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Archive for September, 2010

European Court of Human Rights Factsheets

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) based in Strasbourg has published a series of Factsheets that deal with various themes such as the situation of the Roma, the rights of homosexuals, prison conditions and environmental rights. They include both decided cases and pending applications before the Court.

The full list of Factsheets:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Decriminalizing the Oldest Profession in the World

On September 28, 2010, the Superior Court, without deciding whether or not there is a constitutional right to sell sex or the right policy model (criminalization, regulation or abolition), agreed with the plaintiffs’ arguments, ruling that the Criminal Code provisions relating to prostitution contribute to the danger faced by sex-trade workers in Ontario.
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Social Media – Not the Revolution?

Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker for September 27th contrasts the civil rights movement of the 1960s in the US with social media ‘activism’ today. He says that social media are great for sharing information widely, for exploiting weak ties for low risk, low commitment actions. However, they are not good for working strong ties towards high-risk, disciplined activity.

He says that the reports of the usefulness of Twitter at the time of the Iranian election and in Moldova were greatly exaggerated.

The drawbacks of networks scarcely matter if the network isn’t interested in systemic change if it just wants

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Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology: Internet

Legal “Publishing” Companies & People: That’s What We Need

It has occurred to House of Butter that in 2010 there now appears to be a singular lack of imagination at senior management levels at the major legal publishers.

Plenty of the usual tinkering and re-imagining of existing content and products and more of the we’ve bought this and look at the our latest JV with one or other technology based company to help “streamline” content management and flow at law firms. Woop de doo.

HOB wonders if this lack of imagination has its roots in fact that both Lexis and West currently see themselves as “content” database storage and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Equality Rights Central Launches

The esteemed Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, LEAF, has launched a website “to monitor developments in equality law.” Equality Rights Central is to be:

… a place to find cases, commentary, trends, news and facta about equality and discrimination issues, in law and policy.

This site is for advocates, academics and practitioners involved in equality rights, to monitor and advance the development of equality law in Canada.

Funded by LEAF and several provincial law foundations, ERC ( — Their acronym; not mine. Not particularly felicitous. — ) will offer updates on key issues as they move through the court . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Legal Information

ABA Commission Looking at Impact of Technology on Client Confidentiality and Business Development

The ABA Ethics 20/20 Commission is holding hearings to explore the impact of technology on client confidences and lawyers’ use of the internet to develop business. The Commission invites interested persons to register now to testify at an Oct. 14 public hearing in Chicago. You may also make written submissions. See below for details on registering or making written submissions.

The commission has issued two issues papers identifying areas it expects to explore in oral testimony or written comment. One explores implications for client confidentiality raised by lawyers’ use of such technological tools as cloud computing, while the other raises . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

Blackberry Playbook – RIM Enters Tablet Wars

Given that lawyers are heavy users of Blackberrys, most Slaw readers will already know that RIM just announced the Playbook tablet, which is an iPad competitor.

RIM has taken an interesting approach. It is designed for business users, and as a companion device that will tether to a Blackberry. Indeed, its promo hits heavily on features that the iPad has been criticized for lacking – such as a forward facing camera, and usb. It may very well be a compelling choice for Blackberry users.

While it was just announced, it is not available until early 2011. I suspect it was . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Smartphones Proliferate in Computer Forensics

Two years ago, we began to say in lectures that we had seen a 200% rise in the number of cell phones passing through our forensics lab. Today, we are beginning to say that the increase is more like 500%. And it isn’t primarily standard cell phones – virtually all of the phones are smartphones. 

We’ve checked with others in our industry and they confirm that they are increasingly seeing smartphones as a source of electronic evidence. In particular, deleted e-mails and deleted text messages seem to be in play. It often seems that evidence which is missing from workstations . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Case Law Junkies Will Like the iAnnotate Application

This is a short endorsement of the iAnnotate application for the iPad, produced by Aji and available on iTunes for $9.99.

I used to maintain piles of case law on a bookshelf, working my way though cases one highlighter at a time. I bought an iPad to rid myself of the enviro-guilt borne by my case law habit and was also happy to get rid of highlighters – my suits, shirts, linen, pets and kids too-often marked with indelible pink, green and yellow. The iPad, however, was a less than perfect replacement until I installed iAnnotate about a week ago. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Office Technology

Text of the Bedford v. AG Canada Prostitution Case

As followers of Canadian legal news will know, a judge of the Ontario Superior Court today ruled that Canada’s prostitution laws violate the Charter. To quote from the National Post story:

The judge struck down three sections of the Criminal Code that make it illegal to operate a “common bawdy house,” to profit from prostitution-related activities or “communicates” on the street for the purpose of prostitution. The provisions “force prostitutes to choose between their liberty interest and their right to security of the person,” said the judge, in finding that the laws breached the Charter of Rights.

A PDF . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Too Much Information: The Dangers of Blogging About Your Client

If you are not careful, the Internet can be a dangerous place that can expose you to malpractice claims. LAWPRO Magazine has featured articles on Social media pitfalls to avoid and how there may be no coverage for some online activities: Danger Signs: Five activities generally not covered by your LAWPRO policy.

Another recent LAWPRO Magazine article on Practice pitfalls contains a section on Internet liability, which points out that “statements that lawyers make on the Internet, whether on law firm or other websites, or on social media sites such as Facebook, are a significant potential growth area for claims.” . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology: Internet