Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for March, 2010

Lawsuit Against Copper Mesa and Bill C-300

Earlier today Marcia Ramírez spoke at Huron College (at the University of Western Ontario) about her pending suit against Copper Mesa Mining Corp., a Canadian mining company operating in her home in Ecuador. The plaintiffs claim that activists opposing the company there were threatened and assaulted.

You can read the statement of claim here (pdf), which requests damages against both Copper Mesa and the TSX. Earlier this year the TSX delisted the stock. The defendants are both requesting a dismissal motion.

The case is interesting given that Bill C-300 -An Act Respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

The Traveling Lawyer and Taking Your Firm Virtual: Presentations From ABA Techshow

I just came back from a very successful ABA Techshow and had the opportunity to present on virtual law firms and technology for the traveling lawyer. Cloud computing received a lot of coverage at the conference, with both supporters and detractors alike.

As a cloud computing supporter, I mentioned that even a couple of years ago, the idea of achieving full in-office productivity over the internet seemed difficult to imagine. The laptop, smartphone, cloud infrastructure, and internet access technologies simply weren’t capable or ubiquitous enough to match in-office facilities and resources. Now, the confluence of advances in these technology areas . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Ontario Reports Announce They’re Going “Digital”

Well it may have been a quarter century or so since our friend the late Hugh Lawford put the ORs on what was then known as QL Systems, but an announcement from Lexis this morning (curiously absent from its website) reveals that:

After more than a century in print, the Ontario Reports is going digital.

Beginning in April, members will enjoy:

* Immediate access to the full content of the latest Ontario Reports

* The convenience of a digital report that looks identical to the printed version

* An innovative format that is easy to read, navigate and

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Alberta Judge Comments on First E-Trial

At the end of the reasons for judgment in Alberta’s first electronic trial in 1159465 Alberta Ltd. v. Adwood Manufacturing Ltd.the Honourable Mr. Justice A.W. Germain of the Court of Queen’s Bench provided a schedule to the reasons for judgment in which he reflects on the process and some of the legal issues to have cropped up. It’s at page 61 of the PDF of the judgment. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Ontario Court of Appeal on Mootness

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently released an interesting decision involving that funny-sounding concept, mootness. Indeed, the case involved a “stale” matter arising from a non-adversarial process where ultimately there was no actual lis between the parties. Not the sort of thing our legal system is accustomed to dealing with every day.

The factual framework in Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene v. Ontario, 2010 ONCA 197 was this: a person detained at the Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene (MHCP) as a person found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder had a disposition hearing before the Ontario Review Board (which . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

This week saw a series of new ideas in the world of biotech, ranging from regulatory irregularities to corporate suicide by securities. 

Health Canada kicked off the week with a novel thought: caffeine guidelines for 4-year-olds. To be fair, it was in the context of expanding the types of soft drinks that can have added caffeine; so I suppose that some 4-year-olds who have been guzzling 7-UP might have to moderate their intake (or at least watch the label). The guidelines for adults are (I hope) more relevant and are worth reviewing.

The FDA had a new idea too: . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Justin Bieber’s Manager Charged for Not Tweeting

If you do not have a pre-teen or teenage girl in your household, you may be forgiven for not having heard about the Justin Bieber Twitter debacle.

Justin Bieber (for those who haven’t been paying attention to MuchMusic or TMZ) is the 16 year old teen pop sensation from Stratford, Ontario. He originally gained popularity at the age of 13 with videos he posted himself (with his mother’s help) on YouTube, garnering 10 million views. He was then signed by pop/R&B artist Usher, and has crossed over into new heights of mainstream stardom.

Last November a crowd . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

U.S. Supreme Court Database

So far as I can tell, we’ve not talked about the (U.S.) Supreme Court Database on Slaw, even though it’s about twenty years old. The current version offers the researcher:

247 pieces of information for each case, roughly broken down into six categories: (1) identification variables (e.g., citations and docket numbers); (2) background variables (e.g., how the Court took jurisdiction, origin and source of the case, the reason the Court agreed to decide it); (3) chronological variables (e.g., the date of decision, term of Court, natural court); (4) substantive variables (e.g., legal provisions, issues, direction of decision); (5) outcome variables

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Government to Attempt Senate Reform. Again.

Officials from the Conservative Party have reportedly announced today they will try Senate reform, again. The last two attempts failed due to the 2008 election and the prorogation.

In 2006, the Senate failed to pass Bill S-4: An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867, requesting reference from the Supreme Court of Canada on its constitutionality.

They key difference today? The Senate appointments earlier this year by the Conservatives give them a 51-49 majority in the upper house, using the existing system. The irony has not been lost on Canadians.

This move shouldn’t come as a surprise though to . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Commercial Documentation Automation Systems Available Soon in Canada

Legal Systematics is in the process of launching a series of practice systems, initially aimed at the Canadian market. The line of products, dubbed SpeedMatters, currently includes systems for accident benefits, small claims and real estate. Systems for estate planning and motor vehicle litigation are in the works, and products for other practice areas will follow. Heritage Law is assisting with the drafting of the estate planning documents.

Web-based versions of these products will be available and integration with Time Matters is also supported. These systems are designed to help lawyers be more efficient in their work, particularly when it . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology: Office Technology

More Unanticipated Legibility

In university history classes the textbooks provided shots of cuneiform for our wonderment. It was hard to imagine reading the stuff, though, and I recall being told that the ancient Messopotamian tablets were mostly accounting documents. Well, no more. According to Knowlegde and Power:

The Neo-Assyrian capital of Nineveh in northern Iraq, from the mid-7th century BC, is the earliest attested site of courtly scientific patronage in world history. This website presents the scholars’ letters, queries, and reports to their kings and provides resources to support their use in undergraduate teaching. Since the summer of 2008 it also gives

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Technology: Internet

The Friday Fillip

Here’s a wordy one today. Really wordy. But I thought that you might like to see an example of “old skool” ingenuity as it meets modern technology. I’m talking about the practice of cross-writing in letters. Once, postage was determined by the number of sheets within an envelope and not by weight — actually, I remember pre-stamped, blue, airmail letter “envelopes” that allowed for no enclosures and offered you only a single sheet to write on — and so the frugal took to cross-writing, i.e. turning the written-on page 90 degrees and simply writing across the earlier text. Surprisingly, the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous