March, 2015 Archives – Slaw
Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for March, 2015

Connecting the Dots Just Got Easier

It’s tempting (and fun!) to dismiss futurists and trend spotters as people who see connections and consequences where none exist. It is equally tempting (and fun!) to assume the role of the clairvoyant because, in the words of Future Babble author Dan Garder, the soothsayer can never lose: “Heads I win, tails you forget we had a bet.” Sometimes, however, it can be quite easy for everyone to see the future.

Last week, many of us were reading and sharing the latest “future of law” warning. The fine folks over at The Economist offered a sobering look at just . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

G20 Decision by Ontario Court of Appeal Illustrates the Power of Video

Many Canadian cities are debating the use of body cameras by police and the privacy impacts involved. The Toronto police have started a pilot project.

A recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal relating to the G20 protests illustrates the power of video: six paragraphs of the Court’s decision describe a YouTube video (which appears to be here). The Court noted the video had been viewed more than 100,000 times and was viewed by the application judge and by the panel of the Court of Appeal. The Court concluded that police violated the right to travel unimpeded . . . [more]

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

Assisted Reproduction After Death

The Alberta Law Reform Institute recently released their Final Report 106 Assisted Reproduction After Death: Parentage and Implications.

My daughters, lovely irreverent young women that they are, sometimes joke about which one of them will stay on our farmette and look after the oldies (referring to my husband and I) in order to inherit. What if we had some medical assistance in achieving parenthood, stored some embryos, one of us passed on, and the other wished to have a child after the death of a genetic parent? This scenario is completely feasible and possible and there are broad implications . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

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.

Research

Research Service Terms of Use
Shaunna Mireau

We live in a world where it is generally acknowledge that even though many web services that we use have terms of service, nobody reads them. Stop that bad habit right now. Especially for fee based legal research services. Do you understand what you have agreed to when you use WestlawNext Canada or LexisNexis Quicklaw?…

Practice

World Backup Day
David Bilinsky

Tuesday . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

How Lawyers Can Develop Content for Law Firm Marketing

One of the biggest mistakes law firms make in their marketing is abdicating all of their responsibility for marketing to a marketing professional and taking the lawyers entirely out of the equation. While marketing professionals certainly have their place in law firm marketing, some marketing and business development tasks are best tackled by the lawyers themselves.

Marketing professionals can help lawyers and law firms create professional marketing pieces, develop ads, generate marketing and editorial calendars, do the initial set up of newsletters, websites, social media accounts and blogs, create designs and themes, find images for posts, handle the technical aspects . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Time to Say Goodbye to an Employee?

You’ve tried clarification, reminders, warnings, patience and tolerance, maybe even retraining. But it isn’t working, and you both know it. Firing employees is not likely a task you took into consideration when you thought about becoming a lawyer; but here you are, an employer, in the position of having to fire an employee.

It will never be pleasant; but there’s a right way and a wrong way. The wrong way can lead to lawsuits, reputational damage, maybe even stolen clients or breaches of confidentiality. The right way can lead to the same things, of course; but the odds are . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Developing Ontologies: An Ontology for Legal Research

Almost exactly a year ago Amy Taylor, Emerging Technologies Librarian and Adjunct Professor at the Pence Law Library, Washington College of Law, wrote about creating a legal ontology for basic 1L legal research instruction. She shares her experience and provides a useful methodology that can guide you if you ever set out to create your own ontology.

Taylor was motivated to start thinking about this when she saw a change in headnote presentation in the then new (Fall 2012) WestlawNext platform. The change, in both style and content, prompted her to ask a couple of good questions: . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

UKSC Compels Disclosure of Prince Charles’ Letters to Government Ministers

A year ago I posted here on the UK Court of Appeal’s ruling which set aside the government’s veto of a decision under freedom of information legislation for the release of “advocacy correspondence” from Prince Charles’s to government ministers.

Last week the UK Supreme Court dismissed the government’s appeal. No date has been fixed by which the letters must be disclosed.

It is not known whether there will be redactions in the documents produced.

An interesting legal issue is how the court dealt with statutory language permitting the Minister to veto. It provides that “an accountable person” (in this case . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Alternative Business Structures Proposals or Solving the Unaffordable Legal Services Problem

Alternative business structures proposals (ABS proposals), the basis of which is to allow commercial investors to own law firms, have no capacity to solve the problem of unaffordable legal services (“the problem”). Their other two major features are to automate routine legal services, and to enable related non-legal services to be provided with legal services. But the cause of the problem is the high cost of legal advice services. They cannot be automated (pdf). Therefore there is nothing in the analytical literature that states that they can solve the problem. But the published arguments used to promote ABS proposals imply . . . [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 sixty 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. Pierre Roy & Associés Blogue 2. Eloïse Gratton 3. ABlawg 4. BC Injury Law and ICBC Claims Blog 5. Legal Post

Pierre Roy & Associés Blogue
Payer ses cartes de crédit : ça peut prendre plus d’une vie !

Le 1er septembre 2010, une nouvelle information d’une importance majeure . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

English Court of Appeal Expands Privacy Rights

The Court of Appeal in England has upheld a 2014 decision against Google about its scraping of information from users of the Safari browser. It classified a privacy action as a tort that will support a class action (called a ‘group action’ there) and also service out of the jurisdiction. The Court allowed the action to proceed without proof of pecuniary damages. It also held that ‘browser generated information’ (BGI) was personally identifiable information to which the Data Protection Act applied, though it did not contain the name of the person using the browser.

Google v Vidal-Hall : [2015] EWCA . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, ulc_ecomm_list

Justice Delayed in Brampton

Courthouses across the GTA, Canada’s most populous region, are already overwhelmed. Under particular strain are the suburbs of Toronto, which have exploded in population over the past few decades, with few corresponding increases in services.

One particular courthouse is in Brampton, where the Ministry of the Attorney General has announced they will build a 3-story expansion. The expansion will not be completed until December 2017, and that time both the bar and the bench appear to be alarmed.

Justice Van Melle, former Regional Senior Justice for Ontario’s Central West court region, took the unusual step of writing a letter to . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues