Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for February, 2017

Build, Baby, Build

“I have a great idea for an app”, said the excited caller at the end of the line.

“With just a couple clicks, your phone can […insert really cool function here…]. It will save so much time and money, and you can just imagine the contribution it will make to improved access to justice!!”

At least weekly, but typically more often than that, people share with me their idea for an app/service/tool that could very well make a valuable contribution to public or professional engagement with legal information or the legal system. I love these discussions.

My prior . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Comments Pro, Con and Neutral on Trump’s US Supreme Court Nominee

SCOTUSblog, the well-known American blog devoted to analysis of the United States Supreme Court, has been providing great coverage of US President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit) to fill the vacancy left on the top court of our Southern neighbour by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016.

Here are some links. Each of the SCOTUSblog posts below contains extensive links to news, commentary and analysis:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

2017 FLSC Consultations on Proposed Amendments to the Model Code of Professional Conduct

See below for a Report and Request for Comments from Federation of Law Society on the Model Code of Professional Conduct.

Good afternoon,
I am writing to share the 2017 Consultation Report of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s Standing Committee on the Model Code of Professional Conduct (The report is available in English and French.). The proposed amendments address issues related to technological competence, the return to the practice of law by former judges, and an amendment to the rule on encouraging respect for the administration of justice. Feedback on any or all of the proposed amendments . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements

United States Asking Foreign Visitors for Social Media Info and Cell Phone Contacts

I heard about the United States Custom Border Agency had been asking Canadians for access to their Facebook accounts and cellphones when they arrived at the border to join the women’s march on Washington the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. When some Canadians refuse to surrender their information, they were denied entry into the US and turned away (this is in addition to those who were refused entry because they were going to the march). I was appalled to hear this, and appalled at the invasion of privacy and violation of civil and human rights – and in 2017! I . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Internet

Evidence Based Upon National Standards Might Thereby Be Unreliable

I’ve endured a very worrisome and incompetent drafting of an intended second edition of this National Standard of Canada (an NSC): Electronic Records as Documentary Evidence CAN/CGSB-72.34-2005 (“72.34,” developed by the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB)). Its intended purpose is, to be Canada’s most authoritative standard as to the proper operation and maintenance of electronic records management systems (ERMSs). Therefore it can be used to test the “integrity” that provisions such as, s. 31.2(1)(a) of the Canada Evidence Act (CEA), and s. 34.1(5),(5.1) of the Ontario Evidence Act (OEA), require of ERMSs, for the purpose of determining the admissibility of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Trump’s Executive Order & the Firing of Yates

Below is the full text of the White House statement

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law

The Federal Court Confirms Office of the Privacy Commissioner’s Findings About Globe24h

Last Monday, on January 30th, the Federal Court issued a judgment in an application against the Globe24h.com website and its owner, Mr. Sebastian Radulescu. Mr. Radulescu’s activities have been discussed over the past couple of years in mainstream media as well as here on Slaw.

In June 2015, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner issued findings (Complaints against Globe24h.com, 2015 CanLII 33260 (PCC)) which we then commented. In his reasons (A.T. v. Globe24h.com, 2017 FC 114 (CanLII)), Judge Mosley confirms, among other findings, that Mr. Radulescu’s website has no journalistic purpose:

[70] In

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Publishing

Marketing Due Diligence

Due Diligence is something lawyers know a thing or two about. It is engrained in them from the first day of school. Due diligence includes the reasonable steps taken by a person to satisfy a legal requirement. It is an investigation. The theory behind due diligence is that by doing research the amount and quality of information available to decision makers improves. Lawyers are very good at doing this for clients yet spend little time doing it about clients.

Lawyers spend a lot of time understanding the law – and so they should. However they tend to spend very little . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

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 Natewayes, 2015 SKCA 120

[1] Tasia Natewayes was charged with manslaughter in connection with a stabbing death that occurred during the course of a home invasion. She had driven a group of men to the house where the fatal attack occurred so they could assault Cody Vandall. The trial judge acquitted Ms. Natewayes of manslaughter but convicted her of break . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Trump’s Executive Order on Foreigners Strips Privacy Protection for Canadians

Included in Trump’s reprehensible executive order “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” was this:

Sec. 14. Privacy Act. Agencies shall, to the extent consistent with applicable law, ensure that their privacy policies exclude persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally identifiable information.

The Privacy Act covers personal information held by US Federal agencies. This would apply, for example, to information collected about Canadians entering the United States.

This should be attracting the wrath of the Canadian privacy commissioner and the Canadian . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

The Sweet Morbidity of Link Rot

A couple years ago, the New Yorker ran a great, comprehensive piece on “link rot”—that scourge of dead-end links and vexing “404” errors that annoys us all and ensures the Web’s enduring reputation as an “ethereal, ephemeral, unstable, and unreliable” ravel of non-sequiturs.

The article charts the curious history of the Wayback Machine—that most indispensible weapon in the fight against link rot—and mentions the “disastrous” effects for lawyers and judges who seek to erect houses of reason on the quicksand of internet sources.

It is all quite topical given the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent move to tackle the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research