Canada’s online legal magazine.

The Friday Fillip

Well the results are in and the winners have been announced for this year’s Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, that annual dark and stormy nightmare1 in honour of poor Lord Lytton, the one time Secretary of State for the Colonies (Canada, I’m looking at you) and novelist of less than wretched quality. (After all, folks, it was Himself who coined “the pen is mightier than the sword” which in full is “beneath the rule of men entirely great the pen is mightier than the sword” — but that’s another story.)

The contest now has numerous categories, because we just . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Searching Through SpaceTime3D

There are times when Google’s minimalism palls and you want something just a little more… racy, perhaps, when you’re hunting down that special website that contains all the answers you need. When ennui de recherche strikes, move your operations over to SpaceTime3D, the cosmically inflated name for a pretty front end to Google, Wikipedia, Amazon, etc. What you’ll get is what we Mac users know as “cover flow,” that old fashioned jukebox effect where the website pages emerge from a stack like records on the old machines.

This isn’t very efficient, unless you’re looking for a certain kind of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Tweet, Retweet, Rinse, Repeat

As everyone in the entire world knows by now, there is a service called Twitter. Slaw has been announcing its posts on Twitter ( for quite a while now; and from time to time our contributors who tweet themselves will let their followers know that they’ve got an entry up on Slaw. But until now, we’ve not found a satisfactory way of letting our readers tweet about our posts.

Today we’ve added a Tweetmeme button in the upper right-hand corner of every post. So if you’re reading an entry that you think your followers on Twitter should know . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Serenity Now. Tranquility Later. (One Small Step for a Brand, Part II)

Here we continue the thread from my previous post. In honour of the Apollo 11 mission's 40th anniversary, we are looking at advertising/entertainment/branding issues we may not have expected – as a result of space exploration. This installment: contest bootcamp. Prepare for a hijacking.
Posted in: Substantive Law

The Other Face of Charter Violations

Last week I posted my commentary here on Slaw on the recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in R. v. Grant.

To recap briefly, Grant was a young black male who aroused the suspicions of some police by staring at them and “fidgeting”. Hardly “reasonable grounds” to conduct an investigative detention, yet that’s exactly what happened. In the course of a ‘conversation’ with police, Grant eventually admitted to being in possession of a small quantity of marijuana and a firearm. Despite finding his detention to be arbitrary and unlawful, the SCC ruled the evidence admissible under a . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Small Claims Not So Small

How much is a lot of money? This is a very personal question that depends upon many factors; how much is in the bank account; did your pay cheque bounce; how many of your kids are in day care; what is your rent; how much is your student loan?

The question popped in my head as I browsed an article by Diane Saxe via Lexology titled “My neighbour cut down my tree.” The article alerted me to the news that the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Small Claims Court maximum claim amount is rising to $25,000 on January 1, 2010. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Lawyers’ Rights Watch

It seems that we’ve not yet managed to talk about Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada on Slaw, an unfortunate omission. LRWC is a committee of lawyers who work to protect the very people — lawyers — who promote human rights around the world. In their concise summary:

LRWC seeks to identify illegal actions against advocates, campaign for the cessation of such actions and lobby for the implementation of effective immediate and long-term remedies.

They list their campaigns by country (some 50) on their website, including, I should note, Canada and six instances of what the LRWC felt to be violation of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

One Small Step for a Brand

Many organizations and individuals who are not traditional “entertainment” entities now find themselves increasingly pulled into the world of entertainment, branding and advertising. NASA and its astronauts are no exception. Over the next couple of posts, I will touch on some of these legal issues as found on the far side of space exploration. Here is a first installment: Part I. The Rum, The Watch and the Astronaut.
Posted in: Substantive Law

Interesting Week for Law-Related Government Studies and Reports

It has been a good week for people interested in Canadian government documents related to law and justice issues.

The most recent Weekly Checklist of Government of Canada Publications includes 2 parliamentary committee reports:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

New TOROG Document

As I hope everyone knows, TOROG — the Toronto Opinions Group — kindly allows Slaw to publish some of their memos and precedents on third party opinions. A new document has just been added to the collection: “Limitations Act, 2002 (Ontario) – Proposals for Improving Contract Drafting and Appropriate Opinion Qualification Practice – June, 2009,” which, like the others, is available in PDF.

This relatively lengthy document (18pp.) describes the impact of recent changes to the Ontario Limitations Act on one’s freedom to contract with respect to a limitation period. The document also contains a sample provisions of purchase . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information, Substantive Law

Just One Reason Why Judicial Appointment Hearings Aren’t a Good Idea

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings into the Judge Sonia Sotomayor appointment to the United States Supreme Court have reminded me why the idea of importing these hearings for real into our Canadian SCC appointment process bothers me. They’ve reminded me in a lot of ways, but one that stands out from this time around is the way in which the exchanges are antithetical to the process of judging. Judging should involve thoughtful consideration of the evidence, and, depending on the nature of the case, especially constitutional cases, of the context of the case. Of course, judges have predispositions, based on . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law