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Archive for April, 2009

Bills Source Notice

This notice is making the rounds:

Notice to Quicklaw Customers:

Please be advised that the bills sources will no longer be available on the Quicklaw™ service starting in May.

However, customers can still access a full annual statutes service for Canada (English and French), Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario on the Quicklaw service. Full-text versions of the annual statutes are made available on Quicklaw upon receipt of royal assent. The annual statutes sources contain the commencement information for each annual statute, as well as a list of the acts amended by any particular statute.

Hopefully someone will fill the void . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Alberta’s Taking Names

Or will be, if Bill 42 [PDF], introduced into the Alberta Legislature two days ago, is passed into law. The bill would amend the Gaming and Liquor Act to permit licensees, i.e. bar owners and their employees, to take down the names of any patrons they suspect of being gang members and to share these names with other licensees and the police. Specifically:

69.2 (1) A licensee may, before allowing a person to enter licensed premises, collect the person’s name, age and photograph.

(2) If a licensee has personal knowledge or reasonably believes that a person referred to in subsection

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Ratifying the Electronic Communications Convention

I would like to raise again whether Canada should ratify the UNCITRAL Electronic Communications Convention (ECC). The ECC sets out in treaty form some of the basic rules of the 1996 Model Law on Electronic Commerce about how legal requirements that appear to need paper writings can be satisfied by electronic communications. The Convention operates only for international contracts, though it can be used as well to interpret other conventions to which the ratifying country is a party.

Thus the Convention says that information shall not be denied legal effect solely because it is in electronic form; that a legal . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Wikipedia as Evidence

A NJ Appellate Division court says that Wikipedia is too malleable to be used as evidence in Palisades Collection v. Graubard, A-1338-07.

Mary Pat Gallagher of the New Jersey Law Journal reported yesterday,

“[I]t is entirely possible for a party in litigation to alter a Wikipedia article, print the article and thereafter offer it in support of any given position,” an appeals court held. “Such a malleable source of information is inherently unreliable and clearly not one ‘whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned,'” such as would support judicial notice under New Jersey Evidence Rule 201(b)(3).

The decision reversed an . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology Plain English Overwrite for Law Reviews

This teaser from the National Law Journal Web version caught my eye:

Are you interested in legal issues but shudder at the thought of wading through massive law review articles riddled with footnotes? A new Web site just might be the answer. aims to bring content from some of the most prestigious law reviews in the nation to a wider audience by offering condensed version of articles translated from scholarly language into plain English, and at no cost.

This is a very interesting idea. First a new and free aggregated source for accessing peer reviewed legal research. Second a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing

World Book and Copyright Day

Today (being both Shakespeare’s birthday and Shakespeare’s and Cervantes’ deathday) seems apt for some comment on World Book and Copyright Day.

Last month, at the Second Global eIFL-IP conference in Istanbul, librarians from thirty-nine developing and transition countries decided to highlight the importance of users’ rights for libraries and education to mark the occasion. is an international foundation, which supports national library consortia in approximately fifty transition and developing countries to negotiate and advocate for the wide availability of electronic resources to education, research and professional communities as well as governmental organisations and civil society. This global . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Reading, Substantive Law

Announcing the Legal Workshop

We’ve mentioned the practice of having a web adjunct to conventional law journals. A collective was announced yesterday. I’ll let them speak for themselves:

Law Journals Band Together to Launch Web Magazine

The Legal Workshop Aims to Revitalize Legal Scholarship

STANFORD, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A consortium of America’s most influential law reviews today launched The Legal Workshop, a free, online magazine featuring articles based on legal scholarship published in the print editions of seven participating law reviews: Stanford Law Review, New York University Law Review, Cornell Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Georgetown Law Journal, Northwestern Law Review, and University of Chicago

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Technology

Australian Research Council Rates Journals

The Australian Research Council, as part of a program to assess Australian research efforts, has rated English-language journals in the sciences and in the humanities and creative arts, including law. According to the background page:

A journal’s quality rating represents the overall quality of the journal. This is defined in terms of how it compares with other journals and should not be confused with its relevance or importance to a particular discipline. There are four tiers of quality rating [A* = top 5%; A = next 15%; B = next 30%; C = bottom 50%] and their definitions

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

FLARE Index to Treaties

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in the United Kingdom recently launched the FLARE Index to Treaties, a searchable database of basic information on over 1,500 of the most significant multilateral treaties from 1856 to the present.

Information comes from many sources such as Multilateral Treaties: index and current status (London: Butterworths, 1984, tenth supplement, 1994), International Legal Materials (Washington: American Society of International Law, 1962-) , Bulletin of International Legal Developments/Bulletin of Legal Developments (London: British Institute of International and Comparative Law, 1966-), United Nations Treaty Series Index, etc.

Information about each treaty includes:

  • the official, popular
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law

Google Profiles

Someone at Google has woken up, a little belatedly I think, to realize that the Web is in large part about publicizing (I won’t say “exposing”) oneself and that they are the doormen, so to speak, of the Web. Sure, you could always — and did often — Google yourself, but there had to be something out there to find. In came Facebook and other webs within the Web, of course, and that took care of that: now it’s no longer a matter of Googling yourself: you are on Facebook (MySpace, Linkedin, and now .tel) or you’re not available in . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Ontario’s New Road Safety Act – Convictions Without Trials?

On April 21, 2009 the Ontario Road Safety Act (RSA) passed through final reading creating a host of changes that will come into effect in the coming months. The government’s executive summary of the act is available at for anyone who wishes to peruse it.

As one might expect, the RSA is overflowing with ‘get tough on crime’ language and continues the predictable tradition now enshrined in Canadian law to increase penalties for impaired driving offences at every opportunity. Where the RSA strikes bold new ground is in its fiendishly clever solution to the pesky problem of people who . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Law and Technology

Recent Slaw posts talk about Blackberry’s, the ABA Techshow, social media, online ADR, and online legal resources. Richard Susskind talks about how technology is fundamentally changing the practice of law, and how we will provide services in the future. One point he makes is that this is not a big bang change, but a creeping change.

That’s quite true. As I think back, I entered law school after being a computer science major. That was before computers were used in law firms (except perhaps for accounting purposes), and before the Internet. At the time, most people thought it was truly . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous