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Archive for November, 2018

Summaries Sunday: Supreme Advocacy

One Sunday each month we bring you a summary from Supreme Advocacy LLP of recent decisions at the Supreme Court of Canada. Supreme Advocacy LLP offers a weekly electronic newsletter, Supreme Advocacy Letter, to which you may subscribe. It’s a summary of all appeals as well as leaves to appeal granted so you will know what the SCC will soon be dealing with (October 24 – November 15, 2018 inclusive).

Oral Judgments

Criminal Law: Attempted Murder
R. v. Normore, 2018 NLCA 10 ; 2018 SCC 42 (37993) judgment rendered Oct. 19, 2018

The Chief Justice: “Mr. Normore was . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

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 : Le verdict de non-responsabilité criminelle ne peut, en soi, faire la preuve de l’incapacité du défendeur de discerner le bien du mal au moment du meurtre de son voisin, mais il s’agit d’un fait juridique qui, additionné au rapport d’expert sur la santé mentale et la preuve documentaire, . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Bitcoin, Not Blockchain for Governments Everywhere

Governments are among the biggest consumers of technology. Amazon has a whole separate AWS cloud for governments. I would not be surprised if very, very few corporations approach, for example, US government’s database transaction volume. Imagine hundreds of millions of tax filings, border crossings, purchases, sales, emails, surveillance records, court files, and highway traffic data stored, processed and retrieved every year. Wait, strike court files. Those are probably still handled in paper form or through private databases, at least in North America.

If the government is so tech hungry, will it eventually become the biggest user of blockchain? The answer . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology, Practice of Law

Federal Government Omnibus Bill Includes Employment Law Changes

Bill C-86, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures received first reading on October 29, 2018. Bill C-86 is another omnibus budget Bill that, if enacted, would among other things, make changes to the parental leave EI benefits under the Employment Insurance Act (again), significantly amend the Canada Labour Code (again), introduce pay equity legislation and amend the Wage Earner Protection Program, among other Acts. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

SI – Subtracted Intelligence

In our newfound enthusiasm of all things AI, some might take issue with the word “Artificial” and prefer “Augmented”, or the less pretentious “Added” to reflect a “man+machine” future, rather “man or machine” one. Just as there is a rule that scuba divers operate in pairs to look out for each other, maybe machines should be paired with a human minder/beneficiary.

Trusting them is an issue for Ms. Melanie Mitchell, Professor of Computer Science at Portland State University, according to the article titled “Artificial Intelligence Hits the Barrier of Meaning” in the New York Times:

“While some people

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology

CRTC Releases Onerous CASL Intermediary Bulletin

The CRTC just released a bulletin that goes to surprising lengths to impose liability on third parties for CASL violations. Lengths that may not be supported by the legislation.

It basically tries to turn intermediaries into enforcers. An approach this aggressive is surprising in light of the INDU committee report on CASL released in December 2017 that concluded in part: “The Act and its regulations require clarifications to reduce the cost of compliance and better focus enforcement.”

The bulletin is Compliance and Enforcement Information Bulletin CRTC 2018-415 Guidelines on the Commission’s approach to section 9 of Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology

Fall 2018 Information Update From Washington, DC

I got back to DC in time for the 2018 Federal Depository Library Conference, held October 22 through 23 in Arlington, Virginia. This was an opportunity to learn about the latest enhancements to the Government Publishing Office’s U.S. government information platform, . This platform has replaced their which will be offline by the end of this year. There will be redirects from the PURL’s to the new location of the content.

Their new content includes statute compilations for major legislation, eight new courts added in the U.S. Courts collection, and the Congressional Directories for the 115 . . . [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. 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

Women in Legal Tech

Women are underrepresented in legal technology companies. In the article Making the Future of Legal Tech Female: How We Can Promote Women Founders, Kristen Sonday discusses the dangers of the underrepresentation of women in legal technology companies. “Women currently account for less than 15% of legal tech founders overall.” This is problematic.

As we move from a print-based society to an Internet-based society, technology will change the way legal information is provided and created. If algorithms and AI systems are created by homogenous groups, then the law and legal services will be skewed. Homogenous groups that build the algorithms . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

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 practice, research, writing and technology.


Speed Up Your Computer by Keeping an Empty Desktop
Luigi Benetton

It’s common for people to replace their computers every three or four years. They seem to believe performance degrades so much that they need new machines to gain speed increases. Sometimes that’s true. Hard disk drives,for instance, can wear over time. Inexpensive machines aren’t usually built to be upgraded. …

Research & Writing

Use Abridgment Topics to . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Book Review: Family Law Litigation Handbook (Ontario), 2nd Ed.

Several times each month, we are pleased to republish a recent book review from the Canadian Law Library Review (CLLR). CLLR is the official journal of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL/ACBD), and its reviews cover both practice-oriented and academic publications related to the law.

Family Law Litigation Handbook (Ontario). By Gary S Joseph. Toronto: Thomson Reuters, 2017. 280 p. ISBN 978-0-7798-8011-9 (softcover) $119.00.

Reviewed by Joanna Kozakiewicz
Manager, Library Reference Services
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
In CLLR 43:1

The second edition of Family Law Litigation Handbook (Ontario) is described by the author as . . . [more]

Posted in: Book Reviews

New Book: The Fundamentals of Statutory Interpretation

Below is an excerpt from the introduction of my new book that will be published by LexisNexis on November 30. More information about this book can be found here.

There are times when judges interpret statutes in ways that defy common sense. A notorious example was raised during the Senate confirmation hearings of eventual U.S. Supreme Court appointee Neil Gorsuch in which he was pressed by Democratic members to defend his dissent in Trans Am Trucking. In what is known as the “frozen trucker case”, he denied a trucker the benefit of protective legislation permitting an employee to . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information