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Archive for August, 2016

Advice to New Law Students

September marks the changing of the seasons, from summer to fall, from hot to cold, from break to school. And this year is no exception. Starting this September, thousands of new students will enter law school from across this country. These students will buckle down, meet new friends, and confront new concepts.

It is with this in mind that I provide the following advice:

(i) Before starting law school, read about the history of our legal system and read about the legal principles underlying our common law. Look to Professor Adam Dodek’s superb reading list to get started – . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training

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

Keep a List of Frequently Asked Questions
Susannah Tredwell

Certain questions come up time and time again. You can save time by keeping a list of the most frequently asked questions and their answers; each time one of the questions on the list gets asked you can just cut and paste the answer. …


On Change, Planning and Professional Practice
Garry Wise

Death, taxes . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Ontario Firm Narrowly Avoids $500,000 Email & Phone Hack Attempt

An Ontario lawyer called LAWPRO inform us of what appears to be an email hack attempt (similar to what is described here) against his firm and one of his clients, with the goal of diverting closing funds from a transaction into a different bank account. An email to the client appeared to come from this lawyer, and a follow-up phone call was made to the client which displayed the lawyer’s firm number.

Below we have reproduced the steps of the incident and his response, with some edits to remove the firm and client information.

Here is the fraudulent email . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

An OASIS Open Repository for Legal XML Documents

Robert Richards reported yesterday on the Legal Informatics Research Network group that OASIS (the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) has established a new open repository on Github.* The repository has been created to support the work of the OASIS LegalDocumentML (LegalDocML) Technical Committee a group dedicated to “advancing worldwide best practices for the use of XML in legal documents.”

The repository will contain “schema files, examples, exemplificative implementations and libraries, and documents related to developing a specification for Akoma Ntoso” and they are intending this collection of documents to be “as useful as possible for people . . . [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 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. Labour Pains  2. The Factum 3. National Blog  4. Rule of Law  5. Social Media for Law Firms

Labour Pains
Is Protection from Workplace Harassment Only for Employees and Not Management?

In my last post, Employers Responsible for Protecting Employees from Harassment on Twitter, I looked at a recent . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Plus Ça Change, ….

Incremental change, disruption, new approaches, … we’ve talked about these issues for a long time. A long time! I plunged into the legal KM “pool” at the turn of the century, and it seems that, 16 years on, we’re still talking about many of the same issues. Granted, there are differences now, one of the most notable being that there were no legal-specific search engines available at the time. But although such search engines are available, their high all-in cost is such that, even now, only the larger firms and in-house departments have them available.

Recently, I attended a meeting . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Judicial Vacancies Result in Denial of Justice

When the Supreme Court of Canada describes in R v. Jordan our justice system as “a culture of delay and complacency,” you know you have a problem.

Institutional delays in our courts have been a top priority now for some time, and are intricately connected to our constitutional rights.

The Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs began a study into the issue in February 2016. This weekend they announced their interim report at the CBA legal conference in Ottawa.

The report notes that the effect of these serious delays have resulted in the stay of serious criminal charges and . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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.

FAMILLE : Plusieurs clauses d’un contrat de gestation pour autrui conclu en Inde sont susceptibles d’être déclarées nulles et non exécutoires parce qu’elles sont contraires à l’ordre public ou abusives; toutefois, cette situation ne devrait pas faire obstacle au processus d’adoption enclenché par le conjoint de fait du père biologique . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Indecent Proposal?: Whistleblowing and Putting a Price on Breaching the Rules of Professional Conduct

Earlier this year, I wrote a column expressing concerns about a proposed Ontario Securities Commission (“OSC”) policy designed to encourage certain individuals, including in-house lawyers, to report serious securities or derivatives-related misconduct to the OSC in exchange for financial rewards of up to $5 million. Similar concerns were relayed directly to the OSC in January 2016 in a letter I co-signed with other legal ethics scholars and practitioners and in a letter from Janet Minor, the then-Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada (“LSUC”).

One major concern raised was that the proposed policy would allow, and indeed, encourage in-house . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Thursday Thinkpiece: Hilary Young’s Empirical Study of Canadian Defamation Actions

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 Canadian Defamation Action: An Empirical Study

Hilary Young, Associate Professor, UNB Fredericton Faculty of Law

Excerpt: Introduction, Results: Damages, and Conclusion
[Footnotes omitted. They can be found in the SSRN version via the link above]


This article presents the results of the first quantitative study of Canadian defamation actions. It . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Managing Copyright Issues With Successive Designs

Given that copyright arises automatically upon the creation of an original work fixed in a tangible form issues can arise when a first work is used and subsequent works are made after earlier designs. The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia considered these issues in MacNutt v. Acadia University, 2016 NSSC 160 in a case that illuminates some of the issues and the roles of designers and architects.

Acadia University was planning a possible expansion to its Alumni Hall. The existing hall is a modified Georgian style and the applicable architectural guidelines dictated a Georgian style for the addition.

Acadia . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

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. Peters v Peel District School Board, 2016 ONSC 4788

[44] I find that Ms. Peters had experience in doing the long jump and would understand the difference between a run-through, a pop up, and a regular jump. It is clear from her testimony and it is clear from the Agreed Statement of Facts. In Windsor in Grade 10 she participated on . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII