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Archive for December, 2009

The Friday Fillip

What’s in a name? Apart from letters, I mean.

For me it’s sometimes annoyance and occasionally some delight. I’m talking about people’s names, of course. There are too many nouns for named things to be a useful category to talk about. And people come by the most interesting names, often with help from their parents, a feature things lack for the most part.

I’m not the only one who finds names interesting. Just today in the Globe, Judith Timson took time out from roasting Tiger Woods to stumble over the name of Mrs. Woods’ lawyer: Sorrell Trope. She . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Judge Rules on Grammar, Syntax

A story that’s been making the rounds this week (LawyeristLegal Blog WatchABAJournal@davidtsfraser) deserves to be passed along one more step: U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel got fed up with the way lawyers wrote the proposed orders submitted to him, so he sent a memo to the whole bankruptcy bar setting out his rules for doing it right. They’re a mix of regs on proper form and injunctions about some stuff that should have been learned in grade school.

For instance, in addition to a request that documents be submitted in PDF electronically, . . . [more]

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

Part III: Facebook Privacy Poked & Pwnd

Following my Part I and Part II blog entries on Facebook’s recent privacy updates, the latest news is that the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a Complaint with the FTC yesterday over these changes. EPIC is non-profit research center based in Washington, D.C.

The Complaint alleges that Facebook’s changes disclose personal information to the public that was previously restricted, as well as personal information to third parties that was not previously available. EPIC holds that such changes violate user expectations, diminish user privacy and contradict Facebook’s own representations. It has asked the FTC to investigate Facebook, and seek appropriate . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Google Roundup

Google is always releasing new features or apps. Here’s a rundown of some released recently that may have relevance for lawyers…

Google Groups joins Google Apps… Permalink Similar

Google Labs is collaborating with the New York Times and the Washington Post to present certain featured news stories in a web-sophisticated way. Essentially, stories chosen by the news sources — no searching for items that you select — are presented on a page in which you’ll find a summary at the top, a timeline of events immediately below, and excerpts from reports as the story has developed over . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Ireland Law Reform Commission Consultation Paper on Search Warrants

The people at the Law Reform Commission of Ireland have been very busy little beavers recently.

Last week, they published a consultation paper on electronic evidence. Then they brought out a report on criminal defences (self-defence, provocation, duress).

Yesterday, boom, another consultation paper, this time on search warrants and bench warrants.

In each case, the Commission has adopted a very pronounced comparativist point of view that can be of interest to Canadians, as all of the documents take a close look at what is happening in other jurisdictions, such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the . . . [more]

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

Insurance Cap Will Remain in Place in Alberta

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed (with costs) the appeal in Morrow v. Zhang (33311). The appellate decision concluded this about Alberta’s Minor Injury Regulation at para. 149:

The MIR, when considered with the entire scheme of insurance reforms, does not infringe section 7 or 15 of the Charter. While the legislation does make a distinction on the basis of disability, it is not discriminatory. The legislation, as a whole, responds to the needs and circumstances of those suffering minor soft issue injuries.

Background reading:

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

What Choice Does Religion Give You?

The Divisional Court of Ontario is being asked to decide whether a religious organization has the right to fire an employee who does not conform to its moral code. Christian Horizons runs a home for people with disabilities. Public funds are provided since this is a valuable service for the community. The organization has its employees sign an agreement when they start work that they will conform with specified moral rules, including that sex must happen only within a marriage between a man and a woman.

One employee signed the agreement in 1995 but about 2000 decided she was lesbian . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Facebook and the Bench

Hidden by the furore over Facebook’s privacy policy changes this week, an interesting little story about Facebook relationships between judges and lawyers popped up this week.

Florida’s Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee came out with a guideline on whether judges can “friend” lawyers who are appearing in cases before them. According to the Committee, it isn’t permissible since it creates the impression that the “friended” lawyer is in a position to influence the judge.

Of course, most people’s facebook friend list is comprised mostly of people who you’ve barely spoken with recently, never mind having any influence over. Luckily, judges can . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Colvin’s Response Letter Available Here

Richard Colvin, the Canadian diplomat who has testified before a Parliamentary committee concerning his warnings to the government about the torture of Afghan detainees captured by the Canadian military and turned over to Afghan authorities, has released a sixteen-page letter in which he addresses the claims of the government concerning his testimony.

The document is available for downloading here. The publicly available document is hosted on Scribd and is marked with a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution.

You can also read it online at the Globe and Mail website, where an article outlines the letter’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Marketing in the Olympic Wake

Is it rogue or is it ambush marketing? With hockey helmet toques, a front tooth blackout marker, Canada-emblazoned hoodies, and Eh? t-shirts, it calls out to the inner hoser in all of us. The latest news is that manifesto-driven, zen-making sportswear company Lululemon Athletica is getting cheeky in the pre-Olympic season. Lululemon launched a special edition clothing line this week: the “Cool Sporting Event That Takes Place in British Columbia Between 2009 & 2011 Edition.” The Hudson’s Bay Company is the official clothing sponsor of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. This is one way to get the attention of Olympic . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

The Domino Effect

There is still some sensitivity around legal process outsourcing (LPO); however as time passes, we are seeing a growing number of law firms and corporate law departments embracing LPO. Simmons & Simmons is the latest law firm to outsource some of its legal work.

Based on published sources, the list of corporations and law firms offshoring legal work and the type of work they are outsourcing includes:

Accenture – support, contracts
American Express
Andrew Corp
Cadence Design Systems – document review
Dell – procurement and sales contracts
DuPont – document review
General Electric – contracts
General Mills – patent . . . [more]

Posted in: Outsourcing