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Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

Resources on Extraordinary Rendition

((Last week, Maher Arar was back in the news again as his U.S. lawyers argued in front of a U.S. Court of Appeal panel for the right to restart a lawsuit against the policy known as “extraordinary rendition”.

Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian engineer, had been intercepted by U.S. authorities in 2002 on his way home via the U.S. from a trip abroad. He was then shipped off to Syria where he was held in prison – without legal recourse and totally beyond the reach of the law – and tortured as an Islamist terrorist suspect.

After his return to Canada, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

US Case Law Freed

Here’s an announcement that 1.8 million pages of US case law are soon to be available online for free under a CC licence, and will be explicitly marked as public domain. The database will be a

free archive of federal case law, including all Courts of Appeals decisions from 1950 to the present and all Supreme Court decisions since 1754.

This via Library Stuff, Open Access News, and BoingBoing . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Universal Human Rights Index

The U.N. has a Universal Human Rights Index of United Nations Documents that lets you search the database by country, the right in question (e.g. “acceptance of international norms” “right to life”) and by the relevant Treaty Body (e.g. Committee on Migrant Workers, Committee on the Rights of the Child). The index is accessible in English, French and Spanish. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

Preferential Trade Agreements Database

Professor Armand de Mistral’s project on PTAs has just been published on the internet. The announcement from McGill describes it as follows:

The database is an information center that lists international PTAs, and contains links to their texts, and the official websites of the government department responsible for them. It also contains an interdisciplinary bibliography on PTAs-related issues. The database was built two years ago and since then, we are constantly adding information to it to keep it as current as possible. In fact, we believe that it is the most up-to-date and comprehensive database of its kind.

Some sections . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

The PORTIA Project on Privacy and Technology

I don’t think we’ve mentioned the Yale / Stanford PORTIA Project before on Slaw:

The PORTIA goals are (1) to design and develop a next generation of technology for handling sensitive information that is qualitatively better than the current generation’s and (2) to create an effective conceptual framework for policy making and philosophical inquiry into the rights and responsibilities of data subjects, data owners, and data users.

Much of the material is inaccessible to the average reader because of a high degree of technical material (e.g. On the Implementation of Pairing-Based Cryptosystems or Private Multiparty Sampling and Approximation of Vector . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

World’s Silliest Laws and Weirdest Cases

The British Broadcasting Corporation has a report about a survey to choose the most bizarre and ridiculous laws still on the books in the UK.

Some 4,000 people took part in the poll by the British television channel UKTV Gold.

Among the silliest laws, according to the vox populi (or is that vox dei?):

  • It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament
  • It could be regarded an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British king or queen’s image upside-down
  • In the UK, a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants
  • It is
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Information Freedom: Possible and Good.

Maybe its just me, but the web, as represented in my aggregator, seems to be drawing these threads together tightly this morning. First, we have the news that file sharing is good for the music business, plus the fact that some US universities are starting to rebuff the RIAA‘s requests for data on file-sharers. Anonymity is good for information quality where the information being exchanged is somehow protected or proscribed. But where the information is not controlled, anonymity is less crucial, and increased access makes markets work better. When the information is free (as in speech), . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

The Law of Tattoos

Well Slaw hasn’t had a discussion about piercings or personalized skin art. Because – you might say – what does this have to do with law or legal information.

Well given that these things are manifestations of some sort of creativity, it isn’t surprising that there might be IP implications.

Yes – there is law, and the leading expert is an Ottawa native ((Harkins is legal counsel at Brinks, Hofer, Gilson & Lione, a Chicago intellectual property law firm. He is the son of Zoe and John Harkins of Ottawa.)) whose article “Tattoos and Copyright Infringement: Celebrities, Marketers and . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

Supreme Court of Canada Client Satisfaction Survey

The Supreme Court of Canada has published an executive summary of a client satisfaction survey of recent Registry Branch customers. The Registry Branch is the administrative arm of the Court.

The survey was done in the spring of 2007 by the firm Phase 5.

299 counsel, agents and self-represented litigants who had appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada in 2006 were invited to participate in an online survey. The response rate was 60%.


  • Information related to appeals was the most commonly accessed service area by respondents (93%), followed by information related to applications for leave to appeal (85%),
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Nino Scalia Meets Bullitt

Fast car chases are a staple of every action film ((I leave it to the dweebs to debate whether Bullitt, French Connection or Ronin takes the medal.)) What is unusual is for the US Supreme Court to be confronted with such a clip. If this doesn’t work, try Youtube 1 and Youtube 2

The case was Scott v. Harris

All but one of the nine justices viewed the tape of the chase before the hearing, and they were entranced by it, discussing it for most of the hearing. Most of the court seemed attracted to the plaintiff’s claim he . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology

Jurisdictional Details

I’ll tie this to the privacy, law enforcement, and copyright disputes grab bag topic cluster to justify linking to these recent cool developments of the “geographic web”:

3D WorldViewer Everyscape Launches

Everyscape is a new service that takes 2D photos and 3D-fies them to create an immersive street-side experience

EveryScape Takes Streetview Indoors

On the face of it, their service is exactly the same as Google Streetview. EveryScape has driven around each of the cities creating full 360 degree panoramas. However, there’s one key twist — anyone can contribute. Contributions will help them go beyond other services and capture indoors

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology