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Berring, Free Legal Information, and Making Good Choices

The Legal Current, a blog published by Thomson Reuters, recently posted comments by Bob Berring on free legal information. Professor Berring expressed scepticism about the future of free tools for legal research, and described why in his view the structured and edited information in commercial tools makes them preferable for legal research.

Are commercial services necessarily more stable?

Daniel Poulin of LexUM has addressed Berring’s arguments in his recent post on SLAW, from the perspective of a publisher of free legal information. I echo his comment that commercial services are not necessarily more stable than government sources of . . . [more]

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

University of Montreal’s Cyberjustice Project

Word came down recently that the University of Montreal’s Centre de recherche en droit public won a six million dollar grant “to create a research infrastructure in which to develop different software solutions to the many problems currently plaguing the justice system.” You can read the CRDP announcement here. The Cyberjustice Laboratory project will comprise a research facility, a “virtual courtroom” and a “transportable courtroom” housed at McGill University. The project is headed by Professor Karim Benyekhlef, Director of the CRDP, and by Nicolas Vermeys, Associate Director of the project.

The chart below will give you some idea of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law, Technology

Stating the Obvious

CIPO announced a new Practice Direction on the test that the Patent Office will apply in assessing obviousness in light of Rothstein J.’s judgment for the Court in Apotex Inc. v. Sanofi-Synthelabo Canada, Inc. [2008 SCC 61]

The four-step approach to obviousness adopted by the Court is as follows:
(1) (a) Identify the notional “person skilled in the art”;
(b) Identify the relevant common general knowledge of that person;
(2) Identify the inventive concept of the claim in question or if that cannot readily be done, construe it;
(3) Identify what, if any, difference exists between the matter cited as . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

Welcome Jotwell, a New Type of Legal Journal

Jotwell is an online law journal titled Jotwell (The Journal of Things We Like (Lots) which is the brainchild of Professor A. Michael Froomkin. Its aim is to help lawyers and legal academics figure out what to read, not only in their own area of specialization, but also outside it.

Jotwell will “identify, celebrate and discuss” the best new legal scholarship in a variety of fields, as selected by a distinguished board of legal editors. It is a rare attempt by legal scholars to praise—rather than criticize—others’ work. “We will not be afraid to be laudatory,” declares the Jotwell Mission . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information, Technology

Government 2.0: Open Data in the City of Toronto

Today and tomorrow, Toronto Innovation Showcase is bringing together City of Toronto staff, City leaders, and various groups of citizens to discuss the Open Government movement and what it should mean to the City. The question being asked is:

“How can we strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness by making government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative?”

Part of the Showcase will be the Open Data Lab, taking place this afternoon 1:00 – 4:15 p.m. ET. This will be a unique opportunity for citizens to engage with City government. Today’s Open Data Lab will be led by consultant . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Technology

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

This past week was fantastic for Toronto biotech. We hosted the 50th Anniversary of the Gairdner Awards, the OGI-IDT Synthetic Biology Symposium and Canada’s first Science Policy Conference. These events provided the opportunity to hear some big names do some big thinking… and the opportunity to reduce all those big thoughts to 140-character tweets @crossborderbio. Here are a few items from the Cross-Border Biotech Blog that got in on the fun as well:

  • Bruce Alberts, the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Science, served for 12 years as the head of the U.S. National Academy for Science, an
. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training, Substantive Law

Speaking Out

At the end of September, four members of the Ontario Government Libraries Council (OGLC) presented a workshop at Showcase Ontario, the Ontario government’s enormous technology and information conference. The session was about how to use non-traditional media such as blogs and Twitter for current awareness, and included two practical case studies from the Office of the Fire Marshal and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Registrations for the session topped 400. Since then, various members of the panel have been asked to make presentations to other audiences, to contribute content to articles reporting on social media use in government, and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Berring, CanLII and Kobe Beef

I saw the last installment from the West series showcasing Bob Berring. Bob Berring is no stranger in this field. He significantly contributed to the law librarianship over a quite long career. His decade long professional connections with West Publishing are also well known. All this said, this short video constitutes nice blog stuff. Simon’s reference to it is an irresistible invitation to prepare a first posting on Slaw. I intend to seriously contest the premature obitary for the free access to law initiative. Here are some of my points.

The market and the production of social goods

Berring’s first . . . [more]

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

Google Mobile GPS Services With Crowdsourcing

Just like Google’s Street View feature, which followed a Canadian launch after being tested in the American market, Google introduced this month traffic levels for major Canadian cities after almost three years of use in the U.S. In the past week the service was extended from mobile devices to web browsing as well. has offered much more limited traffic features for several years, but nothing even close to the level of detail or interactivity provided by Google.

Late this summer Google had expanded the service to include arterial roads, which was a major complaint among American users. They also . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

Grotius, Selden and 400 Years of Controversy

How young has a major contributor to the law been? I’d argue the case of a brilliant 21 year old Dutch student.

Over at the Yale Law Library Blog, a great exhibition on the four hundredth anniversary of the publication of Hugo GrotiusMare Liberum, (“On the Freedom of the Seas“) – or Huig de Groot if you dislike Latinization. Originally published as a pamphlet, it produced the first effective argument for the freedom of the seas and, with Grotius’s more mature work, De jure belli ac pacis (1625), lent substance and prestige to the idea . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

萬維網 – a Web That’s World Wide

Or even والشبكة العالمية

The language of tomorrow’s web won’t be English – nor will the script.

ICANN’s website has a video that explains the system of Internationalised Domain Names.

The Press Release states:

Seoul: The first Internet addresses containing non-Latin characters from start to finish will soon be online thanks to today’s approval of the new Internationalized Domain Name Fast Track Process by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers board.

“The coming introduction of non-Latin characters represents the biggest technical change to the Internet since it was created four decades ago,” said ICANN chairman Peter Dengate . . . [more]

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