Canada’s online legal magazine.

Distracted Lawyering

A couple of waves aligned in my universe today:

Ernie’s article (I will address him by first name since frequently reading his good stuff makes me feel like we are close friends) mentioned his experience with a class of law students he was presenting information to:

Almost all of them had a laptop in front of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law: Legislation

Data Dot Gc

Yesterday the OpenParliament site for Canadians, today an open data site for us. Like its parliamentary cousin, though, is not, alas, a government initiative; rather, it’s the work of a group of private citizens led by David Eaves, a B.C. activist and public policy wonk. As they say on the site:

Unlike the United States ( and Britain (, Canada has no open data strategy. This must change. Canadians paid for the information gathered about our country, ourselves and our government. Free access to it could help stimulate our economy and enhance our democracy. In pursuit of this

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

What Starts Here – Changes the World

That’s the motto (or slogan for those who prefer the Gaelic) of the University of Texas at Austin, which today announced a new three-year joint degree programme combining a Master of Science and Information Studies and Doctor of Jurisprudence (MSIS/JD).

The new programme “responds to an increased need for specialist trained to help address legal issues arising from the increasingly complex and changing world of information use, retrieval and storage in the 21st century.”

For those interested, eligibility is set out here.

For all the hype, the sample course selection here is fairly ho-hum, just plain vanilla . . . [more]

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

Google Launches Twitter Archive

The issue of archiving Tweets has come up before. But now Google has an even better suggestion through a Twitter archive.

Google suggest using the tool to identify how the news broke, or see what people were saying about a specific popular issue. Anyone watching the Guergis/Jaffer affair last week would probably want to check out #bustyhookers (I’m not just being gratuitous, there’s a really interesting story behind it for those who weren’t following).

I can see it being used for public relations metric purposes, but also discovery for future online defamation cases. Some have expressed concerns about the . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Twitter Gets Archived – at the Library of Congress

Just announced (by Tweet naturally) is that every public tweet, ever, since Twitter’s inception in March 2006, will be archived digitally at the Library of Congress. That’s a LOT of tweets, by the way: Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets every day, with the total in the last four years numbering in the billions.

The announcement is timed to coincide with the Twitter developers conference in California.

One wonders just how future researchers will grapple with all of this content. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology: Internet

Pirate Party of Canada Eligible for Official Party Status

Avast, me hearties, belay that snigger! The sons and daughters of Captain Kidd and Grace O’Malley are a plank closer to, well, having a proper plank of their own so that they can officially talk the talk. The Pirate Party of Canada has achieved “eligibility” status and seems likely to be able to field candidates a couple of months from now.

The rules respecting registration of federal political parties can be found here and are created by sections 366. – 403.42 of the Canada Elections Act (as amended in light of the Figueroa decision.

According to its website the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Where Are the Gaps in Canadian Legal Treatises?

In responding to a query the other day on recommending resources for someone researching guarantees, I immediately thought of Kevin McGuinness’s The Law of Guarantee, 2d ed. (Toronto: Carswell, 1996) but had to stop and think if there were any more recent treatises. Although there are a number of more recent banking law treatises, I could not think of anything more recent specific to the Canadian law of guarantees that would have helped on the particulars of the question being researched (the British Sweet & Maxwell title from 2007 may of course be relevant). And although one might argue . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

US Government Study: Piracy Statistics Unreliable

We have seen much pressure over the years for governments to enact tougher laws for piracy and counterfeiting – often based on statistics that lead to conclusions that billions of dollars are being lost because of it.

It leads to questionable things like three strikes laws, the Digital Economy Bill, and the ACTA treaty discussions. Many people have questioned the statistics, and the conclusions based on them.

The US government accountability office (GAO) just released a report that concludes that while the problems are real, “Three widely cited U.S. government estimates of economic losses resulting from counterfeiting cannot . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

In the Spring, a Young Man’s Thoughts Turn to . . . Taxes

Yes, it is that time of year in Canada. On or before April 30, 2010, to be specific, for most people.

As a known procrastinator, I vow to file on time this year.

I find the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website surprisingly helpful on the special deductions this year for the home renovation tax credit and also in answering questions on RRSPs (although the CRA is an easy target for criticism, their website is one of the better websites having an effective online A to Z index).

And with the advent of online tax preparation software, the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

The New Ontario Rules Call for Systematic Discovery Planning and Management

There’s been a good deal of hoopla about project management and the legal profession lately. I banged the drum last November and we’ve had a Slaw book review about project management by Andrew Terrett and another on work procedures by John Gilles. Canadian Lawyer Magazine recently validated our Slawyerly interest in the way we work by deeming project management a “buzz” for 2010. In contrast to my market-related argument from last November, I write this post to make the simple point that the discovery-related amendments to the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure are a practice-related reason to engage in . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Anonymous Speech

The Ontario Divisional Court is going to hear an appeal of the Warman v Wilkins-Fournier case, in which the issue is whether an internet intermediary (here a blog site) must disclose the names of people alleged to have defamed someone.

The Ottawa Citizen has the story.

The trial decision requiring disclosure is at 2009 CanLII 14054 (ON S.C.)

Both sides are suitably apocalyptic in their predictions of disaster if they lose. (Canadian Civil Liberties Association and CIPPIC intervened against disclosure.)

Those opposing disclosure (on court order) say that whistleblowing and populist activism will be chilled or will dry up if . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, ulc_ecomm_list