Canada’s online legal magazine.

Should People Commenting on an Election Have to Use Their Real Names?

The government of South Australia has recently adopted a law that requires people commenting on the forthcoming state election to use their real names, and media will have to retain the names and addresses for six months. The requirement appears to apply to bloggers and comments on blogs etc.

Unsurprisingly, not everyone likes this.

Is it fair to say that requiring people to give their real names is a “gag” on debate?

Would the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms prevent such a law in this country? In other words, does the freedom of expression protect anonymous speech? . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list Your Own Homepage

I’ve been playing with lately, a web tool that allows you to easily create your own custom homepage. You can fill your homepage with links to your favorite websites, and you can customize the way your page looks. Useful features include:

  • You can choose to be notified when a site you have included has new content.
  • You can create groups and add links to each group.
  • You can pick from themes to customize the way your page looks.
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

Depression in the Legal Profession

Susan Cartier Liebel has written a thoughtful blog post on the high prevalence of depression in the legal profession.

The ABA reports that “about 19 percent of lawyers experience depression at any given time, compared with 6.7 percent of the general population. About 20 percent of lawyers have drinking problems, twice the rate of the general population.”

The Lawyers Assistance Program of BC states that “research shows law to be the occupation most susceptible to clinical depression. Legal professionals are now three times more likely to be diagnosed with depression than the general population.” Further, “substance abuse among lawyers is . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

One of the reasons I started the Cross-Border Biotech Blog a year ago was that the industry in Canada was in terrible shape. In the face of a global financial crisis, biotech as an industry was attracting some attention and some bailout funding, but by July last year, 70% of Canadian biotech companies reported having under 6 months of cash remaining.

This year has started with some new, and better, data. Equicom’s year-end review shows that although several Canadian biotechs did go under, the surviving companies overall outperformed market indices. BIOTECanada updated the July survey recently as well, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Blawg Review #249


The Legality of an American Slavery


February 1 is known as National Freedom Day in the U.S. It’s also the start of Black History Month, the annual celebration and triumph of the descendants of African-Americans. This year, President Obama has also indicated that National Freedom Day will also be the first ever National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. For this reason, Blawg Review #249 will follow the theme of African slavery in America, using the model of Alex Haley’s Roots: The Saga of an American Family.

Haley’s novel traces his family roots back six generations to . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Vaccination-Autism Link Based on Poor Science

Not that this will surprise anyone, considering the retraction the Lancet made in 2002. This BBC report of the ruling of the General Medical Council also includes a nice graph showing the enormous impact on measles infection rates that the doctors who conducted the shoddy research had. Most of them have issued their own 2004 retraction, though not Wakefield, the lead author. I wonder if they are now vulnerable to a malpractice action of some description, as lawyers are for inadequate research. I don’t know if any deaths have occurred, but this account by Roald Dahl is not fun . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Yammer On

The Real-time web has been a popular topic in recent times as we all try to figure out how it is changing, and will continue to change our work lives. I’ve recently started Yammering here at Dalhousie; no not prattling on endlessly, but using the service Yammer or enterprise microblogging. In simple terms think Twitter, without the 140 character limit and limited to your workplace or business email domain. The product has been around for a couple of years and has been referred to in passing here at Slaw previously. In the short time that I’ve used Yammer at . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management

Canada C. Khadr Decision

Canada (Premier ministre) c. Khadr, 2010 CSC 3, (29 janvier 2010)
Le pourvoi etait accueilli en partie.

K a droit à une réparation en vertu du par. 24(1) de la Charte. La réparation demandée par K — une ordonnance intimant au Canada de demander son rapatriement — est suffisamment liée à la violation de la Charte survenue en 2003 et 2004 parce que les incidences de cette violation persistent jusqu’à présent et pourraient influer sur son procès lorsqu’il sera finalement tenu. Bien que le gouvernement doive disposer d’une certaine marge de manœuvre lorsqu’il décide de quelle manière il doit . . . [more]

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

The Friday Fillip

This fillip revisits something I blogged about two years ago (Flogging). Microsoft researchers are working with computer scientist Gordon Bell to develop a system that will record, annotate, and make available to recall, nearly every aspect of his daily life. A number of videos describing the project and showing aspects of it have emerged since I first blogged about it. And Bell and co-author Jim Gemmell published a book last year about this long-term experiment, Total Recall: How the E-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything (Roughcut). (Amazon lets you peek inside the book at a few of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Procedural Lapse Leads to Loss of Jurisdiction by the Alberta Privacy Commissioner

I hope that this is not a new theme emerging: privacy proceedings in limbo.

Last week I wrote about how the recent vacancy of the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s office in BC could have placed all pending files on hold. Now, this week, we have a decision [PDF] from the Alberta Court of Appeal that suggests the Commissioner there, Frank Work, may have lost jurisdiction over at least 180 pending cases.

The legislation in issue requires the Commissioner to follow certaint timelines, which can be extended by the Commissioner. From the Personal Information Protection Act:

50(5) An inquiry into a

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Project Conifer Wins Two Awards at OLA!

On May 1, 2009, 23 library partners, including the Paul Martin Law Library at the University of Windsor went live with Evergreen – an Open Source integrated library system. With only 2 – 3 developers to take it out of the box (originally packaged for the public library world), development has literally happened on the fly for the past 10 months.

It has been hectic, but we have a project we can all be proud of. To top it off, yesterday we heard that OLA has awarded the Project Conifer partners with two Divisional Awards. All awards will be presented . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

A Golden Age for Judicial Biography

On the afternoon of Friday January 29, the University of Texas at Austin will host a conference on judicial biography, as a tribute to Roy Mersky, who was the subject of an earlier Slaw post.

At 2 PM Texas time the discussion will turn to International Jurists, featuring Philip Ayers on Chief Justice Owen Dixon of Australia’s High Court, Philip Girard on Chief Justice Bora Laskin of Canada, and Pnina LaHav on Shimon Agranat of Israel.

We seem to be in golden age of judicial biography. Any recommendations from the readership? . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Reading, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions