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Archive for July, 2016

“Silly Rules” of Immigration Law

Our beloved Minister McCallum is on yet another tour, meeting with employers and stakeholders in the Atlantic provinces to boost a pilot project: Atlantic Growth Strategy. During the presentation, our Minister indicated, “We are committed to streamlining things, to getting rid of silly rules […]” I supposed I am still shell-shocked from the rhetoric of our previous government but I cannot overstate the change in perspective from our current Minister compared to past Ministers.

Minister McCallum did not elaborate on which of our current immigration rules are the “silly” rules. Based on conversations with clients, I regularly hear, “and . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation

Crucial Patent Experts

Patent cases focus on the expert evidence. In many cases, the key issues of claim construction, the applicability of the prior art and infringement all turn on the evidence provided through the opinions of expert witnesses. There are several interesting issues arising recently in the use of experts in intellectual property cases.

The Federal Court of Appeal has recognized the unique position of expert evidence in patent cases, stating: “the practical reality is that a court nearly always reads a patent through goggles supplied by the experts whom the judge considers to be credible and accurate” and “The skilled reader . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

What Is Blockchain and Why It’s Important for Law Practice

You have probably heard of blockchain. If you didn’t, I am sure you’ve heard of bitcoin. There is a chance you have also heard that blockchain or bitcoin are the next big thing. I believe that blockchain is the next big thing, and the purpose of this essay is to explain why and to show blockchain’s significance for lawyers and law practice.

Blockchain is an escrow of conclusive transaction evidence. That’s it. Don’t worry about hashes, blocks, distributed ledger, encryption and so on for now. Those are implementation details. All you need to know as a lawyer, a banker, a . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Mentoring for Adjudicators: The Need for Guidelines

There is no perfect training for any occupation. Guidance from more experienced people is always necessary when developing a new career. This is particularly so for new adjudicators. Training on how to run a hearing is commonly offered to new adjudicators. Even with simulations, that training does not equip adjudicators with everything they need to survive (or, better yet, thrive) in adjudicating.

Mentorship is ideally suited for the development of new adjudicators. A mentor is a more experienced adjudicator who shares his or her perspective with a less experienced adjudicator. Mentor was an Ithacan noble in Homer’s Odyssey. A trusted . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

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. R v Stephan, 2016 ABQB 353

[7] When the impact of this offence is considered, the Court considers how the commission of the offence by Mr. Stephan and Ms. Stephan has affected Ezekiel, other victims, and the community. This part of the inquiry is not about a public debate on, for example, state intervention, natural remedies, or whether there should even be . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

The Sacred Book – Maybe!

The author Naomi Baron in her book “Words Onscreen: The fate of Reading in a Digital World” includes the following quote at page 198:

“The book as such is sacred. One does not throw books away”.

Naomi Baron states that the Germans and the French “don’t throw out …. bread and books.

But consider that many law libraries are now computer rooms. And some libraries are destroying books. A professor at the UNB law school told me that their library has shredded a series of print law reports. Also an Ontario bookbinding firm told me that Queen’s University is now . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

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

Always Cross Check Note Up Results
Bronwyn Guiton

Today’s tip is to double check the way you are noting up decisions. Taking a few extra minutes to cross check your results will really strengthen your research! When we’re noting up a decision, typically we want to know if a) the decision has been appealed (i.e. history), and b) if subsequent decisions have discussed it (i.e. . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Is Your Purchaser Client Entitled to an HST New Housing Rebate?

Canada’s HST New Housing Rebate program, created under s. 254 of the Excise Tax Act, offers significant economic relief to qualifying purchasers of qualifying properties. However, the eligibility criteria are complicated, and have been strictly applied by courts. To avoid claims based on a client’s non-receipt of the rebate (or on having had it clawed back), a real estate lawyer must understand the rules. Only then will the lawyer be in a position to ask the questions that will establish whether or not the client is eligible for the rebate, and to appropriately manage the client’s expectations.

The rebate . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Small Changes Can Make Big Difference

Lawyers practice in a world where technology comes in smaller pieces that are increasingly integrated. Like David Weinberger’s Small Pieces, Loosely Joined, some of the best ways to benefit from technology come from adding incremental improvements. While some software requires you to wait for a feature to be added by the developer, other tools you use every day can be extended thanks to extensions and add-ons created by others.

How to Extend Your Web Browser

Two of the most common law firm software tools are the e-mail client and the Web browser. The predominance of the Microsoft Internet Explorer . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal 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 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. The Stream  2. Labour Pains 3. Meurrens on Immigration  4. Canadian Legal History Blog  5. Clio Blog

The Stream
Pro Bono Going Public 2016 – Volunteer or Pledge Support Now!

In September 2016, over 100 volunteer lawyers will participate in the 9th annual free legal advice-a-thon to raise awareness . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

TWU Decision Really About Deference and Autonomy

The much anticipated decision by the Court of Appeal in Trinity Western University v. The Law Society of Upper Canada was released this week.

Although the court upheld the Divisional Court decision last year, which itself upheld the law society’s decision not to accredit Trinity Western’s law school, this week’s decision was neither a condemnation by the courts of the school or a vindication of its opponents. Instead, it was a commentary on the role of a self-regulated profession, and the importance of maintaining our own autonomy.

The court touched on, briefly, the applicability of Trinity Western’s previous trip to . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

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.

Jaguar Financial Corporation v. Alternative Earth Resources Inc., 2016 BCCA 193

AREAS OF LAW: Corporations; Oppression; Disclosable interest; Mineral exploration

~Shareholders are only entitled to relief for oppression if they can show they held a reasonable expectation with respect to the corporation’s conduct, and that said conduct oppressively disappointed that expectation. ~

BACKGROUND: The Respondent, Jaguar Financial Corporation, owned 18.55% of the Appellant, Alternative Earth Resources’, shares. The Appellant . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday