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Archive for September, 2013

Starting Off on the Right Foot

“The conundrum that regulators have is that we are to all intents and purposes recognizing entry-level competence,” Tim McGee, CEO of the Law Society of British Columbia told a CCCA lunchtime panel at the 2013 CBA Legal Conference in Saskatoon, discussing what the role of the regulator should be in ensuring competence in the legal profession.

His point was that despite CLE requirements, lawyers aren’t actually assessed by regulators as their careers progress – it’s assumed that if they attend an accredited law school, get a certain degree and pass a bar exam, law students are competent to become lawyers. . . . [more]

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


Legacy Apps Now Available for Older iPhones, iPods and iPads in the App Store
Dan Pinnington

Some of us have older iPhones, iPods and iPads which will not run newer versions of iOS. Needless to say, newer version of many apps also won’t run on these older devices. That changed today. Apple now lets you access earlier versions of apps for your older hardware. This is how it works: . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

The (So-Called) Professional Responsibility to Foster Access to Justice

There are many excellent recommendations in the CBA’s Reaching Equal Justice report. 

As a law professor and a member of the Legal Education and Training Team of the CBA’s Legal Futures initiative, I naturally focused on those relating to law schools, including this one:

All graduating law students should have a basic understanding of the issues relating to access to justice and know that fostering access to justice is an integral part of their professional responsibility.

This sounds great but there is a problem. Reaching Equal Justice assumes that access to justice is part of a Canadian lawyer’s professional . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Update: Lawyer Does Not Check Fax Machine and Costs Client $100,000 – Upheld by Court of Appeal

Back in April, I posted about a case where the failure of a real estate lawyer to check their fax machine cost their purchaser client a $100,000 deposit. My post is here if anyone is looking for a refresher on the facts.

The purchaser recently appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal who, in a very short decision, upheld Justice Lederman’s decision. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Asked to Swear an Affidavit to Support a Former Criminal Client’s Appeal? Call Your E&O Insurer First.

This article is by Nora Rock, corporate writer and policy analyst at LAWPRO.

From a malpractice claims perspective, criminal law may not be as safe an area of practice as you might think: LAWPRO sees over 30 criminal law claims per year on average. These claims are sometimes complicated by steps taken by lawyers who take certain dangerous DIY steps in the name of claim “self-repair”.

One of the most common bases for claims against criminal lawyers is “ineffective assistance of counsel”. This allegation, not uncommon as an appeal ground in criminal court, may also be cited in a malpractice . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

A Website With the World’s Constitutions

Shortly after being disappointed that Oxford’s Constitutions of the World wanted money from me — my university background and the ethic of free knowledge can’t be taken out of the boy, it seems — I learn about Constitute. Here, too, are the world’s constitutions, but absent any fee.

Now, Constitute doesn’t promise to update according to a schedule (they claim they’re up-to-date as of September 2013), and though all the constitutions I’ve had a quick look at are set out in English, there’s no indication of how or by whom they were translated from their original language, this is . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous

The Legal Semantic Web Inches Forward

Those of you who are into legal informatics will like to know that there’s a proposal to form a new technical committee at OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) to work on “an open standard for machine-readable tagging of legal citations.” Legalcite, if the draft proposal is approved, will come up with a “tagging model” that would let content producers affix a variety of metadata to a case or statute citation in such a way that a computer could, first, recognize that the citation was just that: a legal citation; and then “understand” a number of things . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing

Niqabs in Court – the UK Experience

Last week a London criminal court tackled the thorny problem of whether a witness should be required to remove her full-face veil.

Judge Peter Murphy ruled the witness must remove it when giving evidence but may wear it at other times during her trial. When she is not wearing it only the judge, jury and counsel will be permitted to see her face. Courtroom artists will not be permitted to sketch he without her veil. See the judge’s reasons here: The Queen -v- D (R) . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada's award-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from forty-one recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. BC Injury Law Blog   2. The Court    3. Slater Vecchio Connected   4. Le Blogue du CRL    5. Ontario Condo Law Blog
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

When Is a Crime Not a Crime?

Two tragic deaths, months and thousands of kilometers apart, recently collided in my consciousness as I pondered the topic of my latest contribution to this SLAW Justice Column.

In late March of 2013 a jury found Richard Kachkar not criminally responsible (“NCR”) in the tragic high-profile death of Sgt. Ryan Russel. Kachkar had been charged with murder after an early morning barefoot rampage in a stolen snowplow. By the time the evidence at this trial was done, both the defence and crown psychiatric experts had reached the conclusion that Kachkar was suffering from a serious and debilitating mental illness. The . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

In the Parish We Trust: Ownership of Real Property of a Church Congregation

The Ontario Court of Appeal released a decision earlier this month in Delicata v. Incorporated Synod of the Diocese of Huron, resolving a dispute between the congregation of an Anglican church in Windsor and the larger Anglican Church of Canada. The conflict originated in the Anglican Church of Canada’s blessing of same-sex marriages. The congregation of St. Aidan’s voted to leave the Synod of the Diocese of Huron after the Bishop of the Synod accepted a resolution to “grant permission to clergy, whose conscience permits, to bless the duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples.”

Although the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Énergie, Mines et Ressources : Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro n'a pas démontré que la Régie de l'énergie avait commis une erreur révisable en confirmant le calcul de la capacité de transport disponible établi par Hydro-Québec ayant mené celle-ci à conclure que la capacité du réseau québécois ne suffira pas à permettre de transporter à la fois la charge locale et une partie de l'énergie en provenance des futures centrales du Bas-Churchill (C.S.).
Posted in: Summaries Sunday