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Archive for October, 2009

Charkaoui Decision Quashed at Federal Court

Justice Tremblay-Lamer of the Federal Court has quashed the controversial case against Adil Charkaoui, the alleged terrorist detained on a security certificate.

In his 2004 case before the Federal Court, the government made submissions that his interest in karate could infer his involvement in terrorism,

[50]To add to the demonstration of danger to national security and to any person, the Ministers link the respondent with violence and explain that he is a karate and martial arts enthusiast, and add that (see page 5, exhibit R-3):

[translation] In the past, it has been observed that some individuals involved with Al-Qaeda

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

The Internet, Email, and Other Dying Things

What is it about obituaries that so attracts some people? Perhaps it’s Schadenfreude, or maybe it’s a form of whistling past the graveyard, but some folks can’t wait to bring you the gleeful news that such-and-so is mortally ill — so keen, in fact, that as with Mark Twain, Clemens[1. “The report of my death was an exaggeration.” This is the actual quote, as you can see from the image of the actual letter that Twain sent from London.], they wind up being previous.

So we have two imminent deaths reported recently that may be just a bit exaggerated. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

The Friday Fillip

As I used to say to my students from time to time, lawyers aren’t allowed to use their fists: it’s all done with language, so develop a love for that tool. And I think that somewhere along the line, most lawyers do in fact wind up if not exactly loving language, then certainly caring about its use. This is why I like the blog Language Log, and have recommended it a number of times on Slaw.

But all that jaw-jaw, as Churchill might have said, can pall. So as a break I like to cook (and to eat). It . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Checking the Age of Online Purchasers

There is a private member’s bill before the House of Lords in Britain — Online Purchasing of Goods and Services (Age Verification) Bill [HL] 2008-09 — to require online retailers to verify the age of people buying goods whose purchase is restricted by age, e.g. liquor or cigarettes. It is described here.

Some scepticism has been expressed about its desirability, in part based on the difficulty of actually doing what the law would require.

Do you think this kind of law would be a good idea here? Or should we accept as a fact that age restrictions on purchases . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

The Sweet Spot

Rio Tinto shocked the global legal community by announcing that they would be outsourcing significant legal work with an expected annual savings of about $20,000,000 (20% of an annual budget of about $100,000,000). This announcement is not so shocking if you consider that Microsoft, GE, Intel and other major players are already enjoying huge savings from legal process outsourcing (LPO).

As the value of LPO starts being realized by the broader legal community and confirmation of its permanence is made on a daily basis, it becomes necessary for skeptics to understand the applicability of this method of service to take . . . [more]

Posted in: Outsourcing

People Expect More From Government Today

Fifty years ago, if we were to ask Canadians, “What are your expectations of government?” the answer would likely be: “I expect that my government should make good decisions.” Meeting this expectation by making laws, regulations and policies that treated everyone the same seemed an acceptable standard of fairness.

Within the next 20 years, provincial ombudsman offices came into being in Canada and began responding to complaints about instances where those good substantive decisions were not being made – but something else was happening too. As Canada’s population grew and society became more complex, governments at the federal, provincial and . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Identity Theft..and More

♫ I’d rather steal than foot the bill, I’d rather die
I’d rather steal than pay the bill, I’d rather lie ♫

Words and music by Vaux, “Identity Theft

Yesterday was an eye-opening day for me. Someone apparently hacked into my Twitter account and started sending out spam tweets in my name. On the scale of the range of identity theft, this was rather low – as it was solved by changing my Twitter password to something VERY strong and sending out apologies to those who unfortunately, received the spam tweets. But like a vaccine, it inoculated . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Legal Research for Library Students

For some years now I have been visiting the Information Resources and Services II class at my alma mater Grant MacEwan University. The two year diploma program in Library and Information Management (as it was called when I attended) has been delivered in Edmonton since the seventies and is a great jumping off point for careers in many types of information related organizations.

I always enjoy showing legal research methods to library students, most of whom have not been exposed to this area previously. They always ‘get’ that the method for gathering information to answer a legal problem follows . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD

Fairness Principles v. Legal Rights

The quintessential work of a parliamentary ombudsman requires the application of fairness principles to the decisions, actions and general conduct of the public service. These principles require that those decisions, actions and conduct be reasonable; consistent with law; just; and not oppressive or improperly discriminatory.

As a practicing lawyer for over twenty years, I am constantly reminded of the benefits of judicial and quasi-judicial avenues to determine citizens’ legal rights. These benefits include a structured procedure to determine legal rights; access to and the application of established precedents, a rich and sometimes codified body of principles to determine what evidence . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

One Laptop Per Child Update

About two years ago, we were following the progress and release of the One Laptop Per Child program, an organization that was developing a cheap laptop that it wanted to put into the hands of schoolchildren around the world.

While at the time of its release, the XO laptop (as it was called) made a great toy for adults and children alike here in Canada, now that two years have passed, we can start to see the results from the real-world experience of certain countries.

One country that took a lead in distributing this machine to schoolkids was Uruguay. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

2009 Federal Annual Report on Reviews of Possible Miscarriages of Justice

In the most recent Weekly Checklist of federal government publications, the 2009 annual report by Justice Canada on applications for ministerial review in cases of possible miscarriages of justice is listed:

“Since 1892, the Minister of Justice has had the power, in one form or another, to review a criminal conviction under federal law to determine whether there may have been a miscarriage of justice.”

“Currently, the conviction review process begins when a person submits an application for ministerial review (miscarriages of justice), also known as a ‘conviction review application’.”

“The application for ministerial review must be supported by ‘new

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