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Archive for April, 2017

10th Anniversary of Paralegal Regulation

Tomorrow will mark the 10-year anniversary of paralegal regulation in Ontario. The Access to Justice Act, which included amendments to the Law Society Act, received Royal Assent on May 1, 2007.

As of that date, the Law Society of Upper Canada became responsible for this regulation of paralegals, making them “licensees” with equal standing, but of a different scope of practice, than lawyers. This week Treasurer Paul Schabas commemorated this anniversary, recognizing the over 500 newly licensed paralegals since December 2016 alone. There are an estimated 8,000 licensed paralegals in Ontario today.

Shabas stated,

This is a

. . . [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.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : Un arrêt des procédures est prononcé dans le cas de l’accusé, inculpé du meurtre au second degré de sa conjointe, en août 2012, compte tenu du délai déraisonnable qui s’est écoulé avant qu’il ne subisse son procès.

Intitulé : R. c. Thanabalasingham, 2017 QCCS 1271 *
Juridiction . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Burning Down (Or Perhaps Just Lightly Scorching) the House

It seems to me that whenever we talk about litigants without counsel, the conversation inevitably veers toward the delays, costs and other inconveniences such litigants impose on court and counsel, and the sort of public legal education that might be provided to smooth the stormy seas. This isn’t an unreasonable response, coming as it does from lawyers and judges who have spent their professional careers navigating the justice system, but we forget the stupendous complexity and sheer foreignness of the litigation process to those without our hard-won skill and understanding, and I worry that public legal education is an intrinsically . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Disclosure and Investigated Complaints

It is commonly difficult for prospective clients to obtain good information about lawyers and paralegals. The significant growth of brand advertising is cogent evidence of this. Potential clients assume that brand is evidence of quality when that may well not be the case. Substantial sums are paid for brand advertising because it works. Similarly, the advertising of dubious awards and reassuring photographs evidences that lack of genuine information about quality.

Concerns about lack of information

A recent market study in England and Wales by the Competition and Markets Authority said that:

… consumers generally lack the experience and information they

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Ethics

Internet Archive Wins Webby Lifetime Achievement Award

The Internet Archive, a non-profit that has harvested and preserved billions of web pages and made them available for free, has been awarded a Webby Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

One of the Archive’s most well-known and coolest products is the Wayback Machine that lets users see what a web page looked like at various times in the past. The Wayback Machine is the librarian’s best friend.

The Award was given to the Internet Archive in recognition of:

” … its unflagging commitment to making the world’s knowledge available online, and preserving

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology: Internet

Corporate Directors Found Liable for Employees’ Unpaid Wages

The Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board (Board) notes that the following case is a “cautionary tale” for corporate directors. That is, the corporate directors in this case, unfortunately, “failed to scrutinize rigorously” the information provided to them by management and effectively left the day-to-day workings of the business’ operations solely to the owner, much to their detriment. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Nintendo v. Go Cyber Shopping Glosses Over Important Issues in the New Digital Locks Regime

We now have our first court decision interpreting Canada’s new digital lock regime in Nintendo v. Go Cyber Shopping 2017 FC 246. Unfortunately, the decision glosses over two issues that future courts will need to look at more closely. The first is whether the regime extends to locks preventing mere access to a work, unaccompanied by any act of copyright infringement. The second is whether physical configurations, or other devices that play no direct role in bypassing a lock, are protected. Given uncontested facts (the Respondent did not tender any evidence before the court), there was no meaningful opportunity . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

CASL Class Actions Are Looming

The private right of action for sending spam in violation of CASL comes into force on July 1. Many companies are dreading it – some class action lawyers can’t wait. The right thing for the government to do would be to completely scrap CASL – the statute is that bad and ill-conceived. But wishful thinking won’t make it go away.

At the moment, CASL violators are subject to enforcement proceedings by the CRTC. But after July 1, those who have been spammed in violation of CASL can sue the sender. Here are some things to keep in mind about the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Would a Ryerson Law School Need a Law Library?

It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about Ryerson University’s plan to open a law school. Both the Letter of Intent and the whitepaper (Training Tomorrow’s Legal Professionals) prepared to document the proposal have been taken down from the web, so it’s difficult to check the details. The proposed new law school would purportedly be radically different from the other “traditional” law schools in English Canada. Its innovative and transformative curriculum would address changes in the profession by focussing on innovation in legal education and offering more opportunities for experiential learning geared towards “new competencies” such . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

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. Soczek v Allstate Insurance Co., 2017 ONSC 2262

[2] The Defendant, Allstate Insurance Company of Canada (“Allstate”), brings a motion under Rule 20 of the Rules of Civil Procedure for summary judgment. It seeks to dismiss the Plaintiff’s claim for compensation for property damage incurred in a house fire. The Defendant submits that the claim falls with an exclusion clause in . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Suing for Defamation – a Call for Restraint

The law of Defamation continues to be one of the most technical areas of law, with special limitation periods, notice pre-conditions to the commencement of proceedings, special rules of pleading and evidence, and reverse onuses of proof. It is an area of law that requires great expertise and more importantly experience. A lawyer who provides advice and proceeds with a claim based solely on a review of the relevant legislation may do a great disservice to his or her client.

Absent the existence of special damages, defamation actions should rarely be brought for monetary reasons alone. It is an unfortunate . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Humble Marketing: Oxymoron or Appealing Alternative?

I’ve spoken with a lot of lawyers lately who balk at the need to keep up with a constant stream of professional promotion. They are uncomfortable with hyperbole and they just want to communicate what matters.

In response, some are opting to take a more humble approach to their marketing activities. They don’t want to downplay their capabilities, but they’d like to feel more at ease with the style in which they communicate them.

If this platform sounds appealing, here are a few ways to get started.

  1. First, determine if it makes business sense for your particular firm. Does it
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing