Canada’s online legal magazine.

Electronic Records and Freedom of Information

In a decision released earlier this month a strong panel of the Ontario Court of Appeal took a look at one aspect of the issue of what constitutes a “record,” in this case for the purposes of applying the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M. 56. Toronto Police Services Board v. (Ontario) Information and Privacy Commissioner 2009 ONCA 20 entailed a request by a journalist for information stored in Toronto police databases in a format different from the one used by the police. The data could have been produced in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Death of the Billable Hour and the ACC Value Challenge – Essential Reading for Lawyers and Clients Alike

The death of the billable hour has been (allegedly) imminent for at about two decades now. But by most accounts, at least until recently, the billable hour has remained as healthy as Mark Twain was when he responded with his famous quote to the rather incorrect rumours of his passing. (He actually did this twice with two slight different quotes – read more here)

I included the at least until recently above because I am seeing evidence that things are finally changing, at least in the corporate and larger firm worlds (and no doubt it will trickle down to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

The Climate Change Impact of Spam

Taking off from David Canton’s post on the Economics of Spam, here’s a link to a survey from McAfee published today that has some findings that surprised me – One e-mail is like driving three feet:

An estimated worldwide total of 62 trillion spam emails were sent in 2008
Globally, annual spam energy use totals 33 billion kilowatt- hours (KWh), or 33 terawatt hours (TWh). That’s equivalent to the electricity used in 2.4 million homes in the United States, with the same GHG emissions as 3.1 million passenger cars using two billion United States gallons of gasoline
Spam filtering . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Technology

Canadian Cochrane Centre

Something with only a tangential relation to law, but squarely in the middle of our interest in online resources and libraries:

As of today all Canadians can log into the Canadian Cochrane Centre, part of “The Cochrane Collaboration,” and free of charge read abstracts in plain language of studies in medicine and health care — or, as the welcome page puts it:

…the best available evidence on which health treatments work, which ones don’t, and which may cause harm.

I have to say I’ve never encountered the Cochrane Library before and am basically ignorant about how it’s funded and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

Library 2.0 Symposium at Yale Law

Thanks to Yale’s Information Society Project, there are decent summaries available of the speakers’ and panelists’ remarks at the recent Library 2.0 Symposium, held at Yale Law School. (They’re presented something like a slide show, so you click through them a session at a time.)

This will give you some idea of what the symposium covered:

  • Panel 1: The Future of the Library
  • Panel 2: Ethics and Politics of Library 2.0
  • Panel 3: The Challenge of Copyright
  • Panel 4: Digitizing Collections

[via Law Librarian Blog] . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Charon Q.C. Podcast on Slaw Etc.

I had the honour to be interviewed yesterday by the incomparable, estimable, and frankly able Charon Q.C. for his podcast series. We talked about Slaw, of course, and, surprisingly, about Canada and the Canadian legal system: it seems that we are indeed Brigadoon, and once you’re overseas, even in the mother country, you’re within a cloud of unknowing about this country.

The pseudonymous Charon — probably Britain’s premier legal blogger — was charming as always and helped me over my stumbles and occasional gaffes with aplomb; this is his 127th “lawcast,” after all.

You can hear the interview on Insite . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Walrus Magazine Profile of Canada’s Chief Justice

The most recent issue of The Walrus has a profile of Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada.

The article, The McLachlin Group – How Canada’s first female Chief Justice has taken the heat off the Supreme Court, is by Susan Harada. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Cloud Computing Requires Savvy

That’s the title of my Free Press article for this week. Cloud computing seems to be a popular topic, so thought it was worth posting here. This article talks about the privacy issues of cloud computing from the view of a recent report by the World Privacy Forum.

From the article:

The forum report’s clear underlying message is that users must be diligent in understanding terms of service, how disclosing information to a cloud provider changes their privacy and confidentially rights in that information, and how remotely stored information may not have the legal protection it should have.

The forum . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Michael Geist Speaks to TALL and CASLIS

A large crowd to attended the TALL luncheon today to hear Dr. Michael Geist speak on Digital Advocacy. Although his presentation was about an hour long, it seemed far too short. Beginning from his own work using social media to educate people and collect opinion on copyright reform, net neutrality and other information policy issues, Dr. Geist galloped through a multitude of examples of citizens engaging with government (and each other) on issues of public interest. 

Readers of Don Tapscott’s books (especially Wikinomics) will not be surprised at the diversity of the initiatives which featured in the TALL presentation. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

The History of Computer-Assisted Legal Research

Here’s a link to a first chapter by the Advanced Legal Research instructors at Stanford Law School in a work on the history of CALR. I suspect they need to get into the stacks more

It’s interesting as far as it goes, but it doesn’t capture as much of the early detail as Jon Bing’s Handbook of Legal Information Retrieval. Jon’s book led me to Louis O. Kelso’s Does the Law Need a Technological Revolution in 18 Rocky Mntn. L. Rev. 388 (1945-1946) – yes 1946. It discusses the application of computers to the task of legal research. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Technology

New Projects at the LCO

Family law disputes and brushes with the law under the Provincial Offences Act likely constitute two of the most common ways people come into contact with the legal system (I’m not counting here going to a lawyer to have a will prepared or to buy or sell real estate). The Law Commission of Ontario is undertaking projects in both these areas that should benefit a good proportion of Ontarians. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous