. Various kinds of data can indeed be valuable and useful. Where that goes off the rails is when that data is about you. While privacy laws have a notion of consent or reasonable use for information that is connected to us personally, it’s not always that simple.

This issue gets complicated and messy. Here are some things to ponder:

  • Cars know increasing

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Three New Law School Concepts

It is possible that traditional law schools will reinvent themselves structurally from the ground up and become exemplars of innovative 21st-century lawyer formation. It is also possible that I will play Polonius, the irritating giver of unwanted advice, in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s next production of Hamlet. Both these scenarios would be welcome (especially Act III, scene iv, when the advice-giver behind the curtain finally gets what’s coming to him).

More likely, however, the reinvention of lawyer formation will begin outside of our legacy law campuses. Ryerson University’s new law school is a very promising entrant in this burgeoning . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education, Practice of Law

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. Gichuru v. Vancouver Swing Society (No. 3), 2020 BCHRT 1 (CanLII)

[242] The Tribunal has rarely had to consider the issue of vexatious litigants in the context of its own decisions, and the VSS was unable to identify any decisions in which an award was made against a party to a complaint on the basis of a pattern of vexatious litigation.

[243] . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

The LSO Technology Guideline: Considering the Ethics of It All

In the fall of 2019, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada amended their Model Code of Professional Conduct to incorporate reference to the use of technology in section 3.1-2 of the Model Code, which addresses competence. The Law Society of Ontario has provided the profession with a “guideline” in the use of technology, which in some cases refers to the Rules of Professional Conduct, but it is not itself a rule of professional conduct. It constitutes, in effect, desirable behaviour but, with some exceptions, not required conduct. As does legal practice generally, however, the use of technology requires ethical . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology