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New Paper on Collegial Decision-Making at the Supreme Court of Canada

University of Toronto law professors Andrew Green and Benjamin Alarie have posted a new paper on the Social Science Research Network entitled Should They All Just Get Along? Judicial Ideology, Collegiality, and Appointments to the Supreme Court of Canada:

“Over the past 25 years, the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada have not exhibited the divergent policy views along party lines that have been characteristic of the justices of the United States Supreme Court. This apparent lack of partisan polarization in Canada may at first give rise to smugness about the appointments process in Canada; after all, our

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

LinkBunch

LinkBunch is a site that lets you put in a list of links and hands you back a single, small URL, which goes to a page where you’ll find your hotlinks. Handy, perhaps, for making a temporary web page with a collection of resources or targets. Would be better if it permitted link text rather than, or as well as, the actual URLs.

[via law.librarians -- you do subscribe to law.librarians, don't you?

-- in turn via Emily Chang's eHub] . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Ontario School Libraries to Benefit

There was a small victory for literacy this week when the Ontario government announced it will be providing additional funding for school libraries across the province (link and link). The funds are apparently enough to hire 160 new library staff. An interview on CBC’s Metro Morning today with a school librarian can be listened to here.

I’m not sure how great an effect 160 people can have in a province with millions of students, but any steps to increase kids’ familiarity with libraries is a step forward. After making it through an undergraduate degree with friends who . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

PdfMeNot

PdfMeNot is a service/tool that converts PDF files into Flash files on the fly. This means that you’re able to view them inside your browser, if you don’t have a decent PDF viewer plugin, and needn’t download PDF files or call up Adobe software to view them. You can zoom in and out and proceed page by page through the file, but you can’t search within the file using the PdfMeNot viewer.

The tools page gives you a bookmarklet that turns every PDF link on a web page you’re viewing into a link to the target in the Flash viewer . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Signal to Noise?

It’s Family Day in Ontari-ari-o, and reading week in at least some of the faculties in some of the universities, so I’m sure that explains the lack of traffic or the decrease in the denominator in the signal to noise ratio. Or both. So, there’s room for me to add some noise.

For the geeks among us (or within us), you know that Vista SP1 is around the corner for the common folk. The tech gurus have been playing for some time. In that vein, here’s something from ZDNet

Vista SP1 vs. XP SP2 – Benchmarked

http://blogs.zdnet.com/hardware/?p=1332&page=1

Looking at the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

Law Library of Congress Adds RSS

This via Ken Varnum at RSS4Lib:

The Library of Congress’s Law Library of Congress now offers RSS Feeds on the following topics: News & Events, Research Reports, Webcasts, and Global Legal Monitor.

The “Research Reports” feed, for example, includes such topics as “How to Do Russian Legal Research” and “Children’s Rights: International Laws.”

These new feeds are also now part of the larger LOC RSS Feeds we talked about in Dec/06. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Whither Soft Tissue?

A recent ruling the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench merits mentioning, the ABQB has ruled that caps on rewards for soft tissue injuries in auto accidents is unconstitutional. The justice minister of Alberta has already promised that the decision will be appealed. And lawyers in New Brunswick who plan to mount a challenge to that jurisdiction’s soft tissue cap, have seen this ruling as boon to their ambitions. The long and the short of this case and this post is that if you are interested: stay tuned, the appellate roller coaster is just getting warmed up! . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Virtual Law: Gaining Ground in Both Real and Virtual Worlds

While researching articles discussing virtual worlds (including both Internet-based games and social networking spaces) I came across an upcoming conference on virtual law. The Virtual Law 2008 Conference is being held April 3 – 4, 2008 in New York City in conjunction with Virtual Worlds 2008 which is running concurrently.

You would think by now these things don’t surprise me, but I have to admit being a bit “gob-smacked” when I came across this conference. Are there really enough lawyers practising in this area to build a whole conference to address it?

Digging a bit further, I learn that the . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Substantive Law, Technology

Lexology

Apart from a glancing mention by Ted Tjaden in his recent post, Ozmosys – An E-mail, Website and RSS aggregator, we haven’t talked about Lexology on Slaw. That may well be because everyone already knows about it. But just in case there are one or two of our readers who are unfamiliar with it, I’m going to give you a brief description.

Lexology is a free (upon registration) re-distribution mechanism for law firm publications on particular topics. Some hundreds of firms are shown as being involved. This in itself would be handy, but what makes it an even more . . . [more]

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

Judging Judges Judging Cases

I don’t generally pass on pointers to academic articles in the Social Science Research Network database, because there are plenty of others on the web who are doing that. But a recent paper (Guthrie, Chris, Rachlinski , Jeffrey J. and Wistrich, Andrew J., “Blinking on the Bench: How Judges Decide Cases” . Cornell Law Review, Forthcoming Available at SSRN [PDF here]) caught my eye and so I’m mentioning it here.

The authors tested a sample of U.S. trial judges, seeking to find out whether the judges used their intuition (making mistakes) or deliberated (getting things right) when solving . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Why You Should Take a Look at the Free / Open Source Software Movement

When talking about free / open source software, I am often surprised at the number of people today who still say to me – “if it is free it cannot be of any value”. Or those who ask – “what exactly is open source software?”. If you pardon the shameless use of the phrase, “long live free software” (or “vive le logiciel libre!”) ought to be the battle cry of the free software movement. Indeed, although not put that way by most proponents, that is the general sentiment.

What is free software? The Free Software Foundation maintains a definition of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Presentation Zen

My temporary return to teaching has got me using PowerPoint again, now de rigeur in today’s law school classroom, and it’s reminded me of my like-hate relationship with that tool. I’m certain that if anyone with serious presentation chops looked at our academic slides they’d be horrified, because we probably make every mistake in the book. But doing it right two or three times a week for hours at a stretch isn’t easy; it’s the rare bird who can combine personal passion with restrained verbiage on the big screen and get the timing right as well.

I’m sure our readers . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools, Miscellaneous, Technology