Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for December, 2017

Don’t Believe Everything You Think

November has set in, along with its cold blustery weather and long dark nights. Inside, it’s a busy time of year for law firms and legal departments. This combination of a lot of work and not a lot of daylight hours can be quite a downer.

When our mood drops, our thoughts follow in a negative turn. That’s why my topic for this month is don’t believe everything you think.

Waking in the morning darkness and thinking of the pressures of the day, we might start ruminating on our failings.

At the end of a long day when we . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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. Marakah, 2017 SCC 59

[1] Can Canadians ever reasonably expect the text messages they send to remain private, even after the messages have reached their destination? Or is the state free, regardless of the circumstances, to access text messages from a recipient’s device without a warrant? The question in this appeal is whether the guarantee against unreasonable search and . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Med-Arb: Efficiency vs. Justice?

I had the pleasure recently of co-chairing a one-day seminar on mediation-arbitration (med-arb), sponsored by the ADR Institute of Ontario, the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario and Osgoode Professional Development.

The program explored the question Med-Arb: Efficiency or Justice Compromised?

We were fortunate to have two thought-provoking keynote speakers and many very experienced panelists.

Warren Winkler, former Chief Justice of Ontario, recalled a number of efforts over the years to incorporate both mediation and med-arb into the justice system and talked about the resistance some lawyers and judges have shown to the idea of combined med-arb.

Stephen . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Access to Justice Levies for Lawyers: Putting Our Money Where Our Mouths Are

Tyrell Moodie, accused of drug offences and facing several years in prison, was denied a Legal Aid Ontario certificate because his income of $16,211 per year exceeded the cut-off threshold. Legal aid services for refugees in B.C. and Ontario were threatened with drastic cuts in 2017. Self-represented litigants are now the majority in many family courts, mostly because people cannot afford the legal assistance that they would love to have, and legal aid won’t pay for it.

Every media story about a legal aid shortfall includes a quote from a lawyer, pointing the finger at the government for inadequate funding. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Robot Citizen?

I’m sure you’ve noticed the fairly substantial increase in the buzz around artificial intelligence (AI) these days. And, generally speaking, I am at once intrigued and honestly sometimes a little frightened by what seems to be on our horizon.

Case in point. You’ve probably seen the recent Sophia sensation, the humanoid robot built by Hanson Robotics. Sophia is engaging, seems intelligent, has a sense of humour and made history in October when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia granted “her” citizenship.

Hanson Robotics founder and CEO David Hanson’s approach to artificial intelligence is to create human-like robots that . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

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. Risk Management & Crisis Response  2. Canadian Combat Sports Law Blog 3. Vancouver Immigration Law Blog 4. Canadian Securities Law 5. NSRLP

Risk Management & Crisis Response
The long arm of the law: Multilateral enforcement effort leads to deferred prosecution agreement for Telia

On September 21, 2017

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

To Build Public Support for Access to Civil Justice We Have to Let the Public Know That Access to Justice Is for Them Too

The results of two recent studies in the U.S. have used public opinion data to suggest that increasing public support for access to civil justice is a promising way to increase government funding.[1] The argument is that if the civil legal aid system[2] is viewed by the middle class as a program that could benefit them if they encounter trouble, rather than being only for the poor, a wider segment of the public will have a stake in access to justice and they will support higher levels of public funding. The question of how much public pressure would . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Privacy Commissioner of Canada on Genetic Testing

Molecular medicine and medical genetics are at the forefront of new and emerging health technologies. With these new techniques and discoveries come new challenges for the law, especially on the privacy front.

Earlier this year, I referenced Bills S-201 and 127 as legislative examples of society attempting to prevent the misuse of genetic information. In particular, there is a concern that incomplete knowledge or understanding of genetic predispositions, and still evolving understandings of how multiple genomes interact with each other, could result in logically skewed and flawed conclusions about employees or the insured, and result in a form of unwarranted . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

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.

ADMINISTRATIF (DROIT) : Des propriétaires, chauffeurs et intermédiaires du domaine du taxi au Québec échouent à obtenir l’annulation de l’entente de principe et du projet pilote mis en place à l’automne 2016 par le ministre des Transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l’Électrification des transports en faveur de la . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Summaries Sunday: OnPoint Legal Research

One Sunday each month OnPoint Legal Research provides Slaw with an extended summary of, and counsel’s commentary on, an important case from the British Columbia, Alberta, or Ontario court of appeal.

Edmonton Police Association v Edmonton (City), 2017 ABCA 355

AREAS OF LAW:   Labour law; Grievance; Employment restrictions; Testamentary risk

~ Where an employee has been investigated for misconduct, but the allegations have been withdrawn, it is not open to the employer to leave employment restrictions in place as a guard against testamentary risk. ~


An officer employed by the Appellant City of Edmonton – Edmonton Police Service was . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

A Proposal: The Legal Council of Elrond

After about 20 years of studying the Canadian legal sector, I’ve reached a couple of conclusions:

  1. The Canadian legal system is in the process of breaking down.
  2. No single group within the Canadian legal community can fix it.

To the first point, I’d cite the following:

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

Spam, Cold Calls and Triage

We receive dozens of unsolicited messages everyday from people seeking help with immigration problems. Every case is different and there are certain situations where we are not the best representatives to assist. For those cases, we have contacts in other jurisdictions for referrals. As a boutique law firm, we also regularly make referrals to our colleagues who practice, for example, family law or criminal law. For the remaining contacts, we have developed three (3) methods to make sure that we are a good fit for the client and that it makes sense for us to help.


In a medical . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law: Practice Management