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Archive for October, 2010

Khadr and the Depravity Scaler

I’m following Omar Khadr’s sentencing hearing via Carol Rosenberg’s tweets. She’s a Miami journalist who has covered Guantanamo longer than any other reporter. The “jury” of U.S. military officers is engaged in the business determining the appropriate sentence for Mr. Khadr, who has pleaded guilty to five serious offences in this… curious process.

As of half an hour ago, a forensic psychiatrist, Michael Weiner is on the stand testifying as to whether Khadr is dangerous as “a violent jihadist.” The witness claims to have worked for 500-600 hours on the Khadr case, hired by the U.S. Department of Defence. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Service by Facebook in Ontario

The Law Times has a longish story on a Kingston Ontario judge who allowed service on a family law defendant by Facebook. It is not clear in the story how much of an effort the plaintiff had to make before getting permission to serve that way. The judge seems to have given retroactive blessing to the method when it was shown to have worked (because a reply was received).

The judge gave a talk to a conference about how well this had worked. Other commentators discuss why such service would be a good idea, and at least as a method . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Internet

New Faces at Canlii

While you won’t see it mentioned either on Canlii or the Federation of Law Societies web page, but Canlii has a new board of directors, and a much leaner governance structure.

The new Board members are

Sonia Poulin, Director of the Alberta Law Society Libraries
Darrel Pink, Executive Director, Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society
Diana Miles Director, Professional Development & Competence, Law Society of Upper Canada
Johanne Blenkin, Executive Director at Courthouse Libraries BC
Dr. Martin Felsky
Professor Michael Geist
Charmian Harvey, Directrice générale chez Totalmédia

Here is the text of the official statement: . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Choice of Law

Attention forum shoppers! Your governing law clause could buy you a lot more than you bargained for

There are many good reasons to “forum shop” when choosing the governing law of an outsourcing contract. Proximity to the place of performance and comfort with the commercial sophistication of the selected jurisdiction are two. In a ruling relating to a franchisee class action, the Ontario Court of Appeal has recently added another (maybe not so “good”) reason to the list: the possibility that the jurisdiction’s general body of statute law may apply to operations outside the jurisdiction even if you have not . . . [more]

Posted in: Outsourcing

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

This week in biotech, Canada’s competitiveness was discussed and challenged.

The 2nd Canadian Science Policy Conference took place in Montreal this week. As with last year, the conference this year was full of well-reasoned and compelling ideas. In some areas, like genetically-modified food, Canada is a world leader. In others, like “Encouraging Investment in Science and Innovation”, we are not world leaders. I had the privilege of moderating the latter panel, where one of the few points of unanimity was that biotech entrepreneurship in Canada still faces a cultural hurdle. Programs like those at MaRS and UTM help, but . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Ethics Committees and the Bystander Effect

Ethics committees across North America are, as always, in the process of examining issues of great importance to lawyers in the US and Canada. As part of process of establish new ethics opinions and rules, ethics committees typically hold hearings or publish proposed opinions for comment, seeking input from practicing attorneys.

Unfortunately, these hearings and requests for comment are often met with silence from practicing attorneys. Vendors and other interested parties respond in force, but the group that will ultimately be most impacted by ethics committees decisions have, apparently, nothing to say.

For example, only one practicing lawyer signed up . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

New Canadian Journal on Human Rights

The University of Manitoba is going to publish the new, peer-reviewed Canadian Journal of Human Rights. Launch is scheduled for the spring of 2011.

From the “about” page:

[The CJHR is] a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal of law and policy with a national and international scope… [T]he CJHR seeks to attract human rights research from around the world. From queer rights in Africa and Aboriginal rights in Australia to the European Court of Human Rights and Human Rights tribunals in Canada, we will explore varied areas of research from diverse perspectives.

The nascent journal is seeking submissions and has set . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Reading

Electronic Voting and the Law: It’s Not Like E-Banking

In this electronic age, many governments are trying to increase their capacity to use information and communication technology, and many citizens expect to deal with their governments electronically. It is natural that attention has turned to using these technologies for voting.

In the United States, in the wake of the problems with old-fashioned voting systems in the 2000 presidential election, many people have been tempted to push voting into the computer age. Congress voted large sums to help states do just this.

However, in its year-end review of 2003, Fortune magazine called electronic voting the “worst technology of the year”. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Wigmore Criteria Upheld for Journalistic Sources

The Supreme Court of Canada released the highly-anticipated decision in Globe and Mail v. Canada on Friday. The court considered three appeals emerging from the Sponsorship Scandal or “AdScam,” where a misappropriation of public funds in Quebec under Paul Martin’s Liberal Party of Canada, which ultimately led to his party’s downfall. The scandal is still cited as one of the main reasons why the Federal Liberals continue to suffer in the polls.

The Globe & Mail has made their factum and the respondent’s factum available on their website, along with responses from various individuals in the legal and publishing . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

E-Discovery and the Auto-Deletion of Emails

Some email programs automatically delete old emails after a fixed time. Most come with a function that allows the owner of the system to set up a time after which old emails are automatically deleted (unless they have been moved to particular storage folders, probably). This function seems useful to avoid clutter. It’s like a record destruction schedule.

Is there a standard time at which such auto-delete functions should be set, or should there be? What’s a safe time, legally as well as practically? It is clear enough that without such a function, some people (most?) would never get around . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list