Canada’s online legal magazine.

Google Profiles

Someone at Google has woken up, a little belatedly I think, to realize that the Web is in large part about publicizing (I won’t say “exposing”) oneself and that they are the doormen, so to speak, of the Web. Sure, you could always — and did often — Google yourself, but there had to be something out there to find. In came Facebook and other webs within the Web, of course, and that took care of that: now it’s no longer a matter of Googling yourself: you are on Facebook (MySpace, Linkedin, and now .tel) or you’re not available in . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Ontario’s New Road Safety Act – Convictions Without Trials?

A new look for Toronto Police uniforms?

On April 21, 2009 the Ontario Road Safety Act (RSA) passed through final reading creating a host of changes that will come into effect in the coming months. The government’s executive summary of the act is available at for anyone who wishes to peruse it.

As one might expect, the RSA is overflowing with ‘get tough on crime’ language and continues the predictable tradition now enshrined in Canadian law to increase penalties for impaired driving offences at every opportunity. Where the RSA strikes bold new ground is in its fiendishly clever solution . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Law and Technology

Recent Slaw posts talk about Blackberry’s, the ABA Techshow, social media, online ADR, and online legal resources. Richard Susskind talks about how technology is fundamentally changing the practice of law, and how we will provide services in the future. One point he makes is that this is not a big bang change, but a creeping change.

That’s quite true. As I think back, I entered law school after being a computer science major. That was before computers were used in law firms (except perhaps for accounting purposes), and before the Internet. At the time, most people thought it was truly . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Owed to the West Wind, Er, Blackberry…

♫Thy magic reunites those
Whom stern custom has parted;
All men will become brothers
Under thy gentle wing…♫

Lyrics by Friedrich von Schiller, music by L. van Beethoven, “Ode to Joy“.

When my trusty but basic cell phone died, it was time to look for a replacement. I knew that it was time to stop my resistance as one of the last holdouts against the western phenomenon that has blown thru the business world, namely the Blackberry. It was a difficult decision but ultimately driven by the need to carry my calendar around with me without . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Listen to the ABA TECHSHOW Keynote by Dr Richard Susskind: Is It the End of Lawyers?

The attendees at ABA TECHSHOW 2009 where treated to a fantastic keynote presentation by Dr Richard Susskind. He spoke about the hypothesis of his new book, The End of Lawyers?

Now the good news for all those that couldn’t attend TECHSHOW: an audio recording of Dr Susskind’s keynote is now available on the TECHSHOW site. It is most definitely worth a listen.

The title and theme of Dr. Susskind’s book – the end of lawyers – appears on first blush to be rather ominous. And while it is, most people miss is the question mark, and its implication. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

StatsCan’s Crime Severity Index

Statistics Canada has introduced a new measure of police-reported crime, the crime severity index, in which more serious crimes are weighted more heavily, by comparison with the usual crime rate in which all crimes affect the outcome equally. The Daily has a summary of the current index data and the chart reproduced below. For a detailed description of how the index is calculated see “Measuring Crime in Canada: Introducing the Crime Severity Index and Improvements to the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.”

. . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

Copyright and Defamation Issues With Social Media and Politics

I gave a talk earlier today on the use of social media in politics, focusing on the Canadian scene, at the Miles S. Nadal Management Centre.

Issues of copyright, including the use of YouTube, are discussed, as well as social media alternatives to defamation actions.

Social Media And Politics in Canada (4/21/09)

Audio of the talk available here until a Slide Cast can be set up. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology, Technology: Internet

Has Online ADR Got a Future?

Every few years there is a wave of enthusiasm for online alternative dispute resolution. One can see one starting in the mid-1990s, and another in 1999-2000, and maybe a wavelet in 2004 or so. Some international bodies are thinking about it again, according to discussion at the ABA’s Business Law spring meeting over the past weekend.

Osgoode Hall Law School has just got a major gift to set up an online ADR centre, the largest in the world, according to the press story.

Can this be made to work? I know that pure numbers-based saw-offs can be automated, but . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

World Digital Library

The UNESCO supported World Digital Library launches today. Shaped in concept and realization largely by the U.S. Library of Congress, the WDL aims to enable the sharing of important cultural “objects” within and across cultures. Sensibly, perhaps, given the fate of the European equivalent, Europeana, the WDL is starting out small: there are at launch just over a thousand items in the library, some from every region of the globe. There are, for example, 13 items from Canada (and 6 from Mexico) among the 133 items from North America. One of the reasons for the paucity of Canadian objects . . . [more]

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

Recession and the Criminal Law Practice

The first question always posed to me seconds after learning that I am a criminal defence lawyer is “How can you defend those people?” or some variation of that classic accusatory inquiry. Recently however, this query is finding tight competition at the edges of inquiring lips with the question, “How’s the recession treating your criminal law practice, Ed?”

The answer to the first question, while nuanced and important, is one I would hope readers of a mature legal blog such as this one, would already know and respect. The answer to the second question is somewhat more difficult to articulate . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

Here’s a biotech countdown from the past week:

Six blog reactions were collected to In re Kubin, a U.S. patent case that invalidated one of Amgen’s DNA patent.

Five firsts appeared in this week’s science review collecting Canadian science developments, including stem cell news in cancer and blood.

Four billion dollars of economic activity was attributed to the Life Sciences sector in Delaware, and Arizona published some new data as well.

Three kinds of tech – biotech, cleantech and high-tech – got together in Illinois to strengthen support for a $25 million grant and tax break initiative . . . [more]

Posted in: Uncategorized