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Archive for March, 2009

The Friday Fillip

I used to read John LeCarré and Len Deighton. There was something about the closed-in, mirror-in-mirror world of spies that appealed to me, and, of course, there was the pleasure of fiction (i.e. lying) about lying. Nowadays, spy books are fewer — and lying is so very much easier, having leaped free of the genre, thanks to the internet. So I thought I’d take a brief look at the sorts of web tools that are available to, well, create false impressions and in so doing perhaps make your life easier.

First there’s the fake mobile phone call, typically designed to . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Online Defamation – No Limitation Period? reports today that the European Court of Human Rights upheld an English defamation case in which the publication had been online for more than the usual one-year limitation period for defamation suits. [Case of Times Newspapers Ltd (Nos. 1 And 2) v. The United Kingdom]

Though the limitation period runs from publication, each time a web site is accessed is considered a new publication. Thus the limitation period never expires for an online publication.

Does this make sense? (, a publication of the Pinsents law firm in the UK, does not think so.)

On the other hand, . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

StatsCan Report on Justice Personnel

As a group, justice personnel are becoming older, according to a Statistics Canada report, “Aging of justice personnel” by Mathieu Charron, Racha Nemr and Roxan Vaillancourt, available on Juristat in HTML and PDF. (There’s a summary available on The Daily.)

The main findings of the study, based on the 2006 Census, are that the number and average age of justice workers has grown in parallel with the labour force as a whole; the median age is now 41. The report goes on to scrutinize four groups in greater detail: police officers, court personnel, correctional services workers, and private . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Productivity 2.0

Confession: I make lists.

Although I usually go to the store without a grocery list, I always have a to do list front and center at the office. So much to do, so little time, it is important to be able to prioritize.

Since adopting a BlackBerry, I find myself using the MemoPad function, which syncs to my Outlook Notepad. This is great if I am the only one who needs the list, but what if I wanted to share the list with my team? I could share my Outlook mailbox or some folder in it, but that is not . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Technology Coverage in Canadian Lawyer Magazine

A tip of the hat to Gerry Blackwell at Canadian Lawyer magazine for his writings on technology. More specifically, in this month’s issue (unfortunately not available through a link) he discusses the progress that colleague Elizabeth Ellis has made at her firm with SharePoint 2007. Last month, he also managed to take my rambling comments and convert them into an article on knowledge-sharing.

I enjoy Gerry’s writing and he was very interested and approachable in discussing technology issues. To his credit, he balanced my comments on the use of technology with the importance of the “people” factor in knowedge sharing, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Publishing

Laptops for Lawyers – Netbooks Versus Laptops

I have spent the last week deciding between whether to buy a netbook or a laptop.

A netbook was tempting for both the low price ($300 to $400 range) and as an experiment with Linux and OpenOffice (for some netbooks). However, a large number of online reviews pointed out the limitations of netbooks: smaller keyboard, not much memory, and sluggishness, especially those using Windows XP or Vista.

Ultimately, the advice from a colleague helped me decide in favour of a laptop. His advice? Is it for travel or is it for work? Since I wanted to use it for work, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information

A Changing Landscape

It’s not how it used to be. E-discovery is becoming more run of the mill with even small law firms working on small matters accepting that the contents of their clients’ computers are just as important as the contents of their filing cabinets. At the same time, clients are demanding lower costs; in part because the economy demands it, and in part because e-discovery can be very expensive (although it doesn’t have to be – and clients are beginning to pick up on this). The proliferation of technology, service models, service providers and increasingly accessible data repositories has increased the . . . [more]

Posted in: e-Discovery

Devices Are in the News – and Everywhere Else

I’m sure I’m not the only one watching the anti-Twittering struggles of Alberta Speaker Ken Kowalski with mixed feelings (see the Globe and Mail story here). I think the Speaker is correct in demanding that Members pay attention to the proceedings while they are in the Chamber – after all, it is their job to do so. However, the Speaker has villified the hand-held device, where the real culprit is its operator. I once attended a session of the Ontario Legislature during my undergrad days, and observed MPPs writing Christmas cards. Is Twittering any more offensive to the dignity . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

U.K. Still Lacks Cohabitation Rights

An item in the Times Online law section surprised me this morning. It referred to a private member’s bill coming for second reading before the Lords tomorrow “to create a framework of rights and responsibilities for couples in England and Wales who live together but who are not married.” The Cohabitation Bill is promoted by Lord Lester of Herne Hill. (Nothing about this in Lords of the Blog. Perhaps tomorrow. BTW: someone help them get the “wordpress” out of their URL, please: Way too amateur.)

I suppose I knew that the U.K. lacked this sort of protection for . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Canadian Politicians and Web 2.0

Three items here.

When I was in Newcastle-upon-Tyne last month I met an old friend Councillor Ron Beadle, who told me of the ways in which English politicians are using Facebook as ways of keeping in touch with constituents and supporters. I’m more likely to get responses from English politicians that way. Matthew Fraser and Soumitra Dutta’s new book Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom has much on how the Obama campaign deployed Web 2.0 technologies.

But let’s come closer to Canada.

In last week’s NDP leadership convention in Toronto, Peter Tabuns had more money. But there is a fascinating . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Technology

UN Database on Violence Against Women

In 2006, the United Nations General Assembly called on the Secretary-General of the organization to establish a database on the nature and consequences of violence against women, and on the impact and effectiveness of policies and programmes to combat it.

The database was launched last week.

There are a number of ways to search the data:

  • Country pages
  • Advanced search (type of government or policy measure; form of violence; country/region; year; and keyword)
  • Good practices

Sources for the information include:

  • States parties’ reports to human rights treaty bodies
  • Information provided by Member States in follow-up to the Fourth World
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law