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Archive for December, 2009

Slaw Wins Clawbie

With less than half a day to go till January 1, I’ve learned that Slaw has won the 2009 Clawbie for best law blog. This is indeed a fitting end to the year for all of us who contribute to Slaw — and considerable motivation to keep up the good work in the new year.

I’m particularly happy that we’re one of a growing number of Canadian law blogs, and I look forward to the stimulation of stiff competition next year from everyone nominated. . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

IBM Granted Patent for… Dict.?

Two days ago, according to records in the United States Patent Office, IBM [International Business Machines / Inclusion body myositis / Integrated Bituminous Mining / International Brotherhood of Magicians / Interacting boson model / Ibm (town)] was granted USP [United States patent / United States Pharmacopeia / University of the South Pacific / University of the Sciences in Philadelphia / Unique selling proposition] 7,640,233. The nub of the patent is described in the abstract:

The databases each define shorthand terms with one or more longhand terms. A shorthand term is targeted within a text message, and

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

Parliament Prorogued Until March

The next session of Parliament, which was scheduled to resume on January 25, 2010, was prorogued today until March. The next throne speech is scheduled for March 3, 2010. CBC’s Carole MacNeil interviews University of Toronto professor Nelson Wiseman about today’s proroguing of Parliament:

I could find no official announcement on the Government of Canada, Prime Minister, or Governor General’s websites. The CBC has some coverage for anyone looking for additional details. Hat tip to Wayne MacPhail for pointing out this video news clip. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Favourite Media Lines About Lawyers

Adding to the legion of penultimate year-or-the-decade “best of” lists, let’s do one for “favourite meda lines about lawyers”. The line doesn’t have to come from this decade, but you have to update the line (if neeed) to make it (more) apt to the decade. If you do change the line(s), provide the original for comparison.

I’ll start. From the original “Adam’s Rib” (1949) which just happens to also be about lawyers.

Lawyers should never have unprotected sex with other lawyers. This is called inbreeding, from which comes idiot children and more lawyers. Lawyers should marry piano players or song-writers

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Coming Into Force on New Year’s Day

On the day after tomorrow, at least 100 amendments to statutes and regulations will come into force in Canada, according to a simple search in CanLII. It’s a hodge-podge of rules, of course — a cross-section, if you will, of life under modern rule-making.

Thus, for instance, B.C. mushroom growers are likely to be happier on January 1, because the regulation obliging them to pay a levy to the Mushroom Industry Development Council is to be repealed on that day. Happier, too, will be Costa Ricans who export to Canada, as tariff rates for certain goods will be reduced by . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Legislation — Mystery Search Engine

In the last couple of weeks, there’s been a little twittering about, a search engine that seeks out documents of the PDF, .doc and .ppt persuasion. And that’s all we know.

Well, we know that it’s designed to mimic Google’s front page in all but colour. But apart from that, things are murky: there is no “about” page; there are, in fact, no links on the search page at all that offer to take you to explanation.

A search in whois reveals that the domain name is owned by Wang Linhua, who gives Shanghai as the city of . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Internet

Not a New Year’s Resolution

For those who don’t know of it, Arts & Letters Daily is an aggregator par excelllence for links to information and links of all kinds. Another is the Voice of the Shuttle. VoS describes itself as a “website for humanities research”.

At present, the first reference in the AL&D “Articles of Note” column is to a new article about the Peter Principle and studies that have been done since the book The Peter Principle: Why things always go wrong came out in 1969.

The A&LD summary, taken from the paragraph in the article under the heading “Pervasively inept” is:  . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Miscellaneous

At Least He Spelled Toronto Right

In an article published on Dec. 27/09, the culture critic for the Washington Post selected the structural (in my opinion) blight that that extends from the north side of the Royal Ontario Museum as his choice for the decade’s worst new building, or addition to an existing building, or remodelling of an existing building. There was just one nominee. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Ladies First? Not in Legal Language

Readers will likely know that I enjoy the blog Language Log. Law is, after all, a language game (in the serious sense of game), and it helps to see what the folks who study language per se have to say about it. Recently they’ve been musing about which of the sexes gets preference in a two-word phrase, such as “mum and dad”, which got me thinking about what we do in the same circumstance within the more formal settings of Canadian legislation and caselaw.

Trouble is, I’m no scientist. So all I can do is use what a statistician . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Information and Privacy Cases of the Year

I’ve always loved year-end lists. Here’s a Canada-centric top ten “information management and privacy cases” list for 2009. Endorsement and criticism invited!

#1 Grant v. Torstar. The Supreme Court of Canada recognizes a new defamation defence – the “responsible communication on matters of public interest” defence. Truly novel and highly relevant. Is the dialog on the kind of information that must flow in the name of the public interest also a building block for the privacy tort? From just days ago.

#2 R. v. McNeil. This unanimous Supreme Court of Canada judgement broadens the scope of the Crown’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Christmas Music and Other Gifts

I trust that an appropriate Santa brought each and every one of you something suitable for the holiday season. Here’s a link to some music to help you celebrate the season: Tull’s Christmas Song. Just cover the kids’ ears until the introduction is over, lest you have to explain what he was talking about.

On the other hand, the family values crowd should note that Anderson was careful to refer to “casual” sex.

On a more adult note, a colleague alerted me to this mid 1960s treasure. It’s about 30 minutes long and well worth watching. Just don’t try . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Documents on the Afghan Mission

I’m anything but a specialist in this area, but I thought it would be interesting to assemble some of the relevant documentation.


  • Geneva Conventions:
    • Convention for the amelioration of the condition of the wounded and sick in armies in the field (22 August 1864), BTS 1901/10, CTS 1942/6
    • International Convention for the amelioration of the condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armies in the Field (6 July 1906), BTS 1907/15
    • Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (27 July 1929), CTS 1933/5, 118 LNTS 344
    • Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilian persons in time
. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous