What Is 1.97?

It’s the average number of references per year, in reported cases, to my text Apportionment of Fault in Tort, in the 32 years years since it was published: 61 in total based on Carswell and CanLII. (I didn’t check on QL to see if there are some others.) On the other hand, there were only 6 in the first decade, but there’s been 30 in the past 10 years so I must be on a roll. Of course, most of them are in cases quoting other cases, but a reference is a reference, is a reference.

The thing has been out of print for at least 15 years. I’m sure that’s why used book sellers want about $385-425 for a copy in good condition. If you’re curious, Canada Law Book’s price was $39.50 when the text was first published. I don’t recall if the price was ever increased.

I thought I’d mention this for any new law students or recently graduated lawyers interested in writing a law text with the idea it’ll make them ….


Or, if you’re lucky, infamous.

But not wealthy.


  1. I love that book David. I use it all the time, though our copy has a pasted reference on the cover to your two part set of articles in the Advocate’s Quarterly.
    “The Retreat Begins” at Vol. 28 p. 389
    “The Retreat Continues” at Vol. 29 p. 276

  2. Thanks.

    That sticker might reduce the sale price a bit, though.

    What spurred me to check the citation frequency was reading a Canaadian article – which might have been tongue in cheek (but I doubt it) – where the writer attempted to revive the old UK common law shtick that the courts shouldn’t cite living writers for any proposition of law.

    That would be a bit of a problem in younger nations. Just picking a for example, we wouldn’t have any Canadian tort texts to cite. I suspect most people writing about law aren’t prepared to die to earn citations. If one is writing for tenure or promotion, then death likely defeats one’s purpose. (Zombie jokes aside.)

    If it matters, those 2 pieces you mentioned are Parts 2 and 3 to “Allocating Financial Responsibility Among Solvent Concurrent Wrongdoers” (2004) 28 AQ 137

    “Allocating” is in many ways an update of aspects of chapters 1-3 of Apportionment, hidden in the guise of two very long case comments pasted together.

    Parts 5 and 6, which complete the cycle, are

    “For Whom The Bell Tolled” (2007) 33 AQ 46
    “Silk Purses & Silver Linings” (2011) 38 AQ 371

    I got bored of the subject between 1981 and early 2003. I believe I’m about to become equally bored.

    Actually, I’ve been trying, for the past 10 years, to find somebody willing to take the book and update it properly for the entire country. The list of volunteers isn’t even one Planck length.


  3. David, Make it the first self published eBook, set the price at $39.50 and watch the $$$ role in. Yours is the only text that discusses this interesting topic in Canadian law and there is certainly enough recent case law to make it worthwhile.

  4. It would be an Augean Stable task. I’d opt for that. With no nose-plugs.

    It’s a job for an academic lawyer. It’s a multi-year job for an academic who’d get a paid sabbatical to finish it. It took me parts of 4 years with the last 6 months working on the thing full time. It might not take that long again, but there’d have to be 6 month full time period.

    There’s also no electronic word processing file. I suspect most of it would have to be retyped. There’d be much cleaning up to do even if one could scan and OCR a pristine copy. Then there’d be the fun of restructuring the text so it’s province/territory neutral and using footnotes this time so that the provincial / territorial cases could be grouped together.

    It’s a job for a young academic lawyer writing for tenure or promotion. Not somebody like me who’d be writing for ten years.


    P.S. Even if I wanted to, which I don’t. I admire, immensely, people like Angela and the rest of the long-standing treastise writers with the interest and patience to keep returning to the same subject (even when they’re doing the equivalent of beating their heads against the wall even if it doesn’t feel so good when it stops). I’m not one of those people. The duration of my legal interest sometimes exceeds a fruit fly’s life span, but not always by that much; and patience is questionable even on the best of days. That’s probably one reason why I ended up in litigation. In that part of the profession, most attention spans are intermittent and only as long as the file is active.