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Archive for January, 2016

Ethical Resolutions

January – the traditional time for resolutions and resetting intentions. While we may fail to achieve them, we know the resolutions worth making – exercise more, eat better, spend less, be kinder: in some smaller or greater way, be a better person. What our resolutions are not is a commitment not to do something bad. We don’t say, “this year I’m not going to cheat on my spouse, or assault someone, or steal from my employer.” Our resolutions are positive and aspirational, not negative and constrained. So this is my January question: what would it look like to think about . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Eluding Relief: Ministerial Discretion and the Impact of Recent Amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

Recent amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, SC 2001, c 27 (“IRPA”) (http://canlii.ca/t/52dg2) will make ministerial relief illusory for some foreign nationals deemed inadmissible to Canada on security grounds. The government created this problem in its response to the Supreme Court of Canada’s (“SCC”) ruling in Agraira v Canada, 2013 SCC 36 (“Agraira”) (http://canlii.ca/t/fz8c4). Agraira challenged the application of IRPA s 34(2) (http://canlii.ca/t/521ff) under which an inadmissible foreign national could apply to the Minister of Public Safety for an exemption if they could prove their presence was not contrary to the “national . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Update to Internet Explorer 11 Now for Security

Microsoft has just ended support for Internet Explorer versions 10 and earlier. That means Microsoft will no longer provide security patches, which makes them risky to use from a security perspective.

Anyone still using those versions should update to IE 11 immediately. Those using Windows 10 can use the Edge browser instead. Edge works well, but unfortunately does not yet support add ons like password managers. Another option is of course to use Chrome.

If there is a need to use an earlier version of IE because of legacy internet applications that are not up to current standards, IE 11 . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Should Advanced Legal Research and Writing Be Mandatory?

As I approach the last few weeks of my legal education I begin to ask myself: Am I ready? Am I a well-trained individual ready to take on any challenge thrown my way? Or at least a competent individual with the basic skills necessary to write my first “real” memo? I have spent the last seven years in university researching and writing multiple papers; is that enough?

Even in my third year I find myself turning to the student next to me, whispering, “Where would I find that?” or “How do I cite that?” As embarrassing as this is, I . . . [more]

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

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. Mikolic v Tanguay, 2015 ONSC 71

[28] Although the trial judge was satisfied that the amounts the Plaintiff had received for past income replacement benefits had exceeded the tort award for past loss of income, he wrote that he could not determine from the evidence what amounts the Plaintiff had actually received under the settlement on account of future income replacement . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Looking Through the Rear View Mirror

We are reaching end of the year. My column is about the practice of law, so why don’t I take you through quick tour of where the end of 2015 brought me?

Much movement on measuring. Once, not all that long ago, the very idea of asking users of the justice system how they experienced its performance was considered daft. I still have workshops every now and then in which judges and ministry officials hint that asking the customers and making their views public could infringe judicial independence or the democratic process. Measuring justice has not been mainstreamed on . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Is Doc Review Legal Work?

It has been said that over 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years alone.

The proliferation of documents has changed the way legal work is done. Litigation files with thousands or even millions of documents have spawned an entire industry devoted to document review. Wikipedia defines document review as “the process whereby each party to a case sorts through and analyzes the documents and data they possess … to determine which are sensitive [privileged] or otherwise relevant to the case.”

In Ontario, Deloitte has a department devoted to document review. It is filled with . . . [more]

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

Ontario Court of Appeal Rules on Childcare and Family Status

What does it mean to discriminate on the basis of family status? The topic has been written about extensively on Slaw. However, the law has still been hard to interpret. Thankfully, the Ontario Court of Appeal has recently provided some clarity on the subject when it recently upheld a decision that found discrimination on the basis of family status after a work schedule was changed and interfered with an employee’s childcare arrangements.

In that decision, the employer demoted an employee who had returned a week earlier from maternity leave, reducing her hours and pay. When the employee objected, the employer . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Role of ISPs in Canada’s New Copyright Regime

In 2012, the Copyright Modernization Act was enacted to make a number of significant changes to Canada’s existing copyright regime. One of the primary goals of this new legislation was to ensure that Canada did not open the floodgates to “copyright trolls” (copyright plaintiffs who file lawsuits simply to extort quick settlements) and devolve into the shocking state of copyright litigation south of the border. The federal government hopes to balance the rights of copyright holders with the privacy rights of the alleged copyright infringers. The Act now has a statutory limit of $5,000 on damages for all non-commercial copyright . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Law Blogs and Law Reviews: A Tale of Dialogue?

In October 2013, Adam Liptak—The New York Times’ Supreme Court correspondent—dismissed law reviews as repositories of irrelevant and un(der)-read legal scholarship that merely bolster the curriculum vitae of published authors and, presumably, the student editors.

Disagreement with Liptak’s bold assertion ran the gamut from the observation that students run law reviews for lack of an alternative to the rebuke that Liptak’s criticism overreached to taint law reviews with less problematic publication structures. Others focused on Liptak’s brief praise for legal blogging; Kevin O’Keefe celebrated the article for heralding law blogs as better sources of “valuable legal insight” . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Legal Information: Publishing

Process Server Falsifies Affidavits of Service

In what has to be one of the more unusual cases I have come across, a Superior Court judge has set aside a default judgment after being satisfied that the process server hired by the plaintiff to serve its claim swore “untruthful” affidavits of service which were subsequently relied on by the plaintiff to obtain default judgment.

The plaintiff in a franchise dispute had its lawyer prepare a statement of claim. The plaintiff’s lawyer hired a process server to serve the corporate and personal defendant. The process server advised the plaintiff’s lawyer that the claim had been served on . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law

A Mildly Embarrassed Philistine

A while ago I found myself basking in the sun beside a swimming pool, with not a great deal troubling me. The anxiety-free break had allowed me with pleasure to work my way through an interesting and informative biography and the moment was right quickly to find another book to read. Scouring through the available literature my attention was captured immediately by a highly regarded legal/crime novel by a well-known author and I immediately settled down for a relaxing read. Not the fault of the book or its author, I am convinced, but several pages in I began to become . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology