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Archive for June, 2017

Profound Thoughts From a Visionary

It was suggested to me, not unfairly, that I should be more forward-looking when writing on the topic of legal and professional information publishing. The point, though hardly seriously, was put in terms of whether I might personally consider exploring the role of “visionary” for the law publishing business sector, which was coded language for, to date, my being more negative than positive; those who see themselves as insiders are supposed to be upbeat and enthusiastic. In my defence, previous columns have included such dynamic titles as: An Exciting Time for Legal and Professional Publishing; Publish and (Perhaps) Be . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on research, writing, and practice.

Research & Writing

All Well and Good
Neil Guthrie

If I had a dollar for every time he’s heard Good, thanks – and you? in response to How are you?, I’d be writing this from a villa in Tuscany. (Or not writing it all, just sipping Negronis on a deck-chair by the pool.) The grammatically correct response to how are you? is well, not good. Good traditionally

. . . [more]
Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Courthouse Libraries BC’s Open Invite in UX Testing “Sprint” to Improve Website

The key to improving ease of use is to erase assumptions. 

That’s important when aiming to improve website usability, generally, but it’s not always easy when you’re dealing with an esoteric culture of users (such as lawyers) who are used to finding information according to old patterns.

Luckily, tools like Treejack, offer “tree testing” as a “usability technique for evaluating the findability of topics in a website.” This is a structure . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Technology: Internet

Be Aware, Be Very Aware

Let’s reclaim our minds from being hijacked by technology”—Time Well Spent

Sam Harris hosts the podcast Waking Up. He holds degrees in philosophy and neuroscience and has written on many topics including neuroscience, moral philosophy, politics, religion, rationality, free will, and ethics. In general he explores “how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live.” In this episode called, “What is Technology Doing to Us?,” he talks with Tristan Harris, who describes himself as “an expert on how technology hijacks our psychological vulnerabilities”, is . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award­-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from more than 80 recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. Alcohol & Advocacy 2.Municipal Matters 3. First Reference 4. Wise Law Blog 5. Meurrens on Immigration

Alcohol & Advocacy
Yukon Liquor Corporation Contemplating Tax Break for Local Brewers

The Yukon Party are making headlines again up north by revisiting (from the opposition benches) a plank from

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Shocking the Criminal Justice System Into Action

We meant what we said, when we described in R. v. Jordan last year, a culture of complacency towards delay in the criminal justice system.”  This could encapsulate what the Supreme Court of Canada signaled in its recent decision in R. v. Cody, where they rejected submissions by interveners by provincial governments to provide greater flexibility in applying unreasonable delay.

Section 11(b) of the Charter was always expected to be interpreted judicially as to what a reasonable delay in our justice system meant. The highly subjective nature of prejudice under the previous 1992 Morin framework was also unpredictable, as . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : Dans une affaire où l’accusé, inculpé de meurtre au second degré, a obtenu un arrêt des procédures, le tribunal a retenu notamment que l’absence de disponibilité d’un enquêteur pour soutenir l’avocat de la poursuite dans la gestion des témoins et assurer la conservation des pièces à la . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Law and Morality: Reflections on the Angela Cardinal Case

What constrains lawyer conduct? I don’t mean in terms of positive law – i.e., the codes of conduct or the decisions of the court. I mean at its source – what is the bottom line restriction on a lawyer’s professional role? I’ve been thinking about this question a great deal following the story of Angela Cardinal– the sexual assault victim who was incarcerated for 5 nights to ensure her testimony in a preliminary inquiry (trial judgment here; media reports here and here). If what happened to Angela Cardinal was wrong (and I think it’s hard to argue that . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Fifth Bibliography on Access to Justice From National Self-Represented Litigants Project

The National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP) has published Version 5 of its Access to Justice Annotated Bibliography.

From the description on the NSRLP website:

“Version 5 of the Access to Justice Annotated Bibliography includes over
100 summaries on access-to-justice material in the Canadian, American,
and International context. Our latest updated Version 5 contains a
specific section dedicated to unbundling and legal coaching, reflecting
the increasing attention being given to these areas (…)”

The NSRLP, which flows out of the work conducted by Dr. Julie Macfarlane, Faculty of Law of the University of Windsor, describes itself as a clearinghouse . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

vLex Canada Open for Business

Well, the wait is over. Just in case you haven’t been watching, Maritime Law Book is now Compass and Compass introduced vLex Canada. There are some interesting and useful delighters with vLex Canada Open.

Delighter #1 – No barriers to entry
It is easy to sign up with no cost via two clicks by selecting your Google or Facebook credentials. Some content, like the ability to search using the MLB topic number, is available for paid subscriptions only. This makes sense. It highlights that there is value to adding information.

Delighter #2 – Look and feel
A clean screen . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Lessons Learned in Criminal Law

I recently read Adam Dodek’s post for Slaw entitled “Letter to A Future Lawyer” where he provides some great words of advice to those being called to the bar. The piece reminded me of a document that I kept on my laptop during my articling that was titled ‘Lessons Learned.” As I fumbled through some of the various procedural mazes of the courthouse, my goal was to only make each mistake once. For the last seven years I have learned a lot more, and here are my best seven tips for those lawyers joining the ranks.

1. Be . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law

An AI to Make Me Smarter

At Kobo last week, we had a guest-talk about machine learning by Sheldon Fernandez of Infusion.

After with a good grounding in deep learning systems, which mimic the human brain to a degree, we got to the interesting stuff: inscrutability, hidden factors and confounding variables. All of these pose problems to people trying to use AI, and illustrate reasons why others fear it.

Inscrutability in AIU is exactly what it is in people: an AI often cannot tell us how it arrived at a decision, or it’s description is so convoluted that it is almost worthless.

When we dig in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Technology