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Archive for August, 2008

Indian Courts on Search Engines

Indian courts have recently become involved in two issues affecting the operation of search engines in that country.

According to the Hindu Times, the Supreme Court in New Delhi has “issued notice” to various search engine companies — Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, etc. — on a petition claiming their violation of the Preconception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques Act because of advertising on their sites promoting sex selection techniques. The companies have not yet responded to the petition. (See also the story in the Straits Times.)

In Mumbai, a local company wishes to sue a blogger who goes by the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

A Lament for Legal History

A friend (and fellow law graduate, non-practising) recently related an exchange she had with a prominent Canadian justice in the course of the friend’s work with a federal government department. (You may notice I am trying very hard to keep details vague, so as not to cause any embarrassment, although the friend did give me permission to relate this story in this column.) My friend had the pleasure of accompanying the judge during a trip, and they got to chatting about Canadian law and the Charter in particular. The friend mentioned the concept of the “living tree” in the context . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Will Technology Save Us – or Ruin Us?

Two articles this week take apparently opposite views on this – although on reflection both probably just say that there are factors that can prevent technology from helping. I think the save us viewpoint wins out in the end.

Chris Anderson of Wired wrote an article in Newsweek entitled Why Technology Hasn’t Saved Us From Inflation (but still can). It essentially says that technology could have prevented our current problems with energy, the environment, and the economy – but political issues got in the way.

Shelly Palmer wrote a post entitled How Technology Is Costing Companies Millions . . . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Censorship in China – on the Internet and Elsewhere

Media reports today from the Times Online (UK) remind us all that censorship is alive and well in China. The story describes how two Chinese national women (ages 77 and 79!) — who applied 5 times for permits to protest at designated venues their house evictions relating to the Chinese Olympics — have been sentenced to one year of “re-education through labour.”

Three years ago I raised on SLAW in a post the issue of Internet censorship in China (and others here have done so as well).

I am amazed at how tightly the Chinese government has been able to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Number 10 Goes Beta

Number 10 Downing Street recently launched a website,,… in self-proclaimed beta! That’s a bit of a head scratcher: it’s not as though creating a website is so complicated that you’ve got to announce to the world that “We may not get this right, folks, the first time around, so stand by for patches…” And this for a site about the Prime Minister of the U.K.

There are some interesting things about the site, though, gamma or not. They’ve made considerable use of social media to keep things interesting and up-to-date: so you’ll see links to Number 10’s pics . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

Anonymization of Parties’ Names in Canadian Case Law?

Canada’s Privacy Commissioner has advocated to the Canadian Bar Association the anonymization in some (or all?) Canadian judicial decisions published on the Internet – see her remarks here and one online media report of her address here.

I have mixed feelings about this. Clearly, it makes sense when children are involved. But adults who knowingly enter into litigation? What about companies or businesses? We will need to await more details of her recommendations. However, I would lean in favour of open access to all information unless the court on its own initiative or the parties request with valid reason . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Sorting Appellate Judgments by Judge

Maybe you too have experienced this frustration. You want to know how many judgments a particular appellate court judge has written. So you turn to your favourite case law search tool and type in the judge’s name, perhaps using the special field designated for that purpose. Unfortunately, the results of your search include all of the cases where that judge was on the panel – not just those cases where the judge actually wrote a judgment. I know there are some articles that gather this kind of statistical data for certain courts at various times, but I was wondering if . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

MLB Offers RawLaw

An email from MLB today introduces RawLaw:

This new service allows users to have free access to all judgments in our databases 24 hrs a day, 7 days a wk with the option of purchasing the headnote at a very low cost. We offer convenient pymt methods in the form of billing or immediate credit card charge through Pay Pal. Check it out at

Interesting! . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

CBA Conflicts Report

Well Saturday saw the unveiling of the Canadian Bar Association Task Force Report on Conflict of Interest which was adopted virtually unanimously by Council on Sunday morning. While implementation of the reforms will be up to the Law Societies, and the acceptability of our analysis awaits the judgment’s of the courts in adjudicating conflicts cases, one important part of the Report is a Toolkit of conflicts management materials which is available for use by Canadian lawyers right now. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Technology

I Expected So Much More…

♫ All I know is I expected so much more
I don’t know what to say…♫

Words and Music by Graham Greer, recorded by the Barstool Prophets.

On Monday, The Right Honourable Joseph Jacques Jean Chretien QC gave the breakfast speech to open the Canadian Bar Association’s Canadian Legal Conference in Quebec City. I was looking forward to a distinguished speech by one of Canada’s foremost politicians and lawyers on something like the Rule of Law, the Charter or the like. Unfortunately, very quickly into his speech he could not resist making a few jibes at his old nemises, Allan . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Miscellaneous

De-Publishing Decisions

What do Slavians/Slawyers think about the US practice of courts deciding that their decisions will not be published, or to ‘de-publish’ decisions that have already been published? I came across a citation for a case like that, where the higher court decided, apparently, that the lower court’s decision should be de-published. The effect is that it is not to be cited as authority and is removed from official court reports.

The case is People v Wu, 235 Cal.App 3d 614, 286 Cal Rptr 69 (1991), (California Court of Appeal); order of depublication by California Supreme Court Jan 23,1992. The case . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Lawyer Collaboration Tools Is a Blog

We’ve mentioned The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools & Technologies, Dennis Kennedy’s and Tom Mighell’s book, a few times here on Slaw. We’re big fans of both the authors. Now it’s time to report that they’ve started a companion blog — of the same name, natch. A month and a week old, the blog has a couple of interesting entries and we expect more of the same in the future. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law, Technology