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The Value of Halsbury’s Laws

Or rather the value of access to Halsbury’s Laws. That’s the issue that the English courts must decide in a breach of contract claim involving a Reed-Elsevier legal author and the Anglo-Dutch legal publishing conglomerate.

English silk, David Phillips is suing the English division of the publisher, trading as LexisNexis Butterworths, for £316,730 including interest and costs.

Legal publishers aren’t used to being sued.

The claim alleges that LexisNexis breached a deal with Phillips’ father a High Court judge who edited the Income Tax volume of Halsbury’s in the 1970s. I suspect that his Lordship didn’t think it . . . [more]

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

Jordan’s Provocation

We encourage you to take a look at our friend Jordan Furlong’s provocation to his legal publishing colleagues:

Time out. Stop doing what we’ve always been doing. Put aside the deadlines and schedules for a moment. Put down the pen, those of us still using one. Push back from the keyboard, take a deep breath, and close our eyes. Make a mental list of all of our longstanding assumptions about this industry — what we produce, how we sell it, who buys it. Now, throw all these assumptions out, because it’s just about time for us to reinvent

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

Make Sites Easier to Read on Mobile Screens

I’ve just discovered that Google offers a way of stripping style sheets (and images, if you like) from any website, with the effect that you’re left with simply the text and fundamental html formatting. The advantage is that this can make reading the text of sites much easier on the small screens of various mobile devices.

The Google URL is, which offers you an ultra simple screen:

I’m glad to say that Slaw works well when fed through this device. The following link will take you to Slaw with all style and images removed:

If you’re able . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Internet

IT Law Conference

The Twelfth Annual Canadian IT Law Association Conference, October 27–28, is being held in Halifax this year and offers two days of heavy-duty talks on issues such as “Structuring Multi-Jurisdictional IT Contracts” and “Extraterritorial Application of Laws: The Borderless Internet.” The full program is available in PDF from the sponsoring IT.CAN site. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law


Shifd is a nice little program that just might prove handy for some folks. Created by two guys from the New York Times R&D department in a 22-hour hack at a London contest, the app lets you file snippets of data that interest you and retrieve them from any computer or your cell phone. (The feature involving mobile phones is currently only for the U.S. but they’re working on Canada, we’re told.) There’s also a desktop version running on Adobe Air that syncs your notes with the Times server.

You’re invited to file data in one of three modes: notes, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

More on Distractions and Multi-Tasking

After an article published earlier this year in the New Atlantis, the discussion has flared up again about the negative effects that distractions and multi-tasking can have on productivity.

In response to the New Atlantic article, others have been chiming in. Nicholas Carr, whose blog we have mentioned here in the past, wrote “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” for the Atlantic Monthly. The Sunday Times this week published an article called “Stoooopid …. why the Google generation isn’t as smart as it thinks.” All of these articles complain that the way we access information is harming . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Knol Opens Up

Some time back we posted about Google’s wisdom of the crowds encyclopedia knol, the idea being that it would be useful to have experts write about what they know and authenticate the pieces by attaching their names and info to them. Google now tells us that the experimental phase is over and you, too, can contribute to the store of the world’s knowledge by either writing your own knol or by making suggestions to those of others, suggestions they’re free to accept or not, of course (a process Google has called “moderated collaboration”).

I have to say that thus . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Technology: Internet

Toronto Star Feature Series on Crime and Punishment

The Toronto Star has been taking an in-depth look at recent moves by the federal government to “get tough” on crime by increasing sentences for major offenders and by boosting the number of crimes for which mandatory minimum sentences will be imposed.

The newspaper’s multi-part series is entitled Crime and Punishment and looks at popular perceptions of crime rates, the costs of incarcerating more people, the impact of tougher criminal laws on poor and aboriginal Canadians, crime in the suburbs, etc.

It also provides links to documents used by the team of reporters and researchers to develop the series. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Web Page Construction for the Rest of Us


Remember that name – it’s a great site that permits drag and drop web site construction. You can build a website without knowing one character of HTML.

It’s the brainchild of Lex Arquette and Jeremiah Grossman, whom Slaw readers will know from WhiteHat Security.

Roxer for free has its limitations. The beta pricing for the subscribed version is $7 per month. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Trust in Librarians

I’ve spent the early weeks of Summer 2008 catching up on my reading. I’ve finally read Wikinomics, for example. I’m also trolling through my Google reader, bookmarks and photocopies of short pieces that I promised myself I would pay closer attention to “when there’s time.” In these articles and posts and books I’ve noticed a recurring theme. The idea of trust, and how Web 2.0 is changing who we trust and what we trust arises again and again.

Jordan Furlong identified trust as a challenge in the world of law firm KM, prompting me to ask the question: Do . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

France Changes Constitution

Yesterday, the French parliament approved changes to that country’s constitution by the narrowest of possible margins. The amendments are described in the International Herald Tribune story:

Under the French Constitution, tailored for the presidency of Charles de Gaulle, the French head of state has vast powers, including the right to nominate the prime minister, dissolve the National Assembly and set the voting agenda. François Mitterrand, the late Socialist president, famously referred to it as a “permanent coup d’état.”

Sarkozy’s overhaul – the most sweeping change in half a century – allows the president to address Parliament directly, a privilege he

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Fair Use, Fair Dealing, and Copyright Infringement

Ars Technica is reporting that during the course of the “tot dancing to a Prince song” trial, in which the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the tot’s mum are suing Universal for giving her “a bad-faith DMCA takedown,” Universal’s lawyer stated that all fair use must constitute infringement, and that fair use is an affirmative defence.

It’s worth noting for bloggers like us that whatever may be the legal position of fair use under U.S. law, in Canada it’s clear that fair dealing does not constitute infringement of copyright: the legislation is explicit on this point:

29. Fair dealing for the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law