Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for April, 2013

The Legal Basis for Omar Khadr’s War Crimes Appeal

The legal team for Omar Khadr announced yesterday that they intend to appeal his plea bargain before the military commission at Guantanamo Bay. Khadr is currently serving out his eight-year sentence at Millhaven Institution near Kingston, Ontario. Khadr is eligible for parole this summer.

The appeal would be to an American domestic court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and if successful would result in Khadr being released immediately. The international transfer agreement under which Khadr was moved to Canada would no longer require his detention.

Khadr’s guilty plea on October 25, 2010 included a . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law

An Interview With Norway’s Director of Corrections

In light of what’s been happening to Canada’s correctional system, it’s disconcerting to listen to today’s CBC Sunday Edition interview by Michael Enright of Marianne Vollan, who is the Director General of Correctional Services of Norway. Disconcerting because she lays out a theory of sentencing and imprisonment that is radically at odds with the one implemented here under the present federal government — and, to make it even more vexing for me, a theory that she says Norway borrowed from us back in the days when we were interested in evidence-based policies.

Here’s that interview and a link to an . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

Summaries Sunday: OnPoint Legal Research

One Sunday each month OnPoint Legal Research provides Slaw with an extended summary of, and counsel’s commentary on, an important case from the British Columbia, Alberta, or Ontario court of appeal.



Areas of Law: Aboriginal and Treaty Law; Constitutional Law; Natural Resource Law

~ Ontario has the right to take up lands in the Keewatin Treaty 3 area. The treaty was made between the Crown and the First Nations and Ontario became the pertinent representative of the Crown under the treaty once the lands were added to the province. . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

The Supreme Court Speaks – or Doesn’t – on L’affaire Laskin

The office of the Chief Justice of Canada issued the following press release April 26, 2013:


The Supreme Court of Canada conducted a thorough review of its records and it does not have any documents relevant to the alleged communications by former Chief Justice Bora Laskin and former Mr. Justice Willard Estey in relation to the patriation of the Constitution of Canada. This concludes the Court’s review.



La Cour suprême du Canada a complété un examen exhaustif de ses dossiers. Ceux-ci ne contiennent aucun document au sujet de communications que l’ancien juge en . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions


Another year of classes and exams has come to an end, which puts me in a reflective frame of mind; recently a topic that has been turning over in my mind is curriculum reform, which is a hot button topic on this Blog and at many law schools across this country and North America in general. As I survey the conjecture on the topic there is one thing that I do not see addressed that bothers me and that is the topic of preparatory reading or rather the lack thereof.

As anyone who has a law degree, or is pursuing . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools

Nathalie Des Rosiers, Sarah Sutherland Join Slaw

Slaw is proud indeed to report that Nathalie Des Rosiers and Sarah Sutherland have joined Slaw as columnists.

Nathalie Des Rosiers has been General Counsel of Canadian Civil Liberties Association since July 1, 2009. She was previously Interim Vice-President (Governance), University of Ottawa (2008-2009), Dean of the Faculty of Law – Civil Law Section of the University of Ottawa from 2004 to 2008 and President of the Law Commission of Canada from 2000 to 2004.

She obtained an LL.B. from Université de Montréal and an LL.M. from Harvard University, and received an honourary doctorates from the Law Society of Upper . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

The Friday Fillip: An Old Squeeze

One hoary definition of a gentleman is: a man who can play the accordion — but doesn’t.

Now, thanks to the magic of a Friday fillip, here’s your chance to lose that straitening status of gentlewoman or gentleman. What’s that you say? You can’t play the accordion? But you can, I assure you. A charming (looking) young Russian, Artem Polikarpov has created a website, Garmoshka, that is an accordion. Sort of. (“‘Garmoshka’, by the way, is a diminutive of гармон (‘garmon’) / гармоника (‘garmonika’); as with the Finnish ‘harmonikka’, the Russian ‘garmonika’ means accordion, not harmonica (an example . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Zero Is an Answer

A computer trainer I know well tells me that there was much discussion in his company as to whether they should charge for searches that returned no results. After great debate it was concluded that zero hits was a legitimate search result, and, as such, the company should charge for it. I think anyone who carries out research would agree with this: knowing that something has not been considered or talked about is important. The difficulty with this is knowing if zero genuinely is the answer, rather than the result of not using a relevant resource or search term. It’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

New Pew Internet Section on Digital Libraries

The Pew Internet homepage is noting a new section addition (or rather, subdomain) that aggregates Pew publishing on digital libraries. See:

Pew Internet has maintained a category dedicated to digital library trends for a few years now, so the site hosts a reasonable volume of material. It also includes a blog. The new site’s About page is unfortunately a copy-over from the main website; but with any luck, someone will add that background context soon.

If you don’t regularly visit Pew’s work on Internet trends, I highly recommend it. And for the law library crew here at Slaw, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

AALL Spectrum’s 13th Annual Issue on Law Library Architecture

The May 2013 issue of the AALL Spectrum, the monthly publication of the Association of American Law Libraries, is devoted to law library architecture south of the border. Nice pix.

From the presentation:

The 13th annual architecture series features two new buildings and four remodels/renovations from two public law libraries, one law firm, and three academic libraries. Both new buildings aim to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certifications. In Baltimore, the library transitioned from occupying two floors to being spread over six, and in Denver, the new library bridges print and electronic.

In Seattle, the law firm

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

The Legal Circle of Life

I was honoured to be a part of panel discussion at the recent Georgetown Law Center Symposium “The Shrinking Pyramid: Implications for Law Practice the Legal Profession.”

Several thoughts occurred to me while attending this event; one of which I’ll share with you now.

There was some discussion about the fact that lifelong partnership at one firm is a relic of the past; there is a constant merry-go-round of lateral partners moving from firm to firm to firm. We see this in Canada as well. Lateral hires typically move for more money (and sometimes for firm management reasons) but paying . . . [more]

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

Slaw Milestone: Ten Thousand Posts

With this entry Slaw goes past an impressive milestone: our bloggers and columnists have given our readers ten thousand posts since Slaw began very nearly eight years ago. In that time we’ve acquired thousands of readers from Canada and around the globe and our complement has grown from half a dozen bloggers to a robust two dozen bloggers and sixty columnists.

This is a good occasion to say thank-you to those of you who now write for Slaw and to the many who have contributed over the years. And thank you especially to you, our readers, who are the reason . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw