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The Friday Fillip

Today or tomorrow, depending on your time zone, the sun will be at its furthest point from you and winter will officially begin. If that seems anticlimactic to you, given how autumn has been behaving, think of this vital fact: from here on in the days get longer. Yes, light fans, there’s going to be more of the good stuff. So at 10.08 p.m. tonight in Vic and Van, at 11.08 in Ed and Gary, at 12:08 a.m. tomorrow in Peg… and so on and so forth, give a cheer, however faint, as Sol begins his approach.

Now, knowing you . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Google Like It’s 1866

…or even earlier, and Canada’s still under British rule somehow.

I use Google Calendar, and when I’m logged in I see a menu of other Google goodies at the top left of the window, thus:

Google Maps is not in the Calendar menu, and so I have to go to the “more” link to find it. Imagine my surprise when that “more” link flings me into the arms of Google UK’s version of the goodies page, whence the maps, of course, start with the British Isles.

Thinking I’d logged on wrongly somehow, I backed out of Google Calendar and logged . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

In Memoriam Gerald Le Dain

Sad news from the Supreme Court today of the death of Gerald Eric Le Dain, law teacher and judge. He was educated at McGill University and the University of Lyon, where he became a Docteur de l’Université in 1950. He practised law with Walker, Martineau, Chauvin, Walker & Allison in Montreal, and taught at McGill University, before becoming dean of Osgoode Hall Law School in 1967.

On a personal note Gerry gave both of the Slaw Simons their first academic jobs.

For Canadians of a certain age, his name will be associated with the Commission of Inquiry into the . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Legal Blogs as Legal Scholarship?

The Lawyers Weekly December 21st article “Should legal blogs be seen as scholarship?” does just what its title says: It briefly explores the key differences and similarities between legal blogs and journal articles, and whether blogs have the same authority/credibility as journal articles inside or outside a court of law. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

The 1000 Most-Cited SCC Cases

I thought it would be interesting to make use of CanLII’s new ability to sort search results by “most-cited,” imperfect though it is, in order to examine Supreme Court of Canada cases.

There are 4160 SCC judgments in CanLII’s database — a complete set from the beginning of 1985 up to the present, and an incomplete set earlier than that. Essentially, the pool from which to draw is that of all cases in the last 22 years. I took the most-cited 1000 cases as my sample and first simply listed them in rank order, along with some information about each. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Big Legal Stories of 2007

In its Dec. 21, 2007 issue, The Lawyers Weekly devotes a special section to reviewing the major news stories of 2007 in the legal field.

Perhaps the biggest story of the year is the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that has fundamentally changed Canadian society (see Library Boy posts Survey on Canadian Attitudes Regarding Charter of Rights, Feb. 8, 2007; Articles on 25th Anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, April 6, 2007; Top Ten Charter Cases, April 14, 2007).

The Lawyers Weekly article draws attention to a number of . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Miscellaneous News Notes

Herewith a slaw of small news items that have been gathering in my RSS reader:

  • The loose Magna Carta has been sold to an American. (Sigh. I never expected that the Canadian government would actually be bold enough to bid for it… but still…) David Rubenstein paid USD21.3 million for what he called “the first rung on the ladder to freedom.”
    BBC News
  • IBM, which has been playing around in Second LIfe, is planning to create a virtual world of its own, called Metaverse. It’ll be used for corporate communication — and to build spaces for clients, I’d guess.
    ZDNet
. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Legal Information on a Blanket

The CBC is reporting on an innovation by the Pivot Legal Society and Mountain Equipment Co-op to provide warmth and rights information to Vancouver’s Homeless.

The high-tech Blanket, co-designed and produced by Mountain Equipment Coop, is designed for homeless people, made of waterproof dernier nylon and features a printed list of people’s rights in relation to housing, security guards, police and welfare.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous

Highlights From the Technology Quarterly

Last week’s Economist magazine included their periodic Technology Quarterly supplement – always one of my favourite issues. With its focus on “augmented reality”, it included a number of great articles for anyone interested in how technology can change the way we work, communicate, and collaborate. And it even had a few articles about how law plays into all of this!

The lead article, Getting Serious, discusses the potential and problems showing up as virtual environments meet the real world. Virtual worlds have been successfully adapted for business purposes, particularly training. A British company has developed a simulator to help . . . [more]

Posted in: Uncategorized

CanLII and Parties’ Names

Here’s another reason why cases may get missed, even by better researchers.

CanLII’s privacy policy  para. 14 states

14. In order to limit prejudice to individuals that could result from free publication of documents containing personal information, CanLII is actively involved in advancing standards and policies that promote optimal protection of the privacy of people who appear before the courts.

It seems that CanLII, under this policy, is changing the name of the plaintiff in sexual assault cases to initials even though the plaintiff’s full name is in the title of proceedings in the pleadings and the reasons. This includes . . . [more]

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