Canada’s online legal magazine.

Indian High Court Judge Gives Lecture

If you happen to be in Ottawa on Monday, June 29, you’ll have the opportunity to attend a lecture by Madan B. Lokur, a judge of the Delhi High Court, entitled “The Role of the Indian Supreme Court in Human Development.” The lecture is being presented as part of the India Lectures series of the International Development Research Centre.

If you’re going to be elsewhere on that day, despair not: the IDRC has been putting up the India Lectures as podcasts. So make a note to check in a few weeks later to hear Justice Lokur. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD

The Friday Fillip

I like Alice. I have a (very) modest collection of her adventures, as told by the oddman Dodgson orse Carroll (including a “Wonderland” published in Moscow in English — 1 rouble 30 kopek — with Russian commentary and illustrations). I bring this up because Disney is at it again, it seems, and, traditionalist curmudgeon that I am, I have deeply resented what Disney has done to some of the great children’s classics in the past. But this time I wonder…

For one thing, the new movie is being directed by Tim Burton. Hard to think of anyone more a . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

CBA – Law Firm Leadership Management Conference

Registration is now open for the Canadian Bar Association‘s Fifth Annual Law Firm Leadership Conference, this year focussing on Change Management. The conference will be taking place on November 16 & 17, 2009 at the Park Hyatt Toronto. There will also be a pre- and post-conference bootcamp sessions, “Meeting the Leadership Challenge” on November 15 (a full day) and “Meeting the Leadership Challenge – Managing for Profitability” on November 17-18 (two half days).
Featured speakers include:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Maybe the Jury Didn’t Like the Songs

In a highly publicised decision that caught most music industry watchers off guard, a federal jury in Minneapolis last week handed the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) an unprecedented and overwhelming victory in the form of a $1.92 Million (U.S.) award against a mother of four for allegedly file-sharing 24 songs. At $80,000 per track, it represents a ratio of 80,000 to 1 of punitive damages to the actual damages suffered, assuming each song could have been legally purchased for $1.00. News reports on the case, the first of thousands filed in the U.S. against individual file sharers to actually . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

A Risky Business for BC Lenders

The land title registration system in British Columbia, which is based on the principles of the Australian ‘Torrens’ registry system (named after Sir Robert Torrens) allows one to register title against real estate in a central registry. This system, which has been used since the 19th century, was a significant improvement from earlier, more cumbersome methods of proving title which required tracing back the historical “chain of title” in order to prove that the land was unencumbered.

A key part of BC’s land title system is the principal of “indefeasibility of title” which allows purchasers, lenders and other parties dealing . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

The Emerging Climate Consciousness – Public Company Disclosure and Beyond

Recently, I ran across an excellent article in the Spring 2009 issue of Corporate Governance Quarterly called “Climate Change Disclosure Heats Up”. The authors, Patricia Koval, Tyson Dyck and Michael Pickersgill of Torys LLP, discuss public companies’ disclosures pertaining to the companies’ exposure to “climate risks”. This broad risk category includes matters such as: how climate change affects the company’s profitability, what opportunities / challenges climate change presents to the company, and what actions the company is taking in anticipation of the various climate change related regulations coming down the pipe (e.g. the anticipated mandatory cap-and-trade system on greenhouse . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Pickton Judgment From BCCA

The conviction of Robert William Pickton was upheld today in a two-one split decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal. Here is the judgment from the court, subject to some redaction because of the publication bans.

In a second ruling yesterday, the court unanimously accepted the Crown’s appeal of a decision by Justice Williams to sever the 26 counts of first degree murder into six and twenty as well as errors of law in three rulings on evidence and errors in the jury charge. But the Crown acknowledged that a new trial on 26 first-degree murder charges . . . [more]

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

Wolfram-Alpha Time Sheet Tip

Math has never been my strong suit. Keeping my day organized in 6 minute intervals is sometimes a chore. My firm changed accounting software and with that change I decided to use the new tool efficiently and no longer keep a paper time sheet. Unfortunately, I no longer have the nice little conversion chart that used to be on my paper form.

New search tools have been getting some press here on Slaw, including WolframAlpha. This computational search engine makes for an easy shortcut to inputting the correct time span into online time sheet.

The resulting hours plus . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Suddenly …Nothing Happened! Despite Media Hysteria, Outs for Pre-Sale Condo Purchasers Remain the Same

It should be no surprise that, with the current market conditions, both developers and purchasers are closely scrutinizing just how firm their contracts are for residential property developments currently under construction. As such, the recent British Columbia Supreme Court decision in Dwane v. Bastion Coast Homes Ltd. drew a lot of attention from developers, pre-sale purchasers, and the media alike in this Province. Though headlines blared Judge lets buyer ditch deal on condo and B.C. court rules pre-sale condo contract invalid, the fact of the matter is that Bastion Coast is little more than the application of pre-existing law. . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Proliferation of the Citation of Unreported Judgments in Judicial Decisions

I was in an interesting discussion today with colleagues on whether there has been a proliferation of the citation of unreported judgments in judicial decisions in Canada and whether this was a good or bad thing.

The context is this: in the good old days of print case law reporters (e.g., Dominion Law Reports or Ontario Reports) when life was much simpler, qualified editors chose to publish only the significant or important decisions. As such, you knew that when lawyers and judges cited precedent to print case law reporters there was some semblance of authority or quality in the precedent. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

How About Uniformity in Securities Rules?

On June 22, 2009, Canada’s federal government announced that a team led by the chair of the B.C. Securities Commission, Doug Hyndman, will lead the transition to a new national securities regulator. Mr. Hyndman will be responsible for negotiating with the provinces—each of which currently has its own securities regulator—as well as developing the legislation that outlines the new national regulator’s mandate. A report is due in a year, with an implementation target of three years.

Goodness knows, this is long overdue. In the absence of a single national securities regulator, efforts have been underway for many years to harmonize . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation