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Archive for July, 2009

Petition to Improve PACER

I’m currently at the American Association of Law Libraries‘ annual conference in Washington, DC. One of the things speakers have been talking about is lobbying being done to make PACER more accessible. The PACER service from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts provides on-line access to U.S. Appellate, District, and Bankruptcy court records and documents. The petition, through the care2 petitionsite website ( reads as follows:

We ask the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts to improve PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) by enhancing the authenticity, usability and availability of the system.


. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law, Technology

The Return of the Music Soundtrack: Pulp Fiction or a New Reality?

and by Paul Chodirker

What was the number one selling album on Billboard’s top 200 chart at the end of January 2008? It wasn’t Radiohead’s In Rainbows, or Mary J. Blige’s Growing Pains. Can you guess what it was? It was a soundtrack album from “the little film that could” known as Juno.

If you’re not familiar with the Juno soundtrack, it’s basically made up of indie darlings and unknown musicians like Barry Louis Polisar and Kimya Dawson. Barry Louis Polisar is actually a musician who writes music for children. In fact, five soundtrack albums currently appear in the top . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Firm Guest Blogger: Heenan Blaikie’s Media and Entertainment Practice

This month’s firm guest blogger is Heenan Blaikie‘s Media and Entertainment Practice. As always, you’ll know our guest’s posts by the banner we put at the top:

They’ve kindly provided Slaw with this introduction.

Heenan Blaikie is one of Canada’s leading law firms, with over 480 lawyers and professionals in nine Canadian cities including Toronto, Montréal, Calgary and Vancouver. We are also one of the youngest large firms in the country – literally. Our firm was founded just 35 years ago, with three lawyers (all still active) in Montréal. Growth has been spliced into our DNA. So has the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Firm Guest Blogger

Toronto Strike Can Be a Life and Death Issue

Toronto residents have been raising a big stink recently over the CUPE Local 416 strike recently, now entering its second month.

The union’s president, Mark Ferguson, has indicated that if a decision is not reached by today they will break off negotiations.

Meaning this could go on even longer…

Paramedics part of the union also have a partial right to strike. Response times before the strike, eight minutes and eighteen seconds, has risen to nine minutes and eleven seconds, twelve seconds longer than the gold standard.

The Ontario Ministry of Health is conducting an inquiry to see whether a . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Tomorrow’s Texts

From time to time we let our columnists here at Slaw take a break, if they’ve been good… and if Your Editor has something he’d like to say and wants the column inches for himself. Herewith, then, the first of the very occasional “ed hoc” columns.

You can’t manage a WordPress blog for four years and not think a fair bit about electronic publication. But it’s surprising how easy it is to get caught up in day-to-day matters and to let the functionality that working on the web makes available slip beneath your awareness. And what marvels these . . . [more]

Posted in: ed hoc

Supreme Court Splits on Freedom of Religion and Driving Licence Photos

This morning the court released Alberta v. Wilson Colony of Hutterian Brethren, a decision that turns on whether Alberta’s driving licence requirements, which mandate photographs of licensed drivers to address identity theft breach the Hutterians’ Charter rights of Freedom of Religion.

The court split with Chief Justice McLachlin writing the majority judgment for herself and Justices Binnie, Deschamps and Rothstein. Strong dissent from Justice Abella, with Justices LeBel and Fish agreeing. The Court reversed the Alberta Court of Appeal and the Queen’s Bench, which had both struck down the Regulation in question.

“The goal of setting up a . . . [more]

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

The Friday Fillip

Well the results are in and the winners have been announced for this year’s Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, that annual dark and stormy nightmare1 in honour of poor Lord Lytton, the one time Secretary of State for the Colonies (Canada, I’m looking at you) and novelist of less than wretched quality. (After all, folks, it was Himself who coined “the pen is mightier than the sword” which in full is “beneath the rule of men entirely great the pen is mightier than the sword” — but that’s another story.)

The contest now has numerous categories, because we just . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Searching Through SpaceTime3D

There are times when Google’s minimalism palls and you want something just a little more… racy, perhaps, when you’re hunting down that special website that contains all the answers you need. When ennui de recherche strikes, move your operations over to SpaceTime3D, the cosmically inflated name for a pretty front end to Google, Wikipedia, Amazon, etc. What you’ll get is what we Mac users know as “cover flow,” that old fashioned jukebox effect where the website pages emerge from a stack like records on the old machines.

This isn’t very efficient, unless you’re looking for a certain kind of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Tweet, Retweet, Rinse, Repeat

As everyone in the entire world knows by now, there is a service called Twitter. Slaw has been announcing its posts on Twitter ( for quite a while now; and from time to time our contributors who tweet themselves will let their followers know that they’ve got an entry up on Slaw. But until now, we’ve not found a satisfactory way of letting our readers tweet about our posts.

Today we’ve added a Tweetmeme button in the upper right-hand corner of every post. So if you’re reading an entry that you think your followers on Twitter should know . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Serenity Now. Tranquility Later. (One Small Step for a Brand, Part II)

Here we continue the thread from my previous post. In honour of the Apollo 11 mission's 40th anniversary, we are looking at advertising/entertainment/branding issues we may not have expected – as a result of space exploration. This installment: contest bootcamp. Prepare for a hijacking.
Posted in: Substantive Law

The Other Face of Charter Violations

Last week I posted my commentary here on Slaw on the recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in R. v. Grant.

To recap briefly, Grant was a young black male who aroused the suspicions of some police by staring at them and “fidgeting”. Hardly “reasonable grounds” to conduct an investigative detention, yet that’s exactly what happened. In the course of a ‘conversation’ with police, Grant eventually admitted to being in possession of a small quantity of marijuana and a firearm. Despite finding his detention to be arbitrary and unlawful, the SCC ruled the evidence admissible under a . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law