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Archive for June, 2020

Zooming in on the Importance of Upholding Legal Values in Virtual Trials

The current COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to move many of our daily activities online. Trials have been no exception to this transformation, relying on platforms such as Zoom to give people their day in court (to be clear, Zoom is not the only platform to have been used by the courts, but, according to a survey done by Norton Rose Fulbright, it seems to be one of the most prevalent). As demonstrated by some of the cases that have gone forward in this fashion, the use of videoconferencing in court proceedings is not without sizeable risks. In a . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Should the Government Grant Immunity From Civil Lawsuits Related to COVID-19?

The Ontario government is considering granting immunity from civil lawsuits related to COVID-19. Other jurisdictions have already done so to varying degrees. In New York, Governor Cuomo signed legislation immunizing health care providers for medical decisions that they make in the course of treating victims of the pandemic. (Reported in the New York Times.)

Similarly, in British Columbia, the government has shielded essential service providers from liability for damages relating to COVID-19. Immunity may be available if services are provided in accordance with all applicable emergency and public health guidance.

The CBC reports in the article “More . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Admissions Season Reflections

This spring, I read 200 applications from people who want to study law at the University of Windsor. Our law school, like every other in Ontario, receives more than eight applications for each available place in first year. Across the province, there are roughly 4300 applicants for 1600 spots. The figures are comparable across the country; Canada still has among the fewest law school spots per capita in the developed world.

Those of us on admissions committees must rank applicants on the basis of our respective institutions’ admissions criteria. We must recommend that many people who want to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education, Legal Ethics

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. Sandhu v Siri Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara of Alberta, 2020 ABQB 359 (CanLII)

[1] The applicant contests his ouster as president of the respondent organization. He applied, unsuccessfully, for an interim injunction reinstating him. As part of the “no injunction” order, I directed the parties to attempt to draw up the procedural roadmap for the reinstatement litigation, which they were unable . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

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

Definitions: A Drafting Point
Neil Guthrie

Two lawyers at my firm asked which formulation I preferred: “Notice” has the meaning ascribed to it in Section 9.1. “Notice” has the meaning ascribed in Section 9.1. “Notice” has the meaning ascribed thereto in Section 9.1. Being a dangerous radical, I opted for the second one. It’s the simplest. …


Pitch a Book to CanLII
Emma Durand-Wood

CanLII . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Quarantine Diaries: Law Students Reflect on Their New Reality

[This post was a collaboration written by Julie Macfarlane, along with NSRLP research assistants Katie Pfaff, Negin Shahraki and Arathi Arit.]

How are students in law school coping with the impact of the lockdown on their studies, their lives, and their feelings of well-being and optimism?

I asked our NSRLP research assistants for their thoughts and reflections on what it was like to finish out last semester – and anticipate beginning next semester – in a virtual learning space. Below, three 1Ls share their hopes, their challenges, and their ongoing questions about what happens next.

Katie Pfaff

When the announcement . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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. The Factum 2. Condo Adviser 3. Le Blogue du CRL 4. NSRLP

The Factum
Legal Services Society becomes Legal Aid BC

If you’ve been to our website lately or followed us on social media you might have noticed that we have a new look and name. We’ve

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Connecting Public and Private Legal Information

In a recent post Ivan Mokanov presented Lexum’s vision of providing Knowledge Management as a Service to the legal community. It is true that until now KM in the legal sector has been closely associated with expensive enterprise software only at the reach of law firms of a certain size. However, it is our belief that the infrastructure we developed for legal publishing can also be leveraged by lawyers for making the most out of the information they produce and store internally. That is why we recently started introducing features in Lexbox increasing the interactivity between public (legislation, case law, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Words, and Black Lives, Matter

In 1977, the Supreme Court of Canada heard the case of Smithers v. R., where two young hockey players who got into it, in and outside of the rink. In the brief altercation that ensued, one of the players died. The other player was charged and convicted of manslaughter.

The accused appealed unsuccessfully around the cause of death, which was due to asphyxiation. However, this was not due to any choking, but either the aspiration of foreign materials due to vomiting, and a malfunction of the epiglottis.

The unusual cause of death has therefore become one of the examples . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

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 (May 16 – June 12, 2020 inclusive).


Criminal Law: Entrapment
R. v. Ahmad, 2020 SCC 11(38165)(38304) (joint reasons for 2 appeals)

Police cannot offer a person who answers a cell phone the opportunity to . . . [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 Ju stice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

RESPONSABILITÉ : Le juge de première instance n’a pas commis d’erreur en ce qui a trait à la norme de conduite que doit respecter l’Agence du revenu du Canada (ARC) dans le contexte d’une vérification; la négligence est suffisante pour établir une faute et il n’est pas nécessaire de . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

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