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Welcome 2019

Editorial Obiter

If 2018 was an eventful year in legal developments, then 2019 is shaping up to move even more quickly.

This edition of Law Times covers a wide range of stories that indicate some of the trends that may dominate in the year ahead. The disruptive effects of technology are top of mind for many lawyers, affecting everything from court processes to the labour market, as is evidenced in our story about a ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeal that an arbitration clause used by Uber in a delivery driver’s contract is unenforceable.  

“I think it sends a clear message to companies, especially those companies that come from other jurisdictions, that if they are going to operate in here — in Ontario — they have to abide by Ontario laws,” says Lior Samfiru, a lawyer involved in the case.

Also top of mind are cases of importance in the year ahead, like two upcoming sexual assault cases at the Supreme Court of Canada, which focus on the threshold a defendant in these cases must meet for evidence about a complainant’s sexual history to be admissible at trial.

“It could clear up a lot of litigation on these issues,” says Mike Kruse, a criminal defence lawyer.

Then there are the developments in the field of insurance law that are explored in this issue, such as a recent ruling in Fehr v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, 2018 ONCA 718, which could affect the wording of some consumer-facing policies, according to lawyer Jeffrey Leon.

He says it’s just one of a series of rulings that demonstrates a “consumer-focused approach.”

“The Court of Appeal’s reasons reflect the consideration given to the differences between the companies who draft these complicated agreements, and the consumers who are bound by them,” says Leon.

Expect to see more rulings in 2019 with this slant, in my opinion. An eventful year awaits, with more developments to come.

Law Times Poll

A group of benchers opposed to the Statement of Principles will need to win the support of their colleagues to repeal the requirement. Do you think they will be successful in repealing the statement of principles in the coming year?