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Archive for ‘Legal Information’

Cognition for Legal

The race is on to make (and sell to users) the first truly good search engine that deals well with concepts, such that a search for “dog bites man” would include results without the word “dog” or “bites” but that include “Pomeranian” and “attacks,” to give a very simple example. Natural language processing — or NLP — is not easy for machines to learn, of course. Not only must they have a decent thesaurus, but as well they should be able to parse a document and derive some sense of context so that the results of a “dog bites man . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Ontario Justice Portal

Chris Bentley, Ontario’s Attorney General announced today a new one-stop “Justice Ontario” Website And Hotline to provide access to legal information

Justice Ontario is billed as providing

An online door to the justice system including easy-to-use information on family law, criminal law, lawsuits and disputes, human rights, estate planning and tickets and fines

Easy access to legal resources such as lawyer referral services and family law information centres

Toll-free telephone access to the same information in 173 languages at 1-866-252-0104.

The Press Release states that “Improving access to justice for all Ontarians begins with better, easy-to-use legal information,” a point . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

An Online Law Library – Sunbury PA Politicians Have Their Doubts

Cost of online law library criticized

MIDDLEBURG — Snyder County Commissioner Joe Kantz doesn’t understand why county leaders last year tossed hundreds of law books into the garbage.

Last October, officials heaped the county’s law library into a green Dumpster behind the Snyder County Courthouse, leaving the county to swap paper and ink for software.

While the books did require periodic updates, Kantz said Snyder County now is shelling out $10,000 each year to maintain its online law library — a sum at which he scoffed Tuesday. “That was a pretty good waste of taxpayer dollars if you ask me,” . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Collaborative Search

As law schools explore more team learning (though they’ve a long way to go to get to the Business School small group culture), the possibility of collaborative tools becomes more important. Remember the line from Google’s Joe Kraus that “”the nature of information discovery is changing … from a solitary activity to a social one”.

That’s why a posting on the Italian blog Programmazione.it v6.0 beta caught our attention. A post on a tool for group collaboration, describing a free Internet Explorer plug-in that allows groups of people to collaborate on Web searches . The features include include group query . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Technology

Pipl Search: Online Directory for Searching for People

A column by Randolph Hock in this month’s edition of The CyberSkeptic’s Guide to Internet Research alerted me to Pipl (apparently pronounced “people”). It does not appear to have yet been discussed on SLAW so I thought I would mention it now.

It is a search engine to find people. What’s makes it different, according to the site, is that it searches various (presumably free) databases on the Web that are part of the “deep” or “invisible” web:

Unlike a typical search-engine, Pipl is designed to retrieve information from the deep web, our robots are set to interact with searchable

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

Expertise Management and Networking – an Emerging KM Challenge

When the subject of “finding experts” comes up in most groups of legal KM professionals, the discussion often polarizes into two camps – either automated solutions or self-declared solutions. Indeed, some of this is fueled by early solutions that either tried to mine email, document and other work product to determine who the experts were (based on frequency, but not depth or quality, of conversation) or systems that allowed an individual to tick off the boxes indicating their self-declared expertise or interests in particular areas. But the landscape is more complex than that. It is simply not an “either / . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management

Are Good Litigators Born?

I’ve always been leery of proponents of a biological basis for intelligence [or running].

I have conceded that genetics play some role on an individual basis, but need to be activated by the environment. Measures of intelligence are far too culturally specific, and ignore many other forms of intelligence. And I wholly reject, for largely scientific reasons, attempts to correlate genetic intelligence with racial or ethnic groups.

The same holds true for great lawyers.

Some of us are born to a long line of lawyers, or have parents that are judges or legal academics. We grew up . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Extended Powers of Attorney: WCLRA Report

The “Western Canada Law Reform Agencies” — i.e. those of B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba — have together produced a report entitled “Enduring Powers of Attorney: Areas for Reform” [PDF] with the aim of harmonizing their separate pieces of legislation. The report is 90 pages in length and contains the following substantive chapters:

  • Recognizing and Extended Power of Attorney
  • Clarifying Attorney Duties Under an EPA
  • Preventing Misuse of an EPA
  • Transitional Provisions
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Point-in-Time Legislation From a LII

AustLII is developing point-in-time legislation on their site! You can read about the project here.

In Canada, the Department of Justice Laws site has point-in-time legislation available back to Jauanary 2003 for acts and from March 22, 2006 for regulations.

e-Laws has Ontario period in time legislation available too.

The Alberta QPSource Internet paid site has point-in-time statutes back to January 1, 2002 for subscribers. Other legal publishers offer some point-in-time services too.

Wouldn’t it be great if other LII’s could offer point-in-time legislation for one stop shopping. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Legislation

Censorship in China – on the Internet and Elsewhere

Media reports today from the Times Online (UK) remind us all that censorship is alive and well in China. The story describes how two Chinese national women (ages 77 and 79!) — who applied 5 times for permits to protest at designated venues their house evictions relating to the Chinese Olympics — have been sentenced to one year of “re-education through labour.”

Three years ago I raised on SLAW in a post the issue of Internet censorship in China (and others here have done so as well).

I am amazed at how tightly the Chinese government has been able to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Number 10 Goes Beta

Number 10 Downing Street recently launched a website, Number10.gov.uk,… in self-proclaimed beta! That’s a bit of a head scratcher: it’s not as though creating a website is so complicated that you’ve got to announce to the world that “We may not get this right, folks, the first time around, so stand by for patches…” And this for a site about the Prime Minister of the U.K.

There are some interesting things about the site, though, gamma or not. They’ve made considerable use of social media to keep things interesting and up-to-date: so you’ll see links to Number 10’s pics . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law