Canada’s online legal magazine.

Trial of California Prop. 8 Challenge to Be on YouTube

As everyone will know, California’s Proposition 8, passed in November of 2008, added this section to the state constitution: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” On January 11, the constitutionality of that law will be challenged in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (USDCCAND) in a case styled Perry v. Schwarzenegger. The case has elicited such public interest — see, e.g., the nifty media guide [PDF] issued by the court — that the judge in the matter has ruled that it be broadcast on YouTube.

At . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

Canadian Authors Launch Petititon Against Google Book Settlement

A group of Canadian authors has launched an online petition to protest the proposed settlement intended to put an end to a class action copyright lawsuit by U.S.-based author and publisher groups over Google’s plans to make and sell digital copies of millions of books.

In November 2009, the settlement was amended so that it would now apply only to books registered with the U.S. Copyright office or published in the U.K., Australia, or Canada.

The Book Rights Registry board, the entity that will be responsible for paying authors and publishers from revenues earned by the digitization project, would also . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading, Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

Three Minutes for a Video on Legal Trends

Beaton Consulting, which is “Australia’s leading B2B services research and consulting firm, providing insights to drive business performance” has released this short video on trends in the legal profession over the next thirty years. It’s well done and provocative.

Beaton’s own description is that

it highlights the rise and rise of the legal profession, and what the future holds in a global commoditised market. Featuring fascinating statistics on the past, present and future of law, it’s a wake-up call to law firms everywhere.

I have my doubts about whether all these trees will grow endless to the sky. But something . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Juristat Study on Multiple Victimization

The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (Juristat), part of the Statistics Canada organization, has released “Multiple Victimization in Canada, 2004” by Samuel Perreault, Julie Sauvé, and Mike Burns. There’s a version in HTML and in PDF.

As the title suggests, the study looked at data on repeat victimization within the population, both as concerns violent crimes against the person and crimes against property (“household crimes”). In 2004, of all Canadians who reported being victims of violent crime, rather more than a third (38%) reported being victimized multiple times, accounting for almost two thirds (60%) of all violent crimes. Of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

CES Prediction – Buyer’s Remorse Over December Tech Purchases

The annual Consumer Electronics Show is about to start in Las Vegas. Many companies anounce their latest and greatest products at the CES. Indeed, there have already been several announcements over the last few days.

The netbook / notebook distinction continues to blur. Netbooks have sold in large numbers – mainly because of their price – but their performance was not stellar. We are now seeing new netbooks using an updated Atom processor (there is even a dual core version) that will improve performance. And we will see more thin and light notebooks using ULV (ultra low voltage) processors that . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

House of Commons Procedure and Practice, 2d Ed (2009) (O’Brien and Bosc)

In a post last Fall called Finding and Updating Canadian Federal Private Acts, I provided a link to the House of Commons Procedure and Practice (Marleau and Montpetit).

With the prorogation of Parliament and the controversy over that, it may be that researchers will be investigating Parliamentary procedure. Since my post last Fall, I see there is a new 2009 second edition of House of Commons Procedure and Practice (edited by Audrey O’Brien and Marc Bosc) available here (at a different URL), tabled in the House on November 18, 2009. I assume we can no longer refer to the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Legislation

Jason Lewis Discusses the Art of Improv and Its Link to Legal Communication

I’m slowly working through all my friends from outside of our community with something to contribute. On this criterion, Jason Lewis – change management consultant, facilitator and improvisational comedy artist – is a great introduction.

Jason and I both ran distance back at Queen’s, and first became close when we roomed for a summer – me teaching windsurfing and Jason doing telesales, and both of us with plenty of time for just shooting the breeze. We spent every night on “storybook porch” with friends, talking goofy stuff but also lots about the skills we both employ in our professional lives . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD

The Odd Book

A new year, a new decade, and the twenty-first century is fully underway. What has crept up on me this year is a new sense of the digital age’s full weight. There’s been enough of this sort of reflection about, surely. If my case is any different, it is because it is not about the tremulous future of the book. Sure, I am struck by the relatively frequent Kindle sightings I find myself making as I walk back up the aisle on one flight after another. But those Kindles are only leading to more reading of books, to judge . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Looking for Technology Assistance

The Law Commission of Ontario wants to create forums for various of our groups to have confidential conversations on various issues. For example, the Research Advisory Board has raised having something of the kind for discussion of issues. Our advisory groups could use forums to discuss issues relevant to a project. In fact, we started to set up a forum using Google only to find that government employees couldn’t use it (or any American-based system) because of the ramification of the Patriot Act. We have talked to a consultant about it and will be getting a proposal from them, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Analysing Abdulmutallab’s Blog Posts

The interesting blog, Computational Legal Studies, has a recent post on Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s posts to the Islamic forum, Gawaher. (Abdulmutallab is the person who tried to blow up a plane on Christmas day.) All of his 310 posts have been downloaded by NEFA, which has made them available online in a zip file. (I have no idea what NEFA stands for and I’ve been unable to find out. There’s a… creepy element to this “anti-terrorism” site, though, I have to say.)

Some very basic analysis of the content of the posts has been done at . . . [more]

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

Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament

With the controversial prorogation of Parliament last week comes a new grassroots movement, Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament. Started only a few days ago by University of Alberta student Christopher White, this group is organized via a Facebook group and currently boasts over 30,000 members.

The idea behind the group is to ask Members of Parliament to return to Parliament despite the prorogation. The precedent being cited is the so-called Long Parliament that, according to Wikipedia, took place in England in the 1600s after the English Civil War. The Facebook group includes a sample letter to MPs inviting them to . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology