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Archive for December, 2007

10th Anniversary of the 1997 Delgamuukw Case on Aboriginal Title

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the historic Supreme Court of Canada decision on aboriginal rights known as Delgamuukw v. British Columbia, [1997] 3 S.C.R. 1010.

For the first time, the Court directly addressed the issue of aboriginal title.

The Gitxsan Nation and the Wet’suwet’en Nation in British Columbia had started a lawsuit in 1984. Their claim covered 133 individual territories, amounting to 58,000 square kilometres of the northwestern part of their province. They claimed both ownership of the land and jurisdiction.

The Supreme Court did not rule as to whether the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en have aboriginal title to . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

A Child’s Review of the XO Laptop

Those who are interested in the XO laptop (the One Laptop Per Child machine) – including those of us who have bought/donated for our (or others’) children (or ourselves) – may be interested in this little piece on the BBC News Technology page. The correspondent presents a review by his nine-year old son, apparently the first British child to use the XO. I found it quite exciting to read how quickly the child interacted with children overseas already using the XO. From that page, one can also watch a 30-odd minute video of the child’s review. (I watched only . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Monahan Reappointed

Patrick Monahan has been reappointed Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School for another 5 year term, beginning July 2008. York President, Mamdouh Shoukri, announced that the executive committee of the Board of Governors approved the appointment today.

My congratulations to Patrick, who will now have the opportunity to oversee the new building that Osgoode is planning. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Miscellaneous

Canadian Parliament Forcing Re-Opening of Nuclear Reactor

The Canadian Parliament held emergency sittings of both the House of Commons and the Senate last night to pass through Bill C-38 on an urgent basis. This Bill is meant to force the re-opening of the Chalk River Nuclear Reactor, previously closed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission in November on safety concerns. This reactor reportedly creates two-thirds of the world’s isotopes for use in medical evaluations or treatment, including for cancer. There is now a world shortage of these isotopes which has pressured the government to make this move. Bill C-38 was passed last night, but is not yet . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Why Is Twitter Exploding?

Yesterday was a big day in blog postings about Twitter! A full explanation later when I have more time, but in the meantime here is a note about one of my favourite posts from yesterday–

The Logic + Emotion blog gives a visual explanation of why Twitter is becoming increasingly popular in December 11th’s post “Why is Twitter Exploding? Because it’s a Conversation Ecosystem.”

My favourite part of the explanation? The “gratuitous analogy” calling Twitter “the Crocs of the web”. A visual:

You will have to head over to the original post to see the comparison. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Contract Drafting – the Million Dollar Comma Case and Kenneth Adams

Further to Simon Fodden’s post below on plain language drafting, Michael Rappaport has a nice article here in the current The Lawyer’s Weekly (Canada) interviewing Kenneth Adams, the author of a Manual of Style for Contract Drafting (2004) and other material on legal drafting.

The article discusses, among other things, the so-called “million dollar comma case” discussed previously on SLAW (here).

In fact, the article led me to check that Adams has his own (consulting) website on legal drafting at and his own blog here.

All good stuff, particularly the point made by Adams in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Uncategorized

Sun Microsystems and Plain Drafting

Sun Microsystems, like other corporations that are involved in the development and use of open source software, requires those who contribute to their efforts to sign contribution agreements that set out the terms of their relationship. Sun’s general counsel, Mike Dillon, has a great piece on his blog, The Legal Thing, about these contribution agreements and how they ought to be “a model of simplicity and clarity.”

A man of his word, Dillon put a team onto the redrafting of Sun’s contribution agreement, with the result that most anyone who is literate can now understand it. Take a . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

The First Humanities Nobel for a Legal Scholar

Though not as world-famous as the Nobel Prizes, the Ludvig Holberg Prize is now in its fourth year. ((The Ludvig Holberg Memorial fund was established in 2003 by the Norwegian Parliament. The Board of the Fund annually awards the Holberg International Memorial Prize for outstanding scholarly work in the fields of the arts and humanitites, social sciences, law and theology. The prize for 2007 is NOK 4.5 million (approx. € 555,000/$750,000).)) The earliest prizes went to 2004: Julia Kristeva 2005: Jürgen Habermas and 2006: Shmuel Eisenstadt.

This year’s winner is the first legal scholar to be so honoured. No surprise . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law

David Whelan Podcast on RSS

Amlaw Media announced today, that Toronto’s own Great Librarian David Whelan will inaugurate a Podcast on Legal Information and Technology.

In an interview with the inimitable Monica Bay, David will talk about”RSS: Simply Powerful.” The interview covers how “really simple syndication” tools can help legal professionals easily track information they need to practice law effectively, by using RSS to monitor favorite news sources, blogs, and Web sites.

Give it a listen here . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Canadian Digital Millenium Copyright Act

Many of our readers will also follow Michael Geist’s blog. For those of you who don’t, I’d like to direct it to your attention, as over the past week he’s been dealing with a particularly important issue.

The Conservative government was to have introduced new copyright legislation in Parliament this week. Their plans have now been delayed. Professor Geist has been very busy lately educating his readers about the proposed law and its potential effects. If you are interested in these issues and concerned about the direction the government has taken, take a few minutes to read through his . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Taser and XREP

Everyone’s going wireless — and that now included Taser, the company that makes the stun gun that’s been in the news so sadly of late. We don’t usually blog about technology here if it’s used to convey something other than information, and legal information at that. But I thought that those of us in the world of law should have a certain degree of familiarity with the tools that are used by (the other?) forces of social control. So here’s a quick note about Taser’s newest product, XREP, or eXtended Range Electronic Projectile. This small projectile is fired from a . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

The Twitter Explosion and Social Blogging Tools

Those of you who are interested in the whole phenomenon of social networks and blogging generally — if only because innovations will come to law sooner or later — might take a look at a piece by Alex Iskold on Read/WriteWeb, “The Evolution of Personal Publishing.” His opening diagram gives you a sense of what he’s thinking. Note that blogging (which is us, and which is finally after some years catching on with lawyers) is firmly lodged in the “heavy” and “corporate” end of things — appropriately, I suppose.

. . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Internet