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Archive for December, 2018

Do We Need to Think About Judges’ Roles Differently?

(Very) traditionally, judges were meant to be heard — only in the courtroom. One of the questions those interested in becoming a judge had to ask themselves was whether they were prepared to become “monks” (the masculine being almost entirely appropriate). Justice John Sopinka famously challenged this notion, pointing out that there were no legal restraints on judges. This is so, although the ethical principles formulated by the Canadian Judicial Council emphasize that judges should avoid controversy, among other things.

A report by the CJC about a complaint that a Quebec judge spoke out of turn to a journalist referred . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

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.

Research & Writing

Takin’ Care of Business: Tracking Reference Questions
Wendy Reynolds

Libraries track reference questions for many reasons. Primarily, we capture information about transactions – who we did work for, how long it took, and how difficult it was. A simple spreadsheet or piece of paper on the ref desk will suffice for this most common kind of tracking. …

Technology

Save Time With Text Shortcuts on a . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Two Recent ABA Ethics Opinions: More Law Firms Relying on the Cloud

The ABA released ABA Formal Ethics Opinion 482, Ethical Obligations Related to Disasters, on September 19, 2018. The opinion may be found at https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/professional_responsibility/aba_formal_opinion_482.authcheckdam.pdf. In the opinion, the Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility clarifies the ethical obligations attorneys face when disaster strikes.

Lawyers must follow the duty of communication required by Rule 1.4 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which requires lawyers to communicate regularly with clients and to keep clients reasonably apprised of their cases. Following a disaster, a lawyer must evaluate available methods to maintain communication with clients. The opinion instructs . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

CanLII’s Future as a Canadian Primary Law Cooperative

“[T]here is a need to unbundle CanLII’s data if the full potential of innovation in legal information is to be realized.”

“[T]hrough 13 [now 19] years (from concept to today) and over $20M [now $40M] of investment from Canadian law societies through the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, [CanLII] has built up a solid lead and in the “free access to law” business and its central position may now be having a negative effect on innovation in legal information.”

Nearly 6 years ago, as President and CEO of CanLII, I wrote those words here on . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal 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. First Reference 2. Risk Management & Crisis Response 3. Canadian Combat Sports Law Blog 4. Global Workplace Insider 5. Labour Pains

First Reference
No skirting around the issue: Gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination appear to be on the rise

Employers who fail to take action when

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Special Convocation on the Future of Licensing

The Law Society of Ontario is holding a Special Convocation tomorrow to determine what the future of licensing will be in Ontario. The articling crisis, which can find its roots in trends over a decade ago, lead to the creation of the Law Practice Program (LPP) in 2013.

Of the 4 models contemplated by the Professional Development & Competence Committee, only two are being contemplated tomorrow:

(a) Current Model with Enhancements (Option 2): The two current transitional training pathways of articling and the Law Practice Program (LPP) and Programme de Pratique du droit (PPD) would be retained, with enhancements. These . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training

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.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : L’appel d’un jugement de la Cour du Québec ayant rejeté la requête en arrêt des procédures présentée par l’appelant est rejeté; le juge était fondé à appliquer la mesure transitoire exceptionnelle, le délai net de 41 mois étant raisonnable dans les circonstances.

Intitulé : Doudou-Traoré c. R., . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

The Gloomy Future of Access to Family Justice in British Columbia: Outcomes of the Law Society’s 2018 Annual General Meeting

In December 2014, the Benchers of the Law Society of British Columbia unanimously agreed to act on the recommendations of its Legal Services Regulatory Framework Task Force and pursue “an amendment to the Legal Profession Act authorizing it to establish and regulate new classes of legal service providers in order to address unmet and underserved legal needs.” The creation of this task force stemmed from the recommendations of the Legal Services Providers Task Force the previous year, which found that “to address unmet and underserved legal needs in our society,” it was necessary “to explore in more detail a liberalization . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Are We Done Yet?

If parties are successful in reaching an agreement at the end of a long day (or more) of mediation, one of the final challenges is preparing a written document everyone can sign to capture the terms of the settlement.

One difficulty is to make it detailed enough to cover all of the essential terms, without leaving any loose ends.

Another is to avoid getting bogged down with overly complex legal drafting that can simply open up new issues or unravel a still-fragile agreement.

The more complex the settlement, the more difficult it is to balance these two competing challenges. It’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

New Web App on What You Can Find in Ontario Courthouse Libraries

Colleagues from the Ontario Courthouse Libraries Association have developed a wonderful web app to help lawyers plan their visit to the courthouses and courthouse libraries around the province.

Information includes details such as :

  • location of the library in the court building
  • contact info
  • hours of service
  • wi-fi availability
  • electronic resources & databases lawyers can use
  • printing and copying costs
  • robing room
  • after hour access
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Technology

Wilful Act Required to Prove WSIB Fraud

According to the Ontario Court of Appeal, when the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) charges a worker for “wilfully failing to inform the Board of a material change,” the WSIB must prove a wilful act, and, moreover, that a worker intended to obtain WSIB benefits to which he or she is not entitled to. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Crushed

In Britain earlier this fall, three solicitors lost their careers. The High Court of England & Wales, overturning a decision by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, ruled that the three lawyers, who had each committed acts of dishonesty, should be struck off (disbarred) in order to maintain public confidence in the justice system.

The SDT had previously found that although the solicitors had acted dishonestly, “exceptional circumstances” warranted replacing the usual order of disbarment with a suspended suspension with conditions of their practising certificates. These circumstances involved “unbearable pressure” placed on the lawyers by their firms and workplaces. Some examples . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law