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Archive for October, 2009

JurisPedia Wins Legal Informatics Prize

I’ve learned from Hughes-Jehan Vibert that his JurisPedia project has recently won the 2009 Dieter Meurer Prize for Legal Informatics [in German]. We talked about JurisPedia a couple of years ago here on Slaw. And last year Simon Chester posted about the 2008 winner, Case Matrix.

JurisPedia’s new front page operates as a search engine, using Google’s Custom Search, with filters available that let you focus your search on any one of 70 jurisdictions around the world. You can, as well, search the wiki that is the growing JurisPedia encyclopedia.

Hughes-Jehan, who studied at UQAM and is now a . . . [more]

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

Random Roadside Breath Testing Coming to Canada?

Sometimes it actually hurts to be right.

If you’ve followed any of my earlier comments on twitter, in the media, or in this space on Slaw (Ontario’s New Road Safety Act) you will be familiar with my growing predictions that Canada is moving towards legalized random breath alcohol testing. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that the timeline for such a draconian measure would be a mere six months.

Yet, today’s National Post (Sunday October 4, 2009) is reporting that the Federal Department of Justice is considering exactly such an amendment.

As you weigh the pros and cons . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Lawyers – on Video. Launch of OMG! Law Talk

It’s something I’ve always wondered about. How do you use video, presumably on YouTube, without looking like you’re advertising like this guy.

I got together with some of the most savvy lawyers I know in the area, and we sat around talking about why we blog, why litigators are often reluctant to participate, and a couple other issues. We forgot about the camera that was filming us, and took a look at the footage after we were done.

The musical intro/outro is us too – Garry Wise and Michael Carabash are pretty talented musicians on the guitar.

We liked . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing, Technology

Report of the Scottish Civil Courts Review

Scottish authorities released the Report of the Scottish Civil Courts Review on September 30. This was a far-reaching review designed to modernize the Scottish system of civil justice. The extensive Report is available in two PDF files; as well, there is a synopsis [PDF] available. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

The Friday Fillip

Doomsday is coming. No, not Domesday of Book fame: that was 923 years ago, and has rather too much to do with law to be the subject of a fillip. I’m talking about February 28 or 29, depending, which is the day Rudy Limeback calls Doomsday for the purposes of his algorithm.

Now, I’m someone who had to use a calculator to figure out how many years ago 1028 was, so when I come upon something that begins “alg…” visions of my old math teacher, Amil H. J. Rintelman (I kid you not), appear before me and I quail. But . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Unmet Legal Needs in Civil Disputes



The US Legal Services Corporation has released Documenting the Justice Gap in America: The Current Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-Income Americans. From the press release:

“Many of these Americans in need of legal assistance are the most vulnerable among us-they are trying to escape from domestic violence, trying to avert foreclosure and homelessness, trying to qualify for disability benefits, trying to recover from natural disasters. Legal aid saves lives and makes communities stronger,” LSC President Barnett said.

Better than Canada, where 100% of civil actions are denied legal aid. Appendix A has a nice summary . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

eDiscovery in a Box?

It is difficult to shut our individual “professional world” out from technology as it continues to play an ever increasing role in helping us manage our day to day activities and accomplish tasks that need to be done. This will range from the obvious of your cellular phone to Blackberry to the Delonghi for your morning expresso. If your coffee is too strong one morning, you can adjust for tomorrow, but we are not afforded that luxury when processing ESI. The reality is, technology continues to evolve, manufacturers / developers are listening to market needs and in many cases developing . . . [more]

Posted in: e-Discovery

Legal Informatics Resources

Thanks to a tweet by Stephane Cottin (@cottinstef), I’ve found a catalogue of resources on legal informatics — “legal information systems. . . a research area within the disciplines of information science and computer science.” Legal Information Systems & Legal Informatics Resources by Robert Richards contains a hoard of links and references to material that is mostly beyond my ability to understand. But for those of you trained in information science, this should be a useful resource.

Despite my relative ignorance, I’ve found that some of what Richards offers is stimulating and informative even for me. For example, . . . [more]

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

Law Librarian Podcast: Social Media and Law Libraries

Today’s episode of the Law Librarian podcast will be recorded at 3 pm ET or 12 noon PT on Blogtalkradio. Our topic today will be social media and law libraries. Join us live (listen via the website –headphones recommended at the office) and call in with questions, or listen to the recording later. I will be participating in this episode. Richard Leiter hosts with his new co-host Marcia Dority Baker.

Incidentally, I was away during the last recording on September 3rd but have had a listen. The focus of the episode–“What’s Real in the Real World?”–was on resources used . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

Right to Know Week Wrapup

Today, October 2, 2009, is the last day of Right to Know Week in Canada.

Right to Know Week was originally started in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2002 as a result of a meeting of Access to Information Commissioners from around the world. Its purpose is to raise awareness of the necessity of access to information in democratic societies. This is the fourth year that it has been formally recognized in Canada and it has started to pick up momentum. The Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada set up a website at to detail the many events that were . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Pocket Parts or Web Updates

Today, we received an email update that said:

Dear e-note subscriber:

Please be advised that s. 255 of the Criminal Code was amended by 2008, c. 6 and c. 18, as well as by a coordinating amendment (S.C. 2008, c. 18, s. 45.2), which was omitted in error. The coordinating amendment affects subsecs. (3.1) and (3.3).

The Criminal Code is amended by 2009, c. 22, ss. 1 to 19; to come into force by order of the Governor in Council. As well, the Approved Breath Analysis Instruments Order (s. 254 of the Code) has been amended by SOR/2009-205, s. 1,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading