Canada’s online legal magazine.

Two Books, Free Online

The open access movement in academic publishing continues to gather steam: two books are newly available free online.

Daniel J. Solove, Berkeley Law Prof, has released “The Future of Reputation, gossip, rumour and privacy on the internet.” Originally published in 2007 by Yale University Press, the book

…offers a fascinating account of how the Internet is transforming gossip, the way we shame others, and our ability to protect our own reputations. Focusing on blogs, Internet communities, cyber mobs, and other current trends, he shows that, ironically, the unconstrained flow of information on the Internet may impede opportunities for

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

LCO: Looking Back, Looking Forward

The Law Commission of Ontario doesn’t have a very long period to look back — we effectively began our work in February 2008, having spent the previous four and a half months (that included the holiday break!) since our launch getting organized in one way or another — and we really don’t have that long to look forward (since despite the above, the Agreement that created the LCO began in January 2007 and expires in January 2012 and we are in that sense entering our third year). . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Israeli Consulate in the U.S. to Hold Public Press Conference via Twitter Today

According to JTA:

In what may be a first for any government the world over, the Consulate General of Israel in New York will be holding a public press conference about the war in Gaza via Twitter. On Tuesday, December 30 during the hours of 1-3 p.m. EST, David Saranga, Consul of Media and Public Affairs in New York, will answer questions written in by users of the popular Internet social messaging Web site.

To participate, create an account at and compose a message to user israelconsulate, including the keyword #AskIsrael in your tweets. For example:

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

A Christmas Gift for Administrative Lawyers

December 30 update: OK, so this does seem like one of those topics only a confirmed law geek could love. But the Post (again) thinks the importance of the Court of Appeal’s decision to the general public is worth underlining in today’s editorial.


The Ontario Court of Appeal, on December 24, released its long-awaited decision in the companion cases of Telezone v. Canada, G-Civil v. Canada, Fielding Chemical Technologies v. Canada, and McArthur v. Canada. Each of the four cases concerned a challenge to the jurisdiction of the Ontario Superior Court to . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Vagueness and the Scope of Caselaw Databases

Caselaw databases are frequently described as being “comprehensive” collections of cases with the meaning of the word “comprehensive” left undefined. The exceptions, of course, are databases based on print series of law reports which are by definition “selective”.

Some but not all database providers do say that they have so many hundreds or so many thousands of judgments covering specific years or time periods. Some say nothing at all. A few provide further details of the number of decisions by court level but, in general, vagueness is the order of the day.

“Vagueness” is not an acceptable standard

Legal researchers . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Trouble Contacting Your Favourite Lawyer?

According to the CBC, thousands of homes and businesses in Ontario and Quebec lost power due to high winds yesterday. Many of those still do not have electricity back today, and according to CBC Newsworld reports, may not have power back until Wednesday as they work to get everyone back online. It appears to be a lot of suburban and rural areas affected. This means that some who have gone to a hometown for the holidays may not have Internet access, unless with a Blackberry, iPhone or similar device, and presuming they have a way to keep them charged . . . [more]

Posted in: Uncategorized December 2008 Updates

On my must-read list are some of the articles for this month. The authors have put together some great resources. Here’s the line-up:

Neurolaw and Criminal Justice
Ken Strutin’s article highlights selected recent publications, news
sources and other online materials concerning the applications of
cognitive research to criminal law as well as basic information on the
science and technology involved. — Published December 28, 2008

Deep Web Research 2009
Marcus P. Zillman’s guide includes links to: articles, papers, forums,
audios and videos, cross database articles, search services and search
tools, peer to peer, file sharing, grid/matrix search engines,
presentations, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Technology, Technology: Internet

2009 Strosberg Essay Prize

The 2009 Harvey T. Strosberg Essay Prize competition was announced earlier this month:

Harvey T. Strosberg, Q.C., Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Class Action Review, and Irwin Law Inc. are pleased to announce the sixth annual Harvey T. Strosberg Essay Prize competition. The prize of $10,000 is awarded to an outstanding student paper on Canadian class actions.

The competition is open to all Canadian students enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate, or professional program. The deadline for submissions is 2 March 2009.

Please see the Irwin Law web page for details. . . . [more]

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

A Few Book Notes From Nungambakkam

This will be a brief post, since I’m on a dial-up connection from Nungambakkam in South India where it’s a balmy 30 degrees – and the word snow doesn’t appear to be in the vocabulary.

The ABA has just published The Little Red Book of Wine Law by Carol Robertson, which might just have been triggered by Slaw’s notes on the same subject and our more recent update.
The ABA President blurbs thus:

“Fans of law, golf and wine alike will enjoy these well-written and entertaining works. I give the Little Green Book to my golf hosts as thank-you

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading

Who Does Legal Research?

Sorry if you thought I am writing a “Who does legal research anymore, anyway?” column this time. What I mean by the title, and what I mean to ask in the column, is in what settings and by whom is legal research done today, and whether the answers to these questions call for any action by legal research professionals. Those of us who carry out legal research or provide legal research instruction as a regular part of our livelihoods or occupations often think of legal research in what I think of as a more traditional context: the private law firms, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Next Time Cite Slaw in Your Factum

Kevin O’Keefe recently discussed Digital Darwinism as it related to legal researchers, publishers and advertisers. The economic downturn, coupled with technological advances, has resulted in the demise of many major industries that have been the backbone of corporate America.

But O’Keefe also suggests another slightly troubling proposition,

Blogs will be widely cited in briefs and court decisions.

What better way to provide compelling arguments and establish binding precedent than sourcing articles with a milisecond publishing turnaround time?

There is obviously a broad variety of quality and depth in the legal blogosphere.

The credibility and authority of both the author and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law, Technology

Canada Loves Computers

According to the Economist’s Pocket World in Figures, Canada had more computers per capita than any other country but one in 2006. Israel beat us out for the top spot. Apparently there were 87.6 computers for every 100 people in the peaceable kingdom — and a whopping 122.1 in Israel. Here’s a shot of the first ten spots:

It’s good, I think, to be suspicious of this sort of data. I say this because the Pocket World table for 2005, the prior year, published in May of this year, shows a considerable difference:

That’s a lot of computers for . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology