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Archive for November, 2019

The Meritocracy Trap

In “The Meritocracy Trap”, Yale Law Professor Daniel Markovits writes about the history of work and education in modern America. He asserts that Aristocratic dynasties based on land have been overtaken by meritocratic dynasties. The transfer of wealth in meritocratic dynasties has been facilitated through education.

Markovits states that education has become the labour market’s preferred sorting mechanism for class. “Education maps the fault line that separates workers in the newly polarized labour market.”

In the mid-twentieth century many workers were groomed from entry level positions to eventually take on leadership roles. However, nowadays “elite education has displaced continuous workplace . . . [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. Enviro Hazmat Emergency Response Inc. v Olson, 2018 ABPC 286

[4] Some motorists prefer to deal with the original manufacturer rather than buy aftermarket replacement parts. Part of the appeal with Ford parts, is that Ford guarantees their products. If an aftermarket product fails, the remedy is with the company who made the product, not Ford. Some of these aftermarket companies . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

The Open Access Consensus and Copyright Reform

This is the second in a series of blogs on how U.S. copyright law has, with the emergence of open access to research and scholarship in the digital era, slipped into an unconstitutional state because it can no longer be said, in the case of science, “to promote the progress of science and useful arts” (U.S. CONST. art. 1, § 8, cl.8.). Rather, the law is called upon to constrain such progress. These shortcomings apply no less trenchantly to Canada’s Copyright Act, as well as to copyright laws in most other jurisdictions. It is the U.S. Constitution’s particularly pointed wording . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Oaths, Affirmations and Eagle Feathers

The front page story in The Globe and Mail a day or two ago about the option of using eagle feathers in swearing oaths or making affirmation in courts in Alberta, where they have been available for some time now, got me thinking about the process of swearing or affirming before testifying in court more generally.

The rules around swearing oaths and affirming seem simple: the purpose is to bring home to the witness the importance of telling the truth. For some people, it is necessary to do that by swearing on a religious book, for others, who have no . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Supporting Community Justice Help and Advancing Access to Justice

The Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG) has collaborated with Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) on a number of initiatives to help develop awareness and implement programs that reflect community-specific needs. Julie Mathews, the recipient of the Law Foundation of Ontario’s fellowship grant, will be presenting her research during Ontario’s Access to Justice Week with Professor David Wiseman at the uOttawa Faculty of Law who is supporting this research. Offering us a sneak peek, Julie shares her thoughts and findings on the community justice help below.

The importance of drawing a clear line between giving legal information and legal . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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

Neil Guthrie

I used to work with someone who might fairly be described as curmudgeonly. This person detests people who reply to an e-mail with a one-word Thanks. … . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Hot Off the Press: “Law Librarianship in the Age of AI”

Law Librarianship in the Age of AI” is an excellent collection of essays which landed on my desk last week. In the preface editor Ellyssa Kroski, Director of Information Technology at the New York Law Institute, says the book provides answers to these questions: “what exactly is AI, what does it really mean for the legal field, and how does it affect law libraries and law librarians?”

Topics include machine learning, AI tools and applications, opportunities for law librarians, legal research and education, access to justice, and ethical uses of AI.

Also included is a great . . . [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. BC Injury Law Blog 2. Canadian Appeals Monitor 3. 4. Employment & Human Rights Law in Canada 5. Global Workplace Insider

BC Injury Law Blog
$75,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Mild/Moderate Soft Tissue Injuries With Resulting Chronic Pain

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

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 12 – November 15, 2019 inclusive).


Criminal Law: Delay; Youth
R. v. K.J.M., 2019 SCC 55 (38292)

Two main issues: do the presumptive Jordan ceilings apply to youth justice court proceedings; was the . . . [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 : La Commission scolaire des Hautes-Rivières, la directrice de l’école Micheline-Brodeur et 2 enseignantes de cette école sont condamnées à verser 68 000 $ aux parents d’une élève qui, en quatrième année, a été victime d’intimidation.

Intitulé : B.L. c. Labrie, 2019 QCCS 4648 *
Juridiction : Cour supérieure . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Is “Innovation” a Bad Word in Law Firms?

The legal profession could be improved a bit. Ok, it could be improved a lot. One might say it could use more “innovation.” Yet it seems like the harder one pushes for innovation, the harder others push back.

Despite acknowledgement that the nature of legal services will take time to change it feels we continually need, as Jae Um puts it, “a call for patience (and some perspective).” After the 2008 crash people mused, is this The End of Lawyers? Many saw 2008 as a call to action, driven by fear over the long-term relevancy of lawyers. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Friday Jobs Roundup

Each Friday, we share the latest job listings from Slaw Jobs, which features employment opportunities from across the country. Find out more about these positions by following the links below, or learn how you can use Slaw Jobs to gain valuable exposure for your job ads, while supporting the great Canadian legal commentary at

Current postings on Slaw Jobs (newest first):

. . . [more]
Posted in: Friday Jobs Roundup