Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for November, 2012

You Might Like … to Think Just a Little About Banking, Numbers, Brains, Pianos, Quakes, Water and More

This is the last post in a series appearing each Friday, setting out some articles, videos, podcasts and the like that contributors at Slaw are enjoying and that you might find interesting. Plans are well underway for a redesign for Slaw that will, among other things, see the end of this series after nearly a year of entries. More on the redesign later in the month.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Reading: You might like...

Legal Thoughts Induced by the Dentist’s Chair

Today I went to the dentist – an experience that most people loathe as much as going to a lawyer.

As I lounged in discomfort, I had several thoughts:

First, I knew exactly how much I was going to pay for the professional services being rendered. Most dental work is done on a fixed fee basis, no matter how long, or how little time, the procedure may take. Some work, could, as my dentist explained to me take longer, but it all balances out in the end by other quicker work.

Small legal practitioners like myself understand the concept of . . . [more]

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

An Indistinguishable Message, Based on Firm Strategy

Sometimes a website’s message is bad because there’s so little behind it. As Bruce MacEwen puts it, there’s “no window into the strategic planning process”, and a lack of true differentiators.

I think most of us recognize that good writers can make a difference; occasionally generating that ‘homerun’ sound bite out of nothing. Even in the examples MacEwen uses, I can sense a little wordsmithing at play with a phrase like “getting into client’s heads”. But the critique here is sound. Just because you write something on your website, doesn’t make it true. And whether intended or not, a . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing

Quebec Bar Association Teams Up With Montreal Radio Station for Weekly Debate Show

The Quebec Bar Association has teamed up with Montreal radio station CIBL 101,5 and the Juripop legal clinic to organize a weekly radio debate program called Droit de Cité.

Every week, 2 teams of university debaters face off on a controversial public topic. Members of the public get to vote online to determine which team wins. All shows are archived on the Droit de Cité website.

The show started in the second half of October and will last 31 weeks.

Topics so far have included:

  • Should Quebec set up its own firearms registry?
  • Should the City of Montreal install
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law: Marketing

Quebec Speech From the Throne: Integrity

The first installment of Quebec's 40th Parliament is now in session. Quebec's new Premier Pauline Marois delivered a speech from the throne that established zero tolerance for and a commitment to fight against corruption within the government. The theme: “Integrity”!
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

The SCC Sanofi Obviousness Test – Have the Courts Gone Wrong With the Inventive Concept?

As the Federal Court continues to interpret and apply the 2008 Sanofi SCC obviousness test (Apotex Inc. v. Sanofi-Synthelabo Canada Inc., 2008 SCC 61 (“Sanofi”)), one important step – defining the “inventive concept” – has not always been defined consistently. Inventive concept appears to have taken predominance over claim construction. Inventive concept is a pivotal issue for the court. It sets the bar for exactly what has to be obvious to try – ie. “self-evident” to work. As would be expected, a more complex/advanced inventive concept means an invention is more difficult to invalidate for obviousness. Equally, a . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Law Students Challenge Problematic Calls for “Professionalism”

Recently, a few of our favourite feminist law students took issue with an article entitled “ You Have the Right to Remain Stylish” posted in the University of Ottawa Common Law Student Newspaper. The light hearted piece aimed at law students doled out unsolicited fashion advice about things like what kind of suits to buy to dress for success, and the importance of wearing heels and jewelry.

The University of Ottawa OUTLAW Executive (the LGBTQA Student Association) and the University of Ottawa Law Union Steering Committee wrote a heartfelt and badass response to the article calling it out for perpetuating . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

Deferred Prosecution Agreements

It appears that the UK will accept deferred prosecution agreements as part of the toolkit for dealing with economic crime. Over the course of the summer the UK Ministry of Justice invited commentary by the public on a consultation document [PDF] outlining the nature and use of prosecution agreements. At the end of last month the government reported that:

A total of 75 responses to the consultation were received from a variety of sources including key prosecutors, members of the public, members of the judiciary and legal profession, businesses, academics and regulatory bodies.

There was strong support for the proposals

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Self-Represented Litigants Are Not Things

There was a minor kerfuffle a few months ago over a new course offering at UBC Law. LAW 481C.002 – Access to Justice and the Future of the Legal Profession drew its three listed faculty members from the Vancouver office of an old-guard national law firm with ample apparent concern for the future of the legal profession, but little discernible track record of proactivity, innovation or anxiety around the access to justice issue. Most notably, the course faculty included a former BC Attorney General who had orchestrated a 40 percent cut in legal aid funding a decade prior, and who . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Hockey and Law Librarianship

I’m a bit of a sports nut. I love watching all types of sports on TV. And I get ridiculous when I go see any sport live. Roller derby is the bomb! The only sport I just don’t get is cricket. Maybe one day. Anyway, when I found out that the International Association of Law Libraries (IALL) was meeting in Toronto, I just had to go. It’s the home of the Hockey Hall of Fame!

The Hockey Hall of Fame was all I had imagined and more. There’s a shrine to Wayne Gretzky, uniforms from players for all over the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Discrimination in the EU

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled today that the Hungarian government’s decision to lower the mandatory age of retirement for judges, prosecutors and notaries from the age of 70 to 62 constituted discrimination on the grounds of age (read the decision here). 

While recognizing that legitimate social policy objectives can justify a derogation from the prohibition of discriminating on the grounds of age, in this case, the objectives of this measure invoked by the Hungarian government – the need to standardize the age-limits for retirement for public sector employees and to establish a balanced age . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Legal Research for Library Technicians

Yesterday I visited the 2nd year Reference and Research class at Grant MacEwan University’s Library and Information Technology Program. I was the wrap up guest lecturer for the legal information component of their course. It was fun being surrounded by enthusiastic learners who are preparing to embark on a career in my chosen field.

One of the things we discussed was how things have changed for library technicians engaged in legal information management since I graduated from Grant MacEwan’s program (ack) 20 years ago. The changes are substantial and when you consider some of them:

  • The Internet
  • Courts and
. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training