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Archive for August, 2015

Humanizing the Cry for Access to Justice

The Chief Justice’s speech in Calgary, which I mentioned here last week, illustrated that despite all of our efforts to address access to justice the problem is getting worse, not better:

The cry for access to justice is rising from what was once a dull murmer to a crescendo.

She noted that the courts and government share some of the responsibility for the solution, but lawyers play an important role too, especially in pressuring these other actors to take action.

The Canadian Bar Association launched a campaign in Calgary, #whataboutalex, to humanize the struggle for access to justice. Kim Covert . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

FISCALITÉ : Uber Canada inc. échoue dans sa tentative d’obtenir l’entiercement des éléments de preuve recueillis par l’ARQ lors d’une enquête relative à des infractions pénales qu’elle aurait commises.

Intitulé : Uber Canada inc. c. Agence du revenu du Québec, 2015 QCCS 3453
Juridiction : Cour supérieure (C.S.), Montréal, 500-36-007636-155 . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

The Ashley Madison Hack: A Golden Age for Divorce Lawyers or a Golden Opportunity to Reconsider Monogamy?

One of my favourite Valentine’s Day cartoons shows a lawyer dumping a box of randomly-addressed cards into a mailbox hoping to drum up some business for himself. The Ashley Madison hack is that in real life, and what a surprise it is!

Heads have already begun to roll; the ever-reliable BuzzFeed reports that Josh Duggar (yes, that Duggar) has confessed to a membership and has published staff rapporteur Ellen Cushing’s blow by blow confrontation, via text, with her cheating ex. The revelations, of course, don’t stop there. The Canadian Press, in an article posted on CBC’s website, says . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

The Friday Fillip: Finding Out

For the next while the Friday Fillip will be a chapter in a serialized crime novel, usually followed by a reference you might like to pursue. Both this chapter of the book and the whole story up to this point can be had as PDF files. You may also subscribe to have chapters delivered to you by email.


Chapter 25
Finding Out

Dominic Archer looked to be one of the hearty sort — tall, plump, rubicund, moving with a bounce. His bald head shone under the spots in the motorhome like an outsize incandescent

. . . [more]
Posted in: The Friday Fillip

The Dutch Climate Case: Beginning of a New Era of Climate Litigation?

In an worldwide first, the Hague District Court has ordered the Dutch government to cut its greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by at least 25% compared to 1990 levels by the end of 2020. The decision, an English translation of which can be found here, has been widely reported and discussed (including in an interview on CBC Radio’s The Current with Dianne). It has rekindled hopes around the world that courts can spur governments into taking serious steps to deal with climate change.

Could a similar case be brought successfully in Canada?


The suit was brought against the Dutch . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioners Bring Your Own Device Program Guidelines

Using personal devices at work to conduct business (BYOD or “bring your own device”) has become commonplace in the last couple of years. Employers are implementing BYOD policies left, right and centre to try to control the privacy challenges this practice can bring about when employers access these devices to protect their data contained on them. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology, Technology: Office Technology

Thursday Thinkpiece: Simmons on What Zombies Can Teach Law Students

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.

What Zombies Can Teach Law Students: Popular Text Inclusion in Law and Literature

Thomas E. Simmons
66 Mercer Law Review 729 (2015)

Excerpt: Introduction and pp 744-753

[Footnotes omitted. They can be found in the original via the link above]


The recent spike in tales about zombies has generated inspired responses . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Speeding in Espanola

While on a family road trip in summer of 2013, I was ticketed for speeding on a stretch of highway west of Sudbury, Ontario. Being a lawyer, for the hours of driving that followed I could think of nothing but how to get the fine reduced or the ticket withdrawn. After all, the police speed trap was such that even the most cartoonishly-stereotypical of deep-south state troopers would be impressed by its audacity.

I was reminded of this episode when in preparation for a discussion with some Ontario judges on innovation in the courts, I came across a treasure trove . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Building a Culture of Wellness

I am always somewhat pessimistic about the response of any group of lawyers to a presentation on the subject of wellness. Though I’ve spoken more than a few times on what lawyers can do to increase their sense of personal wellbeing and maintain a greater sense of balance while doing the work they do, my expectation remains that there will be at least a little eye rolling and more likely, significant disengagement with a topic that both touches on the personal and sometimes tends towards good parental advice.

Last week I joined fellow Slaw-yer Dan Pinnington and lawyer therapist Doron . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Internet of Things Security Standard Proposal

The Internet of Things (IoT) is surrounded by a lot of hype. There is great promise to be able to do and know all sorts of things when all our stuff can communicate. That could be almost anything, including thermostats, cars, garage door openers, baby monitors, appliances, fitness trackers, and the list goes on. Cheap sensors and easy connectivity means that it is becoming trivial to measure everything and connect almost anything.

But with great promise comes great risk. Our things will generate information about us – both direct and inferred. There are security issues if these devices can be . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Moving Closer to Organizations’ Core Businesses

I somewhat shamefacedly enjoy reading professional advice books (and fashion advice books, but I wrote that column already), and one of the most memorable pieces of advice I recall was that regardless of what career path one chooses, in order to have the best career prospects, one should aim to work in an organization’s main line of business. There is generally have more room to advance as an accountant in an accounting firm than in the accounting department of a company that primarily does something else. This is reflected in the different career paths and experiences of lawyers who . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

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. Fernandes v. Araujo, 2015 ONCA 571

[45] As an intermediate court of appeal, we are ordinarily bound to follow our past decisions, even decisions with which we disagree. It is important that we do so. Our common law legal tradition rests upon the idea that we will adhere to what we decided in the past. As expressed by the Latin phrase . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII