Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for September, 2011

Born Digital Students and Research

A recent ethnographic study at a number of Illinois academic libraries suggests that students who have grown up with computer and Internet access are not as sophisticated at accessing the world of online resources as is often assumed. A very brief article on the project appeared in many daily papers last month and my colleague Humayun Rashid brought a much more detailed report in Inside Higher Education to my attention. The Inside Higher Ed. article provides an excellent summary of the study.

The results of the ERIAL Project (Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries) are perhaps not very surprising to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research – Additional Federal Court Docket Access

I have in the past complained about the abysmal lack of online access to Canadian court dockets at the same time as trying to compile a list of known links to Canadian court dockets to my Case Law research page on my legal research and writing website.

In addition to the new LexisNexis Canada dockets service I mentioned last week, a colleague has pointed out the free Canadian Federal Courts dockets service at, a website maintained by Alan Macek of Dimock Stratton LLP, a great site that does not yet appear to have been mentioned on SLAW . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Technology: Internet

I Am Now an App™

[W]e’re writing these things that we can no longer read. And we’ve rendered something illegible. And we’ve lost the sense of what’s actually happening in this world that we’ve made.
Kevin Slavin, How algorithms shape our world, TEDGlobal (July 2011)

I finished my last post speculating that the business of law will be changed by programmers in the same way one might boil a frog. That is, it will happen slowly under the guise of software support for all of the decision making you have to do every day, and you’ll accept that support, incrementally, because you are a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Canada Gazette 1841 to 1997 Now Searchable Online

Library and Archives Canada announced today that, to celebrate the 170th anniversary of the Canada Gazette (on October 2), the back issues of that publication have been made available and searchable online. There are four entry points to the database:

Issues published since 1998 have been available online for some time.

[hat tip: @richards1000] . . . [more]

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

Saskatchewan Law Review Looks at the McGill Guide 7th Ed.

The 7th edition of the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation is over a year old already. In a normal world, the newness and newsworthiness of this book (commonly known as the McGill Guide) would have worn off. Still, whenever someone asks for assistance with citing materials, I find myself in need of ‘more’ information. What are you citing, cases, articles? For whom, an academic paper, an internal document, the courts?

A book review published in the 2011 Saskatchewan Law Review at Volume 74, page 275 tells me that I am not alone with struggling for the correct answer to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

When It’s the Parents’ Turn to Seek Support

This news story caught my eye yesterday: an elderly woman in British Columbia is suing her children for parental support. Ms. Anderson is asking that her two children each pay her $750 a month to make ends meet.

Most provinces in Canada have some legislative obligation for children to support their parents. For example, the Civil Code of Quebec stipulates that:

585. Married or civil union spouses, and relatives in the direct line in the first degree, owe each other support.

A few decisions in Quebec have been rendered under this section; however, it is clear that this provision does . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

Another Mac Convert

I was part of the Apple IIe generation – we installed them in the school I worked at in the 1980’s. They seemed great, but somehow the DOS computers that started to creep in seemed to allow us to do more in the background, and the techies decided that this was the way to go. I learned some Unix along the way, and that helped me create some smart databases in 1990 in my library, but I soon joined the crowds. My first computer purchase was a Windows PCc, and for more than 20 years I stuck with PCs. I . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Judicial Mediation

To what extent should judges be involved in mediation?

The Chief Justice of Ontario addressed this thorny issue in The Advocate’s Journal, Winter 2010. He considers it from the perspective of the public, the bar and the bench, provides a brief history of judicial involvement in settlement discussions, adumbrates the arguments for and against judicial mediation, and asks whether it is a reality or a fantasy.

There are so many issues.

How would it be different from the pretrial rule which is designed “to provide an opportunity for any or all of the issues in a proceeding to be settled . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Avoiding a Communications Breakdown With Your Client

The Fall 20011 issue of LAWPRO Magazine features an article called Let’s Get Talking, in which LAWPRO canvassed a number of people inside and outside the legal profession on the topic of client engagement and communication. What we learned is that there is often a problem with the way lawyers communicate with their clients. Communication is integral to the client experience, and a bad customer experience often defaults into an allegation of communication failure (the source of almost half of LAWPRO claims costs).

The end of the article features a summary of tips from the experts we spoke to . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Women to Get the Vote in Saudia Arabia

One of the most fundamental of human rights is the right to participate in the making of the laws that govern you; and the basic right behind that is the right to vote. This might seem so clear to us now that it needs no mention, but equally clearly that hasn’t always been the case, one of the glaring illustrations being the relatively recent nature of women’s suffrage. Canada allowed women the vote only in 1917; the United States in 1920; France in 1944; and Switzerland in 1971. (There’s a good chart on Wikipedia that let’s you sort by country, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Long Term Outsourcing Relationships – Price Adjustment Provisions

My last column focussed on customer and service provider concerns that arise with various aspects of long term outsourcing relationships. I now want to discuss structuring specific provisions to take those concerns into account. This week’s posting will look at price adjustment provisions and the one to follow will discuss change management.

The price adjustment provisions of long term outsourcing arrangements need to respond to the concerns of the customer and the service provider. For the customer, these concerns are based on the worry that, after a few years, the customer will be paying too much for its outsourcing services: . . . [more]

Posted in: Outsourcing

ACCLO Tips and Tricks From the Trade

The Association for Chinese Canadian Lawyers in Ontario (ACCLO) hosted a CLE session on September 17, 2011, on “Tips and Tricks from the Trade,” featuring Sean Zhang of BlakesJeffrey Lem of Davies, Roslyn Tsao of Epstein Cole LLP, and Madam Justice W. Low of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Notes from the sessions follow. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law