Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for March, 2020

Yes, We’re in an Emergency and Yes, We Still Have a Social Contract

We’re in the midst of a medical emergency — and we’re in the midst of a legal emergency. (I almost wrote “middle of” in the preceding sentence, being too optimistic by far.) We are experiencing a true medical pandemic in the 2019 novel coronavirus crisis, affecting over 150 countries, including, of course, Canada. And we are subject to emergency declarations, giving governments unusual powers, at the provincial, territorial and local levels in Canada. Even as we accept that these responses, and will accept more stringent ones in the future, are necessary, we need to remember that we still have a . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Changes to Our Courts: How COVID-19 Is Changing the Landscape

“How will COVID-19 change the legal industry and what will it look like After Coronavirus? Short answer: the coronavirus will turbocharge legal industry transformation. It will propel law into the digital age and reshape its landscape. The entire legal ecosystem will be affected—consumers, providers, the Academy, and the judicial system.” – Marc Cohen in the article “COVID-19 Will Turbocharge Legal Industry Transformation

Marc Cohen explains that the timeline for digital transformation has been truncated. We will not see a permanent return to the old ways. “The coronavirus has turbocharged law’s move to a virtual workforce and distance learning. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Technology

Managing Remote Professionals

We interrupt this program, as they say. Life has intervened, and many of us are working remotely.

Remotely, in this case, is a synonym for “home.”

For many lawyers, managing professionals who are not in the office – who are not in any office – is new, and may feel like one of those old maps whose edge bears the legend There be dragons here.

Let’s try to slay a few of those dragons, or at least encourage them to find other prey.

Treat Them as You Want to Be Treated

This tenet should apply at all times, of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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.


Get Help From Clio During COVID-19
Emma Durand-Wood

Clio has just announced a $1 million COVID-19 legal relief initiative in order “to help create business continuity and peace of mind for you, your law firm or your legal organization. …

Research & Writing

Are You Old or Just Elderly?
Neil Guthrie

Elderly is a tricky word. In North America, it’s used as a euphemistic — or at least . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

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. Avoid a Claim 2. Administrative Law Matters 3. Civil Resolution Tribunal blog 4. FamilyLLB 5. Condo Adviser

Avoid a Claim
Video Conferencing Checklist

There are a lot of things lawyers need to keep track of when providing legal services by video conference. This Video Conferencing Checklist (Word . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Cooperation for the Sake of Our Children

In tough times, people pull together. Instinctively we might know or believe this, but this is substantiated by the research.

Cooperation is quite common among survivors of disasters, with socially structured and adaptive behaviour often manifested in mass emergencies. From an evolutionary biological perspective this makes sense, as the countless crises that have plagued humanity over the ages were only surmountable through interreliance on others.

Despite this history, which is often unwritten, there are many myths as to how we as a society respond to disasters. These myths include mass panic, when a crowd has a limited opportunity to escape . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

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 Ju stice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

ACTION COLLECTIVE (RECOURS COLLECTIF) : Vu les allégations relatives à la violation de la Loi sur la protection du consommateur et de la Loi sur la concurrence, l’absence de préjudice personnel du représentant n’est pas fatale à l’action collective qu’il propose d’intenter en lien avec le Tylenol.

Intitulé . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Subjective Intentions Do Not Factor Into Surrounding Circumstances

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

Pre-contract negotiations, such as prior drafts of agreements, are generally inadmissible as part of “surrounding circumstances” when interpreting a contract, and parties’ subjective intentions are always inadmissible. The Alberta Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Alberta Union of Provincial Employees v Alberta Health Services, 2020 ABCA 4 (CanLII) confirms this principle and states the limits of relying on the parties’ subjective intentions. . . . [more]

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

Book Review: The Law Is (Not) for Kids–A Legal Rights Guide for Canadian Children and Teens

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.

The Law is (Not) for Kids: A Legal Rights Guide for Canadian Children and Teens. By Ned Lecic & Marvin Zuker. Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University Press, 2019. xiii, 289 p. Includes tables and appendices. ISBN 978-1-77199-237-4 (softcover) $22.99.

Reviewed by Angela Gibson
Bora Laskin Law Library
University of Toronto
In CLLR . . . [more]

Posted in: Book Reviews

Lessons Learned From a Firm Breakdown

The line between bad strategy and a law firm collapse is as thin as a noose. Yet law firms practise bad strategy on a regular basis. Take heed from the lessons of a very public breakdown.

A client recently gave me a copy of Norman Bacal’s book “Breakdown, the Inside Story of the Rise and Fall of Heenan Blaikie”. I was familiar with the story, having lived through it as a horrified observer in 2013. I also met Norm a few years ago when we were both speakers at the same conference in Toronto: him on how a firm implodes, . . . [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 Olson2018 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

96 Percent of Deepfake Videos Are Women Engaged in Sexual Acts

We’ve spent a lot of time worrying about the possible effect of deepfake videos on the 2020 election.

While that’s a real concern, we were blown away by the stats in a report from Deeptrace Labs. The most startling statistic was that 96% of fake videos across the internet are of women, mostly celebrities, whose images are used in sexual fantasy deepfakes without their consent.

Deeptrace Labs identified 14,678 deepfake videos across a number of streaming platforms and porn sites, a 100 percent increase over its previous measurement of 7,964 videos in December of 2018.

Sadly, we imagine we’ll see . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology