Canada’s online legal magazine.

Is There Any Leisure in Law?

In an editorial in today’s Star, Roy Romanow and Tony Gagliano describe a new report (pdf) by the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) which suggests that Canadians have even less time than before, despite our efforts to create a society with more leisure time. Romanow is the Chair of the CIW Advisory Board and offers an introduction to the report.

They point to several key factors:

  • technology allowing us to carry our work home
  • client expectations for service at all hours
  • suburban sprawl leading to longer commutes
  • globalization and urbanization forces

These trends are likely to affect . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Polar Bears, Science, and Politics

Unfortunately for them, polar bears currently don’t have a vote in a jurisdiction that matters enough to anyone in power.

Jocelyn Stacey and Shaun Fluker (University of Calgary – Faculty of Law) have posted The Polar Bear is Not a Species at Risk in Canada (Contrary to what the Rest of the World Thinks): When is a Decision Not to List Unreasonable in Law? on SSRN.

 Here is the abstract:

There is general scientific and ethical consensus that the polar bear species is in peril and in need of protection if it is to avoid extinction. However Canada has

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

Stately . . . Yes

Rats, I missed Bloomsday, an event I like to note here on Slaw. It happened last Wednesday, which was June 16, the same date on which, in 1904, Leopold Bloom wandered through Dublin as Joyce’s Ulysses.

My Bloomsday offering to our readers is a Joycean oddity, by Lance Wakeling (whose Private Circulation is often good), Stately, plump Buck Mulligan. On this site you’ll find all of Ulysses serialized as it were . . . one . . . word . . . at . . . a . . . time. You click on a word and the next . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Hard Cases, Good Law, Juries and Sympathy

Sympathy is not evidence upon which a jury may find in favour of a litigant.

After a two-week trial in a medical malpractice claim, the jury found cause-in-fact [factual causation] was established on the balance of probability. However, the trial judge ruled that there was no evidence whatsoever to support the finding. The judge dismissed the action.

Salter v. Hirst, 2010 ONSC 3440 (Ontario Superior Court) is a reminder to lawyers and litigants of the expensive consequences of not having the necessary evidence and of not asking the necessary questions, even if one has a tragic injury, a sympathetic . . . [more]

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

What’s Intrusive?

I was reading an interesting article in the Lawyer’s Weekly today on the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision in R. v. Morelli, [2010] SCC 8. In his article, “Reforming Search & Seizure” (sadly, not available online), Professor Benjamin Goold makes the following comment that I tripped over while reading:

Although Justice Fish almost certainly went too far when he claimed that it is “difficult to imagine a search more intrusive, extensive or invasive of one’s privacy than the search and seizure of a personal computer,” the fact remains that such a search represents a serious infringement of an

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Transformation of eLawyering

I’m a member of the eLawyering Task Force of the American Bar Association. Our purpose is to promote practising law over the Internet. When I joined in 2004, we were a marginal group within the ABA. Things have changed. Our e-mail discussion group has over 120 members. We have had people attend our teleconferences from as far away as New Zealand. A member of the ABA Board of Governors attended our most recent meeting in Las Vegas. And in the past year, co-chief Richard Granat has been profiled as a “Legal Rebel” in a recent ABA Journal series . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Friday Fillip

One way to describe my life is as a slow movement from strict prescriptivist to not entirely relaxed descriptivist. I’m talking about, well, talking—and even more about writing. Although I still will say to myself that it’s wrong to say “between you and I,” and “presently” doesn’t mean “now,” I have managed to contain those judgments for the most part and damn near don’t even wince anymore. I long ago let go of “hopefully,” and have come to use the third person plural as a means of obscuring gender.

A little like law, English changes and it does so balancing . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

A Little Light Weeding

Info, info everywhere, nor any place to shelve. (With apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.)

In a library, information overload can mean a physical overload as well as mental. Reporting series, annual statutes, conference papers all take up shelf room; how do you know what to keep and what can safely be turfed? One of my colleagues recently called and asked if I kept a particular item on my shelves. No, I didn’t, since it was officially available online. After all, shelves do eventually fill up, and if some other organization is willing . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Digital Locks?

Bill C-32, the Act to amend the Copyright Act, has a lot of provisions, mostly aimed at balancing the interests of creators of copyrightable content with those who consume (or work with) that content.

Probably the most controversial provision involves ‘digital locks’, i.e. technical protection measures that are designed to prevent people from using the works in ways that the owner does not want. The Act makes it an offence to ‘break’ those locks for any purpose at all.

Some of the attacks on the locks rule have been a bit exaggerated, claiming that there should be no protection — . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, ulc_ecomm_list

Today’s CLA Judgement Big, but Just How Big to Be Determined

This is an early take on today’s Supreme Court of Canada decision in Ontario (Public Safety and Security) v. Criminal Lawyers’ Association.

The Court unanimously held that the Ontario Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act does not violate section 2(b) of the Charter for its failure to offer a “public interest override” of the law enforcement and solicitor-client privilege exemptions to the public right of access to government information. This is the narrowest finding in a judgement that could give the public a new means of accessing government information.

FIPPA gives the public a presumptive right of . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions