Canada’s online legal magazine.

Slaw IS Widely Read, Quoted Too

“If you build it, he will come.” (Field of Dreams (1998))

If you write it on Slaw, be prepared to be quoted.

I was watching Roy Halliday pitch, tonight. The game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Cincinnati Reds was on TV. It was scoreless through almost 11 full innings. Philly scored in the bottom of the 11th to win, 1-0. The Reds pitcher – a rookie making only his 3rd start in the show – lost his perfect game in the top of the 9th. He surrendered his first and only hit. Halliday was “almost” as good. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law

Who Is in Alberta? News From the Feds.

Today marks the opening of the Calgary Stampede with the annual Stampede Parade. Prime Minister Harper attended. I have always wondered how public figures, like the Prime Minister, balance security with openness. Our Calgary office closes on parade day so I won’t wear my boots until I visit next week.

The Stampede Parade is an exciting kick-off to ten days of good ol’ fashioned western fun. Led by our own World Champion Calgary Stampede Showband, the parade showcases floats, bands, riders, cultural entries, and many more! Downtown streets are closed from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., so get your

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology: Internet

Update on G20 Issues – Ombudsman Investigation and National Day of Action

The Torontoist has an excellent run-down today on the various security, civil liberty and Charter issues that have arisen from the recent G20 meeting in Toronto–see Did police break the law during the G20?.

Ontario Ombudsman André Marin has announced he is launching an investigation into the controversial Ontario regulation made under the Public Works Protection Act prior to the G20. From the Ombudsman’s press release posted this morning:

The investigation, to be conducted by the Special Ombudsman Response Team (SORT), will examine the involvement of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services in the origin of Regulation

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

The Friday Fillip

or, as I might title it today, “The Good, the Bad, and the American.” And it’s about nothing more contentious than language.

The Good? There are, of course, all sorts of species of “good” in writing. For us in law, one kind of a sometime good is plain language. For decades now, supporters of plain language in law have been urging lawyers to, well, learn to write so that others can understand them easily. Which isn’t easy. The U.S. government has a site replete with examples and tools and a page referring to foreign resources — none of which is . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Internet Archive for Older Ontario Regulations

I have in the past hoped for good (or better) interfaces to the massive amounts of older Canadian legal materials being digitized on the Internet Archive.

While that hope still remains (since I think there is a need for it), I was pleasantly surprised this morning that by simply searching the words “ontario AND regulations AND 1979” in the “Canadian Libraries” database, the result came first and it was relatively easy to get to the particular regulation I was looking for by choosing the PDF format of the document (although the PDF file was a bit large at over . . . [more]

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

When Bad Law Happens to Good People

Many of you are likely already familiar with the alleged facts in the disturbing and complicated case of Captain Robert Semrau. For those who are not, here’s a quick refresher. 

Capt. Semrau was serving a tour of duty with the Canadian military in Afghanistan. He was assigned to a small Operational Mentor and Liason Team (OMLT) tasked with working hand-in-hand with a larger force of Afghani military assisting them in becoming a self-sufficient fighting force capable of challenging the Taliban militia on their own when Canada’s mission comes to a close. On Oct. 19, 2008 his orders were to troll . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

A New Legal Information Powerhouse?

At lunch today, I got a look at the Westbusinesslaw.com platform which offers a sophisticated set of templates to get at corporate documentation, both Edgar and Sedar filings, but also a massive storehouse of global corporate documentation, precedents and models. It got me thinking about the power of an installed base. West had started moving from the purely legal market and document databases into financial information back in the Eighties. That trend accelerated after the Thomson acquisition and in turn the merger with Reuters.

But of course, there were installed bases on the finance side: Dow Jones, of course, which . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing

CourtCanada Sues Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General

CourtCanada, a private software development company, has sued Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General for breach of contract, claiming $10,000,000 in damages and a further $2,000,000 in punitive damages. CourtCanada supplies the Ministry with OSCAR, the Online System for Court Attendance Reservations, currently operating in the Estates List and the Commercial List of the Superior Court.

The plaintiff alleges that expansion of OSCAR throughout the Civil and Bankruptcy Lists was expected under the agreement and that the Ministry wrongfully cancelled that expansion. Moreover, CourtCanada alleges that the Ministry has “attempted to sabotage OSCAR in the Commercial List,” as an . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Intersection of KM and Social Networking

Knowledge@Warton has a great recap of a discussion from the 2010 Supernova forum. At issue is the evolution of social networking tools, and how they compare with corporate KM efforts. It’s an interesting discussion with a diverse range of opinions. If you’re currently involved in a KM program, or a law librarian seeking new ways to add value to your firm, I would encourage you to read this piece in its entirety.

One issue in particular that caught my eye was the contrast between ‘keeping it fun’ and maintaining value. Here’s a snippet:

While there are virtues to being able

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Without Prejudice vs. Solicitor-and-Client Privilege

Law is a vocation where every word counts; each word has a meaning. However, in almost all correspondence with lawyers, the words “without prejudice” or “confidential and legally privileged” are present. With the ever-growing use of email, it has become standard to include a confidentiality notice at the end of your message, just below the signature. Do we really know the meaning of the words we use though?

“Without prejudice” has been used by British courts for over 100 years. According to an article by Ronald D. Manes, Solicitor/Client Privilege, it originates from the solicitor-and-client privilege which was “established by . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Indian Suit Proceeds Against Foreign Law Firms

A lawsuit launched to enjoin foreign law firms from practising law in India is lurching ahead in Chennai. Originally begun in March, the suit names 30 international law firms and one LPO as respondents. According to Legally India, the court has just ruled that the respondents will now be served and must defend against the suit.

The individual plaintiff, a lawyer, rests his case on the Advocates Act, 1961, which governs who may practice law. According to his petition (available here in PDF via Legally India), only Indian citizens may practice law in India, though foreigners may be admitted . . . [more]

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

Former Law Dean Appointed Governor-General

The Prime Minister has announced that the next Governor-General, who will replace HE Michaelle Jean on Oct. 1, 2010, is David Johnston.

Johnston has two LL.B. degrees, one from Cambridge (1965) and another from Queen’s (1966). He is currently the President of the University of Waterloo. In 1997, he was appointed a companion of the Order of Canada.

But one of the more interesting points of his career is when he served as the Dean of the law school at the University of Western Ontario, my alma mater, between 1974-1979. In an e-mail to our law school community the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous