Canada’s online legal magazine.

Fear of Assault Charges Dissuades Good Samaritans

The City of Toronto is gearing up for its mayoral elections over the next few months, and public transit tops the list for issues of public interest. But one incident on the Toronto subway system has residents worried about safety.

On Apr. 24 at 8:30 p.m., 79-year-old Yusuf Hizel was traveling eastbound on the Bloor-Danforth line when he was assaulted by two individuals who took his wallet. Although the train was full, nobody intervened or attempted to obtain assistance from subway officials. The incident appears to have happened relatively quickly, which may have also limited the ability of other . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

New Columnists, New Format Coming

In just over two weeks’ time we’ll be changing the design and layout of Slaw. It’s been three years since our last makeover, so we’re due to be visually freshened up.

But more exciting is the fact that we’ll be introducing many new columnists and giving them, well, a column of their own. We’ve sought out experts to write for you on a number of broad themes. You can expect a column a week on each of the following: the Practice of Law, Legal Technology, Outsourcing, Legal Marketing, Legal Information, Justice Issues, and Legal Publishing. As well, of course, our . . . [more]

Posted in: ed hoc

Profile of Milliken

In the Globe on April 28 there was an entertaining profile of Peter Milliken, Speaker of the House by Michael Valpy that covered some of his family background, university experience and his part on the Bill C-399 of 1996. Unfortunately, the Bill is not available from the Parliament website, but there is a version of it here. Further links here, and much more on Milliken here. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Friday Fillip

You would think that after a week spent wielding words I would have had enough of those pesky signifiers. Oddly, though, I feel the urge to write about them in this week’s fillip. The “odd,” I think, is what I’m attracted to.

Here’s the setup.

The English language is a very loose bag containing something like three-quarters of a million words, though the very idea of counting words is nonsensical. It’s no wonder, then, that many — most? — in this hoard are strange to me. I mean, who apart from a chemist is likely to be familiar with osotriazoles . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Traffic Report: Patent Prosecution Highway
Faster, Cheaper Patents

A Patent Prosecution Highway (“PPH”) program was implemented between the Canadian and US patent offices in 2008 to accelerate patent examination and issuance. Under the PPH, an applicant with allowable claims in either a US or Canadian patent application may request that the other country’s patent office provide a fast track examination to the corresponding application. The sharing of search and examination results between offices is intended to expedite and improve the quality of examination.

As an example of how the PPH works, if a US patent application is examined and claims are approved as patentable (“allowable”) by the US . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law: Legislation

Archiving Tweets Revisited

Despite the debate about whether tweets are a valid form of writing and what Google and the Library of Congress are doing with tweet archives, privacy etc., I want to write about archiving twitter streams. Perhaps if I put my thoughts out there (on the web) I believe I will be able to find those thoughts later when I need them. In 140 character thought bytes.

Steve has written about the value of tweeting at a conference and Simon F. has written about archiving tweets, but things have changed a bit (byte) as they tend to do.

The Legal . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Technology: Internet

Update on Work of CBA Task Force on Conflicts

The CBA Task Force continues to work to help the profession with conflicts issues.

On top of the original report and the amended model code of conduct, there is the excellent collection of precedent documents and checklists in the CBA Conflicts Task Force Toolkit. A full list of the documents in the toolkit is here. I am a member of the Task Force did a lot of work on the Toolkit. I think it is truly a fantastic collection of resources that can help lawyers avoid conflicts of interest claims.

There is also an overview and list of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Use of Employer Systems for Personal Communications to Legal Counsel – How Should Employer Counsel Deal With “hot” E-Mails?

I made a half-baked comment in response to Omar’s April 4th post on the procedural issues in dealing with the communications that employees have with their legal counsel through employer e-mail systems. This is a post based on some “more baked” thoughts that I plan to incorporate into a book chapter under development.

The thoughts I’ve included are strictly on the procedure for dealing with these “hot” e-mails. I’ll leave the substantive issue about the legitimacy of an employee privilege claim to another day, but will set up the thoughts below by noting that the issue is highly uncertain in . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

CAIJ Makes Canadian Legal Periodical Index Available Online

Many of you already know the Index to Canadian Legal Literature (ICLL), LegalTrac, or the Index to Legal Periodicals on Quicklaw.

Here is another online source of Canadian legal journals.

The Scott Index to Canadian Legal Periodical Literature is now available on the website of CAIJ (Centre d’accès à l’information juridique), the network of 38 libraries serving members of the Barreau du Québec and the province’s judiciary.

The Index, a print-only product, was created in the early 60s by Marianne Scott. Scott was law librarian at McGill from 1955 to 1973, lecturer in the Faculty of Law from 1964 to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

FireFox Adds Toolbar Customization

Not that Firefox wasn’t the most customizable browser already, but the upcoming edition will allow you to add and remove elements from all installed toolbars – paring your experience down to a single row, if desired.

As someone who currently uses three rows of toolbars, plus the area taken up by in-browser tabs, screen real estate is always an issue. Moving to larger monitors & screen resolutions does help, but it remains a constant balance between adding functionality -vs- viewable area. Knowing that I’m overly reliant on my ‘bookmarks toolbar’ – which I jam as many essential links into as . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Patentable? the Issue of Software and Business Methods

When should software and business methods be patentable, if ever? Two courts are currently grappling with this very question. In the United States, the Supreme Court is expected to deliver its decision in Bilski v. Kappos within weeks. In Canada, the Federal Court recently heard oral arguments in Amazon.com, Inc. v. The Attorney General of Canada et al, the Amazon 1-Click appeal. Both cases are likely to shape the patent landscape for years to come.

Previous developments

Previous decisions in Bilski and Amazon both conspicuously broke with established patentability requirements and led to the current appeals. Each discarded earlier . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions