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Linguist Tongue-Lashes Jurist

One of the things I enjoy about reading the Language Log, a cooperative blog by academic linguists, is the ease with which some of the authors slip into high dudgeon. (I suppose I might be like that, too, if my subject were language, in which everyone is an expert.) The latest target of Geoff Pullum’s indignation is U.S. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy, who, it turns out, doesn’t know his active from his passive, when it comes to voice.

The offending passage occurred in the judge’s dissent in Jones v. United States 526 U.S. 227 (1999) where Kennedy is interpreting a . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Form of Order in Applications to Prove a Lost Will Under Ontario Rule 75.02

Cross-posted on The AvoidAClaim blog (www.avoidaclaim.com)

As part of a brief endorsement dated November 3, 2009 in RE: IN THE ESTATE OF Evelyn O’Reilly, et. al., Justice D. M. Brown of the Superior Court Of Justice–Ontario provided some useful direction on the form and content of an order in applications to prove a lost will under Ontario Rule 75.02. Ontario lawyers handling this issue on estate matters will find Brown J.’s comments helpful. . . . [more]

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

Study on Impact of Intervenors at Supreme Court of Canada

University of Toronto law professors Ben Alarie and Andrew Green have posted a draft of a new paper to the Social Science Research Network.

The paper is entitled Interventions at the Supreme Court of Canada: Accuracy, Affiliation, and Acceptance:

“Do interveners matter? Under Chief Justice McLachlin the Supreme Court of Canada has allowed an average of 176 interventions per calendar year and interveners have cumulatively made submissions in half of the cases heard by the Court. This level of activity suggests that interveners are doing something. But what is it that they are doing?”

“In the abstract, there are

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Consumer Reports Magazine’s Electronic Gadgets Xmas Shopping List

I over-think and over-analyze every purchase I make, large or small. One of my favourite sources of information is Consumer Reports Magazine (www.comsumerreports.org).

The December issue arrived at home yesterday. It is “The Best New Electronics” issue and is perfectly timed for anyone thinking about a Christmas electronics purchase. They have tested and give ratings for 400+ hot new electronic products. They give basic info on the features you should consider and list the top performers and values. They have repair history ratings on some products, and tell you where to buy computers and electronics, and how to . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Empty Larder Days…

♫ If it should chance to be
We should see
Some harder days,
Empty-larder days,
Why grouse?
Always a chance we’ll meet
Somebody to foot the bill…♫

Lyrics and Music by Lionel Bart, from Oliver!

Ever trying to put a positive spin on a negative situation, the Legal Services Society of British Columbia has just announced that it has reduced 58 positions arising from replacing its regional centers in Kamloops, Prince George, Kelowna, Surrey and Victoria with local agents and an expanded, province-wide call center.

Civil law advice programs such as the LawLINE (the Society’s telephone legal advice service) will . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

P2P Sharing Leaks Blueprints on Obama’s Marine One

A CBS news article says that blueprints of Obama’s helicopter were found on a computer in Tehran. How did it get there?

Seems that a defense contractor legitimately had the documents. An employee saved it on her home PC. That home PC contained, like many do, file sharing software. But that employee did not realize that the file sharing software was configured to share the folder it was put in.

In other words, if anyone anywhere using that file sharing software/network did a search, they could find and download that document.

This danger is not new – but its a . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Privacy Yes… but Now Is the Time for Employers to Manage H1N1

Last Wednesday, the The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta published two documents on privacy and management of the H1N1 pandemic. This post invites critical thought about the substance of these documents.

One document, for employers, is entitled Privacy in the Time of a Pandemic: Guidance for Organizations. The other, for employees, is entitled Privacy in the Time of a Pandemic: A Fact Sheet for Employees.

Both documents argue that private sector privacy laws “apply . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Free Law Kerfuffle

I am amazed that the three minutes extracted from an interview that I gave in the summer of 2009 with the thought that parts of it would be used in a tribute video to be shown at the 2009 AALL Convention has caused such a kerfuffle. [Ed. note: see Berring’s Scepticism on the Future of Free Legal Information, Berring, CanLII and Kobe Beef, Berring, free legal information, and making good choices] (Glad to see that someone used one of my favorite words). The context of the remarks matters because they were meant to be light in tone. . . . [more]

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

iCyte for Online Research

I was using Delicious for work and personal research. Then I read an article in Econtent magazine about iCyte and I just had to give it a try. Now, I’m hooked on it. If you do alot of online research, you have to try it. Why I love it:

  • It lets you select and save text on a webpage. Instead of saving the entire page, iCyte allows you to save the most important parts of a webpage.
  • Webpages are saved on the iCyte server, so you don’t lose them even if they’ve been changed or deleted.
  • You have the option
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

LCO Visits Thunder Bay

After three weeks rest and relaxation, I flew to Thunder Bay for two days of “outreach”, two days of what turned out to be a valuable glimpse into how residents of the northeast experience law. We’ll be following up with more specific consultations in our projects, but I ended up with pages of comments and questions that will become part of our analysis in our family law and vulnerable workers projects in particular. Comments that cut across the groups I met suggest a couple of possible new LCO projects. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Positions for Librarians and Lawyers

There seems to be an increasing number of positions for librarians in the area of copyright and licensing.

IFLA (located in The Hague) is currently looking for a Copyright Policy Officer. The University of Michigan has an opening for the Head of Electronic Acquisitions and Licensing. The Ontario Colleges Library Service has an opening for an Electronic Resources Librarian (in Toronto).

The blog www.copyrightanswers.blogspot.com now lists such positions — if you are interested, further info and links are in the blog. And if you know of other positions, please share them. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

Google Music Search Launches Outside Canada

Google’s new music search, Discover Music, has launched — but not in Canada. Partnering with imeem, lala, iLike, Pandora and Rhapsody, all music providing sites, Google will now determine whether your search has a musical aspect and, if so, throw up a result box that lets you listen to an excerpt of the music and choose to purchase it, if that is possible. There’s a video on the site linked to above that illustrates this.

Because of copyright issues, none of the partner providers is able to supply music online in Canada, and, consequently, Google’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology, Technology: Internet