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Archive for ‘Technology’

Do Judges Read Wikipedia?

In the article, “Trial by Internet: A Randomized Field Experiment on Wikipedia’s Influence on Judges’ Legal Reasoning”, the authors Neil Thompson et al conducted a study to see if Wikipedia plays a part in judgment writing. The authors found that “the information and legal analysis offered on Wikipedia led judges to cite the relevant legal cases more often and to talk about them in ways comparable to how the Wikipedia authors had framed them”.

The study was conducted by creating 154 Wikipedia articles on Irish Supreme Court cases. “The process of creation was done in three waves. After . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

The Case for Reforming Scheduling in the Ontario Courts

Getting a motion date can be a herculean effort in Ontario. Currently the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has a patchwork of processes for scheduling. Different courthouses have different ways of scheduling court dates. Even finding out which dates are available can be frustrating.

It is problematic and an access to justice issue. Getting a date for a motion should be easy. Knowing how to obtain a date should be even easier. There is some guidance online, for example:

  • Toronto’s process – https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/practice/practice-directions/toronto/civil-t/
  • Central East process – https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/practice/practice-directions/central-east/civil-ce/ / https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/notices-and-orders-covid-19/ce-civil-proceedings/

The Central East Region has a Calendly process: https://calendly.com/ce-civil. This . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Book Review: It Burned Me All Down – by Erin Durant

I recently saw a General Counsel job ad where one of the criteria was to be, “stress-resistant”. I immediately thought that the person who wrote up the ad, was either an idiot or had grossly unrealistic expectations for the role. Sadly, there’ll be a stream of lawyers applying, all of whom will enthusiastically confirm that, not only are they “stress resistant”, they also “thrive under pressure”.

Sigh.

Chief Justice Strathy has written about the “destructive myth” of stress-resistant lawyers, and law societies across Canada have put out CPD programs and resources to combat this myth. Some law schools have also . . . [more]

Posted in: Book Reviews, Practice of Law, Reading: Recommended, Technology

Using AI to Address Court Delays and Adjudicate Claims

There is a large backlog in our courts and tribunals. But simply converting our current system with minor tweaks does not go far enough to improve access to justice. We need a larger change. We need to harness AI to assist in adjudicating claims.
Perhaps the first body to use AI tools will be tribunals rather than the courts. The discrete areas of law that tribunals address lend themselves to being best suited for AI tools and algorithms to decide routine, interlocutory matters and some minor cases on the merits. As a result, tribunals may be forced into using emerging
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

In-Person Conferences: Will You Show Up?

I have been told the CBA Immigration section is the most active of all the sections within the CBA. For years, the highlight for this section has been the CBA Immigration Law Conference where we regularly see 400 to 500 practitioners descent into a Canadian city to discuss recent policy & program updates from IRCC & CBSA. We review significant caselaw and hear from the lawyers who argued those cases, including lawyers from the Department of Justice who offer their perspective, and we opine (sometimes with vigor) on all the changes we would like adopted. I have been attending these . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology: Office Technology

The Status of Court Filings in Ontario and What to Do About It

Lately, there has been an explosion of court documents being rejected from filing. Reasons for rejection are numerous. There is almost no discernible pattern. Reasons include, but are not limited to:

  • failure to provide a back page,
  • submitting documents separately when they should be combined,
  • failing to have a witness to an electronic signature (not to be confused with a commissioned document),
  • a form is missing,
  • information is missing on the form,
  • disapproving of the affiant’s signature, and so forth.

It is speculated that the change in staffing at the courts is the cause for the increase in rejections. (E.g. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology

Helpful Tips for Using CaseLines: Straight From the Court

CaseLines is being used in most court proceedings in Ontario. It is a technology that many counsel struggle with using. In the decision Bowman v Uwaifo, 2022 ONSC 678, Justice Myers provides advice on using CaseLines.

Below, I have summarized his recommendations in point form.

  1. Know the CaseLines page number for all documents uploaded to the platform. Counsel and litigants are expected to refer the court to documents using the page numbering in CaseLines. “All you have to do is tell the judge, ‘please go to page A100 or B-1-189’ and the judge can open the correct page
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, 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