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Archive for July, 2006

Civil Justice Systems in Canada

Michel-Adrien points out the Civil justice system reform underway in Ontario, and reading it I realize I’ve been a bit remiss in not reporting earlier on the success of the Into the Future Conference, organized by my workplace, the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice in partnership with the Canadian Bar Association, the Association of Canadian Court Administrators, and the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice.

The Conference is proceeding in two parts. The first part was in Montreal in May, and was attended by 285 participants including judges, lawyers, court administrators, policy makers, mediators, academics . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Who’s Blogging

The Pew Internet & American Life Project survey released yesterday tracks the blogging phenomenon.

Key findings

Blogging is bringing new voices to the online world.

Contrary to the impression created by the press attention on political blogging, just 11% of bloggers say they focus mainly on government or politics.

The blogging population is young, evenly split between women and men, and racially diverse.

Relatively small groups of bloggers view blogging as a public endeavor.

The main reasons for keeping a blog are creative expression and sharing personal experiences.

Only one-third of bloggers see blogging as a form of journalism. Yet

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

A Code for Bloggers?

A fast update on today’s news from India. The Herald Tribune is quoting an official as saying it was “a technological error” that would be repaired soon.

In an e-mail sent early Thursday, an official at the Consulate General of India in New York said that the order to block a handful of Web sites, including the popular, which hosts thousands of personal Web logs, had been prompted by the discovery of a Web site that contained “two impertinent pages” rife with material containing “extremely derogatory references to Islam.”

In an effort to stave off sectarian violence, said the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Crime Rates Down

Statistics Canada’s Daily contains a report on crime stats for 2005, and the good news is crime is down pretty much everywhere. Justice Minister Vic Toews may have to get a new speech to replace his “get tough on crime” party line:

The homicide rate increased 4% to the highest level in almost a decade. However, the overall violent crime rate was unchanged, while the property crime rate fell 6%. The rate of drug offences declined in 2005 as did overall youth crime.

The national crime rate has been relatively stable since 1999, with last year’s 5% decrease offsetting

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Legal Brains Behind the New Paradigm

If you’ve been surprised with the vehemence with which the administration has been arguing for a New Paradigm, in which traditional separation of powers doctrines go by the board, and wondered why the Courts haven’t been sympathetic to government lawyers’ arguments, a couple of excellent pieces shed significant light.

The first is from The New Yorker, earlier this month, called The Hidden Power – The legal mind behind the White House’s war on terror, by Jane Mayer and the second Power Grab by Elizabeth Drew explains the new custom of issuing signing statements on how the laws passed . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Review of Ontario Civil Justice System

The Ontario government announced a few weeks ago it is looking into ways to reform the civil justice system of the province to make it more accessible and affordable. Former Associate Chief Justice of Ontario Coulter Osborne has been asked to study a range of issues, including the growing number of unrepresented litigants as well as ways to decrease delays and costs.

In the spring, the Advocates’ Society released a report on Streamlining the Ontario Civil Justice System. This coincided with a policy forum called Into the Future that examined topics such as how to deal with the proliferation . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Blogs and Privacy – the Tulsa Connection

According to a piece in today’s Red Herring, Blogs Face Privacy Showdown, there is a major showdown between a plaintiff, a school superintendent in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who wants to unmask anonymous bloggers critical of him, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The EFF website has the full pleadings including the (rather sketchy) Complaint, the Motion to Quash (which contains a spirited defence of the right to blog, as part of the right to First Amendment anonymous speech, and the subpoenas directed at the ISPs to force them to identify the bloggers.

The EFF’s press release states:

Tulsa, Oklahoma – . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

“Precedent: The New Rules of Law and Style” Blog From Melissa Kluger

Toronto media lawyer Melissa Kluger (who was a student when I was at the University of Toronto Law School and who founded Ultra Vires, the law student newspaper) has started a blog called Precedent: The New Rules of Law and Style.

She describes the site in these terms:

I’ve been a lawyer in Toronto now for four years. Over this time, a lot of law magazines, newspapers and newsletters have crossed my desk. Even though these are publications for lawyers, I never feel like they are really talking to me. They always feel a little old, a little

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Privacy Review

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada has just published a discussion paper as part of the five-year parliamentary review of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

The issues it focusses on are:

Privacy Commissioner’s Powers


Disclosure of Personal Information before Transfer of Businesses

Work Product

Duty to Notify

Transborder Flows of Personal Information

Sharing Information with Other Data Protection Authorities

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous