Canada’s online legal magazine.

Will Canadians Be E-Voting in the Next Election?

On June 26, 2009 Elections Canada released its report and related surveys 40th General Election Evaluations, assessing our last federal election held on October 14, 2008. It shows this was the lowest voter turnout since 1962 at 58.8 percent of registered voters, a trend consistent with that seen in other jurisdictions around the world. Reasons cited for not voting include being out of town, being too busy, apathy, and a dislike for all candidates.

The Evaluations look at the last election from various points of view including those of voters, candidates and election administrators. In addition to increasing voter . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

In Kazakhstan We Have Many Hobbies, Except Blogging

I agree with Simon Chester, Borat was a “silly film.” The real country of Kazakhstan is making headlines, and few people online are laughing.

The parliament in that country has approved a new law that would allow criminal prosecution for blogs, chat rooms and social networking sites. Foreign sites considered unsuitable can also be blocked.

The government defends the recent move, saying it is intended for child pornography and extremist literature. But critics cay that it can also be used to censor content on elections, strikes, demonstrations, and inter-ethnic strife.

The popular blog site,, is already inaccessible to . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Humanists Can Benefit From Intelligence

South of the Border, the Council on Library in Information Resources has received a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to explore what de-classified intelligence gathering and analysis techniques have to offer the humanities, and especially humanities computing.

From the press release:

The confluence of digital conversion activities and technological advances allows researchers in the humanities to examine questions that require scale and computational power. Intelligence-gathering agencies are a potentially excellent source for tools, resources, and methodologies that have direct bearing on and applicability to contemporary digital humanities research because of the similarity in the methodological challenges, namely,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

Where’re You Going to Put That?

“Digitization” is certainly a term to conjure with in libraries these days. A variety of reasons has motivated these projects. The physical degradation of irreplaceable collections is a considerable spur, as is the trend toward greater openness and improved access to information. The Library of Congress has been developing significant digital collections, including the American Memory project, Thomas (the legislative archive), and newspaper collections. In Canada, government and university libraries are looking closely at their holdings, with an eye to making rare materials available via the web. The Library and Archives Canada is also building digital collections of literary . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Indian High Court Judge Gives Lecture

If you happen to be in Ottawa on Monday, June 29, you’ll have the opportunity to attend a lecture by Madan B. Lokur, a judge of the Delhi High Court, entitled “The Role of the Indian Supreme Court in Human Development.” The lecture is being presented as part of the India Lectures series of the International Development Research Centre.

If you’re going to be elsewhere on that day, despair not: the IDRC has been putting up the India Lectures as podcasts. So make a note to check in a few weeks later to hear Justice Lokur. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD

The Friday Fillip

I like Alice. I have a (very) modest collection of her adventures, as told by the oddman Dodgson orse Carroll (including a “Wonderland” published in Moscow in English — 1 rouble 30 kopek — with Russian commentary and illustrations). I bring this up because Disney is at it again, it seems, and, traditionalist curmudgeon that I am, I have deeply resented what Disney has done to some of the great children’s classics in the past. But this time I wonder…

For one thing, the new movie is being directed by Tim Burton. Hard to think of anyone more a . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

CBA – Law Firm Leadership Management Conference

Registration is now open for the Canadian Bar Association‘s Fifth Annual Law Firm Leadership Conference, this year focussing on Change Management. The conference will be taking place on November 16 & 17, 2009 at the Park Hyatt Toronto. There will also be a pre- and post-conference bootcamp sessions, “Meeting the Leadership Challenge” on November 15 (a full day) and “Meeting the Leadership Challenge – Managing for Profitability” on November 17-18 (two half days).
Featured speakers include:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Maybe the Jury Didn’t Like the Songs

In a highly publicised decision that caught most music industry watchers off guard, a federal jury in Minneapolis last week handed the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) an unprecedented and overwhelming victory in the form of a $1.92 Million (U.S.) award against a mother of four for allegedly file-sharing 24 songs. At $80,000 per track, it represents a ratio of 80,000 to 1 of punitive damages to the actual damages suffered, assuming each song could have been legally purchased for $1.00. News reports on the case, the first of thousands filed in the U.S. against individual file sharers to actually . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

A Risky Business for BC Lenders

The land title registration system in British Columbia, which is based on the principles of the Australian ‘Torrens’ registry system (named after Sir Robert Torrens) allows one to register title against real estate in a central registry. This system, which has been used since the 19th century, was a significant improvement from earlier, more cumbersome methods of proving title which required tracing back the historical “chain of title” in order to prove that the land was unencumbered.

A key part of BC’s land title system is the principal of “indefeasibility of title” which allows purchasers, lenders and other parties dealing . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

The Emerging Climate Consciousness – Public Company Disclosure and Beyond

Recently, I ran across an excellent article in the Spring 2009 issue of Corporate Governance Quarterly called “Climate Change Disclosure Heats Up”. The authors, Patricia Koval, Tyson Dyck and Michael Pickersgill of Torys LLP, discuss public companies’ disclosures pertaining to the companies’ exposure to “climate risks”. This broad risk category includes matters such as: how climate change affects the company’s profitability, what opportunities / challenges climate change presents to the company, and what actions the company is taking in anticipation of the various climate change related regulations coming down the pipe (e.g. the anticipated mandatory cap-and-trade system on greenhouse . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Pickton Judgment From BCCA

The conviction of Robert William Pickton was upheld today in a two-one split decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal. Here is the judgment from the court, subject to some redaction because of the publication bans.

In a second ruling yesterday, the court unanimously accepted the Crown’s appeal of a decision by Justice Williams to sever the 26 counts of first degree murder into six and twenty as well as errors of law in three rulings on evidence and errors in the jury charge. But the Crown acknowledged that a new trial on 26 first-degree murder charges . . . [more]

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

Wolfram-Alpha Time Sheet Tip

Math has never been my strong suit. Keeping my day organized in 6 minute intervals is sometimes a chore. My firm changed accounting software and with that change I decided to use the new tool efficiently and no longer keep a paper time sheet. Unfortunately, I no longer have the nice little conversion chart that used to be on my paper form.

New search tools have been getting some press here on Slaw, including WolframAlpha. This computational search engine makes for an easy shortcut to inputting the correct time span into online time sheet.

The resulting hours plus . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology