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Archive for July, 2013

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 this last week:

  1. R v Murphy 2013 CanLII 40807 (NL PC)

    1. The accused was charged with the offence of parking in a crosswalk, contrary to section 144(e) of the Highway Traffic Act. As a result of the events which followed the alleged parking in the crosswalk, he was also charged with offences under the Criminal Code of causing a disturbance and resisting arrest. I have

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

Another Step Towards Recognizing Queer Parents

Last week the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled on a 7 year long custody battle between gay parents. At issue was the constitutionality of the Alberta Family Law Act and Family Law Relations Act.

At the centre of the drawn out family law litigation was the best interests of a 10 year old girl who spent her first 3 years living with her two dads. When the men split up the biological father and the birth mom objected to the non-bio dad having custody and access to his daughter. In his quest to be declared a legal parent and . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law

Stores Tracking Our Cell Phones

Some retailers are following customer movement in stores by tracking cell phone movement. From a legal perspective it raises issues around privacy and perhaps wiretapping laws. To a great extent whether or not such activities comply are dependent upon the subtleties of how it is being done, and how anonymously it is being done.

The other issue – as is often the case when dealing with privacy related issues – is the customer acceptance or “creepiness” factor. Some people would welcome getting a coupon on their phone while wandering through a store. But for others it feels like surveillance and . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Government of Canada Moves to E-Printing

It is important for all persons working in the legal field to have an understanding of how this impacts on perpetual access to legal information from the federal government.

This email was sent to members of the infodep listserv (from the Depository Services Program) on July 8, 2013:

“The new Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) Procedures for Publishing are now in effect. These procedures clarify the continuing role of Publishing and Depository Services during the Government of Canada’s transition to electronic publishing.

They apply to all departments listed in Schedules I, I.1 and II of the Financial Administration Act,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing

Pro Bono Publication

I’ve just received word of — and a copy of — McMillan’s first brochure featuring their pro bono legal services. You can access the announcement here and the brochure itself here.

This got me thinking a bit about the difficulty that you’d face in preparing such a brochure, for example:

  • Who is your audience: partners in the firm? the general public? your charity partners? possible new hires? paying clients?
  • How glossy do you make it: glossy (as this is), or does that seem too . . . incongruous? sober, like a simple list with the occasional paragraph in black
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law

Good Character and Bad Regulation

 On May 21, 2013 Matt Maurer posted on SLAW noting that the Law Society of Upper Canada had decided that Ryan Manilla was of sufficiently good character to be admitted as a member, reversing its prior decision that he lacked such character (here).

In this post I place the Manilla decision in the context of the broader application of the good character requirement for Law Society admission and, in particular, in the context of the Federation of Law Societies’ recommendations for reforming that requirement ((National Admissions Standards Phase 1 Report). My comments reflect my . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

What’s the Latest?

One of the important ways we serve British Columbia lawyers here at CLEBC is by keeping them informed about changes in the law, both large and small. We are always alert for information about new legislation. What’s happening and when? Our legal editors and program lawyers have wide networks throughout the legal profession so we can know very early whether changes are in the wind. This information is critically important to our work.

If a significant new legislative regime is being considered, our BC government tends to recruit an advisory committee to provide input on the new statute, rules, or . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Business and Competitive Intelligence: AALL 2013

I am reporting today from a session at the American Association of Law Libraries 106th Annual Meeting. This morning I am attending a session on Business and Competitive Intelligence.

The session is a cooperative effort between AALL and the International Legal Technology Association. The AALL program app shares the intention of the session:

The session started with an overview survey, mainly answered by law librarians, to identify themes of how law libraries in firms supported BI and CI. The five major themes were:


Law Librarians shared stories of their BI and CI efforts. Firm library teams have created interesting . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Does It Matter if Only the Well-Off Can Afford to Go to Law School?

One participant on the website noted that with their own law school tuition at $13,000 a year, the pool of applicants with the means to attend shrinks tremendously. Indeed, some new students will pay almost $30,000 in tuition in order to attend their first year of law school.

But so what? A lawyer is a lawyer is a lawyer, right? Everyone who goes to law school has the same education, and could conceivably serve the same constituency.

The question is really about the value of diversity. We’re used to thinking of diversity in terms of gender equality, and the . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The Cost of Unsuccessful Litigation in Ontario

In Ontario, awarding costs (compensation for legal fees) is always within the discretion of the adjudicator. However, there is a presumption that the losing party will be ordered to pay a portion of the successful party’s legal costs.

Many people who are unfamiliar with the litigation process think that suing every possible party is usually a good idea. This strategy can backfire in a significant way in light of the “loser pays” system. In some instances a plaintiff may be successful at trial against one defendant, but lose against multiple other defendants who the plaintiff has named and, in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on technology, research and practice.


Dan Pinnington

[No technology tip this week.]


Acts Can Be Amended by Regulations
Shaunna Mireau

Oh legislation. How I love the odd and interesting and esoteric nature of delving into your secrets! Today’s Tip is a reminder that legislation passed by elected members can be amended by others if they are given the authority to do so. I have an example from Alberta . . .


Take . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Novartis Can “Fix” the Sufficiency of Its Patent 10 Years After Filing

A recent decision of the Federal Court in Novartis v Teva 2013 FC 283 (“Novartis”) [under appeal A-123-13] has established that the relevant date for patent sufficiency is not until the publication date. Novartis may highlight an inconsistency in validity analysis. In some ways the notional “person skilled in the art” (who by definition is not inventive) is expected to know more, and earlier, than the inventors themselves (who are obviously inventive).

Narrowing of claims to one compound renders patent sufficient

In Novartis, Mr. Justice Hughes held that Novartis’ compound patent (CA 1,338,937[i]) was sufficient . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property