Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for July, 2017

Alberta’s Approach to Cannabis Legalization

Last April, the federal government tabled proposed legislation which would legalize, regulate and restrict access to cannabis (a.k.a. marijuana.) Cannabis is currently an illegal substance (with the exception of authorized medical use) under the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Information Paywalls and Information Rights: The Link Between News Story and Research Article

Lauren Maggio, Laura Moorhead, Juan Alperin, and I recently blogged a small study on the relationship between health journalism and biomedical research in the digital age of growing open access to research. We scraped those news stories in 2016 that had “cancer” in their headlines and included a link to a research article. The good news is that 67,236 news stories on cancer had such links to 11,523 different journal articles. Since the access to research articles in the days of printed newspapers, as much as I miss that era (having recently cut the paper tie), was essentially zero, this . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

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. Bradshaw, 2017 SCC 35

[1] Hearsay is an out-of-court statement tendered for the truth of its contents. It is presumptively inadmissible because — in the absence of the opportunity to cross-examine the declarant at the time the statement is made — it is often difficult for the trier of fact to assess its truth. Thus hearsay can threaten the . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Feds Crack Down on Use of Word “banking” by Non-Banks

OSFI just issued an advisory threatening to bring criminal sanctions against non-banks that use the words “bank”, “banker”, or “banking”. Their cover note gives specific dates by which use must stop. This derives from section 983 of the Bank Act, which says in part that a non-bank can’t use: “… the word “bank”, “banker” or “banking” to indicate or describe a business in Canada or any part of a business in Canada…”. Examples given of improper use include: “Come do your banking with us”, “Automated Banking Machine”, “Bank Accounts”, “Better Banking”, and “Mobile Banking”. It also says they can’t advertise . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Contingent Fees, Portfolio Risk and Competition – Calls for Reform

In theory, contingent fee pricing is an elegant way of providing access to justice at a fair and reasonable price. In this column, I try to look at both theory and practice and also at prospects for reform.

Time and materials

Let’s start with a different approach to pricing. Legal work can be done on a “time and materials” basis (to use language from another industry), on a fixed fee basis or on a contingent fee basis. These different approaches shift risk between suppliers and consumers of legal services.

Legal work is still largely priced on a “time and materials” . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

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.


Lawyers, Don’t Miss This Step in Your Marketing Plan
Sandra Bekhor

How is marketing a law firm different from marketing a packaged goods business? Instead of creating desire for a product, you are creating connection with people. So, it stands to reason that the basic structure of a marketing plan that say sells detergent doesn’t quite cut it for lawyers. Aside from the obvious difference in the implementation of . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

The Character Quotient: The Foundation of Legal Success?

The Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education (ACCLE) and the Canadian Association of Law Teachers (CALT) held a joint annual conference for the first time at the University of Victoria June 8-10. The theme was “The Whole Lawyer,” with many sessions focusing on experiential learning.

The keynote was an interesting talk by Justice Rebecca Love Kourlis, Executive Director of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver. The IAALS is a think tank working on the development and application of innovative solutions for the toughest problems facing the US courts and legal profession. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

A Simple Habit to Avoid Missing Deadlines

This article is by Ian Hu, claims prevention and practicePRO counsel at LAWPRO.

Here at Claims Prevention & practicePRO we often talk about “baby steps”. The big idea is taking baby steps can help make you a more effective lawyer. There isn’t necessarily One Big Thing that will magically turn you into a great lawyer. This idea is explored in Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business. The book explains that a good habit is made up of four key elements: (1) a cue which triggers a response; (2) a routine . . . [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. Legal Feeds 2. Building NewLaw 3. DroitDu.Net 4. Eva Chan 5. All About Information

Legal Feeds
LSUC benchers push back decision on ABS

The Law Society of Upper Canada has reignited the debate over alternative business structures as it considers a new measure that looks to

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Putting Probationary Periods on Probation

In Malcom Gladwell’s “Outliers,” he proposes that an individual’s success is as much based on their context as their personal attributes. Most of us concede that “nurture” is still almost always necessary, even when any “nature” in talent is latently found. Gladwell takes this one step further though, and proposes that true success or mastery of a skill requires 10,000 hours of dedication.

Of course Gladwell focuses extensively on lawyers in this premise, dedicating at least Chapter 5 to the elusive Wall Street lawyers,

No one rises to the top of the New York legal profession unless he

. . . [more]
Posted in: 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.

INJONCTION Les procédures d’outrage au tribunal en matière civile sont assujetties au droit d’être jugé dans un délai raisonnable en vertu de l’article 11 b) de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés; le cadre d’analyse de l’arrêt R. c. Jordan (C.S. Can., 2016-07-08), 2016 CSC 27, SOQUIJ AZ-51302609, . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday