Canada’s online legal magazine.

2008 CLawBie Nominations Now Open

Just released over on the Clawbies website, I’ve posted about the 2008 Canadian Law Blog Awards which are once again set to be announced on New Year’s Eve. But more important, I’d like to highlight something about this year’s edition… our two new methods for blog nomination!

Rather than voting like the ABA, I wanted Canadian legal bloggers & blog readers to have a hand in the process. So we’ve added both a nomination by email process, and much more interesting, added a nomination by blog post option… with a twist! Please, go check out nomination method #2 . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

BC Legislation to Be Current and Free Online

Great news from BC, one of the last Canadian bastions of pay-per-view access to current legislation. The lobbying efforts of the Law Foundation and many other parties has paid off, and as of Jan. 1 2009 access will be available at

From the announcement, here are the features that will be offered:

bclaw-features (its a 2-page excerpt – scroll down to see more).


An email to me kindly points out that I mis-read the document… we will get current BC laws, but all the features listed are those of QPLegaleze, NOT the new service. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Canadian Human Rights Commission Submits Review to UN

The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights created a mechanism in 2006 to review the state of human rights in member countries. Canada’s turn comes up in 2009. The first step in the process is a self-evaluation by the target country. Canada submitted its report in September, and has made the submission publicly available here.

I’ve had only a brief look so far, but the report looks very interesting. The first bit provides insight into what programs/legislation/processes are in place to create a society which meets the goals of the UN. The second part provides a . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

The Friday Fillip

What colour is that noise?

No, this isn’t about synesthesia, that cross-over effect in the senses where letters in the alphabet can have colours and sounds can smell — if you’re like Nabokov or Duke Ellington or Ludwig Wittgenstein. (Okay, okay: no one is like Ludwig Wittgenstein.)

It’s about noise, pure and not-so-simple, noise without tune or harmony but noise blended in just a certain way.

Let’s start with white noise. Most people have heard of white noise and may even have used it to block out other and distracting sounds. Turns out, though, that white noise . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Prorogue a ‘Very Dangerous’ Precedent

Prof. Errol Mendes of UofO has stated that PM Harper’s recent decision to prorogue government is not just a bad idea, but “very dangerous.”

Any time that the prime minister wants to evade the confidence of the House now he can use this precedent to do so…

This is certainly an unprecedented situation that we saw unfold. I hope that we won’t come to the brink of this type of effort to unseat a sitting government going against the democratic wishes of the people of Canada.

Mendes is the same person who contemplated seeking an injunction when the election was . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Privacy Commssioner Focuses on Protection of Personal Information in Accessible Tribunal Records

Yesterday, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada tabled her annual report on the Privacy Act. While she came down hard on a number of federal bodies such as the passport office, one aspect of the report should be of interest to lawyers generally.

The Commissioner reports on a whole range of complaints against tribunals and quasi-judicial bodies for publishing sensitive personal information about parties and non-parties. Decisions and tribunal records have always contained such information, but now that more of these decisions are readily available online, complainants are not happy that searching for their names online will bring up . . . [more]

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

LexUM/CanLII Release Reflex Hyperlinking Tool

CanLII announced this evening that, together with LexUM, it has released Reflex, “a tool allowing you to hyperlink your documentation with CanLII’s material.”

The simple notion is that, on the Reflex page, you upload a document (or a case name or single citation) from your machine and Reflex, recognizing case names, citations and legislation data, will edit that document by supplying citations (where necessary) and hyperlinks to the appropriate text. You can save the final result as an HTML document (which, of course, you can then convert to other formats as needed). Reflex accepts material in the following formats: . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology

Anti-Spam Bill Reintroduced in the Senate

Senator Goldstein has reintroduced his anti-spam bill in the Senate, as of last month. It is now Bill S-202. A similar bill (I have not compared them) was on the order paper before the last election. (It’s interesting that Senate bills die too when elections are called, considering that the Senate is not elected and the Senators all continue in office despite elections for the House of Commons. Yes, I understand the principle, but its application is not inevitable – though it is not going to change, either.)

You can read the Senator’s comments as he began second reading debate . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Legal Information, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

NetLegal – Serving Documents 2.0 is the latest legal service company to cross my radar. This Canadian company (headquartered in Charlottetown with servers inside our borders) offers several services through their site surrounding the premise of connecting people and paper electronically. The main components of their platform of services include:

NetService – firms, lawyers, and judges can choose to upload files that can then be served BY CONSENT through another Netlegal member or by fax. The fax service to the courts uses the correct forms for all Canadian jurisdictions. Judges may also set up e-filing on a case making an order that parties . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Technology

N.Y. Times Incorporates News From Others… Sort Of

Starting today, the New York Times online edition is linking to stories from outside sources, including blogs. Sort of. Clearly nervous about sending you directly to news from outside sources — something that was verboten until now — the Times offers a link on its main web page to something called Times Extra. Clicking that gives you the same front page, but now each story has a suffix of links to other news sources’ take on the tale. So, for example, the opening paragraphs of the story on the cutting of rates by the central banks of Europe are followed . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Australia Will Criminalize Identity Theft

Internet Law News this morning reports that Australia will propose national legislation to criminalize identity theft.

I am not sure I understand the story. Presumably Australia has laws against fraud. The story mentions using another person’s credit card and stealing personal information to open bank accounts and take out loans in the name of the victim. Would not such actions already be illegal? They certainly would be here.

It is arguable that it should be illegal simply to acquire the personal information, without actually using it – but then would protective or limiting measures be needed to prevent abuse, or . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

More on Big Law Blogs

There have been a couple great BigLaw blog lists that have come out over the past week, and both are well worth noting here on Slaw.

First up, 3 Geeks and a Law Blog have published a list of officially sanctioned BigLaw law blogs, with the term sanctioned being defined as a link from the firm’s main website. A good metric, IMO. This list now totals 141 blogs from 56 law firms, and is based on looking at the NLJ 250 firms.

The second list comes from the crew over at Law Blog Builders Lexblog, and is an . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Internet