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Archive for February, 2016

DIT A2J 1: Establish a Pro Bono Legal Clinic in Your Community

Private pro bono clinics, law school clinics and clinics run by legal aid organizations are the first point of face-to-face contact with the justice system for most people who don’t have a law firm on personal retainer. They are an essential source of initial guidance for people who have just discovered they have a legal problem, and provide a critical understanding of the lay of the land and the range of likely outcomes; for people who can’t afford counsel and don’t qualify for legal aid, they provide an indispensable source of ongoing advice and information. In my experience, almost every . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Judging Twitter

“Treated” is not quite the right word, but for purposes of this article I’ll say avid Twitter users were treated in early February to innumerable passionate pleas tagged #RIPTwitter that Twitter not change its algorithm and containing warnings that if Twitter dare mess with reverse chronological tweet delivery, the company would have drawn on its last measure of goodwill.

Before continuing, let me first acknowledge that the preceding statement likely sounded like nonsense to most of you. Not many Canadians have Twitter accounts (~25%), and only a tiny fraction of subscribers engage with sufficient frequency to notice small changes . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Technology

Paying the Price for Not Providing Reasonable Notice and the Manner of Termination

In the case of Armstrong v Lendon, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice concluded that the employer had to pay 21 months of reasonable notice plus aggravated damages for the manner of termination which caused humiliation, embarrassment and the loss of self-esteem. The court did not buy the employer’s argument that there was just cause for the termination, especially since the allegations for cause were made after the fact. . . . [more]

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

Thursday Thinkpiece: The Legal Imagination of Rod Macdonald

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.

The Unbounded Level of the Mind: Rod Macdonald’s Legal Imagination

Janda, Richard, Jukier, Rosalie and Jutras, Daniel. The Unbounded Level of the Mind. Montreal: MQUP, 2015. Print | Reprinted with permission

Richard Janda, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law at McGill University | Rosalie Jukier, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law at McGill . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Not So Fast, Not So Much – Data Protection for Cell Tower Traffic Data

In the context of criminal investigations police in Canada may obtain “tower dump” production orders. These are orders requiring the applicable cellular telecommunications providers to disclose all records of cellular traffic through a particular cell tower over a specified time period. In R. v. Rogers and Telus, 2016 ONSC 70, Justice Sproat noted that “Every year such orders require cellular providers to produce the names and addresses of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of subscribers; who they called; who called them; their location at the time; and the duration of the call. These orders may also require that . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Apple Fights Court Imposed FBI Backdoor Order

Apple CEO Tim Cook has taken a very public stand against an FBI request and court order to create a backdoor into the Apple operating system. This arose from the investigation into the San Bernardino mass shooting last December.

See this article on ZDNet for more details. And Read Tim Cook’s customer letter posted on the Apple website for a more complete explanation of Apple’s position.

Kudos to Tim Cook and Apple for this.

Security and privacy experts continue to point out that backdoors are a bad idea that cause far more harm than good.

See, for example, this ZDNet . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

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. Hole v Hole, 2016 ABCA 34

[62] Although the trial judge essentially treated this as a situation of repudiation or anticipatory breach, she did not consider whether the appellants elected to accept or reject the repudiation. There is no evidence on the record that the appellants clearly and unequivocally accepted the repudiation, and the appellants’ November 2000 request for the respondents . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

A National Approach to Canadian Bar Admissions? Working With the Law Schools Would Be a Start

Without question, one of the greatest accomplishments of the Canadian legal profession in modern times was the conclusion of the National Mobility Agreements. Under the leadership of the Federation of Law Societies, the disparate strands of Canadian lawyerdom – Quebec, now, excepted – took an extraordinary step towards knitting themselves into something resembling a national profession. One of the less charming aspects of our hitherto customary approach to federalism – provincial protectionism among legal professionals – is now mostly a thing of the past.

Defined by its own premises, the Mobility Agreements were a means to a twin end: the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

Law Firm Regulation

Law-firm regulation is moving closer to becoming a reality in most Canadian provinces, but there are still a few misconceptions about what it is, and what it will mean for lawyers and the profession.

Nova Scotia has been studying ways to regulate legal entities, in addition to individual lawyers, for several years, and recently published a draft self-assessment tool for public discussion. The three Prairie provinces recently collaborated to publish “Innovating Regulation,” a discussion paper in which entity regulation figures prominently. The Law Society of Upper Canada also recently published a discussion paper seeking public input on entity . . . [more]

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

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 research and writing, practice, and technology.

Research & Writing

Quickly Arrange Multiple Windows
Bronwyn Guiton

Doing legal research increasingly means having multiple windows and applications open. You might be referring to CanLII in one window, the CRA website in another, and that email you’re working on in a third. Some of you might even have two or three screens set up beside each other on your desk! … . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Some Thoughts on the Accessibility of Legal Information and Legal Records

In a time rapidly retreating into the past, I flirted with the idea of becoming an archivist and devoted thought to the nature of records, their legal status, and how they reflect reality. I was recently reminded of this when I heard the opinion that the official versions of legislation should no longer be published in annual volumes with amendments and periodic revisions as they are now. Instead it was proposed that a yearly annual revision be published as the official version with annotations indicating amendments as a way to simplify the process of research and to make the laws . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Legal Technology Businesses in Toronto

Toronto technology lawyer Addison Cameron-Huff has posted a list of “Toronto-based legaltech startups & established players.”

He notes that, “I’ve only listed startups that are active, have a software service or product, and appear to have their main office in Toronto … some of the established players are Canadian subsidiaries of foreign companies that have a larger headquarters elsewhere.”

With 40 startups listed this is a great start and he welcomes suggestions for the list at

Cameron-Huff also maintains FlatLaw, “Canada’s Flat Rate Legal Marketplace.” . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology