Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for September, 2016

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) : Un arrêt des procédures est ordonné dans le cas d’accusés arrêtés pour trafic de drogues à l’occasion de l’enquête Promu en raison du délai déraisonnable imputé, notamment, à la façon dont la poursuite a géré les conséquences de l’arrestation du policier à l’origine de cette enquête, Benoît . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

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.

Green v. Alberta Teachers’ Association, 2016 ABCA 237

AREAS OF LAW: Administrative law; Judicial review; Procedural fairness; Privative clause

 ~The presence of a strongly worded privative clause does not preclude most or all judicial review, but rather indicates that the court must adopt a deferential standard of review.~

BACKGROUND: The Appellant, Cynthia Green, was found guilty of unprofessional conduct by the Hearing Committee of the Respondent Alberta Teachers’ . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

How Branding Works (And Why Law Firms Should Care)

In the olden days we weren’t allowed to say the M word (marketing) within 50 meters of a law firm because it was considered too unprofessional and trendy. Now, Partners throw around the B word (branding) like there’s no tomorrow! Yet in my experience, very few lawyers understand what branding is, why it works, and how to use it to their advantage. So here’s a primer on branding for lawyers and those who support them marketing-wise.

If you’ve seen Mad Men then you know about the ad agency business in the fifties. That was the advent of strategic marketing. At . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Finding and Effectively Using an Expert Witness

In the summer of 2016, author Simek had the pleasure of joining a Pennsylvania Bar Association panel comprised of both testifying experts and judges to explore how to find and effectively use a good expert.

It seemed to author Nelson, sitting in the audience, that she was hearing a series of rapid-fire tips so she endeavored to jot them down, in no particular order, to offer the collective wisdom of the panel. Here are some of the many valuable tips she heard:

  • It’s important to find an expert who will be cool under fire, as they must survive cross-examination with
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology

Cloud Computing: It’s All Good – or Mostly Good

A ZDNet article entitled Cloud computing: Four reasons why companies are choosing public over private or hybrid clouds makes a case for the value of the public cloud.

The reasons:

  • Innovation comes as standard with the public cloud
  • Flexibility provides a business advantage
  • External providers are the experts in secure provision
  • CIOs can direct more attention to business change

This is all good – or mostly good.

The caveat is that the use of the cloud can fail if a business adopts the cloud without thinking it through from the perspectives of mission criticality, security, privacy, and continuity. If a . . . [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. R v CMG, 2016 ABQB 368

[33] I reject the argument that the accused is afforded any protection in the case at bar under s. 13 of the Charter or s. 5(2) of the Canada Evidence Act, RSC 1985, c C-5 [CEA]. Sections 13 of the Charter and 5(2) of the CEA are treated as offering the same . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Reforming the Judicial Discipline Process: Putting the Public in the Public Interest

Over the summer, Justice Canada engaged in a low-key consultation on “Judicial Discipline Process Reform”, releasing a bland discussion paper appropriately-titled “Possibilities for Further Reform of the Federal Judicial Discipline Process”. The title is at once both misleading and accurate. It is in part misleading because there have been no significant changes to the federal judicial discipline process as set out in the Judges Act since that statute was enacted in 1971. It is accurate because the Justice Canada consultation comes on the heels of reforms enacted by the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) in 2015 after . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Be the Change

It may be 2016 but lawyers still fax like its 1989. This is pathetic, and it’s time that we embrace technological change. Every other industry has moved on, and so should we.

In Ontario, the Ministry of the Attorney General is trying to implement change. On their website, they state that:

[W]e are implementing a comprehensive strategy to build Better Justice Together by:

  • making sure court processes are faster and the justice system is easier to navigate

  • building an integrated system that allows justice partners and participants to better share and access the information they need…

While we wait for . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Take the Sting Out of Tough Feedback

“You have a tendency to step on people’s toes when you’re leading a team. Instead of engaging them, you run them over in your effort to get the job done.” Delivered from a manager at my first job as a lifeguard, the feedback disconfirmed every perception I had of my fledgling leadership skills.

It stung. But my supervisor was right, and she was right to tell me. She pointed out how people reacted to my behaviour and how it affected my performance. I needed the job, which meant I couldn’t avoid my manager. So I adapted.

A recent post on . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Launching the BC Family Innovation Lab Website

In many previous Slaw posts I have mentioned my keen interest in justice reform – particularly for families. With a small group of like-minded folks in BC, I have been lucky enough to be involved in forming and nurturing the BC Family Justice Innovation Lab. Today, we are excited to formally launch the Lab’s new website and blog at

The Lab is a unique innovation platform for nurturing initiatives designed to improve resilience and well-being of families and their children who are experiencing transition, including separation and divorce. It uses a systemic human-centred design approach putting . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements

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

The Importance of Editing and Proof-Reading
Neil Guthrie

You’ve drafted a client piece – now what? Heed the words of Samuel Johnson: ‘What is written without effort is generally read without pleasure.’ In other words, go back and edit; your text could always use some polishing. …


Build the Team!
Sandra Bekhor

There’s a lot of teamwork that goes on in a law office. . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Sailboats and Project Management

I love to race sailboats.

(To an outsider, a sailboat race usually falls somewhere between incomprehensible and watching-paint-dry boring. Trust me – it’s very, very different when you’re on the boat!)

I’ve raced everything from one-person dinghies to a 45-footer (14 meters) we owned until my wife noted she preferred adventures that didn’t involve frigid Pacific Northwest water. Currently, three buddies and I share a couple of Etchells-class boats – fast, fun, cheap, and easily sailed with two to four people per boat. We race them Thursday nights against other Etchells’ and similarly sized boats.

An Etchells – not ours . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law