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Archive for March, 2009

New Alberta Rules of Court One Step Closer

The Alberta Law Reform Institute has been drafting a new set of court rules for Alberta since 2001. Our previous rules came out in 1968 and after 40 years of use, they are not a cohesive read. A little about the project from ALRI’s perspective:

The project goal was to create rules that are clear, useful and effective tools for accessing a fair, timely and cost efficient civil justice system. The proposed rules are:

* short — arranged and written in plain English,
* clear — describe a logical step-by-step process for carrying out a lawsuit, and
* user-friendly —

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

Knowledge vs Wisdom…

♫ The lips of the righteous teach many,
But fools die for want of wisdom.
The rich man wealth is in his city;
Do you hear, do you hear, can you understand?! ♫

Lyrics and Music by Bob Marley, recorded by Bob Marley & the WailersWisdom“.

Omar Ha-Redeye’s last post on the iPhone and Privacy caused me to reflect. In particular, he started a train of thought that led to the conclusion that courtesy of the Internet, finding out answers to questions (i.e. the search for knowledge) has never been easier. One can seek information on . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Quebec E-Laws to Become Official

The Quebec Government yesterday introduced Bill 18 in the National Assembly.

Officially known as An Act respecting the Compilation of Québec Laws and Regulations, one of its effects would be to give official status to electronic versions of Quebec statutes.

Section 17 of the Bill reads:

“17. The laws published by the Québec Official Publisher on its website, including the Civil Code and the Act respecting the implementation of the Civil Code, are the laws of the compilation and have official status as of (insert the date of coming into force of this Act).”

“Within 24 months following that

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

I’m not a big fan of receiving press releases, and am likely gluing a bulls eye on my back by writing this post, however… an interesting item did drop into my inbox this morning. McGraw-Hill Ryerson has launched a new website called to help connect their stable of writers to journalists and MSM.

The concept in itself is interesting, and certainly a value add component for their Authors. In a world where self-publishing has become so incredibly easy, publishers bringing more to the table seems like a smart move. Traditional services like concept vetting, editing, and distribution are . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Survey About Upcoming New Edition of McGill Guide to Legal Citation

The 7th edition of the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (AKA The McGill Guide) will soon be coming out.

The editors of the Guide at the McGill Law Journal are asking for reader input about any changes to make the famous legal citation bible more user friendly.

They ask that people not forget to press “SUBMIT” at the end of the survey. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

What Happened to the Arar Commission Website?

Hello Folks!
Our lovely government is at it again apparently.
The current victim? The Maher Arar Commission website.
It’s nowhere to be found! It used to be here: but alas, in attempting to answer a reference question this morning, I find the website is gone. At least we still have:, but can we say with certainty that all of the previous website’s contents are available there? I’d like to know whether the Commission’s contents have been captured by the National Library. Isn’t it legally obligated to be there? I certainly hope so. I wonder to whom we . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Artists-Who-Use-Brushes Ten-Plus-One

Slaw readers may have seen the article in the Tuesday Globe and Mail pointing out that Toronto art dealer Lynda M. Shearer holds a trade mark in the phrases “painters eleven” and “painters 11” set to be registered today. The phrase, however spelled, has been used to describe the group of artists that included Harold Town and Jack Bush ever since it was formed in 1954. (The first Globe and Mail reference I could find was on February 13, 1954: “Abstract art claims major attention in the Toronto art scene this weekend, and a new group of abstractionists called Painters . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

LawTop Tweaked

Just a quick note to say that I’ve tweaked the Pipes filtering that produces Canadian law-related stories for LawTop.

I found a way around the problem that many city newspapers used the city name, with the result that a simple filter couldn’t distinguish between stories about Winnipeg and stories that were simply reported in the Winnipeg Free Press. As well, a number of news sources use the dateline “Canada” when reporting about foreign event, which meant that too many stories from abroad were passing through the filter. The trick turned out to be regular expressions, that peculiar code that . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

A (Publishing) House Divided: Scholarly Publishers in Support and Opposition to Public Access to Research

I wasn’t surprised to learn that the American Association of Publishers had sent a letter [PDF ] to then President-elect Obama in December opposing the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy, which requires any NIH-funded researchers to deposit a copy of what they have discovered and published in a publicly accessible archive. The AAP publishers association holds that the NIH Policy infringes on their business rights, insofar as it grants the public a right to this publicly funded work, and in support of their objections, Rep. John Conyers, Democrat of Michigan, has reintroduced into Congress the questionably entitled . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

iPhone 3.0 Debuts

The big tech news yesterday was Apple’s preview of the new iPhone 3.0 software that is available now for developers, and this summer as a free upgrade for iPhone users.

The Apple mystique and reality distortion field continue despite Steve Jobs’ absence from the podium. There is no question that the iPhone sets the bar for smartphones, even though many of the new features announced yesterday are already available on other phones.

Details can be found on almost any tech site – but given Slaw’s audience, take a look at iPhone J.D.’s article entitled Why lawyers will love iPhone Software . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Law as Algae

One of the many brilliant things that Google indexing has created is something known as the Web 1T 5-gram corpus made available for scholars via the Linguistic Data Consortium at the University of Pennsylvania.

Very roughly stated, as I understand it, n-grams have to do with the frequency with which one unit in a language is followed by another unit — e.g. how many times in a given body of text is the word “love” followed by the word “fifteen,” and what, then, is the predictability of this 2-gram occuring when “love” occurs. You can see how Google would . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Technology, Technology: Internet