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Archive for ‘Legal Information: Publishing’

Of BCLaws.ca Buzz and One Less Pay Wall With Sensational Spelling

Fellow Slaw contributor Kim Nayer wrote about QPLegalEze’s imminent dismantlement back in April 2014. Her post, titled “Goodbye QPLegalEze; Welcome Open Law“, heralded an end to an era of embargoed legal information, and hinted at the promise of a more democratic trend—one where the government lets the law become knowable even in the absence of our wallets.

Some goodbyes take longer than others. 20-odd months later, however, it really does feel like the house has cleared out. The repository of BC’s laws (various enactments, historical tables, ministerial orders archives, and that sort of thing) which was once kept  . . . [more]

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

Trends in New Media Unionization

On December 15, 2015 Vice Canada, a growing (and very cool) digital news media company, announced that it was starting a union drive. This announcement comes on the heels of a growing trend in new media unionizing.

Although Canada has a long history of unionization within its major news organizations, digital or “new” media has been long been on the sidelines of union drives, particularly when compared to the US.

Since June 2015, a number of prominent American digital media companies have unionized without any significant conflict, including the Guardian US. The American branch of the British daily newspaper . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Quiet Demise of the Print Version

Attentive law librarians and those who read ‘about’ pages on websites and likely most Slaw readers will not be surprised that beginning in 2016, there will no longer be a print subscription available for the Alberta Hansard. The Legislative Assembly of Alberta is following in the footsteps of most other jurisdictions in Canada, which do not offer subscriptions for parliamentary publications. Many public bodies, for very sensible economic reasons, have ceased print subscriptions.

The Alberta Hansard remains the official report of the debates of the Legislature of Alberta, as it has been since it began in 1972. This well researched . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Of CanLII Quirks and Hacks for Noting Up Supreme Court Family Rules in BC

Apologies to other Slaw readers in advance. This post is mostly for BC lawyers interested in using CanLII to note up specific Supreme Court Family Rules. I shared these tips recently in a paper for a CLE and thought the general principle or method might be helpful to a broader audience too.

I’ll preface this post to say that 95% of the time, CanLII is a simply phenomenal tool. Deeply customizable search operators and a clean interface/search template. It’s a killer app for lawyers and others seeking to know the law. It is, however, strangely ill-suited to note up specific . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Internet

What Does It Really Mean to “Free the Law”? Part 2

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

 

Attributed to Nelson Mandela, that quote fits the experience of groups around the world that sought over much of the past 20 years to make the law freely accessible on the internet. Beginning today (November 9th), dozens of members of the Free Access to Law Movement (FALM), along with other supporters, are meeting in Sydney, Australia where AustLII is hosting the 2015 Law via the Internet conference. Some countries attending are currently at the “impossible” stage and look to achievements in Canada and elsewhere for inspiration of what is possible. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

What Does It Really Mean to “Free the Law”? Part 1

A fantastic development out of the United States last week – Harvard Law School and Ravel Law plan to make access to the school’s entire library of reported U.S. case law available for free on Ravel’s website. In a multi-year effort and at a cost said to be in the millions (exact details not known), some “40,000 books containing approximately forty million pages of court decisions” are being digitized and uploaded to Ravel’s platform, where anybody will be able to search, read and use the material at no cost. This is an incredible advance in open access to law and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

Of Wikibooks and the Impossible Trinity of Information

Poo-pooing Wikipedia’s citeworthiness has a rich and honoured tradition, and not just among academics. The authoritative quality of crowd-sourced wisdom is a well-flogged heel for those in legal circles too, often trotted out in judgments like some Karl Von Hess to be beaten up by proper prudent legal authority. Wikipedia was first knocked about in Canadian jurisprudence in Bajraktaraj v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2005 FC 261, a decision of the Federal Court which set the tone for dealing with the pariah:

… the quality of the sources relied upon by the applicant, including an article

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Technology: Internet

US Supreme Court Justices Prefer Shakespeare

According to a recent article about the favourite literary references used by current US Supreme Court justices in their judgments, Shakespeare and Lewis Carroll top the list.

This was followed by:

  • George Orwell
  • Charles Dickens
  • Aldous Huxley
  • Aesop
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky, William Faulkner, Herman Melville and J.D. Salinger (equal number of references)

This reminds me of one of my posts on Slaw.ca (way back in 2006!) on Popular Song Lyrics in Legal Writing. Oklahoma City University School of Law professor Alex B. Long did a study of citations to pop music stars in law journals.

In descending list of “popularity” . . . [more]

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

Slaw Contributor Adam Dodek Wins 2015 Walter Owen Book Prize

Slaw Contributor Adam Dodek has been awarded the Canadian Bar Association (CBA)’s 2015 Walter Owen Book Prize for his book Solicitor-Client Privilege, published by Lexis-Nexis:

“Solicitor-Client Privilege explains key aspects of lawyer-client confidentiality, analyzes the exceptions to privilege, conditions where privilege is unclear, and situations of competing interests that might bring into question the application of privilege (…) ”

“Prof. Dodek teaches public law and legislation, constitutional law, legal ethics and professional responsibility, and a seminar on the Supreme Court of Canada at University of Ottawa. He is a founding member of the faculty’s Public Law Group, the director of

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

The Only Thing Wrong With Looseleafs Is They’re Printed on Paper

Like lawyers, computer scientists need up-to-date publications in a field that changes constantly, and in my case, sometimes frivolously. In effect, I need looseleafs, except I really don’t need them on paper in three-ring binders.

When I’m trying to put together an argument for a particular “design pattern” (think verdict), I want to refer to a classic reference I can pick up and read, where I use it enough that I remember where things are, and where I can cite it and have it recognized it by my peers. I want something like Gold’s Practitioners Criminal Code, but . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Of Lexbox and the Promise of Convenience for CanLII Users

CanLII has a new friend. Its name is Lexbox.

It’s a product from Lexum — the Montreal-based company responsible for the undergirding technology of CanLII — which first emailed me and a clutch of other legal research types back in late March with an invite to help test the experimental tool when it was still in a closed beta phase.

We were told then that the aim of Lexbox (and you can read a lot more about it here) is to simplify how lawyers store, monitor and share online legal information. Having kicked the tires over the past . . . [more]

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

Complaints Against Globe24h Deemed Well-Founded by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner

Last June 5th, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) issued its findings (Complaints against Globe24h.com, 2015 CanLII 33260 (PCC), the “Findings”) in relation with the activities of a Romanian entrepreneur who illegally downloaded a large number of Canadian decisions in order to commercially exploit the desire of the individuals named in these decisions to maintain some degree of privacy. The story of Sebastian Radulescu, the operator of the Globe24h.com website, has been reported by news organizations such as the Financial Post, the CBC and the Globe and Mail. See our summary . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing