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Archive for March, 2013

A Small Revolution Brewing at Lakehead Law

Nobody said starting a new law school would be easy.

Lakehead University plans on opening the first new law school in Ontario in over 40 years in September 2013. The school stylizes itself as the law school “in the North for the North,” and will focus on pressing issues in rural Ontario, including:

  1. aboriginal law and understanding of aboriginal issues
  2. the needs of small practitioners
  3. natural resources law, such as mining rights and employment standards

Development of this specialized curriculum has sparked controversy, before it has even started. The conflict started when the university Senate replaced a mandatory 1st-year full . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools

Summaries Sunday: Maritime Law Book

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 concern: Disability insurance / Expungement of trade mark / Retroactive maintenance order / Real property boundary / Requirement of leave to appeal:
Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Good Friday

As we said last year on Good Friday, there are five nationwide holidays in this country: Canada Day (July 1), Labour Day (1st Monday in September), Christmas Day (December 25), New Year’s Day (January 1)—and Good Friday, today (which is two days prior to Easter, which in turn falls, roughly speaking, on the first Sunday after the first full moon, after the vernal equinox).

There will likely be no new entries on Slaw today.

See you all on Monday—which is not a statutory holiday in any province or territory and not a holiday within the Canada Labour Code . . . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Government of Canada to Muzzle LAC Librarians

If you haven’t read about the LAC’s new Code of Conduct, the National Post has the issues well covered. The following section in particular is the portion of the Code (available online) that has most Librarians up in arms:

4.4.2 Teaching, speaking at conferences, and other personal engagements

On occasion, LAC employees may be asked by third parties to teach or to speak at or be a guest at conferences as a personal activity or part-time employment. Such activities have been identified as high risk to LAC and to the employee with regard to conflict of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues

The Rain-Maker Era Coming to a Close?

In the large business arena, we are starting to see some interesting developments that impact the way law firms are selected for work – which in turn is starting to impact the role of rain-makers in firms.

In larger companies, procurement teams are becoming more active and influential in the legal field. General Counsel are being pushed harder to do more with less and C-suite executives are becoming less convinced that selecting law firms is different from selecting property managers or other suppliers.

Procurement brings a more disciplined and rigorous approach to selecting firms that focuses on costs, but also . . . [more]

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

Law Students Take on the Dean

We’re once again inspired by the badass ways in which some law students are taking on their institutions. Earlier this month, the Dean of the Faculty of Common Law at the University of Ottawa sent out an email to all the students at the law school warning them that a student Research Assistant had filed a grievance that was against the interests of all other students. As a result, the Dean wrote, there would be less research positions available to everyone this summer. Two Stewards from CUPE local 2626, the Teaching and Research Assistant’s union, then responded to the Dean, . . . [more]

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

Consumer Protection and EULAs

The Law Commissions of Scotland, England and Wales have proposed a clarification of British law about unfair terms in consumer contracts, to ensure that that law applies to end-user licence agreements for software and online services (EULAs).

Canadian jurisdictions do not (so far as I know) have legislation with ‘unfair terms’ in the name, while the UK has implemented the EU Directive on Unfair Terms. (French courts held a decade ago that online contracts, notably the AOL (2004) and Tiscali (2005) subscriber agreements, were subject to the comparable French law – and invalidated a large proportion of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Bill on Gender Identity to Protect the Transgendered Approved

Across Canada, there is a trend in human rights law to increase protections for transgendered individuals. On March 20, 2013, Bill C-279 to protect the right of the transgendered and make it illegal to discriminate against transgender Canadians under the Canadian Human Rights Act passed third reading in the House of Commons (149-137 vote).
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Thursday Thinkpiece: Susskind on the Future for Law Firms

Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt, usually 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.

Tomorrow’s Lawyers
Richard Susskind
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013

Excerpt from Chapter Six, edited by the author.


To what extent can lawyers’ work be undertaken differently – more quickly, cheaply, more efficiently, but to higher quality – using alternative methods of working? That is a key question of the day. Lawyers have . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Smoked by Mandatory Minimums

When did sentencing policies shift from merely being questionable, misguided or ill-advised to becoming downright absurd?

For many years now, the blunt hammer of mandatory minimum sentencing has been gaining traction in repeated Criminal Code amendments. Long a feature of only the most heinous criminal act imaginable – murder – mandatory minimums leaked into the broader sentencing framework in the battle against drunk drivers imposing minimum licence suspensions followed by mandatory jail stints for repeat offenders. Since then, they have been invoked in an ever-growing array of anti-crime objectives including the war on drugs, to battle the scourge of gun . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

1654776 Ontario Limited v. Stewart, 2013 ONCA 184: You’ve Been Warned

Mr or Ms Executive, in the ONCA’s reasons for judgment released today, to keep your mouth shut about the state of confidential negotiations.

Here’s a link to the reasons on the ONCA  and some excerpts.

[1] This appeal is from the judgment of Justice Edward P. Belobaba dismissing the appellant’s application for an order that the respondents disclose the identities of confidential sources for a story written by the respondent Sinclair Stewart and published by the respondent the Globe and Mail Inc. The appellant, whose sole officer, director and shareholder is Jeffrey G. MacIntosh, holder of the Toronto Stock Exchange

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

R. v. TELUS Communications Co., 2013 SCC 16

I’ll leave the substantive comments on the validity and merits of the decision to those with the expertise. I’ll say only that I suspect the Harperite law & order types involved in the appointment of Justices Moldaver and Karakstanis expected them to line up on the gov’t’s side and not the civil liberties side.

  . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions