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Archive for ‘Legal Information: Publishing’

The Future of Legal Writing: Online and Short Form

In 1936, Yale law professor Fred Rodell wrote “[t]here are two things wrong with almost all legal writing. One is its style. The other is its content.”

Some things never change, but the growth of legal blogging over the past decade would give hope to even Professor Rodell that not all legal writing must suffer from these twin deficiencies. In fact, the good professor might even be persuaded to accept that short form legal writing through blogs serves as a valuable source of legal scholarship.

In the context of a for-credit tech law internship overseen by the University of Ottawa . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Are Reports to the Police Protected From Defamation Suits?

Preserving one’s reputation is a fine value – and one that the law of libel strives to protect. But it’s not absolute, and the law recognizes that some communications are so important that they must trump reputation. That’s why communications that enjoy privilege are defensible in defamation cases.
So is there a qualified privilege when reporting relevant information to the police in good faith, protecting the individual reporting the information from a libel suit. The answer is Yes. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Senate Reform at the SCC

We know that today marks the start of the Senate reform reference at the Supreme Court of Canada. I am certain that many of us wish we had three days to devote to viewing the webcasts of this event. If you cannot make the time for full attention to the webcast, Eugene Meehan kindly tweeted some of the grab and go information sources.

Tweet by tweet coverage is being handled by:

There are some hashtags that are currently in use including #SenCa #SCC and #cdnpoli

If you are planning to watch an SCC Webcast, . . . [more]

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

Four Choice Titles From the Osgoode Society

…and a love-in for Roy McMurtry

The Osgoode Society held its annual book launch last Wednesday at Osgoode Hall. The event was a stellar occasion, with many celebrity authors and guests in attendance and four choice titles to applaud. Authors Charlotte Gray and Roy McMurtry in particular helped draw a record crowd that included among many notable jurists, Aharon Barak, a former chief justice of Israel, and Rosalie Abella, a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and the leading cheerleader for legal research and writing in Canada.

McMurtry himself was the object of a virtual “love-in” as long time . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Reading

Stopping Link Rot in Law?

As we’ve discussed a number of times on Slaw, a good many hyperlinks break over time as their targets get moved or taken down. This link rot is particularly challenging in academia and in law, where cited authorities are an important component of one’s argument.

In a 16 page document available on SSRN three weeks ago, “Perma: Scoping and Addressing the Problem of Link and Reference Rot in Legal Citations,” Harvard professors Jonathan Zittrain and Kendra Albert:

. . . document a serious problem of reference rot: more than 70% of the URLs within the Harvard Law Review

. . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Technology: Internet

Crowdfunding Publication of Industry Standards

Industry standards are wonderful things. They help keep us safe in myriad contexts; they promote economic efficiency; they form a kind of “democratized” and rational element to a lot of legislation, typically by being incorporated by reference.

And they’re really rather expensive to consult.

So, according to an article in Next City, Carl Malamud is buying copies of safety standards across the US, scanning them, and putting them online for anyone to consult for free. The folks who develop these standards object. They’ve launched a lawsuit claiming that Malamud is infringing on their copyrights. In order to defend the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Publishing

21st C Lament

Earlier this week I had one of those discussions/debates with a friend of mine whereby neither of us could remember a certain point. However, our discussion was quickly laid to rest with a quick perusal of the nearest search engine. In our particular case we were trying to remember all the characters that have been in KISS (avec make-up). Trust me, it is not as easy to recall as you might think (absent enlistment in the KISS army).

This occasion brought home a lament of mine, that the interweb has killed the bar stool argument, one no longer goes back . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing

A Website With the World’s Constitutions

Shortly after being disappointed that Oxford’s Constitutions of the World wanted money from me — my university background and the ethic of free knowledge can’t be taken out of the boy, it seems — I learn about Constitute. Here, too, are the world’s constitutions, but absent any fee.

Now, Constitute doesn’t promise to update according to a schedule (they claim they’re up-to-date as of September 2013), and though all the constitutions I’ve had a quick look at are set out in English, there’s no indication of how or by whom they were translated from their original language, this is . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous

The Legal Semantic Web Inches Forward

Those of you who are into legal informatics will like to know that there’s a proposal to form a new technical committee at OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) to work on “an open standard for machine-readable tagging of legal citations.” Legalcite, if the draft proposal is approved, will come up with a “tagging model” that would let content producers affix a variety of metadata to a case or statute citation in such a way that a computer could, first, recognize that the citation was just that: a legal citation; and then “understand” a number of things . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing

F. Tim Knight on Linked Data and Canadian Legal Resources

I am interested to see what comes out of the CanLII hackathon that took place this weekend. F. Tim Knight kindly shared slides and notes from his presentation on Friday, Linked Data and Canadian Legal Resources.

Don’t know what linked data is? Tim walks us step-by-step through what it is, some of the theoretical background of this concept, how linked data could be used, and how it might apply to Canadian legal resources (such as case law), especially using CanLII.

I especially recommend his slides with notes. In them, he encourages more open contributions of legal data:

If

. . . [more]

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

Digitisis, Part Three: Expedition and Erudition

The major strategic shift of the past two decades in professional publishing is the decline of the historical duopoly. Lawyers never really wanted to deal with more than a few reliable tradesmen (typically Butterworth and Sweets as was in the UK) and the owners of the primary sources certainly didn’t want just anyone playing with their gems of wisdom. This supply-side duopoly propped up Lexis and Thomson/West in the UK for many decades. It coincidentally conferred on them financial supremacy: deeper pockets than the rest. Pockets they used to ramp up acquisition prices, R&D, front list development, etc in ways . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Digitisis, Part Two: The Symptoms of Digitisis

The disease that afflicted legal and professional publishing for the last two decades was corrosive on many levels.

The first symptom of the Digital obsession or Digitisis disease was the overspending on document structure definitions and an obsession with rescuing whole ‘limbs’ of content that were probably going to be amputated in due course anyway. No-one in Lexis, Thomson, Bloomberg-BNA or Wolters-Kluwer-CCH could agree on what future content should look like so they had no idea what to keep or discard. This indecision led to the lowest common denominator strategy of ‘digitise and it will be worth it . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing