Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for March, 2016

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 seventy 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. Mack’s Criminal Law  2. Precedent 3.
Global Workplace Insider
 4. The Court  5. Social Media for Law Firms

Mack’s Criminal Law
Some is all you need

Webster was accused of committing offences against is former domestic partner. At the preliminary inquiry the now ex-partner testified via closed circuit television . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Evaluating Legal Technology – a Checklist

After successfully putting it off for a decade after every other industry, it seems like the legal world is finally – FINALLY – poised on the edge of a technology revolution. Walk the exhibit halls of any legal conference nowadays and you’ll see dozens of companies ready to sell you all sorts of solutions that will make your practice life easier and save you money. But will they? How can you tell?

To that end, I developed a check list to go through whenever you are thinking of adopting or purchasing a technology product or service.

  1. Know thyself. Before you
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology

Ghomeshi Controversy a Call to the Profession

I won’t comment much on the Ghomeshi verdict, other than to note that most of its detractors don’t appear to fully appreciate the nuance of the decision.

The animus exhibited by the complainants was mirrored by observers in the court room, and the crowd that gathered outside.

There was reason to be upset. Such incidents are rightly upsetting, but these feelings should not be directed towards the bench or the justice system.

The protections within our legal system, including our Charter rights, cannot be applied selectively, or withdrawn for individuals we don’t like, or we think are likely to . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

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) : Les trois accusés, un guide spirituel et ses deux assistants, reconnus coupables de négligence criminelle ayant causé des lésions corporelles à une victime et la mort d’une autre à la suite d’une séance de sudation tenue dans le contexte d’un séminaire de croissance personnelle, devront purger respectivement . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Access to Justice — the Data Moment

Data — big, open — is having a well-deserved moment among access to justice advocates. While access to justice problems don’t fall into neat quadrants as they might in the technology and business worlds, there is much that can be learned from the use of data to address real needs in other sectors. With new tools to address access to justice challenges comes a key turning point in the application of data to solve complex social problems.

A recent post by Margaret Hagan of Open Law Lab explores the access to justice opportunities available from public data. The potential . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

First Global Cannabis Law Report – It Had to Happen

Former columnist and online legal publisher Sean Hocking has just launched his new Cannabis Law Report. From his base in Hong Kong, Sean has created Your Global Resource on Cannabis Law, Regulation and Cases . He describes it as the first service to document legal information about cannabis worldwide.

While I am sceptical about “global legal publishing initiatives” in general, this one may take hold. Sean has got both the timing and the content right.

None of this is rocket science but it’s all moving at a rapid pace as you know today in Canada and the states . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Alberta Ransomware Advisory

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta has developed guidelines to assist public bodies, health custodians and private organizations with preventing and responding to ransomware cyberattacks. The Advisory published in March 2016 in PDF can be downloaded here.

According to most information technology experts, antivirus vendors and security professionals, “Ransomware” is considered a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system and files until a sum of money is paid within a certain deadline, to an unknown party. The sum of money to be paid varies from as little as $25 to . . . [more]

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

Administrative Breaches and Patent Validity

The Federal Court recently held, in Apotex Inc. v. Pfizer Inc. et al., 2016 FC 136, that there was no legal basis to invalidate an issued patent due to non-patent of an administrative fee while the application was pending. This result arose regarding a patent where an incorrect final fee was paid many years earlier during the patent pendency.

Through out the patent process, multiple fees are required by specific deadlines. These fees include annual maintenance fees, examination fees, and final fees at the time the application is granted. The Patent Act and Patent Rules set out requirements . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Making a List: Barriers to Access to Justice

After engaging this afternoon in a discussion about a number of issues related to ongoing access to justice, I continued thinking about the barriers that stand between ordinary people with legal problems and their effective access to justice. Many of the obstacles are obvious and have been extensively studied (for example, see the ongoing work of Dr. Julie MacFarlane on the experiences of self-representing litigants). But not all barriers to access to justice are readily apparent.

Initially, this was just going to be a mental list, formed as part of a conversation with myself (I engage in those entirely . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Limits on Lawyers’ Ability to Research Jurors?

One reads regularly of the problems courts have in restricting jurors from researching cases in front of them, so that they get only the evidence properly before them and the arguments subject to judicial control.

What of restrictions on lawyers who want to get out-of-court information about jurors, ideally in time to challenge them at the time of their selection, but also to tailor arguments and maybe even appeal results?

A US judge has recently asked for detailed submissions from Oracle and Google as part of their ongoing patent litigation, to say why they should be able to research jurors . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, ulc_ecomm_list

Has Apple Lost Its Mojo, or Is Something Else Going on Here?

Apple had an event this week where they announced new products. But it lacked the excitement and wow factor that we have come to expect. Has Apple lost its mojo, or is something else going on here?

New product announcements from Apple and Google seem less impressive than they used to be. They seem more evolutionary than revolutionary.

There could be a number of reasons for that.

Product innovation is happening at a faster pace than ever before. Are we getting so used to that pace that we have higher expectations for innovation than before?

Is the smartphone / . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Meet Siri: My New Junior Lawyer

In “Developing Legal Talent: Stepping into the Future Law Firm”, Deloitte predicts that a large tipping point will occur around 2020 from a culmination of three forces. These forces are: technology, client pressure, and demographic changes. It is estimated that by 2025 millenials (individuals born between 1981 – 1996) will make up about 75% of the workforce.

Specifically, Deloitte predicts that by 2025 the legal profession will have:

  1. fewer traditional lawyers in law firms;
  2. a new mix of skills among elite lawyers;
  3. greater flexibility and mobility within the industry;
  4. a reformed workforce structure and alternative progression routes; and
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology