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Archive for ‘Technology’

What Law Applies to Cryptocurrency in Ontario?

Cryptocurrency is becoming more mainstream. However, the law has not kept pace with the technology, leaving a vacuum, akin to a “Wild West”. In the recent decision, Cicada 137 LLC v. Medjedovic, 2021 ONSC 369, Justice Myers touches upon the issue of litigating cryptocurrency, an area that is under regulated.

In Cicada, it is alleged that the defendant stole money ($15 million in cryptocurrency tokens). In handling the interlocutory matters, Justice Myers notes that there are different theories on when cryptocurrency can be considered stolen. At paras 5-6, Justice Myers writes that one theory is that if . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Book Review: Is Law Computable?: Critical Perspectives on Law and AI

I had the opportunity to review “Is Law Computable?: Critical Perspectives on Law and Artificial Intelligence” for the Canadian Law Library Review (46(4), 2021). This was edited by Simon Deakin and Christopher Markou and published last year by Hart Publishing (ISBN: 978-1-5099-3706-6).

This is the short version:

If you have any interest in artificial intelligence (AI), especially if it’s coupled with a desire to learn more about how developments in AI are related to law and legal technology, then this collection of papers has been compiled just for you.

While AI continues to seep into many areas

. . . [more]
Posted in: Book Reviews, Technology

What Obligations Does the Court Have to Self-Represented Litigants?

In Grand River Conservation Authority v. Ramdas, 2021 ONCA 815, the Ontario Court of Appeal discusses the obligations that the court has to self-represented litigants. Below is an excerpt of some key points:

  • Self-represented litigants are required to familiarize themselves with the relevant legal principles, practices, and procedures pertaining to their case. “However, the court has a duty to ensure that self-represented litigants receive a fair hearing”. (para 18)
  • Judges must permit self-represented litigants to explain how they understand where things stand in the litigation. (para 19)
  • Judges can consider whether providing self-represented litigants with an option to give
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

University of Windsor Leddy Library Creates Story Map on Missing Children of Indian Residential Schools

I am always on the lookout for innovative ways that libraries have found to create great stories about complex legal or historical issues that have many moving parts.

This one is quite remarkable: the Leddy Library at the University of Windsor has created a site that tells the story of the Missing Children of Indian Residential Schools using maps.

This intereactive visual representation of the residential school locations across Canada uses data from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report to document the experience:

“The recent discoveries of more than 1,700 unmarked graves at the sites of former residential schools in

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

40 Short Tips for Better E-Mail

I don’t know if you’re like me but despite being a heavy user of e-mail, I am still often puzzled by it. More specifically, by how we often fail to use it to its full potential.

How many times does it happen that you receive an e-mail from a professional contact, a client or a supplier/vendor, perhaps even from an important work colleague, and you have so much trouble deciphering its meaning that you pick up the phone or get on chat to ask the sender what exactly they want you to do?

Given how insanely busy so many of . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology: Internet

Does Canada Need ‘Right to Repair’ Law

Those of us who view the “no user serviceable parts inside” phrase as a challenge rather than a warning will sympathize with the right to repair movement.

The movement is a growing phenomenon. It arises from frustrations when manufacturers of everything from electronics to cars to McDonald’s ice cream machines make it difficult for anyone else to repair what they make.

The poster child for the movement is farm equipment manufacturers that refuse to give access to software on the machines. That prevents both equipment owners and other repair shops from servicing them. Other methods used by manufacturers include making . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology

Automated Affidavits to Confirm Residency

On April 16, 2021, the Province of Ontario introduced new measures under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, which would allow law enforcement to stop individuals and vehicles, asking them the reasons for leaving their home.

The government believed it necessary to stop COVID-19, as part of their broader support to a complete lockdown and stay at home order to battle a third wave of the virus.

The amendment to O. Reg 294/21 stated,

(2) Schedule 1 to the Regulation is amended by adding the following section:
Requirement to provide information
2.1 (1) This section applies as of
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology

Lawyers and Computers 25 Years Ago

I recently looked at a book on my shelf called “The Internet Handbook for Canadian Lawyers” published in 1996. It’s rather amusing to look at it from today’s lens and see how much has changed in the last 25 years. It explains in detail topics that at the time were cutting edge, but today are second nature to children, or are long obsolete.

Section headings include: “What Exactly is the Internet?”, “Can the Internet do Something for my Practice?”, “Finding Good Stuff with Archie”, “The Mother Protocol – TCP/IP”, “Using Encryption Programs to Stop Snoopers”, and “Navigating Gopherspace”.

It says . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Justice System Needs a Champion to Move Modernization Project

Don’t turn back, but don’t stand still. Work with justice system partners to share best practices, figure out how to make the system work better for the people who need it to work for them, and how to mitigate the unintended side-effects of change.

That sums up – very briefly – the recommendations in the final report from the Canadian Bar Association’s Task Force on Justice Issues Arising from COVID-19, presented to the Association’s annual general meeting on Feb. 17

The task force, established in April 2020, drew together representatives from CBA Sections and committees, its partners in the justice . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Square Pegs: Changing the Courts to Fit the Technology

When discussing the modernization of the justice system the conversation can often be about how we adapt the technology to replicate the bricks-and-mortar experience.

But how might the institutions and decision-makers themselves adapt to work with the emerging technology?

Legal scholar Tania Sourdin talks about three primary kinds of technology in the context of the justice system:

  • Supportive – things like online legal applications that support and advise people using the justice system
  • Replacement – things that replace the role of people, such as e-filing technologies and online dispute resolution
  • Disruptive – things that fundamentally alter the way legal professionals
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Is It Time to Rethink Lawyer Licensing, Including the Bar Exam in Ontario?

In an article by Slate.com, Pilar Escontrias proclaims “It’s time to see the bar exam for what it truly is: the relic of a racist club.” The bar exam in the United States has a “sordid history as one of the many racialized gatekeeping mechanisms into the practice of law. The legal profession was a virtually unregulated, open field of practice for generations until immigrants, Black, and Jewish people started applying for bar admission in the late 19th century”. Suddenly the bar exam emerged. One reason for the bar exam was to act as a gatekeeper against minorities.

In . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Scales of Justice: Balancing Privacy Rights With Surveillance Economy

“Minds have been opened and changed over the past few months,” legal author and commentator Richard Susskind wrote in a 2020 article titled The Future of Courts. “Many assumptions have been swept aside.”

The global pandemic has forced lawyers and justice system stakeholders out of their normal physical environments and into what on the surface appears to be the safe harbour of the virtual world. Remote hearings may protect us all from a virus; the platforms that make them possible may, however, have their own issues.

An internet truism is that if you’re not paying for the product, you are . . . [more]

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