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The Internet and Proof of Foreign Law

Has the Internet changed our practices on the proof of foreign law?

Canadian lawyers and judges are, almost by definition, comparativists. We take for granted from the start of our careers that we may have to look to English law, or American or Australian. Civilistes look at French doctrine, to Planiol, Tunc or the Encyclopedie Galloz.

One doesn’t need to spend much time in Michel-Adrien Sheppard’s wonderful collection at the Supreme Court of Canada to recognize the importance of comparative law to that court. Homage to Claire L’Heureux-Dube.

Our judges would regard as odd the debate between Justices Tony Kennedy . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Canada’s Do-Not-Call System Starts

As the Ottawa Citizen reminds us, the new national do-not-call system goes into effect this Tuesday:

Canadians fed up with unsolicited telemarketers will be able to register Tuesday on a national do-not-call list established by Canada’s telecommunications regulator and operated by Bell Canada… Residents can register their home and cellphone numbers to block unwanted telemarketers…

The number to call is 1-866-580-3625. The CRTC sign-up page for the do-not-call list is here. It will take up to a month for the telemarketers to comply.

Note that, as the CRTC acknowledges, this will only “reduce the number” of calls, because the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Zotero Must Be Doing Something Right…

Some updates on the progress of Zotero: positive reactions here and here, and a big fat corporate ‘welcome to the big leagues’ here.

I’ve been wrestling with XML to try to get a Canadian legal style in place for Zotero. Caron Rollins and others at the Diana M. Priestly Law Library at UVic already devoted considerable energies to creating such a style for Endnote gratis. Zotero’s import feature for Endnote styles (currently disabled in the beta download) would save me considerable time and trouble. I wonder where the user-generated contributions to Endnote are in this dispute. Any thoughts . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Ron Friedmann on the State of Legal Outsourcing

Ron Friedmann of Prism Legal Consulting Inc. has surveyed the current state of legal outsourcing in his fantastic article Why and What Lawyers Should Consider Outsourcing on (September 1, 2008).

In the article, he discusses the evolution of outsourcing in law firms and talks about outsourcing in terms of overall law firm management and cost efficiency. He summarizes the benefits, and has put together an excellent table outlining administrative and legal functions that might be outsourced by a firm. He discusses challenges HR departments face, especially with regard to maintaining the right amount of secretarial staffing, and he also . . . [more]

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

Chilling Effects

I’ve just come across an interesting cooperative enterprise uniting clinical work from seven U.S. law schools ((Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, University of San Francisco, University of Maine, George Washington, and Santa Clara University)) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Chilling Effects Clearinghouse has created a searchable database of cease and desist letters, a significant proportion of which are designed to bring a halt to legitimate online activity. You are invited to submit a C&D letter to the database; and the Chilling Effects team will annotate the letter, translating some of the legalese into intelligible prose. There is also a form to fill . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Social Network on Jurafide for American Clients

Those connected to me on various social networks know that I’m tapped into pretty much every one, largely to familiarize myself and review them for their personal utility for client development.

Jurafide stands out and is of particular interest because it is designed for non-American lawyers marketing to American clients. Doesn’t seem to get more niche than that.

The site is intended to provided a competitive advantage to American businesses searching for lower costs, emerging markets, or other international opportunities.

They also seek to promote collaboration in international trade issues, and provide a global reach to smaller firms that . . . [more]

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

How to Institute an Open Access Policy? Stand Up.

On June 10th, my colleagues in the Stanford University School of Education listened patiently as I stood before them explaining how the Harvard Law School had passed an “open access” motion which was going to lead to free online access to all of the scholarly articles that they published. We were on a faculty retreat, at a hotel by the ocean near Monterey, California, with the waves rolling in not far from where we were sitting. An opening had appeared in the program, and I jumped in, asking for the time to explain what such a policy could mean for . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

A Google Vision of Wireless

CNET News had an article on Friday about a patent that Google has applied for in which it describes an attractive vision of how wireless services might be managed in some… ideal future (“Does not apply in Canada”). The essence of the notion, which hardly seems to be a patentable idea, is that your wireless device would seek out among competing signals that which was the strongest or cheapest or some combination of each and use that signal for the immediate instance of communication. Wireless devices would not be bound in any way to particular service providers, and there would . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Internet

CanLII Expands Labour Law Coverage

In case you missed the announcement yesterday, let me report that CanLII has added 25 databases involving 130,000 decisions in labour law. These come from boards and arbitrations in just about all of the jurisdictions in the country. For a list, see the CanLII announcement. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law

Banning Spam… Et Al.?

The Conservative Party of Canada has announced as part of the current federal election campaign that if re-elected, it will bring forward legislation to ban spam.

The Canadian Press story mentions this (and a number of other consumer-oriented promises).

Earlier this month the Supreme Court of Virginia, in Jaynes v Virginia [PDF], struck down that state’s anti-spam legislation as unconstitutional, because it was ‘over-broad’. Its rules prohibiting misuse or misrepresentation of IP addresses applied not only to commercial but to all messages, including political or religious ones. This was an impermissible infringement on free speech, said the court. As a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law

Complaint Against McLachlin Dismissed

Readers may remember that in August the Canadian Judicial Council received a letter complaining of Chief Justice McLachlin’s conduct in having chaired the Advisory Council that recommended an Order of Canada for Dr. Henry Morgentaler. The Council received the complaint and set up a review chaired by Manitoba Chief Justice Richard Scott and monitored by Thomas G. Heintzman of McCarthy Tétrault.

The results of the review, dismissing the complaint, have now been made public [PDF].

The original letter of complaint is available [PDF] here. And there is a nice deconstruction of it on The Court.

The dismissal, in the . . . [more]

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

The Friday Fillip

Losing face, saving face, facing up to the music, it’s a facer, the face that launched a thousand ships — yes, even Facebook: all about what’s up top and up front. It’s what we present to the world and how that world knows us. There even seems to be a hard-wired ability in the human brain to recognize faces, damage to which produces the unhappy condition of prosopagnosia (the most famous instance of which is found in Oliver Sacks’ book “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for A Hat“). In case you doubt that this is a special-purpose . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous