Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for February, 2009

Live Blogging From CanLII Meeting

I’m at the CanLII meeting at Osgoode Hall here in Toronto to learn more about their new legislation database. At the moment the speakers are thanking their funders.

Ivan Mokanov is presenting SATO, section and time-based operations. The first simple demo called up the Human Rights Code that was in force on a given date. Above the text of the legislation is a linked list of all possible versions, making comparison easy. The screen will print properly with sections aligned.

Any statute or section can be noted up. (Results can be refined by narrowing searc terms.)

The third tab of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

TVO Interview on Guantanamo

For those interested in the legal challenges posed by the “war on terror”, this Friday’s broadcast of “The Agenda”, on TVOntario, will have an interview with my good friend Ben Wittes, a scholar at the Brookings Institution and author of the recent book Law and the Long War: The Future of Justice in the Age of Terror. Well worth a look, especially for those who comfort themselves with the idea that maximal protection for human rights entails no trade-offs in terms of security – or vice versa. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

PBS – Nova Program – “Intelligent Design on Trial”

SLAW has had some recent posts on the availability of the works of Charles Darwin being available online (here and here), presumably as a result of tomorrow being the 200th anniversary of his birth.

Likely because of that anniversary, PBS in Buffalo/Toronto broadcast last night a documentary called “Intelligent Design on Trial.” The documentary can be viewed in clips at the foregoing link where there are also transcripts and extra video clips and links.

The show was a documentary on the attempt by the Dover Area School Board (in rural Pennsylvania) in late 2004 to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Simultaneously Acting for Members of Same Family Is More Risky

Many lawyers assume that simultaneously acting for members of the same family and their business or corporate entities is relatively safe from fraud and conflicts issues. After all, the parties all know each other and everyone is on good terms.

Unfortunately, this is just not the case. An analysis of LAWPRO claims files tells us that there is actually a greater likelihood of a fraud or conflicts of interest issue when clients are related to or know each other.

Understanding when and why malpractice claims arise when work is done for related clients can help you avoid a claim. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

StatsCan on Legal Aid Spending

Statistics Canada has just released a report on legal aid spending in the 2007/08 year for all but three jurisdictions (Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Nunavut). The Daily summarizes the results. As far as overall amounts go,

[a]fter accounting for inflation, spending was up from the previous year in six jurisdictions, with Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and Northwest Territories reporting the largest increases at 10% each. Spending was down in New Brunswick, Quebec and Yukon and unchanged in Ontario.

Precise data (1983 – 2007) is contained in four tables:

revenues, by type of revenue; expenditures, by type of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law

Bad Science, Journalism, Law and the Internet

Dr. Ben Goldacre writes a weekly column for the Guardian called Bad Science, in which he “skewers” journalists, politicians, advertisers and others who misrepresent, make up or ignore scientific evidence concerning the sorts of things that concern us all. He also maintains a blog by the same name, where he can (and does) expatiate on these issues. One of his recurring themes is the awful mishandling of vaccination data by the media and, consequently, the various vaccination panics that spring up around the world.

In this connection he writes about an interview he gave on LBC Radio in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

More Detail on the LCO Symposium & New Consultation Paper

I’ve been asked for more information about the LCO Symposium in May, so I thought I’d provide it here. We will be posting on the LCO website soon. The format is a series of conversations that are intended to encourage dialogue among panellists and audience (in the various configurations). I’m trying to avoid a “talking at” environment. The conversations are “What are We Talking About, Anyway?” when we’re talking about law reform;”How do We do It?”; and “What Challenges does Law Reform Face?”. Michael Tilbury of the New South Wales Law Reform Commission will give a free public lecture on . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

An Apple by Any Other Name???

♫ You are the sunshine of my life, yeah,
Thats why Ill always stay around,
You are the apple of my eye,
Forever you’ll stay in my heart…♫

Words and Music by Stevie Wonder.

The legal proceedings of Apple Inc. v. Psystar Corporation are very interesting. Psystar has been sued by Apple for selling computers with the Mac OS X operating system installed, called Open Macs. Apple, for its part, is alleging copyright, trademark and other claims against Psystar in relation to Psystar’s use of Apple’s operating system. Psystar originally alleged violation of federal and state anti-trust laws. In this . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Amazon Releases Kindle 2

In the US, has just announced the second version of its wireless reader, the Kindle 2, will be released February 24, 2009 and cost US$359.

See info and specs here.

3G wireless lets you download books right to your Kindle, anytime, anywhere; no monthly fees, service plans, or hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots (in the US from the Sprint data network). This means you can download books in less than 60 seconds; no PC required. They are claiming the Kindle 2 has a better display and 25% longer battery life. It can hold over 1,500 books. It also has a . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

New Policy for SCC Access to Court Records

Via CALL-L, there is a new policy at the Supreme Court of Canada, effective today for access to court records.
The most interesting part? Webcasts!

In addition to the records already listed in this policy, members of the public shall have remote access to those court records, or portions thereof, listed in this subsection:

* the electronic version of any factum on an appeal filed on or after February 9, 2009, subject to the following conditions. An electronic version of the factum must be available. The factum must not be subject to any limitation on access by court order or

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information