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Archive for July, 2012

Video Streaming

A picture is worth a thousand words. A streaming video is worth a lot of bandwidth, or is it? From Supreme Court of Canada live and archived webcasts to CanLII training videos on YouTube to political speeches, there is plenty of valid, useful, legal content on the web that is being blocked from viewing in an office near you.

A common argument used by organizations to support blocking streaming content is based on productivity drain, usually kicked around with the word bandwidth.

What is the bandwidth drain of streaming content? A service provider with the unlikely name of Bummer Hosting . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Complexity, Contract, and Crime: US Senate to Consider Broad Amendment to Cybersecurity Bill

Legal complexity is nothing new. The scope of its unhappy consequences, however, seems to be getting ever wider thanks to the internet. Now texts land right in the living rooms — or the pants pockets — of half the planet at a keystroke. And, as a colleague once complained, computers and the internet “grease the skids of prolixity” where lawyers are concerned: ten words can become a hundred or a thousand at no marginal cost.

The terms of service “agreements” governing almost all the software and services you use are famously long and impenetrable. Just to read privacy policies alone . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Internet

Supreme Court to Weigh in on Ontario’s Summary Judgment Rule

On January 1, 2010, a number of substantial amendments were made to Ontario’s Rules of Civil Procedure. Among the most notable changes were those made to Rule 20, Ontario’s Rule dealing with summary judgment motions.

Prior to the Rule change, judges hearing summary judgment motions were not allowed to assess credibility, weigh evidence, or draw inferences of fact. The result was that summary judgment motions were generally only brought in very straight forward cases where, at least in the opinion of one party, there was no genuine issue for trial.

Starting on January 1, 2010, motion judges were given . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Women Lawyers: At the Edge of Change

The on-going debate on whether women lawyers can hold demanding jobs, especially at senior levels while also raising children, has exploded with this month’s article in The Atlantic magazine, Why Women Still Can’t Have It All”. 

This well-written, lengthy article by a lawyer and professor at Princeton who gave up her dream job working with Hilary Clinton at the State Department in Washington, DC to return to Boston to be more present with her teenage sons, has sparked debates from the New York Times to the Globe and Mail. The Atlantic reports the article has broken readership records . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Reasons for Judgment

Is the fact that the trial judge cuts and pastes 85% of one party’s closing written submissions into his judgment “cogent evidence” displacing the presumption of judicial integrity which includes impartiality?

This is the question the Supreme Court of Canada will be considering in November in Cojocaru.

The trial judge awarded $4 million for brain damage suffered at birth. Of the 368 paragraphs in the trial judge’s reasons, 321 were taken, without attribution, word for word, from the plaintiff’s closing submissions.

Since Simon Fodden’s post here on the B. C. Court of Appeal’s majority decision, leave to appeal to . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Call for Omar Khadr’s Return Heating Up Again

It has been a number of months since we have blogged about Omar Khadr. The Canadian government promised his return a number of months ago, but they are now delaying.

Senator Roméo Dallaire is running a petition online via the Change.org website:

The case of Omar Khadr—a Canadian citizen and former child soldier—is a stain upon our society and shows a blatant disregard for Canada’s obligations under international law.

After years of dragging its feet, Canada finally agreed to his return in 2010, so long as he served one additional year in Guantánamo. No one forced the government’s

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

Securely Deleting Data From Mobile Devices

Why do we care about deleting data from mobile devices? Usually, we are trying to get back data that we inadvertently deleted. It could be that we “fat fingered” an e-mail or text message or blew away a photo that we really wanted to use as a background image. But what about when we are upgrading our smartphones, iPads or other mobile devices? Do you really know what confidential or personal information resides within the memory of your prized possession? As lawyers, we have an ethical obligation to protect the information of our clients. This means that we better be . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Clements’ Conundrums (Coda)

Our task [as lawyers] must be to understand factual causation as it actually is. We should not be looking for a heuristic model of factual causation that generates liability in accordance with our instinctive feelings, unconcerned whether the model is accurate or not. Simply, lawyers cannot say that C was the cause of E when it was not, or that C was not the cause of E when it was. To do so is, literally, to part company with reality. It is sometimes said that a philosopher is someone from whom a tragedy is a good theory destroyed by the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

WiseLii – a Mobile Legal Research Tool


We hear a lot of talk about access to justice from the judiciary and the politicians who are charged to execute this lofty ideal. But it took an initiative between the National Virtual Law Library Group and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to found CanLII over a decade ago.

The Free Access to Law Movement could hardly envisioned the rise of mobile technology in the 2002 Declaration on Free Access to Law. When a solo private practitioner uses their own resources to advances the goals of unrestricted legal access and provides it to the public for free . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Technology: Internet

Copying Firm Names on the Web

Here’s a small matter, tiny in fact:

I’m collating some material from various Canadian law firm websites, and as part of the project I need to record the firm name along with the material I’m referencing. I imagine I’m not alone in doing this sort of thing: whether it’s a phone number, a lawyer’s name, or something the firm’s proud of and has published, it’s pretty common to grab it with select-copy-paste, and sensible too to select-copy-paste the firm name into the note as well. Yes, I could type McCarthy Tétrault, but I’m as stingy with my keystrokes as the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law: Marketing

The Friday Fillip: Coffee Gear

The best cup of coffee I ever had was made by my cousin in London when we were both impoverished students. I was visiting, and to celebrate he sprang for a slim packet of freshly roasted and ground coffee, which he then brewed by putting it in a chipped juge and pouring boiled water over it. After a bit he ran the back of a cold spoon over the surface of the water, as I recall, causing some floating grounds to sink to the bottom. And then he poured. Lovely.

Of course, it was London. We were young. I was . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous