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Archive for July, 2020

Lawyers and Self-Represented Litigants: Taking Pintea More Seriously

The 2017 decision Pintea v Johns has been heralded as a watershed moment for self-represented litigants in Canada. In a very short decision written by Justice Karakatsanis, the Supreme Court endorsed the Canadian Judicial Council’s (CJC) Statement of Principles on Self-Represented Litigants and Accused Persons.[1]

The Canadian Judicial Council’s statement on self-represented litigants sought to articulate proactive guidelines respecting judges’ responsibilities when hearing cases involving self-represented litigants. Recognizing the disadvantage to self-represented litigants who are not familiar with or understand the procedural and substantive law, the Statement of Principles was meant to provide guidance for judges, court administrators and . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Conference Papers: “Artificial Intelligence: Thinking About Law, Law Practice, and Legal Education”

It’s been well over a year now but presentations from the 2019 Artificial Intelligence Conference held at the Duquesne University School of Law are now available.

Artificial Intelligence: Thinking About Law, Law Practice, and Legal Education” was a two-day conference which covered topics “ranging from autonomous vehicles to robotic surgery, and from smart phones to smart speakers.” Presenters included legal educators, practitioners, policy makers, and computer scientists. The speakers addressed the many ways that the development of artificial intelligence is affecting the legal profession, legal education, law and society.

Jan M. Levine, Professor of Law and Director, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Thursday Thinkpiece: Ross Mackay–A Brilliant Criminal Lawyer

Periodically on Thursdays, we present a significant excerpt, usually from a recently published book or journal article. In every case the proper permissions have been obtained. If you are a publisher who would like to participate in this feature, please let us know via the site’s contact form.

Ross Mackay: A Brilliant Criminal Lawyer

Author: Jack Batten

ISBN: 9781988824390
Publisher: Durvile Publications
Page Count: 288
Publication Date: August 1, 2020
Regular Price: $29.95

Excerpt: Chapter 20 – On the Comeback Trail

The eighteen-year-old kid from Niagara Falls was pumped. It was the late summer of 1962, and he was on . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

A Good Day for Self-Regulation: The LSO’s Family Law Paralegal Proposal

Paralegals have been licensed to independently offer legal services in Ontario since 2007. Their current scope of practice includes tribunal and small claims matters, provincial offences, and some other legal needs. Last month, the Law Society of Ontario’s Family Law Working Group proposed that paralegals, with special training, be allowed to offer family law services as well.

The scope of practice proposed for paralegals in family law is surprisingly broad. I had expected that it might be confined to guideline child support, straightforward parenting orders, and uncontested divorces. In fact, it extends to spousal support and matrimonial property division (except . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Ten Cybersecurity Lessons Learned About Working From Home

The year 2020 will be remembered as the year that lawyers were catapulted into the future. As a result of COVID-19, the majority of law firms suddenly found themselves thrust into a work-from-home (WFH) environment. Some were prepared for working remotely, but many were not. We’ve helped a lot of lawyers transition to a different working environment by providing training and implementing new technologies in their practice. Along the way, we’ve learned some things about how lawyers have responded to the pandemic. Here are ten cybersecurity lessons we’ve learned about WFH.

  1. Home networks are 3.5 times more likely to have
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology

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. Moncur v. Plante, 2020 ONSC 4391 (CanLII)

[19] Of concern for the court was the lack of information in relation to Mr. Moncur’s sister and niece and their social contacts. The court had no ability to assess the extent of that family’s social circle. According to the provincial guidelines, each person can only belong to one social circle. So, if a . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Justice for Resilience

There are many reasons why well-functioning justice systems are important. The Corona crisis made me more aware of its importance for resilience. Louise Vet, a widely distinguished ecologist from the Netherlands, said in a recent interview that our economies are aimed at reducing diversity. That makes us vulnerable, she said. Ecosystems can teach us how to do better. Resilient ecosystems are made up of many small connections. Each individual connection may not matter that much, but together they matter a lot. They create a fine web of resilience. A lot of diversity allows you to spread risk. If something goes . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, 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.

Research & Writing

Problem Pronouns
Neil Guthrie

Things seem to go awry when people use even slightly complicated sentence structure. The venerable New York Times, usually a stickler for grammar (of an American variety), initially published this: More familiar to we of the social media era is a type of … . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Seeking Equality in Tech Legal Advances: Living With Disabilities

Advancing technological means to accessing legal processes, information or decision-making (and more) has been on-going for years now. The coronavirus pandemic has hastened some of the shifts to technology (online hearings or declaring affidavits, for example) and has made those enthusiastic about faster, wider changes even more so. But in one way, nothing has changed: how do we ensure that technological advances increase access to justice for marginalized groups and not leave things the same, or even make the situation worse (because of lack of computer literacy or access to computers, among other factors). It is crucial to include engagement . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, 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.Great LEXpectations 2. Lawyered Podcast 3. Double Aspect 4. BC Injury Law Blog 5. Canadian Securities Law

Great LEXpectations
Gladue Awareness Project: Final Report

I’ve blogged previously about the Gladue Rights Research database out of Saskatchewan. The Indigenous Law Centre at the University of Saskatchewan has now

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Caution With Patent Demand Letters

Pre-litigation steps of putting parties on notice of allegations of patent infringement are common in Canada. Avoiding the cost and time of litigation though early resolution can make such notice very worthwhile, but recent decisions highlight risks of make aggressive claims of patent infringement.

In amendments to the Patent Act made in 2018, new sections create a framework for regulating the contents of patent infringement demand letters, but as of the date of this article implementing regulations have not been introduced. Section 76.2 added in 2018, states, “Any written demand received by a person in Canada, that relates to an . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Balancing Transparency and Independence in the Judiciary

On July 28, 2020, the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs is expected to publish for the first time expenses of federally-appointed judges.

The changes come about from amendments to the Access to Information Act as a result of Bill C-58: An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, which was first tabled on June 19, 2017.

The Bill followed various political promises to prioritize federal access to information, to create a more open government, including providing greater powers to the Information Commissioner, ensuring . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation