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Webcast of Khadr Hearing at Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of Canada is hearing Prime Minister of Canada, et al. v. Omar Ahmed Khadr tomorrow, November 13 — a Friday the 13th, as it happens. There is a webcast of the hearing scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. EDT.

You can read the SCC Case Information Summary to get a quick overview of the matter. The appellant’s (i.e. government’s) factum is online [PDF], as is that for Khadr [PDF].

The appeal is from a judgment of the Federal Court of Appeal: Canada (Prime Minister) v. Khadr, 2009 FCA 246 (CanLII), which in turn was an . . . [more]

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

Are There Radical Lawyers?

The Times Online has a curious nostalgia piece entitled, “Whatever happened to the radical lawyers,” that keys off Michael Mansfield’s autobiography, Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer (co-written with Yvette Vanson). Mansfield, president of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, has been practising in Britain since 1967, and has a string of unpopular causes as his clients over the years. The article examines his, and others’, views on what happened to the radicalism of the sixties that seemed to motivate so many young law graduates.

I say the piece is curious because it supplies something of an answer . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Should Twitter in the Courtroom Be Illegal?

A U.S. federal court in the state of Georgia has ruled that Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure prohibits “tweeting” from the courtroom:

“The immediate result of the court’s decision is to reject a request from a reporter for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer that he be allowed to use his BlackBerry during the Shellnutt criminal case in order to send updates to his newspaper’s Twitter feed.”

This is exactly what Ottawa Citizen reporter Glen McGregor did during this year’s bribery trial of Ottawa mayor Larry O’Brien.

This whole area of discussion (the impact of social networking media . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

What Is a Judgment?

Chatting with Angela this morning about judgments, and then the Ontario Reports undermines my certainty about my prior views.

One expects that such issues as what is a judgment, and what is an endorsement, would have been determined years ago, when the basic rules of precedent were laid down by common law courts.

However, this morning’s copy of the Ontario Reports has me wondering. There are 80 pages of reported judicial decisions in part 10 of volume 96 of the Ontario Reports, Third Edition.

However, four of those decisions from the Superior Court totalling 61 pages are nominally endorsements. I . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Lexis Sums Up

Here is this morning’s Interim Management Statement from Reed Elsevier. Note the interested bolded statement on R&D in the legal research sector.

LexisNexis has seen a modest decline in underlying revenues with softer legal and corporate markets in the US and internationally. Overall revenues benefit from a full year contribution from the ChoicePoint business acquired in September last year.

The US Legal Markets business has seen a continuation of the first half trends. Revenues in the core law firm market have held up, although these are under some late cycle pressure reflecting the downturn in the legal services industry. Directory

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

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 adds World Bank data… Permalink Similar

Now it’s possible to export your documents from Google Docs, removing one anxiety about working in this cloud. You can export up to 500 MB of data in a single zip file. You can export to a variety of document types.

Google uses feeds to find new sites… Permalink Similar

Google has built a Custom Search Wikipedia skin. If you have a Wikipedia account, log in . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Brand Promise – It’s Not a Bag of Hair

Conventional wisdom is that law firm web sites should contain a list of major deals the firm has worked on. I’ve always thought that was wrong – but didn’t really understand why until this morning.

I attended a TechAlliance breakfast club seminar where Nick Hall of Hall Associates ( @hallassociates ) spoke about Brand Promise.

One of the examples he used was a hairdresser. The brand experience a good hairdresser provides is confidence – not a haircut. Confidence that the hairdresser uses her/his expertise to make the customer look and thus feel good. That results in loyal customers who will . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Author Melanie Bueckert Discusses Employee Monitoring Law

I’ve never pre-ordered a textbook until Melanie Bueckert’s “The Law of Employee Monitoring in Canada.”

This is no slight to Melanie’s fantastic background, but I didn’t expect much. Though there are exceptions, many privacy texts tend to be thin on substance, perhaps because the domain is evolving so quickly.

Given I had set my expectations low, I was delighted when I received Melanie’s text last month and discovered it included a thorough and deep discussion of the law of employee monitoring in Canada. This led me to introduce myself to Melanie, who is Legal Research Counsel at the Manitoba Court . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Reading, Substantive Law, Technology

LCO: Modernizing the Provincial Offences Act Consultation Paper

A heads up for those interested in the Law Commission of Ontario’s Modernization of the Provincial Offences Act project. The Consultation Paper is scheduled for release early next week. It lists about 20 issues on which we want people’s views: should we address this issue? And if so, what should we recommend? We also want to know if there are issues we missed.

We were aware of the Streamlining Paper emanating from the MAG Working Group and tried to avoid duplication of issues. We’ll do the same with Bill 212 which recently received second reading, although it addresses only a . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Trusts and Estates Practitioners Need to Be Aware of Family Law Act

Cross posted at

There is a fantastic article by John Harvey at page 12 in the October 26 issue of Law Times. (Sorry I can’t give you a public link – unfortunately it is locked up for Law Times subscribers – they can access it in the Law Times Digital Edition here.

While written for Ontario lawyers as it references the Ontario Family Law Act (FLA), the risk issues the article highlights are equally applicable to lawyers in other provinces and territories.

The article has some great comments and quotes from Lorne Wolfson of Torkin Manes . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Identity Theft New Criminal Code Offences

Bill S-4: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (identity theft and related misconduct) came into force on October 22, creating a number of new offences in relation to identity theft and impersonation. As ever, the best way to acquaint yourself with the new provisions is by reading the excellent legislative summary provided by the Library of Parliament.

New offences include the following:

  • identity theft (new Code section 402.2(1)) -:- knowingly obtaining or possessing “another person’s identity information in circumstances giving rise to a reasonable inference that the information is intended to be used to commit an indictable offence .
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

The Myth of Work Life Balance in Law

I am totally exhausted after a day involving a chambers application, client meetings, attempting to settle a high conflict matter likely headed to litigation despite all efforts and then coming home to two children under four with a husband out of town. And, Monday is my day to post on Slaw …

Which leads to me to a little rumination on the ethereal promise of work life balance in the context of private practice law. I am with Jordan Furlong, whom I met coincidentally for the first time in person at a CBA Work Life Balance function, that we . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law