Canada’s online legal magazine.

Law Student-Led Legal Research Day Supports Environmental Law Reform

Students of the UVic Environmental Law Club contribute the following guest post. They discuss their initiative to conduct an all-day legal research event, putting their learning of the legislative research process toward a public interest effort. The event was inspired by a national student-driven research event on another issue a year ago. We thank Slaw’s Kim Nayyer for coordinating this submission.

Friday February 2, 2018, the UVic Environmental Law Club coordinated a full day research-o-thon involving more than 50 law students from UVic. The event: “Mining Law in BC – Digging up a Dirty History” focused on the history of . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Legislation

Should Law Firms Advertise?

In my column about content marketing, I described it as: “relevant, useful information consistently provided to a specific audience” and likened it to the opposite of advertising. Does that mean that advertising is irrelevant and useless?

Done poorly, yes. Done properly and targeted to the right people, no.

In the average law firm, if there’s a firm marketing budget, it’s lean and includes everything from event tickets to holiday cards. Lawyers may or may not have individual business development budgets, which they guard jealously for pet projects that they’ve always done—without tracking results. The firm might still be running . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. Bergeron v. Movati Athletic (Group) Inc., 2018 ONSC 885

[12] At the heart of the present case is the interpretation of the termination clause in Ms. Bergeron’s Employment Agreement. The question is whether or not Ms. Bergeron is entitled to be paid in accordance with the termination clause or based on common law reasonable notice.

(Check for commentary on CanLII . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Upholding the Law of the Land

When it comes to implementing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, lawyers have unique responsibilities; Calls to Action 27, 28, 29 and 50 are particularly instructive. Today, my colleague Maxine Hayman Matilpi and I reflect on what this means for us as legally trained individuals, our public interest law organization and legal pluralism in Canada.

Trish Monture asserts in Thunder in My Soul: A Mohawk Woman Speaks:

Every oppression that has been foisted upon Aboriginal people in the history of Canada has been implemented through [colonial law] . . . This includes child welfare apprehension, residential schools,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues

Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on research, writing, and practice.

Research & Writing

It Could Go Either Way
Neil Guthrie

English is a very difficult language to learn – and not just for those whose mother tongue is something else. Native speakers may, in fact, have a harder time, because they may have picked up the rules (more or less accurately) by osmosis, rather than having them clearly articulated. This is complicated by English spelling, which is fluid. Before the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Towards Cyberjustice Retrospective Part 1: Who Controls Court Data?

In our October 17th column, we announced that we would start posting a series of blogs highlighting different papers, studies, and pilot projects conducted under the auspices of the “Towards Cyberjustice” project. As a reminder, this project, which was financed by a Major Collaborative Research Grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council, spanned over the last seven years and has made significant contributions in the domain of what many call eJustice (what we refer to as cyberjustice). As stated on the Cyberjustice Laboratory’s Website, the purpose of the project was (although we’re . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Consistency in Case-by-Case Privilege for Religious Communications

Solicitor-client privilege has been described by the Court in Lavallee, Rackel & Heintz v. Canada as a principle of fundamental justice and civil right of supreme importance in Canadian law. The Court went further in R. v. McClure and stated at para 35, “solicitor-client privilege must be as close to absolute as possible to ensure public confidence and retain relevance.”

Not all forms of privilege though are so strongly protected. For forms of privilege that is not historically protected on the basis of class or category, the courts have employed the test originally set out in the 1961 tet by . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : L’infraction de facilitation se trouvant à l’article 83.19 C.Cr. ne concerne pas l’auteur principal d’une activité terroriste, dont le comportement est plutôt visé par l’article 83.2 C.Cr.

Intitulé : R. c. Jamali, 2017 QCCS 6078 *
Juridiction : Cour supérieure (C.S.), Montréal, 500-73-004347-155
Décision de : Juge . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Simon Fodden (1944 – 2018)

It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that our beloved Slaw founder, Simon Fodden, passed away on February 10th, 2018. Simon had been fighting cancer for the past four years, and died surrounded by his family at the Kensington Hospice in Toronto.

Simon’s accomplishments were many. From the family’s eulogy, he was beautifully described as “law professor and associate dean of law, author, blogger, founder/publisher of slaw.ca, lifelong learner, eclectic collector of interests and curiosities, aesthete, fashion plate, craft beer lover, foodie, charming conversationalist, music lover, technofile, web designer and all-around early adopter of innovation. Online . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, The Friday Fillip

Valuing Legal Information

The problem with trying to value legal information is that we mostly just talk about its price instead of its value. The value of anything is subjective, and correct legal information at the perfect time is worth a great deal, general legal information that isn’t needed at a particular moment is worth much less. This is important because the people who make decisions about how to fund legal information are often not the people who use it regularly and are generally not faced with urgent legal matters at the moment of making decisions about how much to pay for it. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

The Legal Aid Effect on Health Outcomes

A study recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) showed that every dollar spent on social programs is associated with a 0.1% decrease in potentially avoidable mortality and a 0.1% increase in life expectancy. Both results were statistically significant. This analysis of social and health care spending in 9 provinces from 1981 to 2002 concludes that population health outcomes would be improved if government spending were reallocated from health to social spending (“Effect of provincial spending on social services and health care on health outcomes in Canada: an observational longitudinal study”, Daniel J. Dutton et al, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Two Improvements Our Courts Can Implement for Self-Represented Litigants

Recently Chief Justice Wagner announced that the Supreme Court will modernize its headnotes by adding a summary written for regular folks. This summary will be posted on the Court’s website and its Facebook page. This change is a response to the way people are getting information. Today people learn about information from social media and websites in addition to traditional news broadcasts.

Justice Wagner’s initiative should be followed by our lower courts. Many self-represented litigants read cases arising from trials or motions. These cases can be hard to understand, even for lawyers. Our courts should be supplementing these dense decisions . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues