Substantive Law Archives – Slaw
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Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

Spires, Antennae and the Court of Arches

There’s an interesting report in the Times Online of a judgment by the Court of Arches. Presided over by the Right Honourable and Right Worshipful the Official Principal and Dean of the Arches, it is the ecclesiastical court for the Province of Canterbury (i.e. the south half of England). Seems that a church and a local telephone company wanted to install a base station and antennae for mobile phones in the church spire. At the trial level, the Court of Arches refused permission on the ground that

some of the material to be transmitted through the antennae was not

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Hunting and Pecking; Music Dying; Measuring War

A few quick hits today as I’ve ushered 174 law students, mostly first years, through database training this week, and I’m nearing the end of my brain being productive.

I always find it interesting to observe the students during these training sessions to see how they relate to the technology. This year I noticed two interesting things. Firstly, in our training area the students can open either Firefox or Explorer and for the last few years when asked to open a browser Firefox has more often than not been their browser of choice. Not so this year, this year I . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law

Seeking Judgment

A clear candidate for today’s doc du jour would be the decision of Justice Benotto in the Red Cross tainted blood criminal trial, released yesterday afternoon. The only trouble is I can’t find it in an online form I can link to. For most lawyers this is no biggie: the commercial databases will have all the hot (and luke) decisions up within hours, if not minutes. CanLII, of course, will have the decision online in a few days’ time. But that’s not soon enough in a case like this, a case that excited considerable public attention, a lot of it . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Banned Books Week

The ALA’s Banned Books Week runs Sept. 29-Oct. 6. They have a first amendment resource page, which includes links to notable cases. In Canada, the CLA supports the Freedom to Read Week, coming up Feb 24-March 1. The Week is the collaborative work of several organizations, with the Book and Periodical Council in the lead role. Their website is worth a browse, as it has quite a bit of interesting content, including a list of Canadian articles and books on freedom of expression issues. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

Georgia, Georgia, No Peace I Find

Language Log, the multiple author blog on — what else? — language, continues to surprise, this time with an entry on a treason trial in Georgia (the country, not the U.S. state). Roger Shuy, a retired but very active linguistics professor, discusses his role in the trial of Maia Topuria, a leader of an opposition party in Georgia who was accused of plotting to overthrow the government. ((His article points to these sources of information on the trial: Christian Science Monitor, Russia Today, and two pieces in Harper’s: . ))

His specialty is forensic linguistics, and . . . [more]

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

Judges Behaving Badly

Two cases that show that one can’t necessarily rely on judges for judgement.

The first is the wonderful tale of how a judge who was spurned for a post-retirement judge took it out on the firm he had hoped to join. Sir Peter Smith will now be remembered as much for this case ((Howell & Ors v Lees Millais & Ors [2007] EWCA Civ 720 (04 July 2007) )) in which he is censured in the strongest terms by the Court of Appeal as for his Da Vinci Code judgment ((Baigent & Anor v The Random House Group Ltd . . . [more]

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

Let’s Buy the Magna Carta

Ross Perot is putting his copy of the Magna Carta up for sale. Although it’s not one of the originals from 1215, this 1297 copy is still expected to bring $30 million when auctioned off in December.

Only two of the 17 copies are held outside England — one by Perot and the other, also a 1297 copy, by the people of Australia. This is a great opportunity for Canada to acknowledge this seminal event in its legal heritage by buying the Perot copy. It would take flair and a decent slice of some otherwise grey budget: is the government . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Substantive Law


TIFF, the word was all over the Canadian media a week or so ago. For those of us that are technically inclined we might have wondered; at first glance, why our media of choice suddenly got so interested in a computer image format. Once we removed the indents of our keyboards from our fingers, we realized that the ubiquitous TIFF, was the Toronto International Film Festival. Alas, TIFF is not the only “FF” around, in these parts TIFF is merely the signal that the Atlantic Film Festival is about to start(AFF?). So with all the FF talk around . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Legislation

Little Brother Will Watch You

I recently posted about the Privacy Commissioner’s concern over Google Street View and its ability to catch identifiable people unawares as it snaps the low level environs. Of greater concern, I think, should be the abililty of security forces to watch us from the various cameras at their disposal. We all know about the CCTV cameras made so infamous in Britain. Now there’s an effective, affordable, and nearly silent eye in the sky to worry about.

A piece on the Wired website talks about a small drone helicopter being tested by British police that is capable of photographing pretty much . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

For All You Do, This Law’s for You

Startling news, to say the least, in the Globe’s Business section today. Telus and Bell paid two lawyers at McCarthy Tétrault to draft a model telecommunications bill that’s been offered to the government as a template for a new Telecommunications Act. You could be forgiven for wondering if the next amendments to the Canada Health Act will be brought to you by RJR Nabisco.

But I think there’s more to it than that. As the article points out, the drafting lawyers are enormously respected and the companies have reportedly had no input whatsoever into the content of the model . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Canadian Study on Digital Rights Management and Privacy

The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic at the University of Ottawa has just released a study into the privacy implications of digital rights management technologies (DRM) currently used in the Canadian marketplace:

“Our assessment of the compliance of these DRM applications with PIPEDA [Personal Information Protection and
Electronic Documents Act
] led to a number of general findings:

  • Fundamental privacy-based criticisms of DRM are well-founded: we observed tracking of usage habits, surfing habits, and technical data.
  • Privacy invasive behaviour emerged in surprising places. For example, we observed e-book software profiling individuals. We unexpectedly encountered DoubleClick – an
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law