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Archive for ‘Legal Information’

Lawyer Type


Adobe Caslon “a”
Wikipedia

Typography is one of my fascinations. Tiny adjustments to the height of ascenders, to the contours of the very thin lines, to the flares that finish off the ends of strokes — all can affect our reading in ways that are too subtle to be noticed by the ordinary eye. Ever since the invention of movable type, there have been people — typographers — who worried about how to make these minature (minuscule!) moves, how best, in effect, to make reading as effortless and as enjoyable an experience as possible.

But this subtlety has a price. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law

Back to School…

It’s been a few months since I’ve posted to Slaw (tsk, tsk) so I thought I’d try and redeem myself and share two legal research wikis that I’ve created using PBWiki, for two courses I’m teaching this term. The first one is CML1101: Principles of Legal Research. It’s for all first-year students in the Common Law English program at uOttawa. I’m teaching the bulk of the sections (8) while my colleague teaches the rest (4) as well as the equivalent course for all first-year students in Common Law French. Another colleague is instructing all first-year Droit civil students in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Signets Du Juriste Québécois

Me Marco Rivard maintains a superb website for anyone interested in doing research in Québec law. Obiter2 sets out the links to the principal sources in the following categories:

1- Recherche de ressources juridiques et gouvernementales

2- Législation

3- Jurisprudence

4- Doctrine et information

5- Information juridique pour le grand public

6- Registres officiels et gouvernementaux

7- L’informatique au service du juriste

8- Divers outils utiles

9- Dictionnaires et orthographe

10- Les principaux portails québécois d’intérêt général . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Can Wikipedia Be a Source of Evidence?

Badasa v. U.S.: Here’s a US immigration case in which the US government offered information from Wikipedia to support its argument about the status of Ethiopian travel documents. The appeals court eventually found that this was not a good source of evidence, and sent the matter back for reconsideration.

ArsTechnica has the story.

Does this sound right to you? Would a print encyclopedia be any better?

I don’t see in this story any concern about the hearsay nature of the evidence — like that of any website, pretty well, surely — though that might depend on the use being . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

A Little About Max Planck*

I am spending a month on an academic exchange at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg. This is a researcher’s heaven. There is a library of nearly 500,000 volumes covering about 200 (yes, 200!!) jurisdictions, with legislation, caselaw, journals, and monographs available for use in the library. The major databases, including key European West databases, are available to researchers. Every researcher has an allocated desk or office.

There are perhaps 100 users of the facilities at any one time, from all around the world. They are not here to undertake a specific degree, . . . [more]

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

U.S. Government Secrecy Continues to Rise

According to the Secrecy Report Card 2008 of the U.S. advocacy group OpenTheGovernment.org, U.S. government secrecy continued to rise in 2007.

It is the organization’s fifth annual report assessing trends in public access to information in that Great Republic to the South.

A representative of the American Association of Law Libraries sits on the steering committee of the watchdog group that fights to push back government secrecy.

Among the highlights:

  • The American government spent $195 maintaining the secrets already on the books for every one dollar the government spent declassifying documents in 2007, a 5% increase in one year. At
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

Who Is Shaping the Election?

♫ If you’ve got a plan
If you’ve got a master plan
Got to vote for you
Hey hey, got to vote for you
‘Cause you’re the man… ♫

Words and music by: Marvin Gaye and Kenneth Stover.

The fall election – in both Canada and the USA – is taking place at a particularly interesting time. Courtesy of blogs, the public are making their voices heard to a degree that has not been possible in the past. Access to the media was not particularly easy in the past, but by virtue of the Internet, that no longer matters . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Technology, Technology: Internet

LexisWeb

Lexis has released a web search page, LexisWeb, that offers, in effect, federated searching across an unspecified number of law-related web pages from sites vetted by Lexis editorial staff.

From the user guide [PDF]:

The Lexis Web product includes important, legal-oriented Web content selected and validated by the LexisNexis editorial staff. You can trust that all content has met LexisNexis criteria for being authoritative and accurate. The current beta version combines content from thousands of Web sites and millions of Web pages, with more being added each day:

• Governmental agency information (federal, state, local)
• Informal commentary on

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

25 Most Modern Libraries in the World

…at least according to a list put together by Best Colleges Online. The list is divided under the heads of Architecture, Technology and Innovation, and Digital Collections.

Not a single Canadian pick, alas. And though the bulk are U.S. libraries, of course, there’s a solid rank of choices from abroad under the architecture section, for some reason. And speaking of the architecture section, I have to say that whoever put the list together wasn’t thinking: many of the links lead to the main library sites, where (somewhat surprisingly) there are no photos of the building or the facilities. ((For much . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Document Management a Necessity…

♫ Oh I…
I want to be with you everywhere… ♫

Words and music by Christine McVie, recorded by Fleetwood Mac.

It seems that we are living in a mini-renaissance with new technology applications being released seemingly daily. Google has released Google Chrome (see Simon Fodden’s post of Sept 1, 2008) with the stated justification that the web needs a solid foundation for modern web applications. Law firms face a similar problem – the need for a solid foundation for capturing of all the myriad bits of information that form the electronic client file into one place. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Substantive Law, Technology

Victorian Government Commitment to Access to Legal Information

Good news from Austlii, which has had a rocky year since some of its core funding was cut off. There is a good explanation of just how the legal profession benefits in a letter from the Law Council.

From a Canadian perspective, Austlii has effectively supplanted the commercial services for our access to Australian law. It’s financial troubles are deeply troubling, and one hopes that Canberra will follow Victoria’s lead

The Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) is to receive nearly $840,000 to expand the scope of Victorian legal information, such as legislation, decisions and interpretive material, that was

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

India as a Legal Research Powerhouse?

Not yet, according to widely reported remarks from Bangalore over the weekend, to the graduating class at the National Law School. See the Hindu ((Not the Hindu Times, Simon, as you blogged in August)),Economic Times and Mangalorean reports.

National Law School of India University Vice-Chancellor A. Jayagovind on Sunday expressed concern over decline in the number of students pursuing higher studies in law.

The Vice-Chancellor went on:

“Our law schools are however yet to make a mark in terms of advancement of knowledge. Hopefully, most of us have been able to impart reasonably good legal education which was

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information: Libraries & Research