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Archive for December, 2009

What Will History Say?

I can’t believe how quickly time flies. It seems like last year I was being interviewed for a solo librarian job at Field Atkinson Perraton (now Field LLP). I am sure that one of the interview questions was “What do you know about Y2k?” Since there isn’t going to be a computer problem like this again until 2038, I wonder how this last year of the 1st decade of the 21st century will be defined by historians.

Will it be defined by a decade issue like climate change or terrorism or genocide. Will it be something specifically . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

On the Influence of Slaw

Dear all,

For those who don’t have or won’t find more compelling reasons – without limiting the generality, etc., getting together with family, giving and getting presents, unwrapping presents, staking out garbage, getting a pedicure, washing the dog, herding cats, discovering the next unknown prime in Pi, successfully rendering coherent some of the jurisprudence of … [subject optional] – occupying their time in the immediate future, I’m pleased to announce I’m going to be a guest blogger on the University of Alberta, Faculty of Law, Faculty Blog.

What can I say? I’m sure my occasional musings, here, played some . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Revisiting the Legality of the Afghan Mission

The National Law Journal claims that the War on Terror is the top legal story of the decade. And torture allegations in Afghanistan may prove to be the biggest political issue in Canada for 2010, even as the PM denies Canadian responsibility.

The alternatives raised by pundits hardly seem feasible. Handing prisoners over to the Americans would result in directly complicity in Guantanamo Bay. And the abuses at Bagram were just as bad (or perhaps worse) than Abu Ghraib.

Building our own prisons would hardly work either. It’s not cost-effective or practical in a mission that was intended . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Are Big Law Firm Blogs Boring? Yes, No, Maybe

I was reading Connie Crosby’s recent post National: Canada’s Best Law Firm Websites. It described an article in the Canadian Bar Association’s National magazine about the best law firm websites in a variety of categories, including blogs.

And then, I came across an article in Legal Blog Watch on

As the world goes to hell in a handbasket, the blawgosphere is abuzz with a debate over whether big firm blogs are boring. Blame it on the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100, which listed but two blogs from Am Law 100 firms. Not surprising, opines big-firm blogger Mark Herrmann,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing, Technology: Internet

Peeking Behind the Fears of the Burqa

A recent poll in the UK shows that following Switzerland’s minaret ban people in that country would be open to a similar minaret ban as well. In a related stream, France is reconsidering its proposal to ban the burqa completely, instead looking to prevent its use in public areas.

As with most political issues, there is a legal discourse that has occurred on this subject which preceded the controversy. Hafid Ouardidi, a resident of Geneva, has already filed a case at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasburgh.

The backdrop of xenophobia and misinformation within the European . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools, Substantive Law

Race – a New Play by David Mamet

and by Elon J. Griffith

David Mamet’s new play on Broadway is set in a law firm founded by two male lawyers, one white and one black, who are asked to represent a wealthy and famous white male accused of a raping an African American woman. However, the decision to do so is taken out of their hands by a series of unexpected events.

The play is a mystery, intended to both entertain and challenge the audience. At the same time, the play is also a conversation on the matter of race in America in the post Obama era. The . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

I4i 2, Microsoft 0 (End of 2nd Period)

From the Toronto Star report

A U.S. federal appeals court has upheld a US$290-million judgement against Microsoft Corp. in a patent case launched by Toronto-based i4i Inc.

The ruling also includes an injunction, set to go into effect Jan. 11, that would prevent the sale of at least some versions of Microsoft’s popular Word word processing software.

What does this mean to the Word/Office portion of the Gatesian Empire? I mean, apart from the judgment amount and whatever it’ll notionally cost it to recall Word & Office 2007 copies which can’t be sold if the injunction remains in place?

A . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

ONSC Implements the Neutral Citation for Case Law

Louise Hamel, manager of the Judges’ Library for Ontario Courts, just announced to Canadian legal publishers that beginning January 2, 2010, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice will assign a neutral citation to their decisions, except for the Small Claims Court.

The Neutral Citation Standard for Case Law was developed in 1998 by the Canadian Citation Committee, an informal group that brought together various specialists in legal information from the judiciary, academia and the publishing industry, including slawers Martin Felsky and Daniel Poulin. The standard was approved in 1999 by the Canadian Judicial Council and has since then been . . . [more]

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

SCC Cusson + Grant: A Reboot for Canadian Libel Law

The Supreme Court of Canada released its reasons in Quan v. Cusson and Grant v. Torstar Corp today. These are key decisions in the area of defamation and libel, and a major victory for the media. The court recognized the new defence, of responsible communication on matters of public importance. A quote from the reasons delivered by Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin in Cusson: “The judge decides whether the publication was on a matter of public interest. If so, the jury then decides whether the standard of responsibility has been met.” Read the court’s reasons here. The Globe and . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Slaw Wins Blawggie – Again

I’m more than proud to be able to say that Dennis Kennedy, that powerhouse of American law blogging, has awarded the 2009 Blawggie for Best Overall Law-Related Blog to Slaw. This is the second year in a row we’ve been favoured with the award — and we’re chuffed, to say the least.

Kennedy sets out the criteria by which he measures the blawgs he reads on a regular basis: They should offer “(1) consistently useful content, (2) a generous and helpful approach, and (3) a combination of commitment and talent, with an emphasis on good writing.”

Of Slaw, he says: . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Family Law Reform

Let me open by wishing everyone the best of the season!

We at the Law Commission of Ontario were delighted this week to hear the Attorney General announce the government’s plan to reform the family law system. The plan is to use the concept of “four pillars” to establish the fundamental changes that will allow the evolution of the system as time goes on. These are necessary reforms: increased information, greater access to legal services, more use in appropriate cases of different forms of dispute resolution and triage (ensuring that families are sent in the right direction in the system). . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law