Month: June 2015

Summary Conviction Appeal Rules Amended

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On  June 17, 2015 amendments to The Court of Queen’s Bench Summary Conviction Appeal Rules were published in the Canada Gazette.  A notice of the amendment was published in the Saskatchewan Gazette on June 26, 2015.  The amendment amends sections 12 and 13 concerning the contents of the Appellant’s and Respondent’s Memorandum of Argument and prescribes the forms to be used. The amendments can be found on the Queen’s Printer website.

Senior Life Memberships

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By Melanie Hodges Neufeld

The Senior Life Membership is an honour reserved for long-standing members of the Law Society who have a substantial connection to the legal profession in Saskatchewan. At a special luncheon hosted by the Benchers during Convocation on June 19th, certificates were awarded to W. Thomas Molloy, Q.C., and Gary Semenchuck, Q.C. Other recipients included:

  • Hans Guenther Dirauf
  • Joseph Charles Duperreault, Q.C.
  • Robert Alexander Falconer
  • Mayer Schulman
  • Carl Arnold Wagner, Q.C.
  • Philip Edward West, Q.C.
Brenda Hildebrandt, Q.C., presenting Senior Life membership to Gary Semenchuck, Q.C.
Tom Molloy, Q.C., and Gary Semenchuck, Q.C., at Senior Life Membership luncheon

Pre-Judgment Interest Rates

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By Melanie Hodges Neufeld

The 3rd quarter pre-judgment interest rate for 2015 (July 1 – September 30) is 0.58%. This and other pre-judgment interest rates back to 1986 are available on the Law Society website in our Practice Resources section. The Law Society also has other useful Table and Indices listed including:

Linking to American Case Law through HeinOnline (Tip of the Week)

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By Ken Fox

I assume there will come a time when every correctly-formatted citation in every electronic document will have a hyperlink to its source (and maybe even a further future time when none of the links go to paywalls and secure sites, but let’s not get too crazy).

Currently, whether online legal information contains links to case law, legislative documents, or cited commentary is a very hit-or-miss prospect, with myriad contingencies and exceptions. As researchers, we can imagine the destination, but we cannot quite see it. We are as children in the back seat, forever asking the genies who drive our technical innovation, are we there yet?

No, we are not there yet.

But HeinOnline has recently taken another significant step forward. Recently, Hein added Fastcase to their online offerings. Although some features (including searchability by case name or keyword) are only available to Fastcase subscribers, it appears that the case law coverage is fairly comprehensive at federal and state levels. These cases can be accessed in HeinOnline by searching the citation through the Fastcase tab, and also, the point of this post, they can be accessed directly from Hein’s vast online journal collection.

To try out this new service, go to HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library, and access any major American law review, the Alabama Law Review, for instance. Select an issue, Volume 65 if you want to follow along, and an article, say the one written by Fletcher on Standing beginning at page 277. If you scroll to the bottom of the first page, you will see four footnotes with blue-shaded citations. These are cross-cites to other articles in the journal library. Go ahead to page 279, and note again that there are footnotes with blue-shaded citations. But this time they are case law references. Click on a cite, the first one if you please, and the 1969 decision of the Eighth Circuit Appeals court, with headnote, comes up in a new window. In the case law document, flip ahead to page 151, and further notice that the cases cited therein are also blue-shaded and clickable.

Surely this is a significant step forward in the journey toward a fully linked world, but one that also displays some of the difficulties in the process. The linking is automated – the software is able to recognize citation formats and locate the referenced document in the system. So citations that are incorrectly formatted, or incorrectly rendered in the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) process of creating the digital texts from their print sources, will not be linked. These errors seem to be minimal.

