Canada’s online legal magazine.

Taxing Justice

The HST is coming and its ramifications for those who practice law and those who purchase legal services is going to be extreme.

While other industries (notably mutual funds, auto, and real estate) are all engaged in full-court-press mode as they lobby the Ontario government for exemptions, we in the legal services field have remained disturbingly complacent. The problem is simple to define. Starting in July 2010 when Ontario’s GST and PST are replaced by the new Harmonized Sales Tax, virtually everything, including legal bills, will be subject to the new 13% HST. For those of you who are blessed . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Wanted: A Synopsis of Canadian Cybersecurity Laws

I have been asked (by an American colleague) if I know of any synopsis of “Canadian cybersecurity laws”. I am told that this expression means some mix analogous to the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, covering as well wiretaps, crimes, specific requirements for securing data. Core is private sector rather than critical infrastructure or national security.

It is conceivable that there is a chapter or more in the various collections of learning on IT or e-com law on the topic, which Canadian members of this blog are familiar with. Care to name them? Is there a book in Sunny . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Legal Information, Substantive Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Seven Deadly Sins of the Innovator

For those with trouble prioritizing which of their next great ideas to undertake, there’s a fun column in the Oct. 20th edition of Business Week: The Seven Deadly Sins of the Innovator:

  1. Lust: Innovating in a space you have no business being in.
  2. Gluttony: Trying to create too many initiatives with too few resources. Innovation takes emotional and financial capital and focus.
  3. Greed: Taking short-term profits at the expense of long-term growth.
  4. Sloth: Taking short cuts—not doing the hard work, not following the proven process.
  5. Wrath: Being so focused on your competition that you
. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Psycho-Acoustic Simulation & Beatles Songs for a Quarter

I’ve groused here many — perhaps, too many — times about the inability of the Canadian music industry to get it together so that we can listen to music over the internet like our neighbours to the south. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled on BlueBeat, a website streaming music here, when Pandora et al. are forbidden to do that. Now imagine my super-surprise when I discovered that BlueBeat is streaming free and marketing MP3s of the Beatles’ music at 25¢ a song. Apple Inc. is unable to strike a deal with EMI for the distribution of the Fab . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Nova Scotia Mental Health Court

Today should be the day that the new Nova Scotia Mental Health Court hears its first case. (See the story in the Chronicle Herald .) In effect a criminal court under the Provincial Courts Act, the MHC is staffed by people who are able to understand and assist those who come before it because a mental illness has played a significant role in their criminal behaviour.

More formally, from the MHC Overview [PDF]:

The Nova Scotia Mental Health Court Program is a voluntary offender-based program for adults (persons 18 years of age and older) who have been charged with a

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Hay in a Haystack

One of my colleagues, found a colourful way to describe his growing disconnect with finding legal information on his own: “It’s like trying to find a piece of hay in a haystack.”

A Law Librarian blog post offers an excellent visual representation of this concept:

Created by Jessica Hagy, author of Index

These two haystack comments make me think of teaching legal research. The topic has been on my mind a lot lately. And recent debate here at Slaw about sources of legal material tells me that others are likely thinking about it too.

On the weekends, I am a . . . [more]

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

Google Privacy Tool

All the concerns about Google amassing information about users has led to the Internet giant deciding to be more transparent.

You can see a video of Google Dashboard here. The control panel lets you see what Google is collecting about you, and modify your preferences.

The Globe points out that some of the bigger privacy concerns, such as Street View, have still not been addressed. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

Linguist Tongue-Lashes Jurist

One of the things I enjoy about reading the Language Log, a cooperative blog by academic linguists, is the ease with which some of the authors slip into high dudgeon. (I suppose I might be like that, too, if my subject were language, in which everyone is an expert.) The latest target of Geoff Pullum’s indignation is U.S. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy, who, it turns out, doesn’t know his active from his passive, when it comes to voice.

The offending passage occurred in the judge’s dissent in Jones v. United States 526 U.S. 227 (1999) where Kennedy is interpreting a . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Form of Order in Applications to Prove a Lost Will Under Ontario Rule 75.02

Cross-posted on The AvoidAClaim blog (

As part of a brief endorsement dated November 3, 2009 in RE: IN THE ESTATE OF Evelyn O’Reilly, et. al., Justice D. M. Brown of the Superior Court Of Justice–Ontario provided some useful direction on the form and content of an order in applications to prove a lost will under Ontario Rule 75.02. Ontario lawyers handling this issue on estate matters will find Brown J.’s comments helpful. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Study on Impact of Intervenors at Supreme Court of Canada

University of Toronto law professors Ben Alarie and Andrew Green have posted a draft of a new paper to the Social Science Research Network.

The paper is entitled Interventions at the Supreme Court of Canada: Accuracy, Affiliation, and Acceptance:

“Do interveners matter? Under Chief Justice McLachlin the Supreme Court of Canada has allowed an average of 176 interventions per calendar year and interveners have cumulatively made submissions in half of the cases heard by the Court. This level of activity suggests that interveners are doing something. But what is it that they are doing?”

“In the abstract, there are

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Consumer Reports Magazine’s Electronic Gadgets Xmas Shopping List

I over-think and over-analyze every purchase I make, large or small. One of my favourite sources of information is Consumer Reports Magazine (

The December issue arrived at home yesterday. It is “The Best New Electronics” issue and is perfectly timed for anyone thinking about a Christmas electronics purchase. They have tested and give ratings for 400+ hot new electronic products. They give basic info on the features you should consider and list the top performers and values. They have repair history ratings on some products, and tell you where to buy computers and electronics, and how to . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology