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Archive for ‘Administration of Slaw’

Is a Printed Document Defective in Law?

Dominic Jaar has an interesting article in the droit-inc blog (en français) suggesting that a printed document may have less legal impact than the electronic original, because the printout does not reproduce all the information in the original, notably not the metadata. And these days, pretty well all documents start in electronic form, in a word processing program of some sort. Who has a typewriter any more?

This is a particular issue in Quebec because of the terms of the Act to provide a legal framework for information technologies — Loi concernant le cadre juridique des technologies de l’information, . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Legal Information: Information Management, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Law Enforcement Access to Geolocation Information From Telephone Companies

Here’s a recent statistic from an American study:

“Sprint Nextel provided law enforcement agencies with its customers’ (GPS) location information over 8 million times between September 2008 and October 2009. This massive disclosure of sensitive customer information was made possible due to the roll-out by Sprint of a new, special web portal for law enforcement officers.”

More on the blog of a PhD candidate in informatics, Slight Paranoia.

We have had some debate in Canada about law enforcement’s right to collect from ISPs (without a warrant) the name and address of people behind IP addresses. Cases have gone both . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

A Milestone

Slaw reaches 5000 posts. For a law blog that’s awesome, and for a Canadian legal information blog, unthinkable.

And we have been told just this week that we’ve been recognized by the Law Foundation of Ontario and will be receiving a grant which will permit us to take Slaw to even greater heights. Thank you Law Foundation.

Over the next few months we’ll unveil our plans and respond to unmet needs, through Slaw.

As many of you know Slaw is deliberately unhierarchical in its structure and operations. Steve Matthews, Connie Crosby and I form three parts of our loose four-person . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

The Obstructionist Self-Represented Accused: the Challenge of Control

Of the many challenges facing trial judges, one of the greatest is conducting proceedings with a self-represented accused. Invariably the self-represented accused comes to court with only a rudimentary knowledge of the trial process, often influenced by misleading depictions from television shows and the movies. He or she is unfamiliar with the substantive law, is confused by procedural requirements, and has difficulty grasping concepts such as relevance.

The burgeoning number of self-represented accused in the criminal courts may be explained by cut-backs to legal aid funding across the country, the cost of legal services, mental health problems that make it . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Legal Information, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Lawyers, Courts, and Technology

Many lawyers assume that the Court process is unable or unwilling to take advantage of available electronic technology. Sometimes they are correct.

The problem is often one of communication. In many Ontario centres the lawyers are unaware until the last moment of who will be presiding over their case; and most often judges are unaware of the cases they will be asigned until the day before the hearing or trial. Many judges (myself included) will ask during a pre-trial or management session just what preparation has been made by the parties to reduce the use of paper. Too often that . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Technology

Should Law Offices Go Paperless

At issue in the GasTOPS trial was the development and sale of a software program for the computerized maintain of jet engines and aircraft. The benefits of a Computerized Maintenance Management System are that it reduces maintenance mistakes while at the same time reducing labour costs.

When I fly on an airplane or ride on a train I am encouraged to buy my ticket online. I recently was at my family doctors office and instead of a thick file of handwritten notes covering 35 years of attendances, test results and prescriptions, she brought up my file on a monitor in . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law

The Computerized World of a Circuit Judge

I have been a judge of the Superior Court of Justice for 4 1/2 years. In that capacity, I am asked to preside over a wide variety of cases and hearings which include criminal jury trials, criminal non jury cases, family law trials and motions, civil motions and trials, and a number of other issues.

From the outset, I decided to use my computer in all judicial proceedings where I was presiding for a number of reasons. First, I am left handed and do not write quickly. When I was a lawyer, note taking was always problematic for me because . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Technology

Technology and Its Effect on Access to Justice, Advocacy, and the Judiciary

On the 22nd of October 2002 the evidentiary phase of GasTOPS v. MxI commenced in a regular courtroom in Ottawa Ontario. On March 23, 2006 after approximately 300 days of hearing and after approximately 2800 exhibits (70,000 pages) were entered into the record I reserved my decision. Over the next 20 months counsel submitted their written submissions (3500 pages). On September 25, 2009 I released my Reasons for judgment wherein I granted the plaintiff judgment against the defendants in the amount of approximately $11.1 million dollars.

The trial was conducted in a paperless environment and the trial record consists of . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Judges Guest Blogging

This month our guest blogging institution isn’t a firm, but a group of judges from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. As always, when we have an institutional guest blogger, we’ll identify the guest posts with a banner. You’ll see the one below starting tomorrow, Monday:

We hope you’ll join in and give our guest the benefit of you opinions. . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Firm Guest Blogger

Slaw Gets a Mention in Lexpert

I’m pleased to say that Slaw got a great mention in a recent piece in Lexpert Magazine’s Globe and Mail web articles, “Law Firms Test Potential for Social Media,” by Marzena Czarnecka. Yours truly made a couple of cautious comments that got reported; and blogger and Slawyer Jeremy Grushcow got to impart a few words of wisdom. . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Dealing With Digital Assets After Death

The New York Times had an interesting blog entry the other day about how one should plan to have one’s digital assets dealt with after death.

The author is not talking about bank or brokerage accounts accessed by electronic means, but about one’s PayPal account, or eBay, or Second Life virtual/real estate, etc — social media assets, as it were — or just personal information that one might not want to survive one’s own ability to control it.

Is this something we should be concerned about in Canada? What would you recommend? Or do most people really have to care . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list