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Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

Ratifying the Electronic Communications Convention

I would like to raise again whether Canada should ratify the UNCITRAL Electronic Communications Convention (ECC). The ECC sets out in treaty form some of the basic rules of the 1996 Model Law on Electronic Commerce about how legal requirements that appear to need paper writings can be satisfied by electronic communications. The Convention operates only for international contracts, though it can be used as well to interpret other conventions to which the ratifying country is a party.

Thus the Convention says that information shall not be denied legal effect solely because it is in electronic form; that a legal . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Wikipedia as Evidence

A NJ Appellate Division court says that Wikipedia is too malleable to be used as evidence in Palisades Collection v. Graubard, A-1338-07.

Mary Pat Gallagher of the New Jersey Law Journal reported yesterday,

“[I]t is entirely possible for a party in litigation to alter a Wikipedia article, print the article and thereafter offer it in support of any given position,” an appeals court held. “Such a malleable source of information is inherently unreliable and clearly not one ‘whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned,'” such as would support judicial notice under New Jersey Evidence Rule 201(b)(3).

The decision reversed an . . . [more]

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

World Book and Copyright Day

Today (being both Shakespeare’s birthday and Shakespeare’s and Cervantes’ deathday) seems apt for some comment on World Book and Copyright Day.

Last month, at the Second Global eIFL-IP conference in Istanbul, librarians from thirty-nine developing and transition countries decided to highlight the importance of users’ rights for libraries and education to mark the occasion. eIFL.net is an international foundation, which supports national library consortia in approximately fifty transition and developing countries to negotiate and advocate for the wide availability of electronic resources to education, research and professional communities as well as governmental organisations and civil society. This global . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Reading, Substantive Law

FLARE Index to Treaties

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in the United Kingdom recently launched the FLARE Index to Treaties, a searchable database of basic information on over 1,500 of the most significant multilateral treaties from 1856 to the present.

Information comes from many sources such as Multilateral Treaties: index and current status (London: Butterworths, 1984, tenth supplement, 1994), International Legal Materials (Washington: American Society of International Law, 1962-) , Bulletin of International Legal Developments/Bulletin of Legal Developments (London: British Institute of International and Comparative Law, 1966-), United Nations Treaty Series Index, etc.

Information about each treaty includes:

  • the official, popular
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law

Ontario’s New Road Safety Act – Convictions Without Trials?

A new look for Toronto Police uniforms?

On April 21, 2009 the Ontario Road Safety Act (RSA) passed through final reading creating a host of changes that will come into effect in the coming months. The government’s executive summary of the act is available at http://ogov.newswire.ca/ontario/GPOE/2009/04/21/c3780.html?lmatch=&lang=_e.html for anyone who wishes to peruse it.

As one might expect, the RSA is overflowing with ‘get tough on crime’ language and continues the predictable tradition now enshrined in Canadian law to increase penalties for impaired driving offences at every opportunity. Where the RSA strikes bold new ground is in its fiendishly clever solution . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

StatsCan’s Crime Severity Index

Statistics Canada has introduced a new measure of police-reported crime, the crime severity index, in which more serious crimes are weighted more heavily, by comparison with the usual crime rate in which all crimes affect the outcome equally. The Daily has a summary of the current index data and the chart reproduced below. For a detailed description of how the index is calculated see “Measuring Crime in Canada: Introducing the Crime Severity Index and Improvements to the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.”

. . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

Copyright and Defamation Issues With Social Media and Politics

I gave a talk earlier today on the use of social media in politics, focusing on the Canadian scene, at the Miles S. Nadal Management Centre.

Issues of copyright, including the use of YouTube, are discussed, as well as social media alternatives to defamation actions.

Social Media And Politics in Canada (4/21/09)

Audio of the talk available here until a Slide Cast can be set up. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology, Technology: Internet

Has Online ADR Got a Future?

Every few years there is a wave of enthusiasm for online alternative dispute resolution. One can see one starting in the mid-1990s, and another in 1999-2000, and maybe a wavelet in 2004 or so. Some international bodies are thinking about it again, according to discussion at the ABA’s Business Law spring meeting over the past weekend.

Osgoode Hall Law School has just got a major gift to set up an online ADR centre, the largest in the world, according to the press story.

Can this be made to work? I know that pure numbers-based saw-offs can be automated, but . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Recession and the Criminal Law Practice

The first question always posed to me seconds after learning that I am a criminal defence lawyer is “How can you defend those people?” or some variation of that classic accusatory inquiry. Recently however, this query is finding tight competition at the edges of inquiring lips with the question, “How’s the recession treating your criminal law practice, Ed?”

The answer to the first question, while nuanced and important, is one I would hope readers of a mature legal blog such as this one, would already know and respect. The answer to the second question is somewhat more difficult to articulate . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law

“One Generation Abroad” Rule for Citizenship Is Now Law

Canadian expatriates are up in arms about the recent amendment to the Citizenship Act, which came into effect on Friday, implementing a “one generation” rule limiting transmission of citizenship by Canadians born or adopted from outside Canada (section 3(3)).

Is this amendment really so terrible? Let’s consider a few examples.

Jane Canuck is born in the U.S. of Canadian parents, while her family is living there briefly. When she is a month old, her family returns to Canada, where she grows up and lives.

Under which of the following circumstances will Jane’s child be born a Canadian . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Law Day 2009

Throughout this week Law Day is being celebrated in Canada. From the Ontario Law Day 2009 website:

Law Day is a national event celebrating the signing of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Originated by the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) and first held in Canada in 1983, Law Day is aimed at educating and informing the public about the role and importance of the law. Since many people have a limited knowledge about the law and how the legal system works, Law Day empowers the public at large. It provides an excellent opportunity for the profession to educate the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training, Substantive Law