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Archive for February, 2013

Edwin Mellen Press’s Curious Case

In case there are any Slaw readers who have not yet learned of it, I thought I’d point you to some posts about Edwin Mellen Press‘s lawsuit against McMaster librarian Dale Askey (and against McMaster University as well). EMP claims Askey defamed them online in a post, and a series of comments to it, entitled “The Curious Case of Edwin Mellen Press” (a turn on Dickens’s “The Curious Case of Edwin Drood,” by the way) and in the Notice of Action begun in June 2012 they ask for $3,500,000.00 in damages.

The Notice of Action is available online here . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing

Call Centres’ Recordings Stored Outside Canada?

A private correspondent has suggested to me that call centres that record incoming calls ‘for quality assurance purposes’ often store the recordings offshore, including in the US. The correspondent wondered if there was any concern that the information in the calls might therefore be subject to investigation or copying by US law enforcement under the PATRIOT Act.

Both the Canadian and the Ontario Privacy Commissioners have commented on allegations of special risk of having personal information in the US because of that statute. Neither have supported the concerns. A recent summary of the discussion is found in the Ontario IPC’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

The Friday Fillip: In One Ear

The Economist reports on pigeons. At least it does when they’re unable to find their way back home in upstate New York. Seems homing pigeons, long a marvel to the geolocation folks, have trouble with their animus revertendi, as we ex property profs like to say, when it’s animated near Jersey Hill, NY. And this, we learn from “The Birdmuda Triangle,” provided the anomaly that led biologist Bill Keeton to figure out a third piece in the puzzle that is pigeon homing. Scientists have known about the birds’ ability to use the sun and the Earth’s magnetic . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

If Your Library Was a Small Business, Would It Still Be Open? Part 2

In my last column we explored how entrepreneurial characteristics can augment librarian skills. Once again, using’s article 25 Common Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs, we continue with points #8 to 25.

8. Project a positive business image. Unfortunately we still see that old “us and them” mentality in law firms: lawyers — and everyone else. Help diminish that by always projecting a positive business image. With a Masters degree (or commensurate experience), you too are a professional, but short of wearing your resume as a visible badge, use demeanour (confident and positive), speech (thoughtful, considered and forthright) and relationships . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Supreme Court of Canada Hearings Calendar for February 2013

The Supreme Court of Canada has published its calendar of appeal hearings for February 2013.

To find out more about any particular case
, the Court’s website has a section that allows users to find docket information, case summaries as well as factums from the parties. All you need to do is click on a case name.

It is also possible to follow any hearing live via webcast. Webcasts are then archived on the Court’s website. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Self-Serving and Self-Defeating: Why Lawyer Image Campaigns Are Pointless

Yesterday morning, I was in Dallas, giving a presentation to members of the National Association of Bar Executives (NABE), which brings together the professional staff leaders of both voluntary and mandatory bar associations across the U.S. (and occasionally Canada, although there were no Canadians at this meeting).

I spoke to the NABE conference about the future of bar associations and suggested a number of new themes or pillars upon which 21st-century bar associations could be built. One of these was “aspiration” — my belief that most lawyers aspire to the law as a higher calling; they deeply appreciate and cherish . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

Anti-Wind Litigation: Is There an End in Sight?

After nearly two years of vigorous anti-wind litigation in Ontario, anti-wind activists have failed to satisfy any court or tribunal that wind energy development in accordance with government standards will cause serious harm. Many wind projects have been approved, and wind-based electrical generation is growing fast. However, the same concerns keep being raised, and we know of no Ontario wind farm that has obtained its approval without the cost and delay of litigation.

Renewable energy approvals in Ontario

Ontario was the first Canadian jurisdiction to set up a special approvals regime for renewable energy, through the Green Energy Act. To . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Black History Month: Honouring Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré

I am not a great fan of relegating a specific month to honour persons of other cultures or races. I believe it would be better to integrate broad teaching about cultures within the education system as a regular feature of the curriculum throughout elementary and high school. I also do not appreciate that blacks were given the coldest month of the year to celebrate their achievements around the world. Nonetheless, as last year, I have decided to dedicate one blog post in February to a black person in the legal realm whose achievements should be acknowledged. This year, that person is Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré...
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

What if the Western Provinces Saved the Profession?

Last week I missed my appointed blog date – but for a good reason. I was honoured to speak at the Law Society of Alberta Plenary Session as part of the CBA winter conference in Edmonton. While few would suggest Edmonton as a preferred January destination, for me it was a hotspot of discussion around change in the legal services industry.

I continually find that west of the Upper Canadian border, law societies become progressively more forward-thinking and open to changing things in the public interest. It seems to me that law societies east of the Rockies and west of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Infographics for Lawyers

One of the hottest ‘new’ tools for marketing and business development is infographics. Infographics are visually appealing, highly shareable and, when done right, can convey a lot of information quickly and easily, or make a mountain of data easy to understand. By combining text and visuals into one, infographics make the most of both to reinforce a message.

For lawyers, infographics are another tool that can be used to help differentiate a firm from others in the same practice area and a way to help clients and potential clients understand the legal process.

Lawyers are generally a text-heavy bunch. For . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Thursday Thinkpiece: Ruby, Chan & Hasan on Sentencing

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.

SENTENCING, 8th Edition
by Clayton C. Ruby, C.M., Gerald Chan & Nader R. Hasan
Toronto: LexisNexis, 2012

Excerpt: Chapter 13, Imprisonment, sections 13.1 -13.8

[Footnotes omitted. They are available in a PDF version of the excerpt.]


§13.1. Imprisonment should be the penal sanction of last resort. Prison is to be used only . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII?

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For the week of January 30 – February 5:

  1. Quebec (Attorney General) v. A 2013 SCC 5

    [1] The issue raised by the parties in these appeals is whether it is valid to exclude de facto spouses from the patrimonial and support rights granted to married and civil union spouses. Does this exclusion violate the right to equality guaranteed by s. 15 of the Canadian Charter of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII