Legal Humour Blog


August 2017

Big Brother is Watching-Resistance is Futile

Aug 9, 2017 9:00 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    As the Borg said in Star Trek to some aliens it was taking over, “You will be assimilated” and “Resistance is futile”.

    Nicholas Troller, a Manitoba resident applied for and obtained a personalized license plate reading , “ASIMIL8",  a couple of years ago no problem. Now the Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) has notified Toller to surrender his plate as it is “offensive”. No reasons given.

    The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is challenging the MPI’s decision with a court Application. Some people are getting concerned about the erosion of free speech.

    If the MPI’s decision is a sign of the coming of “1984",  I believe all our license plates may similarly soon be assailed soon. My own plate, reads, BJXH610.  It is not personalized.  However if you parse it carefully, no doubt some will say it just begs for condemnation.  Take a look:

    B—This stands for bad.  A non starter

    J— Obviously joking.  You cannot joke about too many things these days.  Read the news.  Out.

    X—As in X rated.  What about the children? Need I say more

    H— Conspicuously and blatantly says hate, as in Hitler or Hess or Heinrich Himmler.  Perish the thought.

    The numerals are no less offensive if you examine them carefully.

    6—This is the number of the devil himself. Actually 666 is but it all starts with that first 6.  Please save us.

    1----Now we are getting into religion, the number 1 preaching monotheism.

    0— Still in religion, suggesting atheism.  As well we now have a conflict as “1" is adjacent and in opposition to “0".

    Some people might even view the 1 and the 0 as a “10" as in ten commandments. Offensive?  A court in Oklahoma a while back ordered a monument bearing the ten commandments to be removed.

    I am a Trek fan myself. I remember when we all enjoyed Star Trek and I trust the court will set this one right.  As for the MPI, I suggest, “Scotty, beam some common sense into them”.

    I am now retired from the practice of law after almost 43 years in the profession. I now have time and leisure to laugh even more. I would be delighted to speak about using humour, avoiding trouble or otherwise amuse you at your next event. Please email me at marcel@striglaw.com.


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July 2017

No People Were Used in this Trial

Jul 30, 2017 9:00 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     We are starting to see paperless trials. I don’t like it at all. I am rather old school. In my view, the greatest invention of the century is the stickie note.

     Be that as it may, as for a paperless trial, I see this as just the tip of the iceberg. I believe it will not be too long til we see a peopleless trial. Like so:

     The lawyers arrive at the courtroom. A voice announces, "Oyez Oyez. Come forth and ye shall be heard"

     In comes a robot, wearing an elegant robe. Justice Robot rolls up to the bench.

JUDGE: Sorry I’m a bit late. I have a slight malfunction this morning. IT should be able to deal with it at the recess.

PLAINTIFF COUNSEL: Shall I call my first witness Your Honour?

JUDGE: You may address me as Harold, madam counsel.

PL LAWYER: Uhh, Harold, I am a male.

HAROLD J: Oh yes of course. You may proceed madam.

PL LAWYER: Uhh mmm, thank you Harold.

     Plaintiff lawyer claps his hands and a video appears whereby his
client gives her pre- recorded evidence in chief.

     Defence counsel soon objects, arguing plaintiff lawyer is leading the witness.

HAROLD J: Let me rule on that one sir and/or madam. Do you want the
short or the more comprehensive ruling? For short please say "One".
For more comprehensive, please say "Two". For French, please say,


HAROLD J: Le juge Harold va vous rendre son decision tout de suite.

PL LAWYER: No Harold, we want the ruling in English.
HAROLD J: For English, please say "Canadian" or "American".

PL LAWYER: Canadian of course.


PL LAWYER: That’s right Harold.

HAROLD J: I can do that madam. Here is what I found on the web.

PL LAWYER: We require your actual ruling Harold.

COURT REPORTER: I could not hear that at all. Can you please repeat
it. My battery must be running low.

HAROLD: Your comments are important to us mister reporter. For
quality assurance this conversation may be recorded.

PL LAWYER: Harold, looks like the video of my client’s evidence has
frozen. Can you call a recess please?

COURT REGISTRAR: No talking in the courtroom. (pause)...Loading, loading...

HAROLD: I believe a spare battery has arrived for the court reporter.
Registrar, please open the door to allow the delivery drone to enter.

COURT REGISTRAR: The system does not allow me to open the door.

DEF COUNSEL: Let me do it.

PL LAWYER: Harold, I am concerned about the technical problems
presenting themselves in this trial.

HAROLD: I’m sorry you feel that way madam counsel.

PL LAWYER: Can we have a short recess please?

HAROLD: Certainly doctor . And you may order your morning coffee now
from the courthouse café. For mocha java, please say "one". For
cappuccino say "two" For latté, say " three".

REGISTRAR: Fifteen minute recess. Order! All rise.

DEFENCE COUNSEL: Ouch! That drone just struck me on my head.
REGISTRAR: Everyone please leave the courtroom. And for your
information, we are locking up. Counsel can leave all their documents

BOTH LAWYERS: What are documents?

     I think I’ll just watch the development of future litigation practices
from the sidelines, sipping my java.


I am now retired from practice after almost 43 years in the profession. I now have time and leisure to laugh even more. I wouid be delighted to speak about using humour (humor south of my border), avoiding trouble or otherwise amuse your group at your special event. Please email me at marcel@striglaw.com.

And please stay tuned for the release of my upcoming book, :Poutine on the Orient Express: An Irreverent Look at Travel"


Marcel's Musings, Judicial Nonsense   Add Comment

June 2017

The Law is an Ass? Not anymore!

Jun 22, 2017 10:00 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     There is reason to celebrate. At last, there is going to be a massive awaited change in legislation.  But, it’s not what you think. I am not talking about amendments to the Draconian provisions of the Insurance Act or the like.  This stuff is huge.

    Parliament this week tabled a bill removing certain offenses from the Criminal Code.

    One such revision is repeal of section 365 dealing with witchcraft.  As matters stand now, it is a crime to “pretend to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration”.

    Actually I would rather this one does not get repealed.  You see, I have a neighbour who I am sure is a sorcerer.  I have admonished him several times to wear a helmet when he cycles but he insists on whizzing along my street donning his conical hat with the stars and moons on it.  I do not like cyclists to start with and I am especially stressed about a biker who can potentially turn me into a frog.

    His wife Hazel is not better. She totally disregards my pleas not to use my driveway as a landing strip for her broom.

    I am considering ratting on both of them before the revisions come into play.  It’s not conjuration. But I say burn them both at the stake in any event.

    Another revision will be to section 71 which bans challenging another person to a duel.  I for one  have often been riled up after a confrontation with some adjustor or defense lawyer.  I can think of numerous times while in practice, where I wanted to go over to his office and slap his face with a glove, challenging the culprit to a duel.  However my only deterrent was this stupid section 71.  Actually I did have another deterrent.  There is no way I can ever get out of bed at dawn.  I am a late riser and a night owl.  Who ever heard of pistols after the eleven o’clock news?

    Under the circumstances those greedy and vexatious adjustors and defense lawyers should consider themselves lucky.

    Another good one is the repeal of section 404, which creates an offence for anyone impersonating someone at a university exam.  I shall confess, I almost got nailed by that one once. Back during my undergrad years at McGill, I attended a physics exam wearing a fake wig and mustache making me a perfect ringer for Albert Einstein.  I believed if I would look and feel like Einstein, I would perform like him. Fortunately the invigilator was not the sharpest tool in the shed. He just said to me, “Good luck Groucho.”

    Isn’t it great to see our Parliament address these crucial areas of the law, while other legislative bodies elsewhere spend their good time yapping about jejune issues such as climate change, terrorism and our neighbour’s president. Oh Canada!


I am now retired from the practice of law after almost 43 years in the profession. I now have time and leisure to laugh even more. I would be delighted to speak about using humour, avoiding trouble or otherwise amuse you at your next event. Please email me at marcel@striglaw.com.




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I’ts OK; It’s Art

Jun 4, 2017 11:00 AM
Marcel Strigberger

     Kathy Griffin, is a comedian. She gets paid big bucks to make people laugh.  Her career is now in hot water after posting a photo of her holding a mock bloodied severed head of President Trump.  CNN immediately disavowed, her cancelling her New Years Eve Time Square gig. Others have also followed suit cancelling some of her future performances. She pleads that this act was really an expression of art so it was OK. However when an avalanche of  criticism rained down on Griffin, she did not take long to apologize.  She noted that she may have crossed the line and tweeted, “OBVIOUSLY I do not condone ANY violence.”  Spoken like a true flower child.  Lovely.

    There seems to be an alarming frequency of outrageous and offensive acts perpetrated all in the name of art.

    I can readily see in the near future this argument becoming a defense in law.  It will join the M'Naghten rule test for criminal insanity. Under the M'Naghten rule, a criminal defendant is not guilty by reason of insanity if, at the time of the alleged criminal act, the defendant was so deranged that he did not know the nature or quality of her actions or, if he knew the nature and quality of his actions, he was so deranged that he did not know that what he was doing was wrong.

    I can just visualize some guy robbing a bank. He is arrested and comes to court. The judge asks, “How do you plead? Guilty or not guilty”  

    His lawyer responds, “Your Honour, my client relies on the Picasso rule.  He pleads not guilty by reason of having committed art.  At the time of the alleged criminal act, he was so absorbed by his artistic talents that taking money from the bank was not his object at all. He certainly did not know he was doing anything wrong. This was all a staged installation.  To my client, the bank was his canvas.  His 44 Magnum was his brush. His bullets were his paints.  And even the disguise he wore was a vintage Renaissance Venetian mask.”

    After the trial, the judge agrees with the defense and he pronounces judgment:”I find you not guilty by reason of having committed art. You will be confined to the Royal Ontario Museum, for an indefinite period of time, at the pleasure of the Crown. Your case will be reviewed from time to time as necessary by a panel of artists.  I now call for a recess.”


I am now retired from the practice of law after almost 43 years in the profession. I now have time and leisure to laugh even more. I would be delighted to speak about using humour, avoiding trouble or otherwise amuse you at your next event. My content does not cross the line. Please email me at marcel@striglaw.com.

Marcel's Musings, zero tolerance   Add Comment

May 2017

Your Feedback is Important to us and Other Myths

May 18, 2017 11:00 AM
Marcel Strigberger

It is becoming increasingly difficult in dealing with large corporations to speak to live people or more so, live people who actually listen and help.

    I bought a case of Alexander Keith’s Ale a while back. I left it somewhere in the house and about a year later came across it again.  I wondered if it was still drinkable. I called some number in Halifax (ie Nova Scotia’s legendary beer, since 1820) expecting to speak to a descendant of Alexander Keith himself, maybe some guy called Fergus.  I hit a customer relations gentleman called Jeremy. After giving him the bottle codes he suggested that though drinkable, I would be wise not to test my body’s immune system with the product.  He took my contact info.

    Two weeks later I received an email from a brewery in St Louis, Missouri.  The email contained a survey, the RE line reading, “Is my beer still good?”.  I was shocked. It seems Alexander Keith’s is actually a brand of this mega brewery. There is no Fergus Keith at all. If there ever was, he or his family sold out.  Shame.

    The survey read something like, “We are never satisfied with our results. We want to make sure you have a positive experience with us.”

    I thought about it and responded, giving an overall comment in the allowable 255 characters, saying, “ A positive experience would be for you guys to send me a certificate for a free case of Keith’s.”  Why not?

    I did not hear from them.  A couple of weeks later I called Halifax again, complaining that I never got a response to my survey comments, and asking about some of that positive experience.

    One Trevor, said he would pass my comments on.

    Two weeks later I received another email from St. Louis, the RE line reading, “I never got a response to my survey comments.” The survey again wanted to know how they could make my experience better as they was never satisfied unless I was.

    I called Halifax again and this time, one Cameron risked all, by giving me an 800 number directly to the St. Louis team associates who should be able to assist me.

    With much anticipation, I called the 800 number.  A voice told me my call was important to them and that they were never satisfied unless I had a positive experience.  A Lee Ann, with a quaint southern drawl, came on the line.  She asked if she could refer to me as Marcel.  I said sure, following which she went to call me, ”Y’all”.

    Lee Ann asked how she could enhance my experience with her brewery.  I told her given that I took my time to respond to the survey, it would be nice for them to offer me a replacement for my aborted case of beer.  I also asked if there was really ever an Alexander Keith in Halifax. She asked, “Where is Halifax?”  We were on a roll.

    She told me very sympathetically, “I am sorry for your less than excellent experience. We are definitely not satisfied. I shall pass this on.

    This time for sure I expected a certificate for a nice case of beer. Then again Hillary Clinton expected to win the presidential election.

    Yesterday, I received another email from the “we are not satisfied til you are “ team.  The RE line read, “Customer queries if there was really ever an Alexander Keith in Halifax?”

    I give up.  I have gone back to Sleemans.  I don’t give a damn whether or not there was ever a Sidney Sleeman.  I just hope that at least this brand is still Canadian and not owned by say, Miller.

I am now retired from the practice of law after almost 43 years in the profession. I now have time and leisure to laugh even more. I would be delighted to speak about using humour, avoiding trouble or otherwise amuse you at your next event. Please email me at marcel@striglaw.com.

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The Midwest Book Review has referred to Marcel Strigberger as "an irrepressible humorist with a story teller’s flair for spinning a yarn with true (and hysterically funny) insights into the basics of human nature".

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