Canada’s online legal magazine.

Michael Geist Revives Federal Access to Information Database

University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist is trying to revive the CAIRS database that allowed researchers to track freedom of information requests made to Canadian federal government departments under the Access to Information Act.

The database was discontinued by the Conservative government.

As he reports in his blog, Prof. Geist is launching CAIRS.Info, a resource that will provide the same information that was contained in the original database:

“The files include the wording of the original access to information request, date, department, file number and general information about whether the requester was with the media, business,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Knowledge Ontario Future Directions

Why is a private law librarian from Alberta posting about Knowledge Ontario? Three answers:

  1. Public body collaboration is interesting and in my backyard – Knowledge Ontario is a similar concept to The Alberta Library
  2. There was an event today gathering input to shape the next steps for this excellent collaboration effort
  3. I fell like I was there because of Connie’s Live Twitter feed and the #ko-idea hash tag

What is Knowledge Ontario?

Knowledge Ontario (KO) is a collaboration of libraries, cultural heritage organizations and educational institutions. Its focus is on connecting Ontarians with digital content to support their information

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management

Times Wire

News junkies rejoice! Yet another way to get up-to-the-minute reports on what’s happening: the New York Times now offers its content in the form of Times Wire, a kind of “river of news” web-based flow that gives you headlines, the first line or two of the story, and a block of photos with popup text for those who like things pictorial. You’re able to fashion your own flow, to some extent (no tick box for law — why is that?), choose the business & technology tab, or elect to drink from the fire hose of “all news.”

There’s an . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Technology

Virtual Appearances

A bill now before the U.K. House of Lords would remove the right to be present at a hearing for certain matters consequent upon being charged with an offence. Amendments to the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 proposed in the Coroners and Justice Bill 2008-09 [PDF] (Part 3, Chapter 4: Live Links – p.56) would allow authorities in a number of London and North Kent police stations to determine that an accused should appear before a bail court, or for trial of minor offences, via a live video link to a remote courtroom. (See the story in the Times.) . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

The Canadian Anti-Spam Bill

The Electronic Commerce Protection Act, Bill C-27, has passed second reading in Parliament and will go to committee for review.

Views seem to differ on parts of the bill, while other parts are generally accepted.

One of the areas of contention deals with the degree of consent required to send someone an email. The Bill has an ‘opt in’ system, by which the sender needs the express or implied consent of the addressee to send a message. An existing business relationship may imply consent.

However, some people say that the Bill is so broadly drafted that it would prohibit . . . [more]

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

Ontario Solo and Small Firm Lawyers All A’buzz…

♫ What’s the buzz?
Tell me what’s a-happening…♫

Lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, from Jesus Christ Superstar.

What makes a successful legal conference?

• An uplifting opening event, which sets the stage for the conference.

• Engaging speakers and a highly participative audience.

• A wonderful setting.

• Great organization from the conference staff and organizers.

• And not the least of all, a positive ‘buzz’ that permeates the entire conference.

Well, the 4th Annual Solo and Small Firm Conference, sponsored by the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Ontario Bar Association . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Microsoft Says Go Direct to Windows 7

In a recent speech Bill Veghte – senior vice president, Windows business, for Microsoft – advised that if a business is now in the testing phase to upgrade from XP to Vista, they should stop and go direct to Windows 7.

The Windows 7 release candidate is now available for testing purposes, and Windows 7 is expected to be available this fall.

Conventional wisdom for operating systems in the enterprise is that we should wait until the first service pack is released to deploy, to give more time for initial bugs to be worked out. Early reviews and commentary on . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

University of the People

Israeli entrepreneur Shai Reshef has launched the University of the People. Under the auspices of the U.N.’s Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technology and Development (GAID), the University of the People offers tuition-free education to anyone able to connect via the internet in two programs, Business Administration and Computer Science. At the moment the institution does not grant degrees, although it is seeking accreditation.

The somewhat tenuous connection to law — and thus to Slaw — lies in the fact that a number of the University’s advisors are lawyers: Jack M. Balkin is Knight Professor of Constitutional Law . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Technology

The Risk and Value of Journal Proliferation in the Age of Open Access

“India does not need any more journals, especially localized institution-based ones, if that is what you mean. We already have too many journals, most of them third rate. What we need is to look for ways by which we can convince many of these journals to close down. Instead, we should try to identify the better ones and persuade their editors and publishers to make them Open Access…” 

My challenging correspondent has permitted me, in this case, to share his comments and my response on this matter of journal proliferation. I have chosen to do so as it has become . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Evaluation by Any Other Means … Is Still Evaluation

At the LCO Symposium last Wednesday, a number of law reform related topics were discussed, but one that applies to law reform commissions and other institutions, as well, related to evaluation. The LCO has a particular interest in this because we’ll soon be evaluated on our performance so far. And of course, there hasn’t been much time to have developed a track record!

The concern expressed won’t surprise anyone: how can you get away from bean counting in evaluating organizations that engage in activities that just aren’t susceptible to measurement by numbers. For the LCO, traditional evaluation would focus on . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

E-Discovery Precedents

The Ontario Bar Association’s E-Discovery Implementation Committee has released eight model precedents. They are:

  • Discovery Agreement
  • Preservation Agreement
  • Memorandum to Corporate Client Regarding Documentary Discovery
  • Memorandum to Individual Client Regarding Documentary Discovery
  • Preservation Letter (To be Sent to Opposing Counsel)
  • Preservation Letter (To be Sent to Defendant or Proposed Defendant
  • Preservation Order
  • Annotated E-Discovery Checklist (with suggestions on how to minimize e-discovery costs)

These Model Documents have been revised based on comments received, as well as to reflect changes to the Sedona Canada Principles Addressing Electronic Discovery and impending amendments to the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure (see below),

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