Isthatlegal.ca Mission Statement "To create and maintain exhaustive online public-access Ontario-based legal resources."
Winter's coming!!I'm writing this on a overcast November day. Have a new family addition of a second cat - this one a kitten, no name yet but extremely cute. Both cats are blind, but you'd never know it unless you looked carefully at where their eyes should be, they're so capable.
Just over the last week I've started a new project, which I call 'Project Placeholder' - which is to create (at least token) topical entries for all (yes, all) areas of Ontario and Canadian law, initially by integrating topics for all statutes from those jurisdictions. Then I post those statutes, what cases I have on the topic, third-party resources, official websites and more into one topic. Another aspect of this project is to create separate topics for all Ontario and Canadian tribunals, many of which deal with multiple statutory regimes. The tribunal aspect of it fits well with a number of ideas I've had on making tribunal law easier to understand (ie. tribunal rule-charts and appeal-route charts). While it's still by far an incomplete project it allows me to follow my interests as they arise and capture for the website whatever that exploration reveals.
In other news, I am currently updating the Consumer Protection (Ontario) Legal Guide, which I last updated in 2013. Then next due is the Employment (Ontario) Legal Guide, last updated in 2015. Once those two shamefully late-updated guides are done all the others are not that old, and I am shifting them all my 'auto-updating' (or 'standardization') system. By reviewing and harvesting freshly-released cases directly to the website daily, and legislation weekly, I can now update the website quickly and dispense with the need for periodic guide updates every few years.
Standardization will also include my new tribunal hearing-chart system which accomodates frequent (and unpredictable) charges in tribunal rules. Understanding law using only government sources - given their self-focussed jurisdiction-splitting (ie. common law/federal/provincial/statute/regulation/tribunal rules plus/court practice directions/more) is a mug's-game these days, and the hearing charts will at least help in this regard.
We have to realize that law exists to serve people and to the extent that it's too damn complicated we shamefully fail in that crucial, crucial democratic task. On that theme I spent time to set out a thorough statement of my views at: Democracy, Law and Duty. This piece is really targeted at other legal professionals - trying to guilt them into creating more internet legal guides in areas of their expertise, we'll see if it works.
There are many more projects down the road, not the least of which is an exhaustive Ontario (or Canada) 'BIGNATURE' guide - covering all aspects of animal, environmental, forestry and much more nature-related law. That's a huge project and if done for all-Canada it doesn't lend itself well to auto-updating (I only have time to regularly update Ontario cases and legislation) - so that a big decision to make soon.
No New Clients! Sorry ...I spend most of my time on the website now, and I only keep one long-standing animal advocacy client. So please don't email about your or your client's legal needs, even simple stuff. If you do anyway (and so many do regardless) expect no response - sorry.
Simon Shields, Lawyer
06 November 2022