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Archive for June, 2013

Introducing Men’s Voice Into the Parenting Debate

Work-life balance is easy for most young lawyers. Or perhaps just easier, as compared to older associates and partners. Despite the greater flexibility and control that comes with seniority in law, most people at this age also have significant family and parenting responsibilities that the majority of young lawyers do not.

It’s probably disconcerting for young lawyers to hear that the whirlwind of work they currently experience will only get more complicated with the introduction of children. The current assumption is that this becomes more bearable with the assistance of a supportive partner. But there are some who suggest this . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

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: Employment Law; Pensions; Vested Rights

~Health benefits in pension program held to be vested contractual entitlement of retirees which could not be changed unilaterally by employer~

Discussion: Reductions in pension benefits may seem a significant source of savings for many companies, but altering benefits paid to retired employees requires care in determining the nature of . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

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: Mandamus / Standing / Mandatory drug and alcohol testing / Hearsay / Strip search:
Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Courtroom Two and Courtroom One

(Based on a two-day visit to Nairobi in June 2013)

Malimani Courts, Nairobi. Fate leads us past a sign that says “Courtroom 2”. We decide to walk in and bow to the judge and the national coat of arms on the wall behind her. She does not show that she notices us. All we see is her head behind a high desk that cuts across the whole breadth of the courtroom. A Justice Being separated from the ordinary world. The registrar and the prosecutor are seated at a table in the middle of (and under) the judge’s wall. To the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

The Friday Fillip: Swadesh, Glottochronology, and Rope

People now say comprised of instead of the “proper” composed of (comprising needing no prepositional help to gather things together). Meld is nearly universal now for “merge” or “join firmly,” despite the fact that it started life not too long ago as a term from canasta describing a declared set of cards (melden v. German: to announce). Language changes. I resist, being a conservative in this matter. Eppur si muove.

But not everything in languages changes at the same pace. Or, to put it another way, some words are more resistant to change than others; we hang . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Choosing a Career

In the 18th century a man when seeking work usually followed the occupation of his father. Today a young man or woman has more freedom to choose a career. And at a later date a person can change that choice.

From an individual perspective, every man or woman is encouraged to find a job that she enjoys or loves.

Confucius (551-479 BC) said: “Choose a job you love and will never have to work a day in your life”.

Ben S. Bernake at Princeton University on June 2, 2013 said: “A career decision based only on money and not on . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Lessons From the Past

John Chisholm has a nice post about his father retiring after 59 years in the same Australian law firm; a feat that will likely never be matched in this era of modern law.

John’s piece however is not just an homage to his Dad, it’s also instructive for those of us practicing today.

As John notes, in the 1950’s, the 1960’s and even the early 1970’s,

There was no place for 10 redrafts of something, you had to get your letters right the first time as paper was money and there were no photocopiers or printers. ….

You took your

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Canadian Law Blogs Search Engine Updated

This is just a quick note to let you know that I’ve updated my Canadian Law Blogs Search Engine, a Google custom search engine that queries all the Canadian law blogs as listed at Stem Legal’s (You can also access the search engine in Slaw’s footer from any Slaw page.) As of June 26, 2013 there were 461 blogs in the database to be searched.

Unfortunately, it seems it’s no longer possible to rank or confine the search results of a Google CSE by date, though I’m continuing to look for ways to do that. . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Thursday Thinkpiece: Gratton on Personal Information

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.

Understanding Personal Information: Managing Privacy Risks
Eloïse Gratton
Toronto: LexisNexis Canada, 2012

Excerpt from the introduction

[Footnotes omitted.]

However, circumstances have changed fundamentally since privacy was conceptualized as “individuals in control of their personal information” over 40 years ago. Individuals constantly give out personal information. The Internet now reaches billions of people around . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Canada and the Prevention of Torture: Time to End the Foot-Dragging

In 2002 the United Nations adopted an important new human rights treaty focused on preventing torture. A laudable goal to say the least. And one which one would expect Canada would have supported quickly and enthusiastically by ratifying as soon as possible. 67 countries have signed up – about 1/3 of the members of the United Nations – including many of Canada’s closest allies. But more than a decade later, Canada is not yet on that list.

The treaty came in the form of an Optional Protocol to the UN’s existing Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

A Koan for Clements

The Riddle:

Q: How many Canadian judges does it take to create a paradox?

A: 9 Supreme Court of Canada judges paying insufficient attention to the inconsistent text of their reasons for judgment and 1 trial judge applying a portion of those reasons literally.

The Koan:


(1) the but-for test is currently the ONLY test in Canadian tort law for proof of factual causation;


(2) the ONLY method of applying the but-for test is the method set out in Snell: the robust, pragmatic, approach;


(3) the robust pragmatic method isn’t applicable “when there is evidence to . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Shifting the Burden

It is common, when the question is raised of how to best respond to the influx of self-represented litigants (“SRL”) in court and other legal proceedings, to see the issue described as a challenge or burden upon the profession. Verbs used to describe the response of lawyers or judges to the SRL often include words like “manage” or “survive” and others that carry similar connotations of a problem in need of a solution.

But the SRL is not a problem; self-representing litigants are rather a symptom of a complex bundle of problems in the design and functioning of our legal . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous