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Archive for March, 2021

4 Ways to Improve Alberta’s Whistleblower Legislation

The following is my oral submission on February 4 to the Resource Stewardship Committee which is currently reviewing Alberta’s Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act:

In my short time today, I would like to focus on measures that will create the trust needed for employees to come forward to report wrongdoing knowing that their jobs will be protected. This is the only way to make this legislation work effectively.

All of us here today, regardless of affiliation, share the values embodied in whistleblower protection. Wasted government resources, corruption, shocking newspaper headlines are not what anyone wants to see. This undermines . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Termination Timing Proves Critical in COVID Climate

By Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice’s decision in Yee v Hudson’s Bay Company, 2021 ONSC 387 is welcome news for anyone wondering about COVID-19’s effect on a reasonable notice period. For all of the upheaval that the pandemic has caused, it proved to be of little consequence to the notice owed to a dismissed company executive in this case. . . . [more]

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

Shoe Shopping as an Entry Point to Teach Legal Research

Another teacher once told me to begin teaching legal research by asking students to find a pair of black dress shoes online.[1] Students can be very intimidated by the beginnings of legal research, particularly post-search filtering, but many of these same students are quite adept at post-search filtering while shopping online. After giving students a few minutes to perform their shoe-shopping research, the teacher can analogize their just-displayed skills to the skills they’ll need for legal research.

First, ask the room who was shopping for men’s dress shoes and who was shopping for women’s shoes. Likely many people will . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

The Alarming Privatization of Our Judicial System

Some law firms last year experienced record profits, despite the pandemic. Part of the growth in revenue was due to the increase in private arbitration. As courts struggled to adapt, more litigants turned to private solutions, like mediation and arbitration.

In the article “As Trials Stalled, Shook Hardy Found Other Ways to Drive Revenue, Profits“, author Dylan Jackson explains that the law firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon saw their profits increase by 3.2% last year. The firm’s gross revenue increased to $364,776,000. Profits per partner increased to $995,000. The increase was attributed to a 50% increase in arbitrations . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Where Law, Information, and Technology Meet

 “I think it’s fantastic that there is a university program in Canada dealing with E-Discovery, as education in this area is severely lacking. It’s a difficult area to come to grips with. The Osgoode program covers more than just E-Discovery, it also delves into the areas of information governance and privacy which are very important in every E-Discovery matter.”

Ann Halkett CEDS, Manager, eDiscovery Services, Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP, Vancouver

We live in an information age, and the practice of law is built on information. Rapid advances in technology means that the volume of data being generated is . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements

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. Robertson v Arthikharnu, 2015 ABPC 257 (CanLII)

[26] For her services a lawyer is entitled to charge a fair and reasonable fee which will depend upon and reflect many factors. Rule 613 of the Alberta Rules of Court, Alberta Regulation 390/68, lists six factors and the commentary under the Code of Conduct, s2.06(1), lists eleven factors. These factors include such . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Procrastination and Decision Writing: Finding the Way

“Sometimes it’s important to stop whatever break you’re taking and just do the work” – New Yorker Cartoon by Bruce Eric Kaplan

“Why, then, do so many experts insist that they’ve found the one true and right way? It’s a fact about human nature: when getting advice, we love to receive a precise, standardized template for success, and when giving advice, we love to insist that the strategy that works so well for us will surely work for others. But each of us must find our own way”.

Gretchen Rubin, Outer Order, Inner Calm

The working life of an . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Looking at Legal Ethics Through the Lens of Family Violence

The words “family violence”, “domestic violence”, “intimate partner violence” and “coercive control” do not appear anywhere in the Federation of Law Societies of Canada Model Code of Professional Conduct. The Code does not typically have special rules for special areas of practice, but family violence is not strictly a family law matter. Family violence can be an issue in immigration and refugee law, employment law, corporate law, criminal law, landlord-tenant law, and real estate law, to name a few.[1] When family violence is overlooked, the absence of recognition can perpetuate harm through the justice system. Family violence is . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

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

Unnecessary Legalese, Mostly Archaic
Neil Guthrie

Commence: This word is unavoidable as a technical term in litigation: one commences an action under the Courts of Justice Act, RSO 1990, c C43, for example. But don’t use the word in normal parlance or non-technical writing, where it sounds fussy and pompous. … . . . [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. Off the Shelf 2. Rule of Law 3. Vancouver Immigration Law Blog 4. The Court 5. Hull & Hull Blog

Off the Shelf
Osgoode Digital Commons Readership Snapshot

January 2021 Last month, the Osgoode Digital Commons received 57,940 full-text downloads and 46 new submissions, bringing the total

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix