Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for February, 2017

AI Takes Over Google Translate

You may have missed, during the holidays, the news that Google has replaced the technology underlying its Google Translate tool, going from a “phrase-based” system to neural networks (i.e., AI).

The improved technology was announced in September, but it has only recently been made available in the publicly available Google Translate (and only for the most common language pairings).

Translation of legal information is an important issue in Canada. First, language barriers faced by different groups (Indigenous people, Francophone minorities outside Québec, Anglophones in Québec and immigrants) are a significant component of the access to justice problems.

But . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Thursday Thinkpiece: Evernote as a Law Practice Tool

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.

Evernote as a Law Practice Tool

© 2017 American Bar Association. All rights reserved. Slaw readers can receive a 10% discount on purchase of this book. Use the discount code ENOH1 at checkout; this offer is valid from 2/9 – 5/9.

Heidi S. Alexander, Esq. (@heidialexander) is the Director of . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

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. Groia v. The Law Society of Upper Canada, 2016 ONCA 471

[101] But it is a far different thing to argue, as Mr. Groia does, that a trial judge’s authority to supervise and control the progress of the trial and the conduct of its participants constrains the Law Society’s exercise of its statutory jurisdiction to regulate a lawyer’s in-court conduct in . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Chevron’s Fair Share of Responsibility for Climate Change and Why It Matters

Wildfires. Drought. Flooding. Rising sea levels. Climate change is already reshaping and impacting BC communities in profound and frightening ways. As unchecked fossil fuel pollution continues to push global temperatures ever higher, we are frightened for our communities, for communities around the world, and for the world we leave our children. – Letter to BC local governments from community groups, 25 January 2017

On January 25, 2017, we, along with dozens of organizations from across British Columbia, sent a letter to each and every local government in the province – asking the Mayors and Councils to take action to demand . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Courthouse Libraries BC Hosting Webinar for Canadian Lawyers on the Impact of Recent Executive Orders

I feel I must write this quick, as every day the terrain shifts and the battle lines move in the escalating conflict between the 45th POTUS and virtually the entire machinery of justice.

FYI, the ABA yesterday released its resolution 10C calling on Trump to withdraw his order restricting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Less than two weeks ago Trump started the whole mess when he slapped on brass knuckles to deliver not one, not two, but three immigration-related executive orders to finish his first week as President.

The world sucked wind.

Even north of the 49th people . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

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, writing, and practice.

Research & Writing

Shall, Will, Should, Would, May, Might, Must
Neil Guthrie

A reader’s suggestion, this. Good idea, even though it’s more of a contractual drafting or opinions point than a general legal writing tip. Shall, will and must: The difference is to a large extent idiomatic – that is, subject more to instinct and feel than hard-and-fast grammatical rules. …


Think Twice: The Vengeful Client (Part 2 of . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Research Into Use of Dispute Resolution Boards in Large IT Projects

A new year means new opportunities and challenges.

For me, this means that, after years of gradual transition from being a legal advisor and advocate to focusing on acting as a neutral mediator and arbitrator, I’ve finally completed my metamorphosis, formally retiring from the practice of law as of the end of 2016.

One of my new projects for 2017 is with a working group of the International Technology Law Association (ITechLaw) that is preparing a report on the use of dispute resolution boards (DRBs) in large, long-term IT development and implementation contracts. We are also looking at . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Artificial Intelligence Series Starts Tonight at Glendon

For those of you in Toronto with a free evening there’s a series of talks starting tonight called “The Artificial Intelligence Revolution: How will Emerging Technologies Reshape Our Society and Ourselves” at the Glendon campus of York University.

There are three two-part, two hour sessions taking place Monday evenings as follows:

  1. Monday, February 6, 7- 9pm (York Hall rm. 204)
    Part I: How Will Machines that Perceive, Deep Learn and Reason Affect the Way People Live, Work and Communicate with One Another?
    Part II: Jobs at risk? Employment and the Workplace: How Will Technology Transform the Career
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

Up Productivity. Root Out Procrastination.

Gretta has been slammed by a sudden flurry of work and has several critical deadlines looming. On Monday she was feeling anxious about one tough factum but instead of spending the morning hammering it out she wasted 20 minutes surfing the net and then a couple of hours on email.

Sound familiar?

Gretta is not alone. Many if not most lawyers struggle with procrastination at some point in their practice and Dr. Piers Steel, reports in “The Procrastination Equation” that about 95% of people admit to procrastinating.

There is one important thing to know about procrastination – the goal isn’t . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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 more than 80 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. Wise Law Blog  2. Michael Geist 3. Law of Work  4. FamilyLLB  5. McElroy Law Blog

Wise Law Blog
Employee or Contractor? Apply the Duck Test…

How do Ontario Courts determine if someone is really a contractor or an employee? It may surprise you to learn that . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

An Uber Class Action Comes to Ontario

It was bound to happen. As I noted here last year, Uber has been facing challenges to its work model in multiple jurisdictions.

A class action was recently filed in Ontario, focusing on the employee/independent contractor distinction, but also raising some other interesting arguments. In particular, the plaintiffs claim that the arbitration agreement that Uber drivers are forced to sign is in contravention of the Employment Standards Act and unfair, as it requires class members to travel to Amsterdam, Netherlands to resolve their disputes.

Despite being a highly mobile workforce, the route from Ontario to the Netherlands by car is . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology

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) : La juge de première instance a erré dans l’application de l’article 39 (1) c) de la Loi sur le système de justice pénale pour les adolescents; elle aurait dû se rendre à la suggestion commune des parties et imposer à l’intimé une mise sous garde et . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday