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Archive for February, 2021

Racial Stereotypes as an Aggravating Factor

On Feb. 25, 2021, I provided the keynote speech at Bora Laskin School of Law for Black History Month. I noted that Black History could not be just reduced to slavery, but at the same time the legacy and trauma of that history has significant impacts on our society and justice system today.

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently heard an appeal of Justice Nakatsuru’s decision in R. v. Morris, which explored the social circumstances of Black Canadians and its impact on the justice system.

Justice Nakatsuru took into account the unfair and disproportionate discrimination that Black offenders face . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, 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 Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

ADMINISTRATIF (DROIT): Dans le contexte actuel de la pandémie de la COVID-19, les demanderesses échouent à obtenir que le gouvernement soit tenu d’offrir des services éducatifs à distance à tous les parents qui le demandent, à leur seule discrétion.

Intitulé : Karounis c. Procureur général du Québec, 2021 QCCS 310 . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

After the Report: What Comes Next?

The Canadian Bar Association’s Task Force on Justice Issues Arising from COVID-19 studied the issues, wrote a report, and presented it at the February 17, 2021, annual general meeting.

The risk with reports, however, is that they can become static documents, a snapshot of an issue. Reports gather dust as a collection of information if no one pulls up their sleeves to do the actual work to carry out their recommendations – and by the time the report comes out the political will to act may have subsided.

In our case, the ongoing pandemic is keeping these issues current . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management

ROSS on a Break, as Other Friends Marry

The news of the demise of ROSS Intelligence appears to be a disappointing blow for some Canadian and US lawyers; beyond their jurisdictions, it has little relevance. As litigation proceeds, in the form of an antitrust claim against Thomson Reuters, alleging research monopoly, the story may not be over, and it may be for the courts to evaluate the relative merits in that particular case; others are more competent than I am to comment on both the specific facts and legalities of it. What I read, however, is that ROSS Intelligence has shut down its operations, revealing another legal . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

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

Thursday Thinkpiece: Laws of the Constitution–Consolidated

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.

Laws of the Constitution: Consolidated

Author: Donald F. Bur
ISBN: 978-1-77212-490-3
Publisher: University of Alberta Press
Page Count: 960
Publication Date: November 2020
Regular Price: $250.00 (hardback)

Excerpt: From the Preface


Generally, a “constitution” is simply a foundational document or documents. Because the modern state is very complicated, there is nevertheless . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Myanmar Coup: “A Crisis Born of Impunity”

LRWC joins worldwide calls for action
to restore civilian authorities

[Editors note: Column is current to its submission date of 19 Feb 2021]

The military coup in Myanmar shocked the world on the 1st of February, but the junta’s actions since then have surprised no one. International organizations, governments, and civil society organizations around the globe have expressed outrage or at least “concern” about the abrupt halt to Myanmar’s decade of stumbling political reform. Hundreds of thousands of people in Myanmar have courageously risen up in nonviolent protest and are calling on the world for help. They . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Undercutting “Imposter Syndrome”: Bragging Better

In the recent Harvard Business Review article “Stop Telling Women They Have Imposter Syndrome“, authors Ruchika Tulshyan and Jodi-Ann Burey discuss how imposter syndrome is rooted in systemic racism, classism, xenophobia, and other biases. They encourage us to overcome it by creating an environment that fosters different leadership styles and views diversity of racial, ethnic, and gender identities as just as professional.

While we continue to work on changing our environments to dismantle barriers, Meredith Fineman discusses in the book Brag Better how to use bragging to overcome the feeling of being a fraud. Meredith Fineman writes that . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Dealing With Toxic Law Partners

Have you got one of these at your firm?

  • A lawyer who likes to work out his stress by getting angry and yelling verbal abuse at junior lawyers and staff members.
  • A lawyer who yells vulgarities at opposing counsel at high volume so that everyone on the floor can hear.
  • A lawyer who takes credit for other people’s ideas or work product.
  • A lawyer who expects everyone else to follow the rules but takes pleasure in breaking them because he’s got seniority.
  • A lawyer who regularly has the legal team working nights and weekends because they are disorganized and only
. . . [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. Polgampalage v Devani, 2021 ONSC 1157 (CanLII)

[41] The pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone. I have special empathy for students and young lawyers who may be deprived of close contact with mentors and senior peers to assist with their training. Partners, employers, and mentors may not even realize how much their juniors are suffering from the lack of ready . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Not Everyone’s Lawyer?

Should law societies impose gender or age-based restrictions on a lawyer’s practice? Stated otherwise, is it appropriate to permit a lawyer to continue to practice on conditions that restrict their interaction with women (or men) or minors? For the reasons that follow, I believe that the answer to both of these questions is “no”.

The issue of practice restrictions of this sort first caught my attention several years ago when a Connecticut lawyer received a lifetime ban on representing women. This lawyer had been the subject of multiple misconduct allegations by female clients which included accusations of unwanted sexual advances . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

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. Crossroad Family Law Blog 2. David Whelan 3. Canadian Appeals Monitor 4. BC Injury Law Blog 5. Ontario Condo Law Blog

Crossroad Family Law Blog
What does a family law legal assistant or paralegal do?

What exactly is the role of a legal assistant or paralegal in

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix