Canada’s online legal magazine.

Google Roundup

Google is always releasing new features or apps. Here’s a rundown of some released recently that may have relevance for lawyers…

Google Wave Permalink Similar

This is a new feature for the Google Toolbar, available for IE and Firefox browsers, that lets you put annotations about a website in a sidebar, so that others who have Sidewiki can see them upon visiting the annotated site. As a publisher of a website, I dislike this idea; I do not want uncontrolled content popping up in intimate connection with Slaw, even it it’s clear to anyone with half a . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

CALL VLC Publisher Price Trends 2010

At the request of VLC Chair Shaunna Mireau, who is boarding a plane to NYC, I’d like to relay the 2010 anticipated price increases from publishers in the Canadian market. These numbers are gathered by the Vendors Liaison Committee, and archived on the CALL website.

  • Canada Law Book is advising a 3% to 6% price increase for print and electronic products.
  • Carswell price increases will be in the 5-7% range for print products.
  • CCH Legal/Business/Tax subscription products will increase approximately 3-9%. The price increase for Legal/Business books available in print should be in the 2-5% range and
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading

Outsourcing and Offshoring – Unplanned Consequences

Foreign ownership

In the early days of online legal research, when everything was uncertain, governments and law societies were legitimately concerned about the prospect of foreign ownership of Canadian legal information. The fear was that the legal heritage of Canada would fall into the hands of “non Canadians”, a prospect viewed with horror in many circles. While no one at that time really could foresee the future of online legal research in Canada, in retrospect, everyone should have expected that the natural “Canadian” predisposition to reconcile differences would produce a solution that would reflect everyone’s interest, offend almost no one, . . . [more]

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

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

This week in the world of biotech, things were opening up:

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

InnovAction Awards 2009 Winners

I just noticed we never mentioned the latest InnovAction Awards winner announced in September! This year’s winner is New Family Organization created by Irit Rosenblum in Israel.

From InnovAction:

Irit Rosenblum broke fresh ground defending a universal right to family as intrinsic to the practice of law. Rosenblum pioneered a new sphere of legal rights surrounding the family based on the conviction that the rights to marry, divorce, have children, bequeath and inherit assets, and conduct family life are human rights and must be attainable to all regardless of faith, nationality, sexual orientation or status. She founded New Family to

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

Antiquated Access and Privacy Laws to Stay Unaltered

More than twenty years ago, Canada was on the cutting edge with its newly minted Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act. Since then, we’ve seen each of the provinces step up to implement similar regulation for their public sectors. Though the federal laws set the benchmark at the time, they have both remained frozen in time. Despite calls from various sectors for significant reform, the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics asked the Information Commissioner and the Privacy Commissioner for their “quick fixes” or patches that may help the laws hobble along into the current . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous


Like everyone else, lawyers want to make the most out of the finite time, energy and resources available to them. Lawyers in private practice in particular often experience significant demands on their time. They face regular deadlines imposed by others without regard to their other time requirements, and often multiple clients require something to be done at the same time. There are regular interruptions during the work day via email, phone and fax. And, there is always something more to do on a client’s behalf – one more witness to interview, one more case to read, one more clause to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Charkaoui Decision Quashed at Federal Court

Justice Tremblay-Lamer of the Federal Court has quashed the controversial case against Adil Charkaoui, the alleged terrorist detained on a security certificate.

In his 2004 case before the Federal Court, the government made submissions that his interest in karate could infer his involvement in terrorism,

[50]To add to the demonstration of danger to national security and to any person, the Ministers link the respondent with violence and explain that he is a karate and martial arts enthusiast, and add that (see page 5, exhibit R-3):

[translation] In the past, it has been observed that some individuals involved with Al-Qaeda

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

The Internet, Email, and Other Dying Things

What is it about obituaries that so attracts some people? Perhaps it’s Schadenfreude, or maybe it’s a form of whistling past the graveyard, but some folks can’t wait to bring you the gleeful news that such-and-so is mortally ill — so keen, in fact, that as with Mark Twain, Clemens[1. “The report of my death was an exaggeration.” This is the actual quote, as you can see from the image of the actual letter that Twain sent from London.], they wind up being previous.

So we have two imminent deaths reported recently that may be just a bit exaggerated. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

The Friday Fillip

As I used to say to my students from time to time, lawyers aren’t allowed to use their fists: it’s all done with language, so develop a love for that tool. And I think that somewhere along the line, most lawyers do in fact wind up if not exactly loving language, then certainly caring about its use. This is why I like the blog Language Log, and have recommended it a number of times on Slaw.

But all that jaw-jaw, as Churchill might have said, can pall. So as a break I like to cook (and to eat). It . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Checking the Age of Online Purchasers

There is a private member’s bill before the House of Lords in Britain — Online Purchasing of Goods and Services (Age Verification) Bill [HL] 2008-09 — to require online retailers to verify the age of people buying goods whose purchase is restricted by age, e.g. liquor or cigarettes. It is described here.

Some scepticism has been expressed about its desirability, in part based on the difficulty of actually doing what the law would require.

Do you think this kind of law would be a good idea here? Or should we accept as a fact that age restrictions on purchases . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

The Sweet Spot

Rio Tinto shocked the global legal community by announcing that they would be outsourcing significant legal work with an expected annual savings of about $20,000,000 (20% of an annual budget of about $100,000,000). This announcement is not so shocking if you consider that Microsoft, GE, Intel and other major players are already enjoying huge savings from legal process outsourcing (LPO).

As the value of LPO starts being realized by the broader legal community and confirmation of its permanence is made on a daily basis, it becomes necessary for skeptics to understand the applicability of this method of service to take . . . [more]

Posted in: Outsourcing