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Archive for March, 2009

An Obligation to Discuss Facebook During Discovery

Hat tip to my young – and learned – friend John Salloum for alerting me to para 28 of Leduc v. Roman, 2009 CanLII 6838 (ON S.C.) which suggests that there may be a new standard of care for Ontario lawyers emerging when advising their clients about litigation against an individual.

The issue in the story discussed by CTV arose in the context of a personal injury case where Facebook was specifically discussed during the discovery process, but the ruling by Justice David Brown of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice appears to go beyond the narrow context in . . . [more]

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

Talking in the Court

There’s an entry on Language Log, How fast do people talk in court?” by Mark Lieberman that should be of interest to court admins, translators, reporters and some litigation lawyers. He and a colleague are doing a study to determine what are typical rates of speech in courts or depositions, so that court reporter tests can be useful. (There are also a couple of related entries referred to, one on the old court stenograph, and another on “voice writing.”) And as for fast talking, you should check out the excerpt on YouTube from the Little Britain . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

Sure was an exciting week, if you enjoy parsing politicians’ public proclamations… Gary Goodyear, Canada’s Minister of State for science and technology, dug himself a deep hole when asked about evolution and although he kept digging for quite some time, he appears to have found neither a coherent response nor a convincing fossil. 

And speaking of divine intervention, no sooner did I put up a post bemoaning the worldwide biotech cash shortage, than over $1 billion in new venture funding rained down from … well, the Ontario and Québec governments. More legislative intervention than divine, but don’t let that . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

What Matters?

What Matters is an outstanding new website from McKinsey & Company. From the site:

We began last summer by asking researchers, academics, journalists, policy makers and executives to address ten big questions, whose answers will shape our collective future. In each case, we asked our essayists to take a long view and tackle tomorrow’s trends rather than today’s headlines.

We published those essays in a print collection, also titled What Matters. But our goal was always to translate that vision to the Web, to create a place where we could continue to frame the important questions and gather a

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Technology: Internet

The Law of Massive, Dangerous Erections

This post is what you call “an attention getter.” It will raise eyebrows, but I promise its content is completely family – unless you let your imagination get away from you. No pharmaceutical products are being promoted by this post in any way.

I do apologize to e-mail subscribers of Slaw because their spam filters probably will catch this, if they’re doing their job.

To proceed…

Drafters of legislation can have rather dull jobs at times. At least that’s what my statutory interpretation professor, Randal Graham, claims. He is probably the foremost authority in the field and also drafts . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

New Google Labs App Lets You Recall E-Mails

I’m a known advocate for the Google Labs apps, except of course when they fail. But there is a reason – it’s because the development team actually responds to the needs of their users.

This new app announced today proves my point. We have all sent e-mails we wish we hadn’t, whether it was a typo or a forgotten attachment. For some of my peers it’s because they were writing late at night while considerably inebriated.

Undo Send will let you recall this email, hopefully before they receiver reads it.

But there are critics of the new app who . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

The Friday Fillip

I’m a fan of myths… those big and little stories that persist in various forms within a culture, and often across cultures. Some folks treat “myth” as a dirty word, opposing it to truth or reality, and there’s no doubt that in the grip of a powerful myth we can, individually or collectively, go to places we ought not. But good or bad, myths drive us much of the time, in my view, and so we’d be best off knowing them as well as we can, retelling them consciously, and generally mixing them up to suit our own purposes.

Today . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Grace Case

In Montana, W.R. Grace and five of its executives are in court defending charges that:

the company and the employees named engaged in a conspiracy and cover up that risked the lives of people in Libby, Mont., by allowing them to be exposed to a type of asbestos stirred up by the company’s vermiculite mining and ore processing near town.

The case is being reported in great detail, and with lots of context, as a joint project of the University of Montana’s Law School and School of Journalism. Here is the website, and here is the page describing the project. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Digital Ontario Reports?

On behalf of trees everywhere I have made an initial inquiry with the powers that be asking why the weekly paper part of the Ontario Reports is not distributed only in digital format.

Although this issue may of less interest to those outside of Ontario, it does raise questions that are regularly discussed on SLAW.

Background: Members of the Law Society of Upper Canada receive a weekly paper part of the Ontario Reports as part of their membership fees. It contains (in this order): a Table of Contents with brief details of typically 5 to 7 cases per weekly . . . [more]

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

Australia and URL-Blocking

The Australian Communications and Media Authority plays a role somewhat similar to our Canadian Radio and Television Commission. Recently there’s been a kerfuffle over a list on Wikileaks purporting to be the ACMA website blacklist. The ACMA says that under Australian legislation it is required:

to take action if as a result of an investigation it locates content that is prohibited content or potential prohibited content. In the case of content that is hosted in or provided from Australia, ACMA must issue a take-down notice to the person hosting the content. ACMA has no power to direct the removal of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law, Technology

Plain Language Around Plain Language

The Local Government Association has issued a list of 200 words and phrases banned from communications. Here’s the BBC story. And the full list of banned words is here.

While I doubt that any of us will miss predictors of beaconicity, I do wonder at a few of the selections. “Advocate”, for example – what are we going to use instead. “Ask for” does not lend the same weight.

Already I feel myself wandering down the path trod by colleagues during a plain language course I took a few years ago. (Insert your favourite “lawyers and plain . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous