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Archive for August, 2009

Regulatory Intervention in Shareholder Rights Plans

On August 25, 2009, the Alberta Securities Commission dismissed an application by TransAlta Corporation to cease trade the shareholder rights plan of Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. The TransAlta take-over bid for Canadian Hydro Developers was scheduled to expire, unless extended, on August 27, 2009 and was effectively blocked by the rights plan. Although the impact of this decision will not be clear until the ASC releases its written reasons, it may be further evidence of a shift by the Canadian securities regulators towards providing boards of directors with greater deference in resisting unsolicited take-over bids.

Shareholder Rights Plans

Shareholder rights . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Bar Admissions

I love bar admission season. Here in Alberta, there is an individual admission ceremony where friends and family and firm members can hear a short roast (AKA application) and help celebrate the achievement of the newest member of the Law Society of Alberta.

It is a very happy occasion. The process to become a lawyer is not simple, and I appreciate that we still celebrate admissions individually.

Congratulations to all the new lawyers. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training

Best Guide to Canadian Legal Research

Catherine Best has revised and re-launched her website Best Guide to Canadian Legal Research as of yesterday morning.

I think most Slaw readers have come across this site at some point in their web travels. As I mentioned on the VLLB yesterday, the domain was first registered in September 1998, and Catherine was one of the first lawyers to self-publish her own site in Canada. That the topic was Canadian legal research, makes it more appropriate to wish her a happy re-launch from everyone here at Slaw! . . . [more]

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

Green Energy Act

The Ontario Government has recently passed innovative legislation to stimulate investment in renewable energy, green jobs and energy conservation and demand management. One of the key features of the Green Energy and Economy Act, 2009 (“GEA”) are “Feed in Tariffs” for renewable generation such as wind, solar, biomass and hydro-electric power. This regime of Feed in Tariffs for renewable power has proved successful for many European jurisdictions that have been leaders in the development of renewable power projects.

At the present time, the Ontario Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure is working hard to draft the key regulations to support the . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Fight or Flight?

Michael Jackson’s sudden death and the skirmishes over who should be his executors, or remain so, should give you pause. You would not want your beneficiaries fighting over your estate and you should want executors with the necessary expertise to manage your assets after you are gone.

Not too much can be done to prevent the former. Jackson’s Will has a “no contest” clause, such that if a beneficiary takes issue with how much he or she is to get, they get nothing. Still, this has not prevented Jackson’s mother from seeking to have herself appointed as an executor or . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger

UN Launches BASESwiki ADR Website on Business and Human Rights

[Editor update, Feb. 28, 2014: BASESwiki has migrated to ACCESS Facility:]

The United Nations has launched a new alternative dispute resolution wiki on business and human rights called BASESwiki, the Business and Society Exploring Solutions wiki:

“It is a forum where anyone can share, access and discuss information about the non-judicial mechanisms and resources available around the world to help companies and their external stakeholders resolve disputes. It will be a resource for all stakeholders – companies, NGOs, mediators, lawyers, academics and government officials. It will be an interactive forum, built over time by and for its

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


I deplore the practice of some of those who publish on Slaw—or, indeed, anywhere else—doing so anonymously. I have raised the matter privately with Simon Fodden but I raise it now publicly. In my opinion, anyone who wants to publish anything on Slaw, whether as a post or a comment, should do so only after he or she has provided Simon with a valid e-mail address, a short bio and a statement of the organization with which he or she is affiliated. This information should be available to anyone. Whether or not anonymous blogging will eventually come to an end—as . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Canada Revenue Agency to Audit Canadian eBay PowerSellers

Canada’s Minister of National Revenue recently announced the Canada Revenue Agency’s intention to audit certain Canadian sellers (so-called high volume “PowerSellers”) of products on eBay, which is the world’s largest global online marketplace. The Canadian tax authority, which has long been concerned about a lack of tax compliance in respect of electronic commerce, wants to determine if those sellers have properly reported the income earned from their online sales.

The Canada Revenue Agency’s decision to audit the eBay sellers follows a series of Federal Court decisions confirming the tax authority’s ability to force eBay’s Canadian companies to disclose the names . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Copyright Reform Survey Results

Last week I posed a survey on copyright reform. Here are the results.

The result is overwhelming.

So in anticipation of comments pointing out the following:

– it clearly was not scientifically accurate

– it is quite possible that the question was biased

– it may reflect the large proportion of users to creators and thus shows the tyranny of the majority rather than a principled view. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Waiver of Tort in Class Actions

It is fashionable for class counsel to plead “waiver of tort” as a common issue alleged to be certifiable in product liability class actions. Waiver of tort refers to a plaintiff’s election at a common issues trial to have recovery quantified not by provable tort damages but rather by the defendant’s gain arising from the alleged tortious act.

As merits-based classes defined by injury are impermissible in common law provinces, waiver of tort is the glue to hold together a claim on behalf of all users of a product — without regard to whether it is defective or causes injury. . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Well Worth a Read – George Paul’s “Foundations of Digital Evidence”

George Paul says that digital record keeping has caused an evidentiary crises of societal proportions and that it is our responsibility, as lawyers, to find a resolution – to find a way of effectively testing the authenticity of digital records so they do “what people expect them to do,” and so that truth is found and justice done.

The American Bar Association published Paul’s “Foundations of Digital Evidence” in 2008. Paul is an American trial lawyer from Arizona with a deep interest in the evidentiary implications of digital information. He was kind enough to provide short interview this week, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Opening the Kimono?

There are few things more secret within lawfirms than the process of determining equity partnership admission and partner compensation. Even if there are disputes they’re handled behind closed doors or in the leak-proof process of arbitration. There are only a handful of reported cases on such issues involving the largest firms.

Which makes the travails of McCarthy Tétrault particularly newsworthy – although the reactions of many managing partners may well be to thank the relevant deity that it wasn’t their firm.

A former McCarthy Tétrault lawyer is suing the firm for $12 million dollars over an equity partnership admission dispute. . . . [more]

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