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Archive for September, 2015

Volkswagen, Proprietary Software and Getting Caught

Last week there was an interesting post by Xeni Jardin on Boing-Boing concerning the Volkswagen emissions scandal. Jardin cites a New York Times article by Jim Dywer called, “Volkswagen’s Diesel Fraud Makes Critic of Secret Code a Prophet” published earlier in the week.

This is the bit that caught immediately my attention at Boing-Boing:

“Proprietary software is an unsafe building material. You can’t inspect it.”

That quote comes from a talk Columbia Law School professor Eben Moglen gave to the Scottish Society for Computers and Law about 5 years ago, “When Software is in Everything: Future . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

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. Youth and Work  2. Clio Blog 3.  4. Global Workplace Insider  5. Vincent Gautrais

Youth and Work
Why Are Ryerson University and Bell Media Advertising a Wage Theft Scam?

So it seems that Ryerson University has teamed up with Bell Media to advertise a little back to school . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Tax Lock Is Unconstitutional, Pointless, and Dangerous

On Friday, the Prime Minister promised if elected he would enact legislation that would create a “tax lock,” preventing future governments from raising taxes,

This new legislation will protect our fragile economy and guarantee reduced taxes and stable incomes for our families.

His party has already promised not to raise taxes, while the other parties have promised they will. This measure goes further, because it would seek to bind the hands of successive governments, without the necessary constitutional amendments.

Former Parliamentary law clerk, Rob Walsh, indicated the proposed legislation would likely be unconstitutional for this reason. The division of powers . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Summaries Sunday: OnPoint Legal Research

One Sunday each month OnPoint Legal Research provides Slaw with an extended summary of, and counsel’s commentary on, an important case from the British Columbia, Alberta, or Ontario court of appeal.

Fredrickson v. Newtech Dental Laboratory Inc., 2015 BCCA 357

AREAS OF LAW: Employment law; Termination; Offer of re-employment; Mitigation of damages

~When considering whether an employee failed to mitigate her damages by refusing an offer of re-employment, the trier of fact must take into account such factors as the completeness of the offer and the erosion of trust between the employer and the employee.~

BACKGROUND: The Appellant, Ms. Fredrickson, . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

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.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : La requérante ne peut obtenir la permission d’intejeter appel du jugement de la Cour supérieure ayant confirmé sa culpabilité sous une accusation de conduite avec une alcoolémie supérieure à la limite permise au motif que le ministère public ne pouvait bénéficier de la présomption légale (art. 258 . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

The Friday Fillip: Pluck


For the prior thirty weeks the Friday Fillip has been be a chapter in a serialized crime novel, usually followed by a reference you might like to pursue.

Next Friday’s Epilogue will be the last of these instalments of fiction.

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 30

On Saturday, two days after the shootout at Backton Aggregate, Nancy Tomasini knocked on Rangel’s door. Rangel answered it

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

A2J: Preventing the Abolition of Law Societies by Curing Their Management Structure Defects

1. The Defects of the Management Structure of Law Societies

Law societies in Canada have ignored the unaffordable legal services problem (“the problem”), because of the obsolescence of their management structure. Its major defects are:

(1) management by part-time amateurs (benchers), whose work is mostly charity–“amateurs” because they don’t have the expertise necessary for solving difficult problems such as the unaffordability of legal services (and they don’t try to get it);

(2) an unwillingness to attack the causes of difficult problems such as the unaffordability of legal services because their main duties are to their clients and institutional employers, who . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

US Supreme Court Justices Prefer Shakespeare

According to a recent article about the favourite literary references used by current US Supreme Court justices in their judgments, Shakespeare and Lewis Carroll top the list.

This was followed by:

  • George Orwell
  • Charles Dickens
  • Aldous Huxley
  • Aesop
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky, William Faulkner, Herman Melville and J.D. Salinger (equal number of references)

This reminds me of one of my posts on (way back in 2006!) on Popular Song Lyrics in Legal Writing. Oklahoma City University School of Law professor Alex B. Long did a study of citations to pop music stars in law journals.

In descending list of “popularity” . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions


I am happily attending excellent educational sessions at Legaltech Toronto. Follow the hashtag #IN_LegaltechTO to see the collective notes.

Four sessions in and I am very glad to be here even with the red eye flight with a 10 month old baby on the next seat.

Three screen shots of slides illustrate why:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Technology

Government of Canada v. Face Coverings: A Debate on the Limits to Freedom of Religion

On September 16, 2015, the federal government decided to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada the case of Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) v. Ishaq, 2015 FCA 194 (CanLII), in which the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that it was unlawful for the Canadian government to ban new citizens from reciting the citizenship oath with a face covering.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Legal Problems and the Poor

The Legal problems of Canadians are not evenly distributed. Data from the 2014 CFCJ survey – Everyday Legal Problems in Canada – indicates that a disproportionate percentage of persons who experience legal problems bear the burden of a significant amount of all legal problems— 10% of persons who have at least one legal problem experience 1/3 of all legal problems. Additionally, data indicates that a large cross-section of persons who experience legal problems are among the poorest in Canadian society. The CFCJ survey also confirms that overall, there is a high prevalence of everyday legal problems within Canadian society, with . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Rethinking Risk Management

Most risk management advice is based on how to avoid bad things through taking proactive and preventative steps. For example, use checklists on every file to avoid missing crucial steps. Document the advice you’ve given, particularly if your client isn’t likely to follow it. Use retainer letters to set clear expectations for your clients.

Other advice is based on avoiding risk through knowing when to leave well enough alone. The best is example is the axiom that a lawyer should never sue for fees because that’s a frequent trigger for a legal malpractice claim or law society misconduct complaint.

But . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology: Internet