Canada’s online legal magazine.

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

This is the 26th edition of This Weeks’ Biotech Highlights, which means Slaw has been hosting my ramblings for exactly half a year. Thanks! Other things I’m thankful for:

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Posted in: Substantive Law

SCC Website – What’s Next?

A couple of days ago I was at the Supreme Court to discuss potential improvements to the Supreme Court decision website. Some of you probably noticed that over the last year LexUM greatly expanded the scope of decisions available on this site. We now have everything back to 1949, as well as everything from Ontario and BC back to 1876. If everything continues to go according to plan, all of the decisions ever published in the Supreme Court Report will be freely available online before next spring. With content becoming exhaustive, we are now looking to improve the feature . . . [more]

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

Be Careful When Drafting Termination Clauses

That’s the lesson from a recent Ontario Superior Court case.

The plaintiff was hired by the defendant on November 28, 2005 for the position of full-time receptionist and was promoted to the position of Executive Assistant in 2008 at an annual salary of $36,000. Her employment was terminated on November 28, 2008 at which time she was presented with a severance package that provided, in part as follows:

You will receive an additional five months pay in lieu of notice of termination as per our obligations under the Employment Standards Act of Ontario.

The Employment Standards Act would have . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

IALL 2009 Website Award Competition

The IALL 2009 Website Award Competition is now open. Previous winners:

2002 – HeinOnline from William S. Hein & CISG Database from Pace Law School (2 winners)
2003 – Intute
2004 – EISIL
2005 – Peace Palace Library
2007 – GlobaLex
2008 – WorldLII
[no winner for 2006]

Here is the announcement with all the details:

The International Association of Law Libraries’ 2009 Website Award Competitionis now open. This is an opportunity to nominate your favourite legal information website. The winner will be announced at the 28th Annual Course in International Law Librarianship in Istanbul (Turkey), 11th

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

Will MSM Kill the Internet Star?

In today’s Star, David Olive notes an interesting phenomenon,

A funny thing happened on the way to blogosphere dominance of the global conversation. Many of the most prominent bloggers have hitched their wagons to the traditional mainstream media (MSM). Yes, the same MSM that bloggers, or Internet diarists, ceaselessly ridiculed as slaves to conventional wisdom…

It works the other way, of course. The Toronto Star is in the company of scores of MSM outlets, broadcast and print, in “repurposing” traditional journalists into bloggers. Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman completes the points he makes in his New York Times

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

Statutes and URLs, Part 1

I had occasion recently to work with some URLs for legislation and was struck yet again by the peculiarity of fetching and “citing” statutes in this way when on or linking to the internet. I have some narrow, specific concerns, that I’ll talk about in this post; and then in Part 2 I’ll wander a bit in the land of speculation, to see how else it might be done.

Here and now I want to complain about long, illegible URLs, the kind that represent the raw output of queries to a database. This is not the first time by any . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

Firm Guest Blogger: Borden Ladner Gervais

Our firm guest blogger this month is Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, who have kindly provided us with this firm profile:

At Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG), It Begins With Service.

BLG is a leading, full-service, integrated national law firm focusing on business law, litigation and intellectual property solutions for our clients. With more than 750 lawyers, intellectual property agents and other professionals in Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Waterloo Region, clients turn to us for assistance with their legal needs, from major litigation to corporate finance and patent registration.

Our goal at BLG is to provide our clients with

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Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Firm Guest Blogger

Notes on the Panopticon

Simon makes a very good point. Some footnotes from this week’s internet eye:

How difficult is it to disappear, now that most routine life events require a login? Wired article:

Financially he was beyond overextended. A gadget lover whose spending always seemed to exceed his income, he had begun shifting his personal expenses to his corporate credit card — first dinner and drinks, then a washer and dryer, then family vacations. In early February, when an Eaton official emailed to inquire about his expense reports, he felt everything closing in. He began devising a plan to escape.

Even . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Technology

The Friday Fillip

The internet is a panopticon. Not the prison that Bentham designed (“a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example.”) — that charming role has now fallen to CCTV, thankfully not on the public internet and not so widespread in Canada as it might be. No, I’m thinking of the humble, ubiquitous webcam. Thanks to those little devices and hundreds of thousands of volunteer computers, we can see pretty much whatever we might wish to, from wherever we might be: tourism as voyeurism (if it wasn’t that to begin with).

The very first . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

New Supreme Court Decisions Now Announced on Twitter

This is just a quick note to say that I’ve added announcements of recent Supreme Court decisions to the roster of Twitter feeds at CanCourts ( As with announcements about court of appeal judgments from Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, these are provided by the RSS feed from CanLII, and so they are a week or more behind the actual release date.

I should mention that this link between the RSS feeds and Twitter depends upon a free service provided by They depend on donations, so if you use these feeds you might feel like supporting . . . [more]

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

A Grumpy Post on Manners….

♬We’re talking ’bout manners, nice manners,
Manners make you feel good
Manners, nice manners.
Manners make you feel so good,
They make you feel so good.
They make you feel so good.♬

Lyrics and music by Cathy Bollinger, “Manners”.

Perhaps it is a factor of growing older…perhaps it is a recognition that social etiquette (along with ethics) are not just welcome but necessary, or perhaps it is just a fact that I seem to have an increasingly striking resemblance to a certain disgruntled elf in Snow White (as an aside, if ‘disgruntled’ means grumpy, what does ‘gruntled’ mean????? Was . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous