Mark Wiffen

Mark Wiffen

Procedure for appeals in Ontario should be, and usually is, fairly straightforward.  A Notice of Appeal is filed; the appellant perfects the appeal; the respondent (as its name implies) responds.  As two recent decisions from the Court of Appeal and the Divisional Court show, if a lawyer (or party) is not familiar with court practices that are not part of the Rules of Civil Procedure, the process can quickly go off the rails.

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Large Firm Growth - 2015 Edition

Once again, Law Times has released some numbers on the sizes of some of the largest law firms in Canada.  I've written about this in 2013 and 2014 (short version - large firm growth was stagnant).  Law Times has released its 2015 numbers, and the trend from the past few years appears to be continuing.

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Diet Doctors and the Value of Reputation

The law of defamation is a very technical, complex area of law.  Even more complex is the motivation behind many defamation claims. Since the value of a reputation is hard to quantify, defamation claims can often be motivated more by injured feelings than by money.  Claims where it ends up being more about personalities than about the money raise some complex issues regarding the role of civil courts, which are really designed to allocate money, rather than to fix hurt feelings.  An example of this is a recently decided case of a defamation battle between two diet doctors.

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New Tools to Fight Vexatious Litigants

I've written about vexatious litigants here before (here, for example) - litigants who bring frivolous, harassing claims with no merit to them.  As an update on this front, new amendments to the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure appear to be starting to take hold in weeding some of these claims out at an early stage. The first of these types of cases (at least those that are reported), as discussed below, appear to be a start to dealing with a tough issue for the courts.

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Haunted House Litigation

I've written in the past about the difficulty of a property buyer in Ontario suing over a house where an undisclosed murder had taken place.  Based on a decision from the Court of Appeal today, that difficulty extends to haunted houses.

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Statscan Litigation Trends

Statistics Canada has released its annual litigation survey today, which gives a very high-level view of some trends in the Canadian litigation landscape.  Being a civil litigator, the numbers that interest me are those dealing with general civil litigation, as opposed to other things like family law disputes.  As discussed below, the new numbers show a continuing trend towards fewer bankruptcy and insolvency type cases, with an increasing number of motor vehicle claims.

Dual agency situations for real estate agents can be quite an attractive proposition for them.  Instead of having to split a 5% commission with another agent for the sale of a house, an agent can keep all of that money for themselves if they can find both a buyer or a seller. When this happens, the real estate agent has a number of obligations that arise, to ensure that he or she is treating both clients appropriately.  The case of Partners Realty Ltd. v. Morrow, 2014 ONSC 124 is a good example of a case where the agent failed to meet all of her obligations in a dual agency situation, so she lost out on her commission.

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Large Firm Growth - 2014 Edition

Every year, the Law Times releases numbers on how many lawyers are employed by the largest firms in Canada. I blogged about the trends that this survey shows last year (short version: little growth at the big firms).  Now that the Law Times has released its numbers for this year, we can run update the numbers and see if anything has changed.  Even with the recent fall of Heenan Blaikie, the trend seems to be fairly similar to last year: little growth overall at the big firms.

Injunctions are a complex area of the law.  Injunctions can be even more complex when parties (or even judges) starting becoming imprecise about the words used to describe an injunction.  There are many different types of injunctions, with each having a different effect, and each having different (albeit similar) requirements under the law if you want to obtain one. So bear with me, while I step into a more technical legal area, and try to clarify (which great help from a recent Ontario Court of Appeal case) the difference between interim, interlocutory, mandatory and final injunctions.

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The Living Dead

Recently, an Ohio man who had been (incorrectly) declared legally dead when he disappeared 8 years ago, appeared in court to have the declaration reversed.  Strangely, his application was refused (apparently because he waited too long to bring his application).  Could this bureaucracy over reality situation happen in Ontario?  While I'd like to say absolutely not, as I discuss below, the law could be a little clearer on this point.


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