Canada’s online legal magazine.

Olympic Protesters’ Legal Guide

Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), an organization that assists lawyers around the world who themselves defend human rights, has published a “Protesters’ Guide to the Law of Civil Disobedience in British Columbia – Olympic Edition” [PDF].

The forty-three-page guide is anything but a sketchy pamphlet for marchers on the front line; it’s a serious, accessible, and well-written handbook. Produced by Leo McGrady originally in 1970 in connection with protests against the Vietnam war, according to a story in the Globe and Mail, and updated a number of times since then, it aims to

. . . inform

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

Clawbies Facelift for 2009

Following up on Connie’s post (thanks!) earlier this week, I’d like to thank everyone who has participated in the 2009 nomination season!

We’ve got one more fun item to announce… a new look for the site! Please drop by & have a look. And if you haven’t done so already, consider endorsing your own favourite bloggers!

Happy holidays!
Steve . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Torture and State Immunity: The Difficult Case of Zahra Kazemi

“[T]his regrettable result is a necessary consequence of Canada’s commitment to policies of international comity and reciprocity. Any time sovereign immunity is asserted, the inevitable result is that certain domestic parties will be left without legal recourse. This is a policy choice implicit in the Act itself.”

Re Canada Labour Code, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 50 at 91, per La Forest J.

Last week, in a Montreal courtroom, Justice La Forest’s observation was put to the test. For the past three and a half years, Stephan Hashemi, the son of the late Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, has been seeking to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Part II: Privacy & Social Media: Poked & Pwned

I posted earlier this week (see Privacy, Social Media, Targeting and Marketing: Poked and Pwnd) about recent updates on privacy practices online. Noted was Facebook’s announcement that users would be asked to update their settings to allow better and easier controls for users over their posted information. Facebook users were certainly asked yesterday to update their settings: but I had to blink twice. The update screen gave the choice (i) to keep the user’s old, often customized settings (e.g. restricted to friends only and/or with other customizations for restricted access) or (ii) to allow viewers to access more information . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

The Friday Fillip

Well, it’s here. Winter, that is. And along with it that white stuff, which has now touched down in most of the country, if only briefly. I thought we might pay a little attention to snow, in particular snow seen up-close (and virtual). But before we get to the flakes, some brute snow facts that might delight the skiers amongst you and cause the rest of us to shudder.

A lot of it falls each year — more than the army could remove, even if called in promptly. An estimate has a million billion cubic feet of snow lands on

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Supporting Creative Commons

Lawrence Lessig has put out a call to make a donation to support Creative Commons. From his request:

About 8 years ago, a bunch of us started thinking about how we might make the current system of copyright work better. We wanted a voluntary system that would give people a simple way to signal the freedom they wanted their creative work to carry, so their work would say legally what most took the Net to say implicitly — share this. The result was Creative Commons, born December 16, 2002.

None of us imagined then just how quickly the idea

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Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

Is a Printed Document Defective in Law?

Dominic Jaar has an interesting article in the droit-inc blog (en français) suggesting that a printed document may have less legal impact than the electronic original, because the printout does not reproduce all the information in the original, notably not the metadata. And these days, pretty well all documents start in electronic form, in a word processing program of some sort. Who has a typewriter any more?

This is a particular issue in Quebec because of the terms of the Act to provide a legal framework for information technologies — Loi concernant le cadre juridique des technologies de l’information, . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Legal Information: Information Management, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Calling Houdini

Some of you have probably seen this news(?) item, already.

The headline is “Canadian charged with sham witchcraft“.

Excerpts from the article:

A Canadian woman is to appear in court on Christmas Eve for posing as a witch in order to defraud a grieving Toronto lawyer in a case that invokes a century-old law, police said Thursday.

The bogus witching law was enacted in 1892 when witchcraft was no longer a punishable offense in Canada, but fears persisted that it could be used as a cover for fraud.

It makes it illegal for anyone to fraudulently pretend

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Do We Really Need Law Reform Commissions?

David Weisbrot is stepping down as president of the Australian Law Reform Commission, a position he has held for 10 years.

He was interviewed earlier this week on a radio show of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

“Law Reform Commissions — do we really need them? If governments want to change the law, why can’t they work out what they want by themselves? Do law reform commissions provide governments with camouflage, allowing them to further their political agendas with a veneer of impartiality?”

“After 10 years at the helm of the Australian Law Reform Commission David Weisbrot is stepping down.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Another Law News Current Awareness Tool

I hate not knowing everything. I am fairly certain that this is not a unique position among law librarians. Fortunately, people in my firm share their knowledge with me. Thanks to Field Law partner Janice Jong, I learned about

Lawday is a newsletter that has been in circulation by email for over three years. The site offers legal news from North America as well as directories of leading lawyers, arbitrators and legal experts. The site also offers aggregation of law firm newsletters every Thursday – called Law Bulletins on their site.

From the About page:

LawDay reaches

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Posted in: Legal Information

SLA Membership Vote to Keep Name

Back in October I reported that the Special Libraries Association was gearing up for a vote to change its name. The vote was closed yesterday, and the results have just been released. Members voted 3225 to 2071 to keep the SLA Name.

Today’s full SLA press release is reprinted below the fold: . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Lawyers and Jury Duty

I was surprised to read in a recent piece in the Times Online that in the UK lawyers are eligible for jury duty. The author, a senior commercial solicitor, gives an interesting picture of how it feels to be a juror in a criminal trial, complaining that much of the explanation given to jurors about their duty is “pitched at a primary school audience.”

If you imagine a class of seven-year-olds being told about an operating theatre (“here are some big knives, and this is where the man called a ‘surgeon’ cuts the patient, then after that they sew him

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