Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for December, 2017

Access to Justice: “We Have Seen the Enemy and He Is Us”

[articles cited without authors are mine]

Lawyers remain the passive victims of the benchers[1] that we ourselves elected to be the law societies’ managers, instead of demanding that they get busy solving the problem of unaffordable legal services (“the problem”). The benchers are to regulate the legal profession so as to, “maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law,” and, “facilitate access to justice,” and, “to protect the public interest,” being, for example, among the express duties of LSUC (the Law Society of Upper Canada),[2] being duties expressly set out in legislation such as . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

📆 What You Were Looking at in 2017: CanLII’s Top Cases

[This post is being published simultaneously on our blog]

At the end of a year that saw the news take a more central role in our lives and when so much is uncertain, some things remain constant and one of them is the list of cases that is most accessed on CanLII. All of the top three cases were in the top three last year, and only one of the top 10 cases was issued in 2017. Eight of the cases were on the list last year. Six of the cases are the same as were on . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Regulating Proportionality in Civil Litigation

The rules of civil procedure in Manitoba are about to undergo significant changes. Amendments to the Court of Queen’s Bench Rules, effective January 1, 2018, will introduce an overarching requirement that the Court considers proportionality in making orders and directions under those Rules.

A new Practice Direction outlines the breadth of the changes about to come into force in respect of case management of civil proceedings, scheduling of trials, use of judicially assisted dispute resolution and summary judgment proceedings.

The Practice Direction describes the objectives underlying all the changes as follows:

Animating the comprehensive amendments to the Court of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation

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. Jones, 2017 SCC 60

[1] The appellant, Mr. Jones, was convicted of several firearms and drug trafficking offences. His convictions rest on records of text messages seized from a Telus account associated with his co-accused pursuant to a production order obtained under s. 487.012 (now s. 487.014) of the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46 (the “Production Order”). . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Agencies, Boards and Commissions

It is fascinating to recognize that you can get fired by legislation. OK, that is over-dramatic, but I got your attention. About legislation. During the busy holiday season. #DIGJAM

In Alberta there has been an ongoing review of public Agencies, Boards, and Commissions. Read more if you are curious at the Public Agency Secretariat. The secretariat promotes a consistent approach to public agency governance, recruitment and compensation.

On December 15, the Alberta legislature wrapped up the session and Bill 21 Agencies, Boards and Commissions Review Statutes Amendment Act, 2017 was assented to. In what will no doubt baffle legal . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

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.


The Conflict of Laws – What Are the Sources?
Ken Fox

Conflict of laws, also known as private international law, is a topic concerning the rules governing what happens when two or more legal systems clash in a private dispute. Pitel & Rafferty’s text on Conflict of Laws identifies three key questions: (1) whether a court has jurisdiction, (2) what law the court will apply, and (3) whether a

. . . [more]
Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Canadian Law School Libraries: A Legacy – and a Future?

It has been several months now since I was nudged into an early retirement and left my position as Chief Law Librarian of Osgoode Hall Law School after almost 10 years there. This has afforded me some time to look back on my career in law libraries and to consider not only my accomplishments, however they be measured and judged, but also to reflect on the goals I was unable to realize and the projects that were left unfinished. I look back on this unfinished business not only out of a sense of personal regret. Osgoode offered me the opportunity . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Ontario’s First Online Tribunal

In our last column, we announced that, over the coming months, we would share the results of the research conducted by members of the Towards Cyberjustice project. Although this is still planned for future entries, we chose to postpone these posts to take the time to underline an important moment in the field of online dispute resolution (ODR): the launch of Ontario’s first online tribunal, the Condominium Authority Tribunal (or CAT).

According to the 2016 Census, “[t]rends in building permits [in Ontario] indicate that the construction pace of apartments, and especially condominium units, has accelerated since the early . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

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. Michael Spratt 2. Barry Sookman 3. O’Faolain 4. Vancouver Immigration Law Blog 5. Robeside Assistance

Michael Spratt
Let’s talk about mental health

Criminal defence lawyers have thick skins. It’s sort of a requirement of the job. After all, we exist in an adversarial system. We are overworked

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Federation Preliminarily Approves Ryerson Law School

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada has provided preliminary approval for the new law school at Ryerson University.

This approval was based on a detailed review of the proposed curriculum and the resources in the Ryerson plan. The curriculum is what really sets Ryerson apart, with a particular emphasis on technology, access to justice, and social innovation. The curriculum also has mandatory classes on social innovation and the law, Indigenous law, legal innovation, the business of law, and issues of diversity in the legal profession.

The full Federation report, which details this curriculum, is available here.

Where . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, 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.

RESPONSABILITÉ : Deux ambulanciers qui ont éprouvé une peur intense en raison d’une alarme annonçant le départ du train alors qu’ils tentaient de dégager un cadavre des rails du métro de Montréal reçoivent respectivement 624 069 $ et 645 500 $ de la Société de transport de Montréal en raison . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

7 Reasons to Celebrate Legal Research and the Fact That It’s There to Stay

In his book What Technology Wants, Kevin Kelly (the founding executive editor of Wired magazine) writes that:

History is rife with cases of misguided technological expectations from the inventors themselves. Thomas Edison believed his phonograph would be used primarily to record the last-minute bequests of the dying. The radio was funded by early backers who believed it would be the ideal device for delivering sermons to rural farmers. Viagra was clinically tested as a drug for heart disease. The internet was invented as a disaster-proof communications backup. Very few great ideas start out headed toward the greatness they eventually . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Technology