A more widespread (and annoying) problem is in evidence on page 281. Note 20 refers to a case mentioned on the previous page, and uses an obsolete abbreviation (Id, short for Idem, meaning “the same – I had to look that up) to refer you to page 618 of a document noted on page 280 of the present article. If you are reading page 281, and want to track down that reference, you need to first look down to the footnote, then follow the archaic, print-based noting system to the previous page’s footer, and only then link to the document. So three links where a digital-age researcher would prefer one. And it gets worse – some print footnote directions (Ibid, Op.cit) may refer you back several pages, or to a different chapter, and sometimes don’t even have page references, meaning you have to click around your online document looking for the hyperlink.

Such carry-overs from the print world will be with us for a while, I’m afraid. It would be too much to ask the publishers to hire enough elves to manually go through thousands of articles and add embedded hyperlinks to every reference. Far more difficult to explain is why new issues of many online law journals still use primitive bookish footnotes rather than embedded hyperlinks, or why they don’t at least copy and paste the citation onto the new page’s footnotes rather than using ridiculous, anachronous, time-wasting Latin cross-references.

But I digress.

The point is that we can now link from Hein’s vast collection of online legal journals to a deep database of American case law. Bumps in the road? Oh yes – but kids, we’re on our way!


Watch Out For Animals! (Throwback Thursday)

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By Ken Fox

The early 20th Century might have been a low point in human-animal relations. Just browse through the 5th edition of Gibb’s Collisions on Land – on almost every page you’ll find examples of four-legged street-users bumping into us two-leggers and our various automated vehicles.

One article that particularly struck my mind is titled “LOOK OUT” –

It is the duty of all road-users at all times to keep a look-out so as to avoid colliding with other road-users.”

Seems sensible – but what does the definition of “road-user” encompass?

“A tramcar at night collided with the pursuer, who was carefully driving two cows along the road. There was no evidence for the pursuer as to how this happened. Held, that the Judge who tried the case might properly infer that the accident was due to faulty look-out by the driver.”

Well of course – the tram driver is to blame (at least I think that’s what it’s saying). But what if the animal caused the injury?

“The driver of a horse yoked to a road-brusher, drawn up on a piece of vacant ground, was removing a nose-bag from the horse’s head, when it suddenly backed and injured a woman. Held, that the driver was not guilty of negligence in failing to look behind before removing the nosebag.”

And by corollary, it was the woman’s duty to keep a lookout so as to avoid colliding with the backside of a horse. I think I could get behind that as well.

But check this out:

“On a dark, snowy night a woman in crossing the street turned back to avoid a vehicle and was knocked down by defendant’s omnibus. The driver at the moment had turned round to speak to the conductor. Held, no negligence: it was as much the woman’s duty to take care not to collide with the bus as the bus driver’s not to collide with her.”

So the bus driver did have a duty not to collide with a woman, as much as she had a duty not to collide with the ominous omnibus, but nevertheless the driver was not negligent. This must have been before the courts gave us such things as apportionment and contributory negligence. But obviously what’s really happening here is that there were no animals for the law to protect.

And one more example:

“It was held that there was a duty on the part of a lorry driver to avoid running over a dog which was performing a natural function on the street.”

No duty for the dog? I guess you could say the dog was doing its duty, which has stayed the same throughout history (except, more recently, a dog (or its owner, at least) was held partly responsible for a collision causing injury).

On the public streets a century ago, it seems merely human pedestrians were fair game – but god help you if you collide with an aardvark, buffalo, yak or zebra.

Law Society Annual General Meeting

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By Melanie Hodges Neufeld

The 76th Annual General Meeting of the Law Society of Saskatchewan was held on June 18th in Regina. In addition to reviewing the Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2014, highlights of the meeting included greeting from Minister Gordon Wyant, Q.C., presentation of the CBA Community Service Award to Brenda Walper-Bossence, Q.C., special presentation to Michael Milani, Q.C., in recognition of his service to the Canadian Lawyers Insurance Association (CLIA), and a presentation on Access to Justice by Deputy Minister Kevin Fenwick, Q.C.

We were pleased by the turn out and hope to see more of our members attend next year in Saskatoon.

Presentation by Brenda Hildebrandt, Q.C. (President of Law Society) to Michael Milani, Q.C.