Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for July, 2017

Using Social Media to Advance Access to Justice

According to worldwide statistics,[i] there are over 1.5 billion people on Facebook, 400 million people on Instagram and 320 million people on Twitter. In 2016, 71% of Canadians logged on to Facebook weekly, 49% of us watched videos on YouTube at least once per week and 27% of us used Twitter at least once per week[ii].

In terms of age breakdown, American statistics reveal that 88% of Americans between the age of 18-29 are active on Facebook, 59% use Instagram and 36% of individuals in the same age group are on Twitter and Pinterest[iii]. Many . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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. McElroy Law Blog 2. Condo Adviser 3. Canadian Privacy Law Blog 4. BC Injury Law Blog 5. Excess Copyright

McElroy Law Blog
The Art of Sentencing: Why It’s Time to Revisit Mandatory Minimums

There’s a saying in criminal law that sentencing is an art, not a science.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

A Judicial Vision of Canada at 150 and Beyond

For most of us today, the Supreme Court of Canada is the arbiter of the most complex questions of law, and the definitive authority for morality in our democracy.

It wasn’t always that way. In 1867, Canada was still largely an extension of the British Empire, and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London (England, not Ontario), was still maintained for appeals until 1949. The King–Byng Affair and Balfour Declaration let to an amendment of the Supreme Court Act in 1949, and the final case being appealed to it in 1959.

It’s influence quickly accelerated. In 1968, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

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 : Le père biologique n’est pas devenu un tiers au projet parental du simple fait de son décès avant l’insémination de la mère, car un tel résultat aurait été expressément prévu par le législateur; la reconnaissance de paternité est maintenue.

Intitulé : Droit de la famille — 171644, 2017 . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Automation, Support Services, and Flat-Fee Billing

The degree of predictability and repetition in legal services determines both their ease of automating and flat-fee billing, as distinguished from hourly billing. See this article by, Erika Winston,[i]Is Your Practice Area a Good Match for Flat-Fee Billing?” (in, Attorney at Work, June 16, 2016).

The benefits of flat-fee billing arrangements are numerous, from predictability to efficiency to increased client satisfaction. But not all legal matters are appropriate for flat fees.

So, how do you know which practice areas are right for a flat-fee structure? The short answer comes down to two words: predictability

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law

Ontario AODA Compliance and Enforcement 2016 Report

On June 21, 2017, the Ontario Accessibility Directorate tabled the accessibility compliance and enforcement report for 2016. The report outlines the Directorate’s activities in 2016 to oversee compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and its accessibility standards. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Can You Trust Your Expert Witnesses With Confidential Data?

Not always. There was a recent case in which confidential data was not, to put it mildly, well handled. The corporate defendant, a mortgage servicer, was accused of violating a consumer’s privacy rights based on the manner in which it handled collection calls. The defendant protected its customer data with layers of network security consistent with best practices and ISO guidelines. During discovery, the plaintiff’s experts received the calling data and copies of the customer service call recordings.

Both experts had unrelated full-time day jobs. Their expert witness work was a side business run out of their homes. Neither expert . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Transport Canada Publishes Draft Drone Rules – Still Not Hobbyist Friendly

In March I wrote about Transport Canada’s overly restrictive drone rules. A few weeks ago they lightened those rules a bit.

Transport Canada just released draft permanent rules for comment. They propose a complex set of rules that vary among 5 different categories of drone. While the proposed rules will make commercial use a bit easier, they are not friendly to personal use.

MobileSyrup details the proposed rules and comments that: “The new rules, if approved, would dramatically reduce the paperwork burden on both Transport Canada and commercial drone operators, but they would also increase the costs for all . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology

Recent International Surveys Shed Light on Why We Litigate, Even Though We Say We Prefer Mediation or Arbitration

Many business leaders and in-house counsel say that they strongly prefer alternatives to litigation. So why is litigation still the default process for most commercial disputes?

My previous Slaw column looked at the question of whether lawyers are “hijacking” mediation and arbitration. I speculated that one of the problems may simply be that lawyers are risk-averse. This leads them to follow the well-trodden path of litigation, rather than exploring less well-known alternatives.

Some recent research may shed light on the apparent disconnect between the dispute resolution parties say they want and what they actually do.

Pre-empting and Resolving Technology, Media . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Client Relationship Report Card: A for Effort?

Though the market is more competitive now than ever, new revenue opportunities arise regularly. One of the keys to taking advantage of them is through strong relationships and a robust network of contacts. It should also go without saying that having strong client relationships is the best defensive tactic to guard against encroachment by competitors.

As we head into the summer months, it’s a good time to pause and reflect on your client relationship building and business development activities so far this year. If you had to grade your efforts, would you get an A or a C? If a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

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. Saugeen First Nation v Ontario (MNRF), 2017 ONSC 3456

[144] During my detailed review of the dealings among the parties I made numerous findings that various acts or omissions by MNRF were “breaches” of the Crown’s duty to consult. As noted above, Treaties are not to be construed like commercial agreements. Similarly, the conduct of the parties during consultations is not . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Virtual Reality in the Courtroom

Virtual reality has arrived. And it has the potential to revolutionize the way we learn, the way we conduct business, the way we interpret medical imaging, the way we litigate, and so on.

If admitted into evidence, virtual reality can change the way we present medical imaging and present expert testimony in the courtroom. Additionally with virtual reality, jurors/judges can view in 3D crime scenes or even experience events reconstructed in 3D.

However, the technology has the effect of skewing perceptions. Merely showing the experience from one side would be highly problematic. And could give a dishonest interpretation of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology