Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for ‘Legal Information’

Case Matrix Gets the Top Prize

This morning the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo (PRIO) announced that the international ‘Dieter Meurer Prize for Legal Informatics’ for 2008 ((Sponsored by the German Association for Computing in the Judiciary (‘Deutscher EDV-Gerichtstag e.V.’) and the German-language legal information service provider ‘juris GmbH’ (Germany’s ‘LexisNexis’ or ‘Lovdata’) )) has been awarded to Morten Bergsmo for his creation and development of the Case Matrix, a tool designed to make work on accountability for international crimes committed in armed conflicts more precise and effective.

Keen Slaw readers can read the award in Norwegian here.

Case Matrix is a unique, law-driven

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

Comparative Law – Ghanian Law Now More Accessible

I’m surprised that we haven’t talked about Ghana in Slaw – especially ((as every articling student in a corporate rotation knows)) the grand-daddy of modern corporate law statutes in the Commonwealth ((Yes, older than the Dickerson Report which led to the CBCA or the Iacobucci/Prithard/Pilkington report which spawned the ABCA)) was the work which Jim Gower did on company law in Ghana in the late Fifties ((See Reform of Company Law in Ghana, Journal of African Law, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Autumn, 1958), pp. 140-142)). Gower’s life is one example of a dying breed, the peripatetic English academic/law reformer . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Wiki on Forced Migration Issues

Librarian Elisa Mason, who has worked at the UN High Commission for Refugees and the Refugee Studies Centre in Oxford, has created the Forced Migration Guide using wiki software.

The guide offers descriptions of resources for the study of refugees, internal displacement and human trafficking.

“The principal audience for this guide is students in a higher education setting who require an introduction to the main research tools and information sources in their subject area of interest. However, it should also appeal to novice researchers based in non-governmental organizations, governmental agencies, and international bodies who may not be familiar with the

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

Knowledge Management for Legal Professionals

If you are working in KM, or perhaps just interested, and looking to share notes with others on this subject, Patrick DiDomenico, KM Manager of Debevoise Plimpton LLP in NYC, has started a Knowledge Management for Legal Professionals group in a few different online places (free registration required to see some or all of these):

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management

Lawyer Type

Adobe Caslon “a”

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, 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