Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for ‘Technology’

Privacy Rights in the Internet Age and the New Tort of Public Disclosure of Private Facts

“Society has been scrambling to catch up to this problem [the publication of intimate photos or videos online without consent] and the law is beginning to respond to protect victims.” – Justice Stinson in Jane Doe 464533 v N.D., 2017 ONSC 127

Gradually courts have been awarding damages for the tort of public disclosure of private information. The tort of public disclosure of private information consists of the following elements: (a) the defendant publicized an aspect of the plaintiff’s private life; (b) the plaintiff did not consent to the publication; (c) its publication would be highly offensive to a . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Technology

ICAIL 2019 In Review

The International Association for Artificial Intelligence and Law (IAAIL) is a non-profit organization that has organized academic conferences on artificial intelligence and law every two years, since 1987.

The most recent International Conference on AI and Law (ICAIL) was held this June in Montréal, QC, hosted by the CyberJustice Lab at the University of Montréal Faculty of Law. I had the opportunity to attend, presenting the results of my work as part of the ABA Innovation Fellowship program in 2018/2019, which was sponsored by Canadian legal practice management software company, Clio.

The conference is an academic event. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Court Forms: Should Most Forms Be Eliminated?


Court forms are confusing. They are difficult to fill in and contain legal jargon. Even worst, the guides for court forms can be hard to follow. Especially, if you do not have a strong grasp of English or an understanding of the court system.

I have personally witnessed numerous people struggle with court forms, both while waiting to file a court document and while volunteering at a legal clinic. In the article “Literacy Requirements of Court Documents: An Underexplored Barrier to Access to Justice“, Professor Amy Salzyn, et al., write about the difficulties in navigating court forms. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Your Information Has Already Been Compromised

Your personal information has already been compromised. Your business may already be infected.

There have been so many breaches of user ID’s over the years that it is almost certain there is a login/password combination for almost everyone somewhere on the dark web.

One of the striking revelations of many breaches is how long the bad actor has been lurking in a system before being discovered – sometimes months.

Almost everything we do is digital, and most of it is in the cloud. It can be catastrophic if it fails or is compromised.

Cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important for businesses . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Third Party Funding of Litigation: Can Artificial Intelligence Help?

Recently Alan Freeman wrote about the use of artificial intelligence in third party funding of litigation, in his article “Intelligent Funding: Could AI Drive the Future of Litigation Finance”. Litigation funding, also known as third party funding, provides financing to plaintiffs and law firms to enable them to pursue their claims in return for a piece of the recovery.

For a court to approve a third party funding agreement, the party must show that (a) the agreement is necessary to provide access to justice, (b) that access to justice is facilitated by the third party funding agreement in . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Prescribing Technology by Law

Lately we discussed on this blog U.S. legislation appearing to validate contracts or signatures done by blockchain, by saying that ‘electronic record’ and ‘electronic signature’ under the states’ e-transactions legislation included blockchain. There was considerable thought that this was not necessary, that the conclusion was obvious (or badly wrong, if there could be a non-electronic blockchain).

Apparently this kind of legislation has been around for a long time. Here is a note (h/t Ian Kyer) about Pennsylvania legislation in the 1890s saying that typewriting was writing for all legal purposes. Could this have been previously in doubt, given that printed . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

My Horse for a Civilization: Regulating Carbon Emissions and Emergence of Climate Change Law

A century ago, Western civilization was still extensively using domesticated animals, specifically the horse, as one of the main means of transportation. Though domesticated for at least 6,000 years, this animal provided an invaluable means for people, goods, and services to move throughout North America, especially in inland areas away from shipping routes.

As could be expected, the common law at the time contained ample number of decisions that related to horses or incidents connected to horses. The horse was a central piece of technology that enabled civilization. Of course, all of that changed with the introduction of the Model . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology

2018 Fastcase 50

I look forward to the Fastcase 50 list every year. It is wonderful to see an acknowledgement that legal innovation is actually happening and to recognize those who are working at the front of the change line. Special congratulations to some familiar Canadian folk who made the list.

  • Gillian Hadfield, University of Toronto
  • Sukesh Kamra, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada.

Curious about who and how innovation happens? Check out this year’s list of the Fastcase 50. The list includes lawyers, law librarians, legal academics and as you expect, legal technologists. Let the inspiration begin. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Satellites Are Watching You

In an article titled “Soon, satellites will be able to watch you everywhere all the time – Can privacy survive?” MIT Technology Review questions how we deal with privacy and satellite surveillance. Satellites are becoming more pervasive, and have higher resolutions – capable of identifying people. Compounding the issue is that countries and entities outside of our borders are not subject to whatever standards our country might adopt.

Privacy as we know it focusses on consent. For things privacy laws deem personal, others can’t collect, use, or disclose it without our consent. That works fine for things we . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology

Are Design Flaws in the Court System Like Eye Drops?

The court system is designed by lawyers for lawyers for a bygone era. As technology develops and the numbers of self-represented litigants increase, the design flaws in our paper based court system becomes more apparent.

Recently, the Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Honourable Heather Smith addressed this issue with the Toronto Star. Justice Smith stated that “there really is no difference walking into a courtroom at 361 University Ave than there was 40 years ago.” Justice Smith further adds that the way paper moves through the court system is madness. “Even digital files . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

The Fight Over Rules As Code

In this corner, Pia Andrews

Pia Andrews is the Executive Director of Digital Government for the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation of the Government of New South Wales in Australia. She is a self-described open data and open government “ninja.”

She recently shared some work her NSW Policy Lab is doing on Rules as Code or “RaC.”

A major idea in the “Rules as Code” community is that government legislation and regulation and policy can and probably should be drafted in two languages at the same time. It should be drafted in natural human language (in Canada English, French,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

Analyzing Court Decisions According to Judges

“Law is reason free from passion.” – Aristotle

As a precedent based system, law lends itself nicely to predictive analytics. In predictive analytics, historical data is used to build a mathematical model. This model can then be used to predict what will happen next.

As case law becomes easier to access, many companies are developing predictive analytic tools based on case law. Predictive analytics can be focused on different areas of law. For example, predicting the outcomes of cases in employment, tax, insurance, or family law. Another area predictive analytics can be focused on are on the actors. For example, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology