Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for October, 2012

Salmon Commission Report Released

The report of the Cohen Commission, which invested the decline of sockey salmon in the Fraser River, released its report to the public today. The $25 million inquiry reviewed 3 million pages of evidence and 179 witnesses over the course of 2 years.

The salmon decline caused significant concern in B.C. because fisheries were closed for several years, despite favourable pre-season estimates. In 2009 only 1.4 million of an expected 10 million salmon returned to spawn.

The report was unable to identify any single cause for the decline, noting that the situation was complicated:

Some, I suspect, hoped that our . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law


I attended the annual IT.CAN conference Monday and Tuesday in Montreal. I find the IT.CAN conferences are consistently high quality, and the best continuing legal education option for lawyers practicing in the tech space. Topics at this conference included things such as content convergence and the regulatory framework, legal issues surrounding cloud computing, social media, digital commerce and clean tech, advanced software licensing, an annual update on IP issues, privacy and anti-spam updates, health care IT, outsourcing trends, public sector IT issues, and cyber libel. 

While attendance was strong, and included (as always) many well-known IT practitioners, there is always . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD

Criminal Charges and Parliamentarians

There’s an item of interest in the federal government’s Weekly Checklist of publications, namely a brief by James R. Robertson, General Counsel, and Erin Virgint of the Legal and Legislative Affairs Division, Criminal Charges and Parliamentarians [PDF], a publication from the Library of Parliament.

The report looks at three areas where criminal charges or convictions might be thought to have an impact: eligibility to run for office, removal from office, and expulsion from Parliament.

The first area is governed by the Parliament of Canada Act and the Canada Elections Act, as well as the Constitution Act, 1867 with respect . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information


A couple of weeks ago, The Economist carried a leading article and a special report on inequality. In The Economist terms: “inequality has reached a stage where it can be inefficient and bad for growth”. The recently published 2012 Global Risks Insight Report of the World Economic Forum features “severe income disparity” amongst the most likely global risks (at p. 11). It is also described as a “critical connector”, linking to other key risks like failing global governance, chronic fiscal imbalances, critical systems failure, and unsustainable population growth (p. 14). A 2011 OECD Report entitled Why Inequality Keeps Rising also . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Results of Survey of CanLII Use Released

CanLII has just released a report [PDF] of the results of its 2012 survey of the legal profession as to their use of and satisfaction with their service. A brief synopsis of the results is available on the CanLII website, but the main findings are as follows:

  • nearly 9 in 10 respondents have used CanLII in the past 12 months
  • 56% of respondents start their case law research with CanLII
  • 45% of respondents report an increase in their use of CanLII relative to commercial alternatives, while only 3% report a decrease. The balance report no change.
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Law via the Internet Conference 2012

I have been retired for one year, but still continue to work on one of my favorite causes – access to legal information as a basic societal right. Many years ago, when I was a documents librarian, the rallying cry of law librarians was “Documents to the People.” Now we have a much less catchy, but more accurate American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) policy statement that “Federal, state and local authorities must ensure government legal information is permanently available to the public at low or no cost, in an easily accessible and professionally maintained environment.” This policy does not . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Square Comes to Canada

Everyone’s a winner, baby, that’s the truth (yes, the truth) ..

Lyrics and Music by Errol Brown and Tony Wilson, recorded by Hot Chocolate.



Back in January 2011 I blogged about the new payment service available in the USA called Square. Unfortunately at that time it was only available in the States. Well, as of Monday Oct 29, 2012 that has changed. Now it is available in Canada.

If you have an iPhone or Android smart phone, you can install the Canadian Square register application and receive the credit card reader dongle that plugs . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Older Adults – Final Report From LCO

On Friday I was sitting working at the Toronto Reference Library (well, in the new Balzac’s coffee shop) when a fellow named David sat beside me and we started to chat. He had just been to a senior’s information event at the library, and had a bag full of reports and brochures. He shared what he had learned with me since “you will need this someday, too.” (Sooner than you think, David!)

I was surprised to see he had the Ontario Law Commission’s Older Adults Final Report which was released in April 2012. Back in August 2011, Michel-Adrien Sheppard told . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Reading

Taking the Pulse of Apple in Law Offices

The use of Apple devices in law offices is clearly on the rise. Rising from virtual obscurity just five years ago, Apple devices such as iPads, iPhones and MacBooks have become integral parts of many law practices. An ever-increasing number of Apple logos glow at me at the CLE seminars I deliver across the country.

Clio has launched its third annual Apple in Law Offices Survey in an attempt to take a more quantitative pulse of what’s happening with Apple, PCs and the cloud in law offices. Take the survey, and you’ll have a chance of winning one of . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Lower Legal Cost – Same Legal Expertise?

Yes it is possible.

And from it follows increased access to justice, as night follows day.

Re-reading Richard Susskind’s book “The End of Lawyers?” this weekend, I was struck by how straightforward it is.

Advocacy cannot be replaced by improved technology or outsourcing. It is like an element: it cannot be further reduced. Quality advocacy is the result of the proper analysis of facts, and preparation. It may be improved by experience, but the advocate must have dissected out what has to be proved, and must know the factual record cold. There are no shortcuts.

The client cannot expect to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Should We Take the “Resolution” Out of Conflict Resolution?

I had the privilege of attending Bernard Mayer’s two day workshop on Vancouver Island last month. Bernie is one of the pioneers and visionaries in the conflict resolution field and his two most recent books (Beyond Neutrality and Staying with Conflict) have transformed my understanding of the field and the roles of people who work within it.

The workshop focused on what Bernie calls “enduring conflict”, conflicts that have a significant enduring element. They are typically:

  • deeply rooted
  • identify based
  • value driven
  • embedded in structure
  • systemic and complex

Bernie points out that enduring conflicts will not be “resolved” . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution