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Archive for February, 2013

2013 Law via the Internet Conference on Island of Jersey

The 2013 Law Via the Internet conference will take place in late September 2013 on Jersey, one of the Channel Islands (I admit, I had to look it up on a map).

The conference brings together people from the Legal Information Institutes (LIIs) from different countries and continents that together form the Free Access to Law Movement.

The conference “tracks” will be:

  • E-Learning: distance, blended, open, mobile, gaming, MOOCing and more?
  • Online legal information – starting from scratch
  • Legal knowledge in the age of the semantic web
  • Communicating our work: journals, blogs and other ways of publishing about open access
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Technology: Internet

Self-Preservation

We leave a trail of footprints across the Web that can seem ephemeral. Content on law firm Web sites changes, status updates to LinkedIn or Twitter fade, with new content taking the place of the old. In some cases, it’s out-of-sight-out-of-mind but it continues to live on. Twitter resells access to old posts through its Firehose, Web sites can be archived by services like the Internet Archive. That may not be the best way to keep track of your online activity. You can create a personal archive and preserve your own online footprints.

A personal archive can have a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Violence and Threats Against Lawyers Is a Growing Concern in Canada

I never considered the practice of law a dangerous occupation. I simply never thought of the potential dangers associated with practising law. But a blog post written by David Hyde, one of our authors on First Reference Talks, brought the whole issue to light and gave me an understanding of the nature and extent of the problem of violence and threats in the legal profession. I thought his insights into the problem would be of interest to the legal community, and decided to republish it here on Slaw.
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Davos Trends

I mentioned the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos in my previous column. Did I spot any law of the future trends there?

For one thing, I rarely if ever heard the words ‘rule of law’. There was a lot of interesting interaction about Big Challenges – economic crisis, environmental crisis, peace and security crises, development, cyber and digital challenges, Arab Spring, innovation, the need for values, and the rise of African and Asia. Rule of law is, I must suppose, assumed to be part of solving all that. But assumptions make me a little nervous. I . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Thursday Thinkpiece: Whelan on Finding Legal Information on the Internet

Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt from a recently published book or journal article. In every case the proper permissions have been obtained. If you are a publisher who would like to participate in this feature, please let us know via the site’s contact form.

FINDING AND MANAGING LEGAL INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET, 2nd Ed
David Whelan
Toronto: Canada Law Book, 2012
[© 2012 Thomson Reuters Canada Limited. Reproduced by permission of Carswell, a division of Thomson Reuters Canada Limited.]

Excerpt: pp. 64-67

General Search

The primacy of Google and Bing has not stopped other search engines from entering . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

ABS – the Fear in Canada Is Palpable

The ABS debate continues among many Canadian provinces. The Law Society of British Columbia has already made the same mistake as the American Bar Association recently made by declining to allow outside investment in law firms. One of LSBC’s reasons was that local lawyers didn’t feel a need for it; this reminds me of a comment made by a lawyer in the UK and likely echoed by some in Canada, “We’re smart people. If there was a better way to do things we would have already figured it out.” Or to more bluntly put it, LSBC’s rationale is like asking . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management

CanLII to Introduce API

The Canadian Legal Information Institute, CanLII, has just announced that it will be introducing an API (application programming interface) in mid-March. This will allow developers and others to obtain direct access to the CanLII database in order to use the resulting data within their applications or web pages.

This is very good news indeed — and a very smart move by CanLII. If you’re in the “business” of giving data away, as CanLII is, you want to make the transfer as easy and enticing as possible. As the announcement says:

We hope law schools, legal information and legal aid resources,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Announcements, Legal Information: Publishing

BC Releases Part Two of Justice Reform Plan

♫ Cause I feel like I’m in love with a technology…

Music, lyrics and recorded by Jessie J.

The BC Ministry of Justice has released its White Paper on Justice Reform, part Two.

The Report is broad and far-reaching. It is also innovative. It is aimed at providing a transparent, timely and balanced system. For example:

“The justice system must be transformed to that of a service culture, where citizen’s needs and outcomes are the focus, and investments in justice service align with best practices.”

There are five key themes of the report. These are:

  1. Timely and
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues

Why Words Matter: SCC Affirms Need for Hate Speech Protections

The Supreme Court today issued a unanimous decision in Saskatchewan (Human Rights Commission) v. Whatcott, found here.

A series of human rights complaints were filed against William Whatcott under the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code for various flyers that he had been distributing in the community, expressing his dismay at the presence of “sodomites,” “filth and propaganda,” and “buggery” at local schools. Mr. Whatcott sought to challenge the constitutionality of the human rights complaints, arguing that they were incompatible with his Charter right to freedom of expression. A right that Mr. Whatcott believes in so fervently, by the way, that . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

Aaron’s Law

The tragic loss of Aaron Swartz on January 11, 2013 has given rise to a thoughtful swell across the blogosphere and news media on information rights as well as crime and punishment. His life has been rightly celebrated for his contributions to a more open and free exchange of knowledge, just as the federal prosecutors have been excoriated for the mishandling of the alleged charges against Aaron of illegally downloading over four million scholarly and previously published articles from JSTOR. In the aftermath of this tragedy, what comes to mind, for me, at least, is how the law contributes to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Mobile World Congress Under Way – Phablet Anyone?

The wireless industry has a trade show this time each year in Barcelona. Cellphone manufacturers announce their newest tech at the show. 

Phablets are a big trend. Several are included in this CNET slideshow of phones that were introduced. Phablets are smartphones with screens between 5 and 7 inches that are half way between a phone and tablet. So think of them as either smartphones with huge screens – or small tablets that can make phone calls.

Many people ridicule phablets by saying that you would look stupid holding it up to your ear to make a phone call. But . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For the week of February 19 – 26:

  1. R. v. McKay 2013 ABPC 13

    [1] The accused is charged under s. 253(1)(a) and 253(1)(b) of the Criminal Code. The accused has a filed a Notice pursuant to the Charter s. 24(2), to exclude evidence obtained arising from alleged breaches of the accused’ rights pursuant to s. 7, 8 and 10 of the Charter. In particular, the accused

. . . [more]
Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII