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Archive for July, 2007

Animal Species Names and Human Characteristics

We’re all familiar with the use of animal species names (general and specific) as labels for a sets of human charateristics, for descriptions of types of people, some good, some bad; for example; lion, tiger, weasel, rabbit, rat, dinosaur, pigeon, shark, albatross, crow, snake, (teddy) bear, sloth, insect, rodent, bug, cat etc. I haven’t heard a new usage; or rather, I don’t know of one that doesn’t have a good history.

So, it’s time for a new contest. Let’s identify a group of animals that aren’t associated with a human stereotype and then see if we can identify the stereotype . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Cases & Materials Texts and the Law

Here’s question that has both a serious and humorous side, and one which connects with our earlier discussions about teaching law students to “think like lawyers” and better preparing those of them who want to practice for the “real” practitioner’s world.

It also connects to a the question of close to “real time” should law school materials be when the law is in a significant amount of flux. 

What happens when the law in a particular subject (let’s say a private law subject so we’ve the prospect of provincial variations), at a particular time in the jurisdiction where the law . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Legal Versus Moral

Since I’ve designated today as a day to think about ethics, it’s worth quoting from a recent US judgment on a issue that had and has both legal and moral implications that comes from the boomer days – the Viet Nam war and the consequences of the use of Agent Orange – and comparing that to how the Canadian government handled the problem that produced Authorson v Canada. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Ethics, Competence, Law Students & Lawyers

Any day is a good day to think about matters of ethics; this being Saturday, it’s as good a day as any. In no particular order of demerit, I’ll list some of the issues I’ve seen over the past month. Much of this is, of course, the eternal ends and means discussion.

1. Lawyers too lazy, or too incompetent, or not aware, or who simply don’t care, about their obligations to give the judge the current law and not knowingly give judges law that is out of date;

2. Lawyers too willing to make arguments that ought not to be . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

White House Executive Order

Tough for a Friday, perhaps, but if you have a moment over the weekend when you feel you just need to tussle with a patch of legal prose, take a look at the recent executive order issued Tuesday from the White House, “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq.”

I’ve cut to the chase by choosing what I think is one of the more worrisome paths through the order (always a risky business, so read the original if you’re at all curious):

S.1 (a)
…all …interests in property of the following persons, that are

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Friday Fillip – the Simpsons and Legal Research

As many SLAW readers likely know, Fox’s “ The Simpsons” includes a number of great legal references, primarily through the character called Lionel Hutz, a.k.a Miguel Sánchez, as the “law talking guy” (voiced by the late Phil Hartman). One of Lionel Hutz’s scenes even has him talking about legal research. In the episode “Flaming Moe” (where Homer accuses Moe of stealing his cocktail recipe), Homer and Marge consult Lionel Hutz for legal advice:

Marge: So, Mr. Hutz, does my husband have a case?

Hutz: I’m sorry, Mrs. Simpson, but you can’t copyright a drink.

Homer: [whines]

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Canadian Newspaper Viewer

Stephen Taylor of “Blogging Tories” has just released the Newspaper Viewer, a nifty website that lets you look at the front page of a lot of Canadian newspapers from the last couple of years. Designed in Flash and looking very like the iTunes jukebox albumn cover view, it presents you with an image that is somewhat legible. However, if you want to read the page, double-clicking on it will bring up a PDF version.

This has some potential to be a useful research tool, at least so far as major, i.e. front page, stories are concerned, and . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous


Just read an article on about this interesting new search engine that focuses on retrieving people information. According to the article, Spock searches sites like MySpace, LinkedIn, Flickr and more for information and then compiles bios of people. Similar to Wikipedia, it works by allowing members to contribute information about themselves or others. Its currently in an invitation-only beta test mode, but it plans to launch in a month with a database of about 100 million people. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Return to Sender

I’ve been reading case law recently. I don’t know what’s the matter with me; the phase will pass. I mean, it is not anyone’s idea of appropriate summer reading. But while I’m in this mood…

A couple of years ago or more the United States Postal Service caused our Registrar of of Trade‑marks to give public notice of the their adoption and use of 13 official marks, pursuant to s.9 (1) (n) (iii) of the Trade‑marks Act, to wit: “United States Postal Service”, “Express Mail”, First‑class Mail”, “Standard A Mail”, “Standard B Mail, “Parcel Select”, Priority Mail”, “Global Priority . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Fly in the Ointment Water

The case of Mustapha v. Culligan of Canada Ltd. (2006 CanLII 41807 (ON C.A.)) is an interesting one. Unlike the ginger beer bottle, where there apparently was no snail at all, this bottle of water did in fact sport a fly. The plaintiff had been purchasing water from the defendant company for sixteen years. The discovery of the fly upset Mr. Mustapha so considerably that he became seriously depressed; he sued for and won some $300,000 in damages for, among other things, his nervous shock. The Court of Appeal overturned the trial judgement, finding that there was no liability . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Globe Piece on African Legal Information Institute

Great piece by Stephanie Nolen on African legal judgments go online in this morning’s Globe on the African Legal Information Institute.

The justification for the project in Rule of Law terms is expressed in a PowerPoint from a Nigerian conference.

One day they might cover Canlii too.

Here is the world network:

. . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous