Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for December, 2012

The Friday Fillip: Going Wilde, as the Saying Goes

J.B.S.Haldane is said to have remarked that one thing we know about the supreme being is that if he exists he has “an inordinate fondness for beetles,” there being more than 350,000 species of them (beetles, that is), with the count still rising. I’m pretty sure — but what do I know? — that it’s we ordinary folk and not any divinity who are inordinately fond of nifty sayings, rather like Haldane’s, because English has so many words for them. Anyone who has wandered thoughtlessly on to Twitter — and too often, alas, even tip-toed with care — has . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

The New Juris Classeur Quebec

The Great Encyclopedias of Legal Research

This is the fourth of a series of posts on the major encyclopedias of legal research in Canada that were prepared following a presentation to a seminar on legal information at the University of Montreal.


Joining the list of Great Encyclopedias of Legal Research in Canada is the new Juris Classeur Quebec, a series of encyclopedias modelled on those in France and Monaco. By way of an explanation to the uninitiated, it can be said that a Juris Classeur encyclopedia serves much the same purpose for a legal practitioner . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

First Annual BAILII Lecture Given by President of the UK Supreme Court

The First Annual BAILII Lecture was given on 20 November by Lord Neuberger, the President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. The event was hosted by the law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP at their premises in Fleet Street , London.

BAILII stands for the British and Irish Legal Information Institute, which makes English jurisprudence and statutes available for free via the Internet. It is the equivalent of CanLII.

Entitled No judgment, no justice, the lecture focused on the importance of clearly written judgments and their wide dissemination:

  1. Access to Judgments carries with it access to law
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology: Internet

Plea for a New Law Society Governance Model

Much like Bronte sisters, French hens and celebrity deaths, my comments about the Law Society of Upper Canada come in threes. And in an effort to pull Malcolm Mercer away from the dark side and bring him into the light, my comments today will focus on solutions. : )

When LSUC was formed in 1797 it was a model for the Commonwealth. More than 200 years later, the governance structure has failed to evolve (ignoring the fact that Upper Canada itself was tiny and ceased to exist in 1841 before eventually evolving into the exponentially larger province of Ontario).

In . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Women Lawyers: Embracing Power

When we examine the glass ceiling that keeps so many women lawyers out of partnership and managing partner roles, we usually look at all the external factors that can impede a woman’s career – lack of mentoring, challenges with business development, family responsibilities, unconscious bias – to name just a few.

Chief amongst these external factors is how society defines power in very male terms. A powerful person is often seen as demanding, aggressive, decisive, self-confident, solitary and not collaborative. If a women exhibits many of these characteristics she risks being judged unfavourably and not someone whom many people, male . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Thursday Thinkpiece: Alarie and Green on Supreme Court Interventions

Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt from a recently published book or journal article. In every case the proper permissions have been obtained. If you are a publisher who would like to participate in this feature, please let us know via the site’s contact form.

Benjamin R.D. Alarie & Andrew J. Green,
(2010) 48 Osgoode Hall Law Journal 381
Excerpt pp. 408-410

[Footnotes omitted. They are available in the original via the linked title above.]


There appear to be . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Bodleian Twelve (Legal) Days of Christmas

It’s the festive season, which seems to free things up a little from the routines that otherwise govern our lives. It certainly has done that at Oxford’s Bodleian Law Library blog, Law Bod. They’re already in day three of “Twelve (Legal) Days of Christmas.” If you know the carol, you’ll know that day three involves French hens. What fowl français could have to do with law only a law library can tell you. So go take a look. You’ll want to catch up, too, with the Partridge in a Pear Tree (distress damage feasant? Rylands and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

PLAP Part 2, Or, What’s a Lonesome Lady to Do?

After a closed-door meeting on November 22, 2012, our Benchers decided to keep the Parental Leave Assistance Program (PLAP), previously discussed on SLAW here

But there are caveats, the first being that the PLAP pilot project has only been extended for the purposes of consultation with stakeholders. Secondly, the PLAP eligibility criteria is now modified by a means test where the applicant must have a net annual practice income of less than $50,000 to be eligible.

The Equity Committee, who reported to our Benchers on November 22, 2012, indicated that the proposed $50,000 means test model would result in a . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Police Want Your Texts

A CNET article entitled Cops to Congress: We need logs of Americans’ text messages says that “State and local law enforcement groups want wireless providers to store detailed information about your SMS messages for at least two years — in case they’re needed for future criminal investigations.”

This issue keeps coming up – the Canadian lawful access attempts are another example.

Attempts to force the preservation of this type of communication are tremendously invasive and wrong on many levels. To me, it is no different than asking phone companies to record and save phone conversations or the post office to . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Holiday Gifts From the Supreme Court of Canada

It’s December so Christmas, Hannukah and other holidays are right around the corner. For law professors, law students, judges and court staff this is a relief. And the same is certainly true for most lawyers. However, for lawyers that have cases on reserve at the Supreme Court of Canada, the last two weeks of December can be a nerve-wrecking time.

In the last few years, the Supremes have saved some of their biggest cases as a pre-Christmas holiday gifts for all of us SCC-watchers. In 2009, they gave us Grant v Torstar, 2009 SCC 61. The next year, . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Legal Information, Substantive Law

Extorting Justice

Let me start by saying I don’t condone shoplifting. Seen as a mere nuisance by some, the ‘five-finger-discount’ is a petty crime that exacts a heavy toll year after year on retailers – be they big box chain stores or mom and pop corner varieties. The cost is initially born by the store-owner but ultimately passed along to lawful consumers by way of increased prices to account for the overhead costs of security and the loss of inventory.

Many shoplifters are doubtless serial offenders with a pathological disrespect for the lawful property rights of others. However, in my experience having . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues