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Archive for May, 2008

Scottish Courts Site

Should you have business with the courts in Scotland, you might find their website useful. Although the site has been up for over a year, it seems, we haven’t yet pointed to it on Slaw. There’s a tab for the public and one for the profession with a decent menu in each case. As well, there’s a links page with a list of law-related Scottish resources that might be helpful on occasion. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Almost Teaching Legal Research

The article in the June AALL Spectrum by Barbara Holt, “Almost Teaching Legal Research in a Multi-Office Law Firm: Seven steps to supplementing new attorneys’ legal research skills” [PDF] will resonate with a lot of folks at this time of year, I imagine, as articling students show up in new suits and anxiety. Her seven steps are:

  1. Teach associates before they become associates.
  2. When new attorneys arrive, show them the library.
  3. Take attorneys on a virtual tour of library resources and services.
  4. Take advantage of vendor-provided instruction opportunities.
  5. Supplement newly-gained experience at the Fall associates retreat.
  6. Provide fast
. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Canadian Youth Court and Adult Criminal Court Statistics, 2006/2007

Statistics Canada just released its youth court and adult criminal court statistics for 2006/2007. Key findings:

Youth court:

  • Fewer young people have been appearing before a judge since the enactment of the Youth Criminal Justice Act in April 2003, and fewer are being sent to custody.
  • The youth court caseload has declined in every province and territory since the introduction of the Act.
  • The proportion of cases in which young people either pleaded guilty, or were found guilty, has been gradually declining.

Adult criminal court:

  • Cases in adult criminal courts are taking longer to complete.
  • Fewer cases are being
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

Blogging Live From Mesh Conference in Toronto

Now in its third year, Mesh conference is billed as Canada’s premier Web conference. The focus is social media and the organization (from perspectives such as business, government, non-profits, start-ups, PR and marketing).

I have been live-blogging the sessions I am attending on my blog I also highly recommend Ottawa social media expert Mark Blevis’ blog posts at He is covering many of the same sessions from a different perspective.

We both covered the keynote on digital advocacy by Michael Geist yesterday so it is worth a look.

mesh08 . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Report of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission on Reasonable Accommodation of Minorities

15 months after its creation by the Quebec government, and after extensive public hearings in all regions of the province on the issue of how far society should go to accommodate requests for religious and cultural adjustments from individuals from minority groups, the Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences finally released its report and recommendations.

The 2 commissioners, sociologist Gérard Bouchard and philosopher Charles Taylor, make 37 recommendations.

Among them, they suggest that the government prepare an official White Paper on secularism (“laïcité”), that it promote interculturalism and provide better funding to diversity programs, that it . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

Oregon to Hold Hearing on Copyright in Laws

As reported in Slaw (Oregon Claims Copyright Over Laws and It’s All Gone Ore-gon), the state of Oregon maintains that it holds the copyright over its laws and has moved to prevent their publication by others. Now the state will hold a hearing in June to reconsider the question. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Google Sites Open to All

Google Sites, now open to everyone, lets you create a website as quickly and as easily as could be imagined. Not of much use to law firms as a front page, perhaps, Sites nevertheless could be handy for ad hoc purposes, because you can control who is permitted to see and to edit the site. So if you’re looking for a simple intranet tool or a project site, you should take a look at what the friendly giant has to offer.

There’s a video with a really simple tutorial. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Ontario to Consider Apology Law

After the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, it appears that Ontario is interested in having an apology law.

Liberal David Orazietti has sponsored a bill (referred to the provincial legislature’s Standing Committee on Social Policy after 2nd reading) that would allow an individual or organization to apologize for an accident or wrongdoing without it being considered an admission of liability admissible in a civil proceeding.

Here are a few earlier posts about apology laws on the Library Boy blog:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Are Lists of Website Links Too Web 1.0?

Colleague Elizabeth Ellis blogged here last month on the advantage that SharePoint provides with distributed content: the idea that you can build a list of links to websites in a single source and then have SharePoint use that data to harvest the information, filter it by category (e.g., Litigation) and display it to the appropriate group within your organization.

I wholeheartedly agree with this, but having been several months behind Elizabeth on a similar project, the cynical part of me starts to ask (after just adding to my list the 650th URL): do users actually use lists of website links . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management

The Role of the in-House Research Lawyer – Is There One?

The idea for this column arose from discussions at a recent meeting of a research lawyers in Toronto. This column takes a slightly different path from our banter at that meeting but, in essence, rests on one of the same themes: the role of research lawyers in firms today.

As we all know, over the past several decades it has become not uncommon for law firms of various sizes to have in-house research lawyers. Similar functions to those of law firm research lawyers are also carried out by dedicated individuals in government departments, courts, tribunals, and other organizations; these persons . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Online Flowchart Application

I don’t use flowcharts, but if I did I might find useful. It’s a free (with signup) online application that lets you create — yup! — a flowchart, replete with linking lines, arrows, boxes etc. which you can then drag to new positions along with their respective connections until the whole pleases you. There are actually more features for the adventurous than I’m listing here, enabling you to embed your flowchart in a website and, apparently, record the flow as a video, among other things. The simplest thing to do is take it for a test drive using the . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Destroying the Botnet?

I stumbled across an interesting story about the intersection of law, ethics and technology. Workers at an internet security company called TippingPoint discovered a way to gain control of a network of computers remotely – and secretly – controlled by spammers (a so-called “botnet”). The botnet is made up of 400,000 computers and used to send out huge volumes of spam.

The researchers are now capable of sending out a signal to the infected computers to remove the virus. However, like the way the program installed itself, it would have to be done without the consent of the computer owner. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law