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Archive for December, 2012

Why Can’t You Just Make It Work Like Google? Part 2 – Good Enough Is Not Good Enough

My post Why Can’t You Just Make it Work Like Google? last week surprised me by going viral. Well, as viral as a blog post about information management can go. It certainly seems to have struck a nerve with people from all across the legal industry. It turns out that making search work effectively inside the organization is something a lot of people are attempting to tackle. After posting it, however, I realized there is also a reason why you would not even want to use Google as it functions out on the Internet for use inside the organization.

Allow . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Technology: Office Technology

Tips for Litigators to Avoid Communications Claims

This article by Jordan Nichols, claims counsel at LAWPRO, appears in the December issue of LAWPRO Magazine. It can be found at

Claims against litigation lawyers often involve allegations of communication errors. In this article, we consider steps that lawyers can take to avoid such claims right out of the gate – at the outset of their retainers.

When we attribute a claim to a communication problem, what exactly do we mean? Here are some examples:

  • failure to warn clients that they were likely to lose a motion, trial or appeal;
  • failure to warn clients that they could
. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Lethal Buildings: Litigation to Protect Migratory Birds

Written with Meredith James

It’s a horror story – the beautiful glass-walled building you may work, shop or live in are killing millions of migratory birds. Many SLAW readers are likely familiar with the distressing thud of a bird breaking its neck or wing on those lovely glass panes, often at night when building lights are left on.

At least 1 million migratory birds die in Toronto alone each year due to collisions with buildings. The birds become confused by reflections and lights in urban areas and fly into windows at full speed. Often killed or badly injured, they fall . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Gambling on Specific Performance

The OBA is running an early morning one hour program on Wednesday 12 December on the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision Southcott Estates Inc v. Toronto Catholic District School Board. This is the latest word on the law of mitigation in Canada. You can register to attend on-line or in person here.

The panel includes counsel who appeared in Ottawa for the appellant and respondent – Thomas Curry and Andrew Robinson.

The School Board sold surplus land to a corporation incorporated solely to purchase the land. The purchaser was a wholly owned subsidiary of a real estate developer. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

“Hello, My Name Is…” – Introducing a New Lawyer to Your Firm

With all the international law firm mergers currently taking place, marketing departments around the world will be scurrying to remake their firms in the new image. An international merger is a greatly magnified version of the procedure that takes place in all law firms when new lawyers join the firm. HR is preoccupied with payroll, benefits, and insurance. Facilities is scrambling to find a place for the new lawyers near their practice group—often causing the domino effect of multiple moves. IT is getting the new lawyers’ computer and phone systems set up. And that’s in firms big enough to have . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from thirty-five 2010 & 2011 CLawBie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. Avoid a Claim Blog  2. Michael Geist’s Blog  3. Canadian Legal History Blog  4. Lee Akazaki: SQP jeunes avocats | new lawyers’ mentorship  5. Le Blogue du CRL

Avoid a Claim Blog
New in the practicePRO Library: Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers

This was the week . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Every Lawyer Needs a Guardian Angel

The Ottawa Citizen reported last week that a lawyer who posted confidential information about his own client online was caught in a police sting operation. The Ottawa criminal defence lawyer posted a PDF of disclosure that he received from the Crown in a criminal case against his client. The PDF contained blacked-out information and the lawyer used the web to seek someone to help him read the blacked out portions of the disclosure document. A man in Australia saw the post and contacted the Ottawa police who then caught the Ottawa lawyer in a sting operation. Read the Citizen . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Education & Training: Law Schools, Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading: Recommended

Australian Wins Defamation Claim for Google and Yahoo Search Results

Search engine rankings are largely the result of mathematical algorithms and repetitive bots which crawl the Internet. Search engines have historically enjoyed considerable immunity from defamation and libel claims, given that they present themselves as automated organizers of information and not publishers of the information itself. That may change soon, especially where the statements are false and the plaintiff contacts the search engine requesting that the results be modified or removed.

The Supreme Court of Victoria in Australia has ordered Google and Yahoo to pay damages for failing to modify their search results. Michael Trkulja, a prominent member of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Internet

Summaries Sunday

Summaries of selected recent cases are provided each week to Slaw by Maritime Law Book. Every Sunday we present a precis of the latest summaries, a fuller version of which can be found on MLB-Slaw Selected Case Summaries at

This week’s summaries are in Stare decisis, Discovery, Labour law, Workers’ compensation, & Admiralty:

R. v. Zentner (R.) 2012 ABCA 332
Courts – Stare decisis – Authority of judicial decisions – General principles – Authority and use of precedents – General
The accused funeral director defrauded families and the Province of $4,999 over . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Negligence in the Air

MAY now do; for general causation in class actions, too.

see Bartram v. GlaxoSmithKline Inc., 2012 BCSC 1804 at para. 32:

[32] In an individual action, a plaintiff probably could not succeed by merely showing that the use of Paxil increased the risk of injury. In Clements v. Clements, , 2012 SCC 32, the Supreme Court of Canada re-affirmed the primacy of the “but for” test in proving causation and confined the alternate “material contribution” test to cases involving multiple negligent defendants where it is not possible to prove which one caused the injury. However, dicta in Clements

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Privacy, Privacy

Two privacy stories raise interesting issues.

1. Journalistic violation of privacy: PIPEDA s. 7(1)(c) gives an exemption from the rules about collection of personal information for journalistic purposes.

Section 32 of the Data Protection Act (UK), by contrast, provides a journalism exception only if, in addition,

(b) the data controller reasonably believes that, having regard in particular to the special importance of the public interest in freedom of expression, publication would be in the public interest, and

(c) the data controller reasonably believes that, in all the circumstances, compliance with [the provision being violated] is incompatible with the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

In Ontario, Don’t Take the Electronic Land Registers at Face Value

John R. Wood

Over recent years, rights of way have become a lightning rod for fundamental questions about the Ontario land registration system.

A recent example is MacIssac v. Salo, now going through the Ontario Court of Appeal. The Ontario Bar Association decided that the case was important enough for it to intervene in the appeal.

You may take many things from the case. Most important, perhaps, although the registers are well kept, don’t take them at face value. The decision could even be important for property rights in Ontario

You’re invited to read the summary of the case . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment