Canada’s online legal magazine.

Next Generation Government Information

South of the border we’re seeing moves to go well beyond the traditional depository of government documents in how public information is presented.

Most immediately a new site called which includes a complete redesign of the Federal Register attracted even the attention of the Washington Post.

The key feature for Slaw readers is that it is based on XML, so can be built into other applications. More detail below the fold.

The second development is the launch of Law.Gov which takes Carl Malamud’s bold pamphlet on public access to legal information We The People and makes it real. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Technology

Report on Canadian Common Law Degree Requirements

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada Task Force on the Canadian Common Law Degree has submitted its final report [PDF]. According to the Report:

The Federation appointed this Task Force in June 2007 to review the existing academic requirements for entry to bar admission programs and to recommend any modifications that might be necessary.

The Report recommends, among other things, that the law societies across the country adopt a “uniform national requirement for entry to their bar admission programs.” The proposed national standard comprises requirements that direct themselves at Canadian law schools, effectively controlling aspects of the curriculum of . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law

All Praise to the Google

I don’t make a practice of taking others’ copyrighted images to show you, but I’m going to make an apologetic exception here, because I love what Stephan Pastis does with some of his Pearls Before Swine comic strip, particularly his delightful pink porker. Today’s strip was about the Google, and I often feel rather like the pig, so I thought I’d share. Click on the image to see the full strip.

  . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Google Data Liberation Front a Welcome Attitude on Cloud Computing

The cloud computing, or software as a service model has compelling attributes – such as low cost, ease of use, and scalability. But the downside is that there are issues around the security, integrity, and longevity of both the data and the software behind it.

Google has taken a step in the right direction with its promise that any cloud application it provides will have as a prime directive the ability of the user to pack up their data and take it anywhere, including a competitor.

At least that helps solve the issue of the risk of losing data, as . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Shakira: Illegal Downloads a “Democratisation of Music”

It’s not often I end up on Perez Hilton, but thanks to Twitter I was pointed to this story where Shakira Ripoll (aka Shakira) seems to encourage her fans to download her songs illegally,

I like what’s going on because I feel closer to the fans and the people who appreciate the music. It’s the democratisation of music in a way. And music is a gift. That’s what it should be, a gift.

What makes Shakira unique is that her success largely came through producing her own work. But at least some of her major work is distributed . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Google Roundup

Google is always releasing new features or apps. Here’s a rundown of some released recently that may have relevance for lawyers…

Google Wave Permalink Similar

This is a new feature for the Google Toolbar, available for IE and Firefox browsers, that lets you put annotations about a website in a sidebar, so that others who have Sidewiki can see them upon visiting the annotated site. As a publisher of a website, I dislike this idea; I do not want uncontrolled content popping up in intimate connection with Slaw, even it it’s clear to anyone with half a . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

CALL VLC Publisher Price Trends 2010

At the request of VLC Chair Shaunna Mireau, who is boarding a plane to NYC, I’d like to relay the 2010 anticipated price increases from publishers in the Canadian market. These numbers are gathered by the Vendors Liaison Committee, and archived on the CALL website.

  • Canada Law Book is advising a 3% to 6% price increase for print and electronic products.
  • Carswell price increases will be in the 5-7% range for print products.
  • CCH Legal/Business/Tax subscription products will increase approximately 3-9%. The price increase for Legal/Business books available in print should be in the 2-5% range and
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading

Outsourcing and Offshoring – Unplanned Consequences

Foreign ownership

In the early days of online legal research, when everything was uncertain, governments and law societies were legitimately concerned about the prospect of foreign ownership of Canadian legal information. The fear was that the legal heritage of Canada would fall into the hands of “non Canadians”, a prospect viewed with horror in many circles. While no one at that time really could foresee the future of online legal research in Canada, in retrospect, everyone should have expected that the natural “Canadian” predisposition to reconcile differences would produce a solution that would reflect everyone’s interest, offend almost no one, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

This week in the world of biotech, things were opening up:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Substantive Law

InnovAction Awards 2009 Winners

I just noticed we never mentioned the latest InnovAction Awards winner announced in September! This year’s winner is New Family Organization created by Irit Rosenblum in Israel.

From InnovAction:

Irit Rosenblum broke fresh ground defending a universal right to family as intrinsic to the practice of law. Rosenblum pioneered a new sphere of legal rights surrounding the family based on the conviction that the rights to marry, divorce, have children, bequeath and inherit assets, and conduct family life are human rights and must be attainable to all regardless of faith, nationality, sexual orientation or status. She founded New Family to

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Antiquated Access and Privacy Laws to Stay Unaltered

More than twenty years ago, Canada was on the cutting edge with its newly minted Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act. Since then, we’ve seen each of the provinces step up to implement similar regulation for their public sectors. Though the federal laws set the benchmark at the time, they have both remained frozen in time. Despite calls from various sectors for significant reform, the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics asked the Information Commissioner and the Privacy Commissioner for their “quick fixes” or patches that may help the laws hobble along into the current . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous


Like everyone else, lawyers want to make the most out of the finite time, energy and resources available to them. Lawyers in private practice in particular often experience significant demands on their time. They face regular deadlines imposed by others without regard to their other time requirements, and often multiple clients require something to be done at the same time. There are regular interruptions during the work day via email, phone and fax. And, there is always something more to do on a client’s behalf – one more witness to interview, one more case to read, one more clause to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law