Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for October, 2009

JDSupra “Legal Edge” iPhone App

JDSupra launched an iPhone application today, called “Legal Edge,” available for free download on iTunes.

You can stream pleading, documents, and all the regular JDSupra content, but what makes it interesting is that there are firm-specific features as well.

Now if only they can start including Canadian jurisdictions for their pleading documents. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Michael Dell on Windows 7, Netbooks, …

Gigaom has an article about a speech Michael Dell gave yesterday.

He had very positive things to say about Windows 7 – which officially debuts next Thursday the 22nd. I concur with that. I’ve been the test case for Windows 7 at Harrison Pensa, and have found it faster and more stable. It also has features that can make you more productive. Enough so that I often find it frustrating when using my home computer with Vista.

He doesn’t like netbooks, even though Dell makes popular models – citing their small screens and slow performance. Anecdotally I’ve heard comments from . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Administrative Justice in British Columbia – the Road Less Travelled

Representing the best interests of the client, the adversarial system, and legally enforceable court decisions — these are the signposts on the well-travelled road to justice in the common law system. All you need is access to the resources necessary to pursue a case through to the end of the process.

But what if you lack those resources?

In the arena of administrative justice, the ombudsman’s office is a sort of “soft-power” alternative to the “hard-power” of the legal system. Accessible via a 1-800 phone call and available free of charge, this route may be the only option available to . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Cloud Computing and the Legal Significance of Terms of Service

Can you assert a confidentiality or privacy claim when you have willingly put the information you seek to protect on someone else’s computer system?

This question is important given the full-scale adoption of distributed computing. Yes, I mean cloud computing. But I also mean to address the issue of ISP disclosures to the police and the issue of employers who look at “personal” employee communications. These are all scenarios where a person claiming that certain information is confidential is not the owner of the medium on which it is stored. This common scenario is what makes mine an important question, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

The Ombudsman’s Equitable Intervention

“That the Ombudsman’s powers of investigation and reporting were meant to extend beyond those cases in which the complaining party asserts a cause of action is evident […] it was, at least in part, the lack of any remedy at law for many administrative injustices that gave rise to the creation of the office of Ombudsman.”[1. British Columbia Development Corporation c. Friedmann (Ombudsman), [1984] 2 R.C.S. 447, pp. 468-469]

The Quebec Ombudsman is entrusted by the National Assembly with supervising the administration of government, protecting rights and strengthening the rule of law and the democratic values that . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Our First Firm Retreat

Heritage Law had our first firm retreat last Friday October 9th at River Rock Casino in Richmond, BC. Allison Wolf was our facilitator and did an excellent job.

It was somewhat of a coming of age event for a firm started four years ago as a solo. Practice areas have changed, people have come and gone, two children have been born – and now four lawyers and five staff were sitting around a table discussing strengths, goals and the path ahead. It was a particularly unique event for us as we are a virtual firm and many of our paralegal . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Doctors Fight Back Against Reputations on RateMDs

Tony Wilson, of Boughton in Vancouver, wrote in this week’s issue of Lawyer’s Weekly,

Reputation matters… But it’s not just companies and trade-mark owners who have reputations to protect. We all do, and these days, much of our personal reputation is on the web for all the world to see.

Like many professionals, physicians in Canada operate by word-of-mouth referrals, largely based on the personal experiences of patients or other referring physicians. RateMDs has become an increasingly popular site for patients to share experiences about their physician.

It’s become enough of a concern to physicians that Sam Solomon provides . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Substantive Law

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

Much to be thankful for this week in the world of biotech:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Special Libraries Association Getting Ready for Name Change

Many readers of are members of or are familiar with the Special Libraries Association (SLA). SLA was founded in New York in 1909, and now includes thousands of information professionals from eighty countries. It covers a range of interests and professionals in a range of positions and organizations, and includes a Legal Division.

Over the past two years SLA has been working on its Alignment Project, to better strategically align the Association with the needs of its members and the organizations the members represent. Part of this work has included a new name for the Association. The . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

The Ombudsman as “Architect of Better Governance”

Ombudsmen are a rather strange breed of public official –- we have very robust investigative powers, such as the ability to examine witnesses under oath and to gain entry into government premises. But we have no powers of enforcement. We cannot impose a solution or make our recommendations binding.

Nevertheless, we can recommend resolutions, not only to address individual grievances, but also to promote broad policy changes. In this way, we have the potential to positively affect thousands -– even millions –- of citizens.

Our key to success is the use of moral suasion -– persuading our governments to do . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Panel on Pension Plan Reform at Western Law

Western Law hosted a forum on pension reform this past Thursday, featuring community leaders, legal academics, and practitioners.

Pension Plan Basics

Prof. Robert Brown of the University of Waterloo explained some of the basics behind pensions.

There are two kinds of pension plans, defined benefit and defined contribution plans. A defined benefit plan provides flat benefits at a specified amount per year of work. They can present a pretty good idea of what to expect in terms of benefits, but if investments are hit hard it can decrease amount of funds, and they are often open to the vagaries of . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Proposed Olympic Sign Legislation in B.C.

As reported by the CBC, the British Columbia government has introduced legislation that would empower Richmond, Vancouver and Whistler, for the months of February and March in 2010, to act swiftly to remove graffiti or signs that contravene their bylaws. Critics are worried that the law would catch anti-Olympics protesters and infringe their right to free speech.

The provisions causing concern are part of Bill 13 — 2009: Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2009. S.77 of the bill would amend the Municipalities Enabling and Validating Act (No. 3), S.B.C. 2001, c. 44, by adding four sections that . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law