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Archive for November, 2009

Text of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Given the current news stories arising out of the Commonwealth leaders meeting and the Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill introduced last month, I thought it might be useful for Slaw readers to have access to the actual language of the bill. (I guess it’s too much to ask the mainstream media outlets to either quote the legislation at length, in cases such as this, or provide a link to a web location for the text of legislation under discussion.)

A PDF photocopy of the bill is available on the Box Turtle Bulletin site, as is an HTML text version. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Al-Jazeera English Approved in Canada

After months of deliberation, the CRTC today finally approved Al-Jazeera English for distribution in Canada, without conditions.

What’s remarkable about this decision is, well, that it’s entirely unremarkable. To all appearances, this should have been a relatively easy regulatory call: Al-Jazeera English fit squarely within the new regulatory framework announced a year ago for distribution of non-Canadian news services, where the CRTC stated that it would generally approve such services absent “clear evidence” that the service would violate Canadian regulations. There was strong demand for the service, as shown by the 2600 interventions in favour. Furthermore, Al-Jazeera English wisely engaged . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Twittering Politicians

Shaunna’s mention of TwitterCommons prompted me to point out poliTwitter, which aggregates federal and provincial politicians’ Twitter feeds. The interface is a tad clunky (the dropdown menus are awkward to use), but there’s lots here to like.

Non-politicians tweeting on political issues are captured in the “community” display. You can sort by party affiliation, and the statistics are fascinating. Trend tracking via hastag, of course. And the search allows you to find your MP/MPP. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous


On November 25, 2009 Bill C-36, An act to amend the Criminal Code, otherwise known as Serious Time for the Most Serious Crime Act passed 3rd reading in the House of Commons by a vote of 187 to 69.

The bill amends provisions in the Criminal Code regarding the right of persons convicted of murder or high treason to apply for early parole through the elimination of the “faint hope” clause. Using the new ability to link to a section of the Criminal Code, here is the current legislation.

One definition of hope is “to desire with . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

The Obstructionist Self-Represented Accused: the Challenge of Control

Of the many challenges facing trial judges, one of the greatest is conducting proceedings with a self-represented accused. Invariably the self-represented accused comes to court with only a rudimentary knowledge of the trial process, often influenced by misleading depictions from television shows and the movies. He or she is unfamiliar with the substantive law, is confused by procedural requirements, and has difficulty grasping concepts such as relevance.

The burgeoning number of self-represented accused in the criminal courts may be explained by cut-backs to legal aid funding across the country, the cost of legal services, mental health problems that make it . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Legal Information, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Nancy Byerly Jones Re-Post: Celebrating Great Holiday Moments … Ignoring the Not-So-Good!

Cross-posted on the Lawyer Success Tips blog

Although we have never met, over the years I have avidly read and learned a lot from Nancy Byerly Jones. She has written some great articles and created some awesome resources on risk management and claims prevention. My good friend and fellow PMA (practice management advisor) Jim Calloway pointed out a great post Nancy made on her blog yesterday.

Nancy gives us all solid practical advice for making the most with family and friends on this US Thanksgiving (we actually did Thanksgiving in Canada about a month ago), and indeed on . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Digitization of Older Canadian Parliamentary Publications

At lunch, I attended a round table organized by the National Capital Association of Law Libraries that took place at the University of Ottawa.

One of the more interesting announcements concerned the ongoing digitization of older publications relating to the activities of the Parliament of Canada.

According to the person from Library and Archives Canada who was present, the following material is now digitized:

  • Journals of the House of Commons and Senate for 1901-1954
  • Committee proceedings and evidence for 1901-1934
  • Public Accounts and Estimates for 1867-1993

The material is available on the site of the Internet Archive.

Debates for . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law

Project Management as a Key Litigator Competency

Lawyers will always be free to decide how they chose to practice law; the market will, however, decide who the winners and the losers are. Winning in e-discovery increasingly means adopting lean, efficient business practices. These practices include (but are not limited to) using project management and appropriate measures of quality to reduce cost and to mitigate risk.

This powerful statement is from the Sedona Conference’s Commentary on Achieving Quality in the E-Discovery Process. The drafters of the Commentary argue for the application of formal project management methodologies by lawyers. This is a short endorsement of this argument, with . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law

Linking to a Section in the Criminal Code

So try this: create a link to section 650 of a freely available online version of the Criminal Code. Basic law, basic task in this digital age, right?

Unless I’ve missed something obvious, which is the best sort of thing to miss, it ain’t so easy nowadays. There are two online sources of the Code: CanLII’s and the Department of Justice’s, which are actually just one version because CanLII publishes what the DOJ provides.

But let’s start with the CanLII version. There’s the whole statute with no table of contents. And that’s it. A search within for “650,” . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law, Technology

Lawyers, Courts, and Technology

Many lawyers assume that the Court process is unable or unwilling to take advantage of available electronic technology. Sometimes they are correct.

The problem is often one of communication. In many Ontario centres the lawyers are unaware until the last moment of who will be presiding over their case; and most often judges are unaware of the cases they will be asigned until the day before the hearing or trial. Many judges (myself included) will ask during a pre-trial or management session just what preparation has been made by the parties to reduce the use of paper. Too often that . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Technology