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Favourite Media Lines About Lawyers

Adding to the legion of penultimate year-or-the-decade “best of” lists, let’s do one for “favourite meda lines about lawyers”. The line doesn’t have to come from this decade, but you have to update the line (if neeed) to make it (more) apt to the decade. If you do change the line(s), provide the original for comparison.

I’ll start. From the original “Adam’s Rib” (1949) which just happens to also be about lawyers.

Lawyers should never have unprotected sex with other lawyers. This is called inbreeding, from which comes idiot children and more lawyers. Lawyers should marry piano players or song-writers

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Coming Into Force on New Year’s Day

On the day after tomorrow, at least 100 amendments to statutes and regulations will come into force in Canada, according to a simple search in CanLII. It’s a hodge-podge of rules, of course — a cross-section, if you will, of life under modern rule-making.

Thus, for instance, B.C. mushroom growers are likely to be happier on January 1, because the regulation obliging them to pay a levy to the Mushroom Industry Development Council is to be repealed on that day. Happier, too, will be Costa Ricans who export to Canada, as tariff rates for certain goods will be reduced by . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Legislation — Mystery Search Engine

In the last couple of weeks, there’s been a little twittering about, a search engine that seeks out documents of the PDF, .doc and .ppt persuasion. And that’s all we know.

Well, we know that it’s designed to mimic Google’s front page in all but colour. But apart from that, things are murky: there is no “about” page; there are, in fact, no links on the search page at all that offer to take you to explanation.

A search in whois reveals that the domain name is owned by Wang Linhua, who gives Shanghai as the city of . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Internet

Not a New Year’s Resolution

For those who don’t know of it, Arts & Letters Daily is an aggregator par excelllence for links to information and links of all kinds. Another is the Voice of the Shuttle. VoS describes itself as a “website for humanities research”.

At present, the first reference in the AL&D “Articles of Note” column is to a new article about the Peter Principle and studies that have been done since the book The Peter Principle: Why things always go wrong came out in 1969.

The A&LD summary, taken from the paragraph in the article under the heading “Pervasively inept” is:  . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Miscellaneous

At Least He Spelled Toronto Right

In an article published on Dec. 27/09, the culture critic for the Washington Post selected the structural (in my opinion) blight that that extends from the north side of the Royal Ontario Museum as his choice for the decade’s worst new building, or addition to an existing building, or remodelling of an existing building. There was just one nominee. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Ladies First? Not in Legal Language

Readers will likely know that I enjoy the blog Language Log. Law is, after all, a language game (in the serious sense of game), and it helps to see what the folks who study language per se have to say about it. Recently they’ve been musing about which of the sexes gets preference in a two-word phrase, such as “mum and dad”, which got me thinking about what we do in the same circumstance within the more formal settings of Canadian legislation and caselaw.

Trouble is, I’m no scientist. So all I can do is use what a statistician . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Information and Privacy Cases of the Year

I’ve always loved year-end lists. Here’s a Canada-centric top ten “information management and privacy cases” list for 2009. Endorsement and criticism invited!

#1 Grant v. Torstar. The Supreme Court of Canada recognizes a new defamation defence – the “responsible communication on matters of public interest” defence. Truly novel and highly relevant. Is the dialog on the kind of information that must flow in the name of the public interest also a building block for the privacy tort? From just days ago.

#2 R. v. McNeil. This unanimous Supreme Court of Canada judgement broadens the scope of the Crown’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Christmas Music and Other Gifts

I trust that an appropriate Santa brought each and every one of you something suitable for the holiday season. Here’s a link to some music to help you celebrate the season: Tull’s Christmas Song. Just cover the kids’ ears until the introduction is over, lest you have to explain what he was talking about.

On the other hand, the family values crowd should note that Anderson was careful to refer to “casual” sex.

On a more adult note, a colleague alerted me to this mid 1960s treasure. It’s about 30 minutes long and well worth watching. Just don’t try . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Documents on the Afghan Mission

I’m anything but a specialist in this area, but I thought it would be interesting to assemble some of the relevant documentation.


  • Geneva Conventions:
    • Convention for the amelioration of the condition of the wounded and sick in armies in the field (22 August 1864), BTS 1901/10, CTS 1942/6
    • International Convention for the amelioration of the condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armies in the Field (6 July 1906), BTS 1907/15
    • Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (27 July 1929), CTS 1933/5, 118 LNTS 344
    • Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilian persons in time
. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

What Will History Say?

I can’t believe how quickly time flies. It seems like last year I was being interviewed for a solo librarian job at Field Atkinson Perraton (now Field LLP). I am sure that one of the interview questions was “What do you know about Y2k?” Since there isn’t going to be a computer problem like this again until 2038, I wonder how this last year of the 1st decade of the 21st century will be defined by historians.

Will it be defined by a decade issue like climate change or terrorism or genocide. Will it be something specifically . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

On the Influence of Slaw

Dear all,

For those who don’t have or won’t find more compelling reasons – without limiting the generality, etc., getting together with family, giving and getting presents, unwrapping presents, staking out garbage, getting a pedicure, washing the dog, herding cats, discovering the next unknown prime in Pi, successfully rendering coherent some of the jurisprudence of … [subject optional] – occupying their time in the immediate future, I’m pleased to announce I’m going to be a guest blogger on the University of Alberta, Faculty of Law, Faculty Blog.

What can I say? I’m sure my occasional musings, here, played some . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Revisiting the Legality of the Afghan Mission

The National Law Journal claims that the War on Terror is the top legal story of the decade. And torture allegations in Afghanistan may prove to be the biggest political issue in Canada for 2010, even as the PM denies Canadian responsibility.

The alternatives raised by pundits hardly seem feasible. Handing prisoners over to the Americans would result in directly complicity in Guantanamo Bay. And the abuses at Bagram were just as bad (or perhaps worse) than Abu Ghraib.

Building our own prisons would hardly work either. It’s not cost-effective or practical in a mission that was intended . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law