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Dr. Gaylen A. Duncan (1948-2008)

Today’s Globe and Mail carried an announcement of the death of Gaylen Duncan, whom many Slaw readers will recall as the dynamic Executive Director of the Canadian Law Information Council.

He was a witty, passionate, charming, brilliant pioneer, schooled by Michael Kirby (still in Halifax then) in the dark arts of making things happen. CLIC brought together lawyers, librarians, publishers and government – Gaylen was skilled in making us all share in his vision of what might be possible in a world where legal practice was empowered by technology and universal access to legal information. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

Deeper Free Online Coverage of Supreme Court of Canada Decisions

As has been discussed multiple times on SLAW and based on two emails over the past few days, it appears the first phase of adding of older Supreme Court of Canada decisions to the court’s website has been completed. This is great news. I like the fact that the PDFs are of the actual Supreme Court Reports version (i.e., a PDF of the print version). See, for example:

Trust and Loan Co. v. Ruttan (1877), 1 S.C.R. 564
PDF file (40 pages):

The message from colleague Rosalie Fox (Director of the SCC Library) to the CALL listserv was as . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Reminiscences of Bench and Bar — 1904

Gutenberg Canada, our local wing of the internet publisher of public domain texts, has just published its 100th e-book. For the honour, it’s chosen a 1904 publication, Osgoode Hall – Reminiscences of the Bench and Bar by lawyer James Cleland Hamilton (1836-1907).

For reasons of efficiency and ease of preservation, the Gutenberg folks often provide materials in the simplest of forms, which can make reading them — online or off — something of a chore rather than a pleasure. But I’m happy to say that for this work they’ve confined the html column of text to a readable width (but, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Confusion Over Names

On the News Release site on the Supreme Court of Canada’s site,, i.e., for 20 March, 2008, there is a note that the application for leave to appeal in III Canada Acquisition Company, et al. v. Ernst & Young Inc. was dismissed. (I saw the case mentioned in Eugene Meehan’s weekly letter of that date and wanted to track it down.) The case is stated to be on appeal from the Ontario Court of Appeal.

It is, in fact, impossible to find the reasons for judgment of the Court of Appeal, using this style of cause, on . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

NYU and the Collaborative Book

Riffing on the collaboration note in Simon’s post on Shirkey’s new book, the Library of NYU has just announced a new partnership with the Institute for the Future of the Book

The partnership will support, as their first project, new tools to advance the potential of the MediaCommons, which is an ongoing experiment in the potential of the internet to facilitate better scholarship.

One of the Institute’s most accessible inventions is the CommentPress, a WordPress extention that allows for paragraph-level comments on blog posts, reviving for the internet the traditional practice of creating marginalia. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing


mesh08 is finally approaching! This 2-day Web conference is again being held in May (May 21st and 22nd) and tickets are now on sale. Visit the mesh site for the list of keynotes, panelists and other speakers on board so far. A new feature added for this year is meshU, a full day of hands-on workshops and panels for start-ups, web designers and developers being held on May 20th.

I’ve been attending mesh for the past 2 years and I can’t recommend a more inspiring Web conference experience. . . . [more]

Posted in: Uncategorized

Clay Shirky Talks About Everybody

Clay Shirky, who writes on the effects of the internet and technology on society, recently published Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. If you’d like to get a sense of what he has to say on the subject of groups, you should take a look at a [40-minute] video of his talk at Harvard’s Berkman Center.

Shirky has also started a blog focused on the book.

Given the recent emphasis on collaboration as the coming thing among lawyers (see, e.g., What’s Hot – According to New York Legal Tech and Collaboration on Slaw.), Shirky’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Youth Initiative Uses Virtual World to Support International Criminal Court

An organization called the Global Kids’ Digital Media Initiative launched the International Justice Center last week in support of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

The official ceremony featured ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Lloyd Axworthy (former foreign affairs minister of Canada), Louise Arbour (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and former Supreme Court of Canada Justice), Allan Rock (former Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations), and Kenneth Roth (Executive Director, Human Rights Watch).

The Center will use web technologies and ensure a presence in the virtual reality world of Second Life to mobilize young people around human . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

When It All Goes Peer Shaped

Net neutrality has slipped away even further in Canada recently, as Bell has “shaped” the bandwidth available to ISPs that rent space on the network from Bell, slowing down peer-to-peer transmissions in some cases from 5MB/sec to 60KB/sec. Bell has apparently shaped the traffic of its own direct customers for some time, but has until now kept their hands off other ISPs. The Globe and Mail article reporting this story estimates that p2p traffic accounts for something like 80% of online bandwidth use — that by perhaps 10% of all users.

The issue of throttling (as this restriction is sometimes . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Technology Gone Wrong

From the Wall Street Journal, here’s a cautionary tale about relying too heavily on new technology to give you the right answer. Apparently GPS devices have been steering drivers wrong all around the US. The article tells the story of a man who, following the directions of the disembodied voice, found himself staring out over a 200-foot cliff in New Mexico.

One of the problems is that the software in the devices has difficulty distinguishing between a highway and a dirt track – only one of which is appropriate to take your car down of course.

I may be stretching . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

A Year in Law and Technology

Those of you who would like to catch up on what happened with law and technology in Europe last year might want to take a look at CMS Cameron McKenna‘s Technology Annual Review [PDF], released last week.

From the Foreword:

Topics in this year’s Review include: selling spam lists, illegal spyware, software copyright, VoIP, the i-Gasm, CD-WOW, the Fresh Prince, E-Commerce defences, data retention, digital downloads, domain name decisions, patent ambushes, the smiley :-), Bluetooth spam, and much, much more.

I’m fairly certain I myself missed the i-Gasm.

[via Lexology - registration required] . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Leg@l.IT2008: Canada’s Premier Legal Technology Conference

For all you law and IT lovers, I am pleased to announce that Leg@l.IT is back this year! With Canada’s Privacy Commissionner, Jennifer Stoddart, and Prof. Pierre Trudel as co-presidents, three tracks with the most interesting and en vogue subjects (here is the agenda) and an impressive group of speakers, including fellow Slawers (Simon Chester, Jordan Furlong and Vincent Gautrais) and blogger (David Bilinsky), it is THE event you don’t want to miss!

Leg@l.IT is an accessible and spearheading conference, the most important of this kind in Canada, about the potential and . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology