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I think’s how the kids would express what happened to a California judge.

A better way to describe it might be ‘an embarrassing example of assuming the junior person who’s working for you will have done the proofreading in the first place, and that you don’t need to check things yourself.’

In Golo LLC v Higher Health Networks LLC (SD Calif, case number 3:18-cv-2434-GPC-MSB, 5 February 2019), Curiel USDJ sets out the standard of proof required for the claims being advanced.

At the end of one paragraph, this comment appears in parenthesis: meh I need a better rule statement than this.

The comment is perhaps that of the judge in mid-edit, but more probably that of the hapless judicial clerk who actually wrote the opinion – in which case, evidence of two proofreading failures. (And one of authorship.)

Simpsons fans will be happy, though.

Neil Guthrie (@guthrieneil)


You will notice that some citations for acts contain the abbreviation “Supp.” (short for “supplement”). An example of this would be “Competition Tribunal Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. 19 (2nd Supp.)”. But what does this mean?

The main volumes of R.S.C. 1985 contain acts that came into being before or on December 31, 1984, but R.S.C. 1985 was not brought into force until December 12, 1988. So what happened to all the legislation made between January 1, 1985 and December 11, 1988? If you guessed that they became the supplements to R.S.C. 1985 you would be correct; for example R.S.C. 1985 (1st Supp.) contains the acts that received Royal Assent in 1985 and R.S.C. 1985 (2nd Supp.) contains the acts that received Royal Assent in 1986.

The supplements to R.S.C. 1985 have different in force dates depending on which supplement they are in; the BC Courthouse Libraries has produced a helpful guide to the various in force dates.

You will also find supplements in provincial legislation, e.g. R.S.B.C. 1996 included any acts that had received Royal Assent but had not come into force as of December 31, 1996 (the cut off date for the Revised Statutes) as supplements.

Susannah Tredwell


The work of a language nerd is never done.

Possessive problems

In a recent LinkedIn posting, a fundraising person at an educational institution I attended referred to its’ proud history.

At least it wasn’t someone from the academic side.

One see it’s used (incorrectly) as a possessive. Properly, it’s is only ever a contraction for it is, but thinking it’s a singular possessive is an understandable error (if not a forgivable one).

But its’ as an ostensible singular possessive? Mind-boggling.

-S’ is reserved for possessives involving multiple parties (the articling students’ skit at the holiday party) or proper names ending in S (Davy Jones’ locker; but –s’s is also possible, as in Bridget Jones’s Diary).

Plural confusion

Also seen recently: payable in Euro’s. No! Euros, no apostrophe (and I’d prefer euros; you wouldn’t ordinarily write Pounds or Dollars).

Confusion may arise because one can pluralise some things with ‘s – but this is limited to letters and abbreviations (cross your T’s, MP’s voted yesterday).

Even there, the modern and better tendency is to omit the apostrophe (Ts, MPs), confining it to contractions and possessives.

Plural and possessive issues come to a head (as it were) in the name of a hair salon near my office: Razors Edge’s.

Neil Guthrie (@guthrieneil)


Lexbox is a supplementary tool on CanLII that can help you keep track of your legal research online by allowing you to view your browsing history, save cases, create and organize folders, and set up alerts. It is free to use the base version and signing up requires only your name, email, and a password. There is also a professional version (Premium) you can choose to subscribe to — you can click here to learn more about what’s in the two plans.

To make sure Lexbox keeps track of your search history, remember to log in to your Lexbox account whenever you are browsing CanLII. You can do this by making a search on CanLII and clicking the ‘Browse Lexbox’ drop-down menu which appears on every search page and case page. The menu contains a link that will take you to a separate login screen.

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After entering your credentials, you will be automatically redirected back to the page you were visiting on CanLII. Note that the ‘Browse Lexbox’ drop down menu now has a link labelled ‘Recent history’, along with a list of the saved documents, folders, and searches in your Lexbox account.

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When you click on “Recent history” you can review your search history within time periods when you were last active. For a more in-depth look at your search history, you can click on “View my whole history”. This will take you to your Lexbox account where you can view a list of your recent search results back to 30 days. The gavel icon indicates a case you recently visited, your past search queries are indicated by the magnifying glass icon, and a book indicates a piece of legislation. Clicking on one of these links will reload your search query. The links are organized chronologically and divided up into sections based on the browsing session you viewed them in.

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You can delete all the items recorded in your browsing history, all the items viewed in a single browsing session, or individual items at any time.

If you wish to disable Lexbox’s automatic tracking feature, you can visit your account administration profile and de-select “Record my history on supported websites” under the Preferences heading.

Good luck and happy searching!

Alex Tsang (@atsang101)

[This tip first appeared on the CanLII blog and is also available in French]


The other day I received that now rather unusual thing, a letter.

On the envelope, beneath my business address, was typed Attention: with my name after it.

Why is this – or why was it ever – necessary?

I suppose it helped postal delivery persons and mailroom workers a bit, but surely not that much.

My name at the top with the address after it would reach me with no problem, just like a non-business letter sent to me at my home address.

While we’re on the subject, I like addresses to go from the particular to the general:

Box, office or floor number
Street address
City, province/state

Neil Guthrie (@guthrieneil)


The availability of Canadian court information varies greatly from province to province, as do the ways in which researchers can access it.

Sarah Richmond of Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP has put together a very helpful table of where to search for or obtain court documents from the various provinces and territories. Meris Bray, a Librarian at the University of Windsor, has converted this table into a freely-accessible webpage which can be found at

Susannah Tredwell


Nevertheless and nonetheless mean the same thing (‘notwithstanding’), so they can be used interchangeably. Nonetheless is a more recent coinage.

Both started as three words, but over time ended up as one. It’s now always nevertheless, but the three-word form none the less is still seen, especially in the UK.

There is a certain logic to none the less, if spelling it as a single word might suggest an odd pronunciation (non-EATHE-less, with the second syllable rhyming with breathe).

But you’re fine nevertheless with nonetheless.

Neil Guthrie (@guthrieneil)


A student who is helping a partner with writing a book (I hope he gets due credit) called to ask which verb tense to use in describing cases.

My answer was that it depends on context.

I think you would say that a judge found, held or stated something in a particular case.

Perhaps where you are talking about a judge’s obiter dicta rather than ratio decidendi, you would use the present tense: In this case, So-and-so J discusses the applicable factors. But you would say, The judge said in dicta that …

Where the description is depersonalised, the present seems more normal: the case sets out a three-part test, stands for a proposition, distinguishes an earlier case.

But let me know what you think.

Neil Guthrie (@guthrieneil)


The Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT) has published a detailed tip sheet on finding WSIAT decisions online.

It explains how to search by topic, issue, words or phrases and more. Step-by-step instructions are provided for searching by WSIB policy number, section of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, and with summaries.

Instructions are for CanLII but also cover the “Noteworthy Decisions” section of the Tribunal’s website.

Hat tip to the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development What’s New newsletter for highlighting this resource.


Ontario now allows legal professionals to search for Superior Court of Justice court cases online. To search, you will need to set up a ONe-key account. (There is no cost to set up an account.)

You can search by either party name (i.e. surname or business name) or by case number.

Information provided includes the parties, the name of the lawyer representing the person or company (if represented), the claim amount (for civil matters), the date the case was opened, the most recent order type and date (for civil matters), the next appearance type and date (if a future appearance has been scheduled), and whether the case is subject to a publication ban

Note that the service “will not provide information about cases that are subject to statutory, common law or court-ordered public access restrictions.”

Susannah Tredwell