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Archive for July, 2013

Hate Speech Provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act Repealed

On June 26, 2013, private member's Bill 304, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act (protecting freedom) to repeal Section 13 from the Canadian Human Rights Act to ensure the Act doesn’t infringe on the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms received royal assent.
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Thursday Thinkpiece: Macfarlane on Supreme Court of Canada Clerks

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.

Governing from the Bench: The Supreme Court of Canada and the Judicial Role
Emmett Macfarlane
Vancouver: UBC Press, 2012

(NB. As before, the UBC Press offers Slaw readers a discount on the price. The code is SLAW-20, and the offer will expire July 15, 2013)

(Excerpt selected by the author.)

In Governing from . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

The Access to Clothing Crisis

Access to Clothing[1] is a complex issue that seems almost impossible to effectively address. Some consider it one of our most pressing issues[2]. The well-off continue to be able to afford appropriate clothing for all occasions. The least fortunate amongst us are able to access free or subsidized clothing to be worn during the most important events in their lives. The middle class cannot afford to purchase clothing at all.

To the great discomfort of businesses, restaurants and hosts and hostesses everywhere, most members of the middle-class have given up wearing purchased clothes entirely. Many people now . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

US Records Snail Mail “Metadata”

According to a story in today’s New York Times, the US Postal Service has a program to photographed the exterior of every single piece of mail they processed — something like 160 billion pieces a year — and provides that data to “law enforcement” upon request. So if you were thinking to evade Prism by brushing up on your letter writing skills . . . return to sender.

The “Mail Isolation Control and Tracking” program simply provides the information available on “covers” without the necessity of recourse to a judge. The article notes that challenges to this practice have . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Big Data and Wearable Computing Spark Legal Issues

I think we are going to see over the next while some interesting technical developments with some equally interesting legal issues to ponder around big data and wearable computing.

One of the things I like about being an IT lawyer is that I get to see interesting new technology and businesses, and with any luck do their legal work.

Earlier this morning I was at a business that has some cool technology around social media and big data. It has the ability to turn into a 5 minute project what can now take months to do manually, if you can . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Social Media: Shiny Bauble or Strategic Tool?

Most mornings you can’t wake up without seeing them: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+, Pinterest, Digg-It and Youtube. Chances are one or more of these sites are lurking in your e-mail box, what’s more, it’s likely the same for your clients as well.

You don’t have to admit it aloud, but do you recognize moments of panic? “I’m not on twitter! Everyone’s on twitter! Must…tweet…!!!” Or “I’m not on Google+! I need to be on Google+ or I’m not in the game!”

And doesn’t there seem to be a universal law that a new social media platform –infinitely crucial to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Manitoba’s New RST Rate (And Why It Might Matter to You)

Effective July 1, 2013 and for a ten-year period ending June 30, 2023, the Retail Sales Tax in Manitoba increases from 7% to 8%.

The change was announced in the 2013 Provincial Budget and requires amendment to The Retail Sales Tax Act. Those amendments were introduced April 17, 2013 as part of Bill 20The Manitoba Building and Renewal Funding and Fiscal Management Act. The Bill, which has proven controversial for the majority government, has passed Second Reading and is now in Committee stage.

The Transitional Rules relating to services provided by billable hour, such as legal and . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law: Legislation

Judicial Criticism of High Cost of Justice

An article in today’s Globe and Mail reports on a judgment by Ontario Superior Court justice D. M. Brown in which he severely criticizes the high cost of access to the courts in Canada: “Ontario courts ‘only open to the rich,’ judge warns,” by James Bradshaw.

The particular decision, York University v. Michael Markicevic, 2013 ONSC 4311, involves a request by one defendant to discharge a certificate of pending litigation registered against her real property and is part of a larger action by York against Markicevic and others concerning their alleged misuse of university resources. Let . . . [more]

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

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 June 25 to July 2:

  1. R. v. Lippa 2013 ONSC 4424

    [1] Does a judicial officer exceed his or her jurisdiction in directing where legal professionals will sit in the courtroom, and the order in which cases will be called? These are the issues raised on this application by the applicants, a licensed paralegal and her firm.

  2. Sable Offshore Energy Inc. v. Ameron
. . . [more]
Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Requests to Postpone and Adjourn: Balancing Fairness and Efficiency

Like excuses for not doing homework every adjudicator has seen a variety of requests for a postponement or adjournment of a hearing. In a recent case in the U.S., the lawyer for the accused in a criminal trial asked for an adjournment to attend an Ernest Hemingway lookalike contest. In denying the request, the judge wrote:

Between a murder-for-hire trial and an annual look-alike contest, surely Hemingway, a perfervid admirer of “grace under pressure,” would choose the trial.

At his most robust, Hemingway exemplified the intrepid defense lawyer:

He works like hell, and through it. . . . He

. . . [more]
Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Summer Projects

Summer has finally arrived. The on purpose plantings have finally overtaken the weeds and the chickens are big enough that they don’t have to be chased indoors at night. These are signs that it is past time to execute the big summer project.

The big summer project this year is adding to the firm archives. Part of the library portfolio at my firm is collecting, describing, and housing the firm archives. We had a consultant work up a plan for archival description, set up a holdings list, and start the archives collection a couple of years ago. We have a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

The Small Business Squeeze

Technology is often cited as the game-changing factor in the future of the legal profession. There’s an endless parade of new devices, plus software is being developed that can do some of the work lawyers used to do. Legal entrepreneurs harness the power of the cloud to power new business models.

What it’s doing to the legal profession is just one side of the equation. For clients – actual and potential – rapidly changing technology can both expand their reach to consumers, and be a legal minefield.

People who conduct any part of their business over the internet, for example, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology