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Archive for November, 2009

Open Access Law With Malamud and Others.

Following on our comments this week on law and access, a show on BlogTalkRadio called The Law Librarian has a podcast available of today’s discussion on OA legal resources with Carl Malamud and others. They talk about his initiative, the Obama admin., and others. A good listen. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

Courts and Technology

The issue of technology in Canadian Courts is a favoured one at Slaw. Over the past few years there have been developments which hearten those who advocate for the place of technology in Canadian courts. In another positive sign it seems that some advocates in influential positions are making their feelings known. From a recent decision, 2009 CanLII 57448 (ON S.C.), para. 12,

…the time has come to recognize the stark reality that our court, for whatever reason, lags unacceptably behind in the use of electronic communications with our court users. Why this is so remains, for me, a

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

A New Portal…

♫ Feel in my heart
the start of something new…♫

Lyrics and music by: Matthew Gerrard & Robbie Nevil, from High School Musical.

The BC Courthouse Library Society is launching their new website today ( which should be ‘live’ shortly (the old site is still there as this is posted).

The new site certainly fulfills their Strategic Direction as set out on their site:

Provision of Legal Information, Products, and Services to Members of the Legal Community:


To understand the changing practice of members of the legal community and how they obtain and use legal information.

To design . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Supreme Court Clarifies Malicious Prosecution

The Supreme Court has just released the judgment in Miazga v. Kvello Estate, 2009 SCC 51, what would appear to be the final stop in a long and unhappy ride through both the criminal and civil legal systems in Saskatchewan. Essentially, several adults were prosecuted for, and convicted of, sexual assault against children based on what turned out to be false testimony. The adults brought suit for malicious prosecution against a number of people, including the Crown prosecutor, the appellant Miazga.

The Supreme Court overturned the judgment against Miazga, and in so doing set out what is required . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

The Friday Fillip

Today we’re offering what the menu of one of my much-frequented restaurants might call “Google two ways.” But have no fear: the fact that our favourite double-O agent is the subject doesn’t mean this is business. No, this is about doodles, Google doodles — and particularly some of the hundreds out there that you have never seen before.

The main lode can be found on Google’s Holiday Logos page. This is a truly astonishing collection of inventive plays on the name.

If you’d like a source that’s organized a bit differently, go to Doodle Source, which started collecting the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Taxing Justice

The HST is coming and its ramifications for those who practice law and those who purchase legal services is going to be extreme.

While other industries (notably mutual funds, auto, and real estate) are all engaged in full-court-press mode as they lobby the Ontario government for exemptions, we in the legal services field have remained disturbingly complacent. The problem is simple to define. Starting in July 2010 when Ontario’s GST and PST are replaced by the new Harmonized Sales Tax, virtually everything, including legal bills, will be subject to the new 13% HST. For those of you who are blessed . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Wanted: A Synopsis of Canadian Cybersecurity Laws

I have been asked (by an American colleague) if I know of any synopsis of “Canadian cybersecurity laws”. I am told that this expression means some mix analogous to the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, covering as well wiretaps, crimes, specific requirements for securing data. Core is private sector rather than critical infrastructure or national security.

It is conceivable that there is a chapter or more in the various collections of learning on IT or e-com law on the topic, which Canadian members of this blog are familiar with. Care to name them? Is there a book in Sunny . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Legal Information, Substantive Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Seven Deadly Sins of the Innovator

For those with trouble prioritizing which of their next great ideas to undertake, there’s a fun column in the Oct. 20th edition of Business Week: The Seven Deadly Sins of the Innovator:

  1. Lust: Innovating in a space you have no business being in.
  2. Gluttony: Trying to create too many initiatives with too few resources. Innovation takes emotional and financial capital and focus.
  3. Greed: Taking short-term profits at the expense of long-term growth.
  4. Sloth: Taking short cuts—not doing the hard work, not following the proven process.
  5. Wrath: Being so focused on your competition that you
. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Psycho-Acoustic Simulation & Beatles Songs for a Quarter

I’ve groused here many — perhaps, too many — times about the inability of the Canadian music industry to get it together so that we can listen to music over the internet like our neighbours to the south. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled on BlueBeat, a website streaming music here, when Pandora et al. are forbidden to do that. Now imagine my super-surprise when I discovered that BlueBeat is streaming free and marketing MP3s of the Beatles’ music at 25¢ a song. Apple Inc. is unable to strike a deal with EMI for the distribution of the Fab . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Nova Scotia Mental Health Court

Today should be the day that the new Nova Scotia Mental Health Court hears its first case. (See the story in the Chronicle Herald .) In effect a criminal court under the Provincial Courts Act, the MHC is staffed by people who are able to understand and assist those who come before it because a mental illness has played a significant role in their criminal behaviour.

More formally, from the MHC Overview [PDF]:

The Nova Scotia Mental Health Court Program is a voluntary offender-based program for adults (persons 18 years of age and older) who have been charged with a

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Hay in a Haystack

One of my colleagues, found a colourful way to describe his growing disconnect with finding legal information on his own: “It’s like trying to find a piece of hay in a haystack.”

A Law Librarian blog post offers an excellent visual representation of this concept:

These two haystack comments make me think of teaching legal research. The topic has been on my mind a lot lately. And recent debate here at Slaw about sources of legal material tells me that others are likely thinking about it too.

On the weekends, I am a farmer. There is no hay on my . . . [more]

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