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Archive for November, 2020

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

Bad Business Jargon: The Continuing Saga
Neil Guthrie

Yet more. Above-captioned: This is a truly awful way to describe anything. Substitute this or a concise description of the subject of your e-mail or letter and it will read oh, so much better. Action item: Plain old task will do nicely, thank you. …


Trauma-Informed Lawyering: The Education You Didn’t Know You Needed
Emma Durand-Wood

What . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

eLitigation – Training Future Litigators for the Profession They Will Join

In March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic changed our legal world the way no one could have imagined. Our courthouse went from a beehive of litigation activities to a silent graveyard. Practice directives containing emergency measures were issued and activated to deal with the change. Our civil litigation system that historically relied on an in-person process to undertake almost every task – from the filling and service of litigation documents to routine chambers applications and trials – suddenly moved to the online world built on technologies.

The legal profession was forced to adopt technologies to address administration and litigation needs at . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education, Legal Technology

Motivations Irrelevant for Determining the Public Interest

Following the Court’s decisions in Pointes/Platnick, anti-SLAPP motions continue to be brought in defamation actions. These decisions will continue to build and refine test created by the Court, and how it can be applied.

One particular aspect is determining what exactly is in the public interest for the purpose of s. 137.1(4)(b), which is the main focus of analysis after the Court’s decision. A recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Sokoloff v. Tru-Path Occupational Therapy Services Ltd. helps expound on this issue.

The action emerged from a dispute between a well-known lawyer in Toronto, and a the President . . . [more]

Posted in: 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 (October 10 – November 20, 2020 inclusive).

Oral Judgments

Criminal Law: Jury Challenges
R. v. Chouhan2020 ONCA 40; 2020 SCC (39062)

The Chief Justice: “A majority of the Court is of the view . . . [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.

ACTION COLLECTIVE (RECOURS COLLECTIF) : Tant que le jugement de clôture n’est pas rendu, les avocats mis en cause dans le dossier, qu’ils soient en demande ou en défense, restent investis d’obligations envers le processus judiciaire; ils doivent notamment veiller à l’exécution fidèle et diligente de la transaction approuvée par . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

WTO National Security Exception – Strike Two!

Authors’ note: U.S. trade policy may well be affected by the results of the November 3rd election, which this column was written prior to. 

In February 2020,[1] we took note of the first adopted WTO dispute settlement panel to interpret the GATT 1994 Article XXI national security exception: Russia – Traffic in Transit.[2] Now in Saudi Arabia – Measures Concerning the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights (“Saudi – IP”),[3] we have a second panel that deals with the defence.

Addressing a complaint by Qatar, the Panel found that it had established a prima facie case that the Kingdom . . . [more]

Posted in: Administrative Law

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:

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

Autism Spectrum Disorder Is the Main Defence in the Van Attack Trial (Alex Minassian Trial): Autism Canada Speaks Out

In April 2018, Minassian drove a van into a crowd of people, killing 10 people. His trial is now happening in Ontario by videoconference. The defence is arguing that he is not criminally responsible on account of his autism spectrum disorder. They are arguing that he did not understand what he was doing was wrong. Expert psychiatrists have been retained to provide opinions on both sides.

Each person with Autism spectrum disorder is unique. To learn more about the characteristics, see here.

Autism Canada released a statement denouncing the defence. “There is no psychosis in ASD and no tendency . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

5G: The Latest Shiny Object Still Needs Some Polish

We have been inundated with information about 5G phones recently. Is it the new shiny object we need right now? The short answer is no.

Telcos have been touting their 5G networks, and cell manufacturers are touting their new 5G phones. Some articles rave about how 5G will be a game-changer. We have mentioned before in our Tech Law Weekly newsletter that conspiracy theorists have protested against or destroyed 5G towers fearing they cause everything from cancer to covid.

5G is a new radio communications technology that is faster than the current 4G cellphone speeds, and more importantly, has . . . [more]

Posted in: 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. Sga’nism Sim’augit (Chief Mountain) v. Canada (Attorney General), 2013 BCCA 49 (CanLII)

[2] The Treaty is a complex, detailed and comprehensive agreement addressing all aspects of the continuing relationship between the Nisga’a Nation, Canada and British Columbia, as well as the powers of Nisga’a Government to make laws in relation to matters vital to the Nisga’a, including the preservation of Nisga’a . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Making the Hard Decisions: Ethical Lawyering

What do you do as a lawyer when your client wants you to call a witness or make representations to the court that you believe are non-starters and even dangerous to your client’s case? If you’re one of President Donald Trump’s lawyers, you might seek to introduce a “handwritten yellow sticky note” as evidence of election fraud (see decision with ruling the note was inadmissible as hearsay here). And then there’s Dean Embry, the lawyer representing James Sears, the editor of Your Ward News, who now finds himself as a witness in his former client’s appeal of a conviction . . . [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.

Research & Writing

Neil Guthrie

There are two principal and related uses of ellipsis (…), both based on their function to indicate that something has been left out (ellipsis means ‘omission’ in Greek). The first is what we might call the technical use. Here, ellipsis shows that a specific word or larger portion of text has been omitted from a quotation: … . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday