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Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on technology, research and practice.

Technology
How to Use Google to Search With a Specific Website*
Dan Pinnington

The search functionality on many websites is dismal, and in sometimes it is non-existent. If you are looking for something on a specific website and can’t find it, don’t despair, Google comes to the rescue….

Research
Watch Your Email
Shaunna Mireau

Jack Newton posted an excellent email tip on Slaw way back in February 2013. He suggested . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

A Godless Charter and Law Society?

If the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were being drafted today, should there be a reference to God in its opening line as there is now: “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law”? Assuming that the Charter’s s. 2(a) declaration of “freedom of conscience and religion” includes freedom to be an atheist or agnostic, doesn’t that opening line put atheists and doubters in conflict with Canada’s founding?

Also, we spend coins that are based upon the existence of God. Whereas all American coins state, “In God We Trust,” all . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Missing or Wrong Inventors?

Occasionally, patent applications are filed or issued identifying the wrong inventors, or the allegedly wrong inventors. This can arise due to inadvertence at the time of filing or from disputes between inventors, claimed inventors and owners of the intellectual property.

All patent applications must identify the inventor or inventors of the invention being claimed. This is typically done in the petition for the patent or equivalent under the international Patent Cooperation Treaty rules at the time of filing.

The identity of the inventors is important because ownership of the patent flows from the inventors, usually through an employment arrangement or . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Employers Requiring Disclaimers in Employees’ Social Media Posts

In the USA, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) oversees not just unionized workplaces but many others too. Among the issues attracting its attention these days are social media policies of employers. As one might expect, the NLRB protects free speech by employees, especially where employee rights and relations with employers are concerned.

However, the Board has recently confirmed that employers may require employees to disclaim speaking for the employer on the employees’ social media sites. The risk that employers could get in trouble for ideas otherwise imputable to them was considered a valid reason for such disclaimers. However, disclaimers . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, ulc_ecomm_list

Administration of Justice: Who Is Responsible for Technology?

In September, at the Opening of the Courts, a very similar speech was given by the Chief Justices of Quebec and Ontario to their respective audiences. Unknowingly in tune, the highest ranking provincial judges of both provinces deplored the heavy, inaccessible and saturated court system.

Chief Justices Nicole Duval Hesler, François Rolland and Élizabeth Corte pleaded for the augmentation of judicial staff. But more importantly, they came to the conclusion that despite the current efforts to use staff more efficiently, the court system can simply not satisfy the increasingly high demand. Thus, as per Justice Rolland, “[n]ous n’avons plus le . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Information Management, Technology

Tools and Strategies for Lawyers With Vision Impairments

Toronto lawyer Ernst Ashurov was born with limited vision, and an eye injury in childhood left him almost completely blind; yet he runs a criminal and general litigation practice. In the first few years of his career, he was able to read print using extreme magnification glasses; but by 2006 he could no longer read. These days, he relies on two key software products to work with documents and to conduct internet research. Since software has its limitations, he has also developed a personalized set of strategies for dealing with the specific demands of court attendance, and for working with . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Office Technology

A Chill on Judicial Review of Government Decisions in the UK?

There is tension afoot between the UK government and representatives of the country’s lawyers, over draft legislation designed to stem the tide of applications for judicial review of government decisions.

Judicial review is a legal proceeding in which government decisions can be challenged, not on the ground of what the decision is, but because of a flaw in the process by which the decision was made.

Some of the UK’s most senior judges have added their voices to criticisms of the bill.

The government contends many j.r. applications are ill-founded, expensive for the tax payer, and cause delay.

The draft . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Machine Learning: Using Technology to Enhance the Practice of Law

I would have loved to have been in the audience when Harry Surden spoke at an afternoon CodeX Speaker Series event a few weeks ago at Stanford Law School. But, you know, California is way over there and I’m way over here. So, although I could not actually attend I was prompted to go back and read his recent paper, “Machine Learning and Law.” And, thanks to the folks at Codex, it turns out the session I missed was recorded and is also now available for viewing.  . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award­-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from sixty recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. National Magazine Blog  2. Thoughtful Legal Management 3. University of Alberta Faculty Law Blog  4. Off the Shelf  5. All About Information

National Magazine Blog
Learning to work with others

A lawyer’s “eruption of irritation” at a letter from a paralegal working for opposing counsel who cited case law . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

International Court in Crisis

My last blog highlighted a crisis in international law relating to peace and security. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the newest instrument in the peace and security toolbox. Twelve years ago I opened its doors as head of the ICC Advance Team and it’s now 10 years ago since I left the Court. There can be no doubt that it is also part the crisis.

The idea itself is still vulnerable: that peace and security will be more likely and lasting with the knowledge that you will be punished if you commit or actively support atrocities crime (the preventative . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Private Sexual Practices by Public Personalities

Earlier today the CBC issued an unusual announcement:

TORONTO, Oct. 26, 2014 /CNW/ – The CBC is saddened to announce its relationship with Jian Ghomeshi has come to an end. This decision was not made without serious deliberation and careful consideration. Jian has made an immense contribution to the CBC and we wish him well.

When asked for elaboration, CBC told media outlets,

“information came to our attention recently, that in CBC’s judgement, precludes us from continuing our relationship with Jian Ghomeshi.”

Speculation over the circumstances began almost immediately, especially when several people, including myself, received the following email: . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Summaries Sunday: Maritime Law Book

Summaries of selected recent cases are provided each week to Slaw by Maritime Law Book. Every Sunday we present a precis of the latest summaries, a fuller version of which can be found on MLB-Slaw Selected Case Summaries at cases.slaw.ca.

This week’s summaries concern:
Criminal Law

R. v. Steele (J.M.) 2014 SCC 61
Criminal Law
Summary: The accused was convicted of robbery. The Crown applied for remand of the accused for an assessment under s. 752.1 of the Criminal Code to be used as evidence in support of an application by the Crown to have the accused declared . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday