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Archive for December, 2014

Internet Jurisdiction and the Microsoft Warrants

According to a news report, “Earlier this week 28 technology and media companies, 23 trade associations and advocacy groups and 35 professors of computer science filed legal papers in support of Microsoft’s opposition to US court rulings earlier this year which said that US authorities’ search warrant powers apply to customer information held outside of the US.”

I have had difficulty understanding the legal basis for Microsoft’s objection. Is it not clear that either law enforcement authorities or civil courts can require the production of documents in the custody or control of an enterprise that is located in their . . . [more]

Posted in: International issues, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

The Friday Fillip: Hues Kidding

Pantone. Pan – tone. All the colours. This is quite a boast and it puts me in mind of the claim by a friend a long, long time ago that his collection of the then new tape cassettes formed, in his words, “the total library of recorded sound.”

How many colours are there?

This is one of those questions that have no answers and far too many answers. On one of its web pages, Pantone, a commercial system for matching colours in printing ink and in paint, claims a measly 2096. “Measly” because logic suggests that there is . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Creating the Conditions for Justice Innovation: How (NOT) to Solve Complex Problems

‘…now is not a good time for control freaks” – Eric Young

In my last post for Slaw I wrote about the importance of creating the conditions for justice innovation by building the skills needed to work in multidisciplinary teams and collaborate rather than “consult” with justice system users. In this post I want to focus on another important part of creating the conditions for justice innovation, in particular how we might support innovators by rethinking our problem solving approaches and the methods we use to evaluate justice innovation initiatives.

How we evaluate the success (or failure) of a project . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Ontario Employment and Labour Law Amendments Protect Vulnerable Workers

On November 20, 2014, the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014 (formerly Bill 18), became law (received royal assent) in Ontario. The Act makes a number of significant changes to employment law that will come into force over the following months.
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Thursday Thinkpiece: Gotthelf On, Um, Lawyers’ Verbal Fillers

Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt, usually 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.

The Lawyer’s Guide to Um

Barbara Gotthelf
Legal Communication &Rhetoric: JALWD Fall 2014/Volume 11

Excerpt: Introduction and Parts I through III

In 2006, my son came home from his first day of eighth grade and reported that his Language Arts teacher, whom I will call Mr. Sweeney, had made a dire announcement: He . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Be Clear and Know Your Audience

I have spent the last few months presenting to colleagues all over Canada about marketing professional services and the benefits of clear communication. After the sessions there is always a lot of conversation where I do a lot more listening than speaking.

One story that was shared resonated so clearly with me that I have been sharing it ever since.

A client told my colleague that he needed a dictionary to figure out what he was trying to say in an email. This got a good chuckle out our group but it showed that by trying to impress a client . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

“Brian Sinclair Did Not Have to Die”

Brian Lloyd Sinclair died in September 2008 in the emergency department waiting room of Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre at the age of 45. He was pronounced dead in the early hours of September 21, 2008 after he had spent some 34 hours in the emergency room awaiting attention for what was initially a relatively minor health concern.

Brian Sinclair was an Aboriginal man who lived his early years on the Fort Alexander First Nation and went on to live in Powerview, Manitoba and ultimately, in Winnipeg. He faced a number of health challenges and as well as some cognitive impairment. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Avoiding Communications Claims in Litigation

No matter what the area of practice, the number one source of claims at LAWPRO is a breakdown in communication between the lawyer and client.

Between 2008 and 2013, nearly 4,600 communications claims – an average of 762 a year – have been reported to LAWPRO. The total cost of these claims to date is about $158 million – and likely to rise as more recent years’ claims are resolved.

In the Fall 2011 issue of LAWPRO Magazine we asked LAWPRO claims counsel with expertise in the various areas of law to provide insights into the communications mistakes they see . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Should the ICC Do Anything About CIA Torture?

It shouldn’t come as any surprise to you that, before December 2014, the United States tortured its detainees. However, when the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a 525-page excerpt of its findings on the US detainee program last week, there was still a genuine sense of shock about the extent of that torture.

There were some pretty damning details in the 525-page excerpt report, many of which were horrific and somewhat draconian methods used by the CIA in interrogating detainees. Among the most horrific details are:

  • The use of “rectal rehydration”, where detainees are forcibly rehydrated by inserting
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues

Taking Time for a Social Media Sabbatical

By this time each year, most of us need a break from the onslaught of information available on our phones, tablets and computers. I’ve planned to take a carefully planned break from online activity during the next few weeks.

Why a mini social media sabbatical is a good idea

Why I need . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Encryption: Its Time Has Come

Lawyers tend to cringe when they hear the word “encryption.” To most lawyers, encryption is a dark art, full of mathematical jargon and incomprehensible to the average human being.

When South Carolina suffered a major data breach of taxpayer data, what did Governor Nikki Halley say? “A lot of banks don’t encrypt. It’s very complicated. It’s very cumbersome. There’s a lot of numbers involved with it.”

Leaving aside the laughable notion that a lot of banks don’t encrypt data, the rest of her quote is in keeping with what we hear from lawyers. What we hear always translates into the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal 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 this last week:

1. R. v. Fearon, 2014 SCC 77

[1] The police have a common law power to search incident to a lawful arrest. Does this power permit the search of cell phones and similar devices found on the suspect? That is the main question raised by this appeal.

[2] Canadian courts have so far not provided a consistent answer. At least four approaches . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII