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Archive for December, 2010

Cellphones and Exam Cheating

Another story of students’ use of cellphones to cheat has hit the news. The authorities in this case, the state of Mississippi, turned to technology for a solution, but not in the way you might think. They engaged a company that analyzes test results to find commonalities in mistakes that, according to the inventor, mark the students as cheaters. Apparently, cheating has declined considerably since the introduction of this tech-check (though how the state could know that through independent methods is unclear).

The old academic in me loathes cheating, so I would, at first blush, simply jam all cell . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Miscellaneous

Odd and Fun Laws Worldwide

In India, a woman may marry a goat. In Canada, it’s illegal to board a plane while it’s in flight. In Sweden, it’s illegal to buy sex, but okay to sell it. In France, it’s illegal to name a pig Napoleon. Dueling is legal in Uruguay – provided both parties are registered blood donors. Pillows are considered “passive” weapons under German law. Several countries have laws against kissing in public. Some laws make you laugh out loud, some make you shake your head in wonder, and some are just puzzlers. Could something have been lost in translation? Were these really . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Estates Litigation, a Staged Law Library and the SFO

Okay a seasonal quiz question – in which work of art do a law library and a complex question of estate litigation feature prominently?

Okay – a big hint. It’s opera. . . . [more]

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

Legal Publishing: The Next Generation

I’ve been spending a lot of time recently considering the next generation of legal publication. Louis Mirando’s excellent column about the future of print reporters identified the future storage and delivery of primary law; in a nutshell, bound volumes of the law reports are soon to be just a memory. 

One comment in Mirando’s column that particularly caught my attention concerned the importance of headnotes and report collections generally. What this says to me is that even though there may be comprehensive databases of case law available to us, there is still value in providing summaries of lengthy decisions and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Lawyers and Proper Semicolon Use

Came across this article and thought SLAW readers might find it useful. It was originally published in the December 2010 issue of Deadbeat, the Ontario Bar Association’s Trusts & Estates Section newsletter.

Spelling and Grammar Query
Susan J. Stamm*

Lawyers love long and complex sentences. Lawyers love lists. Lawyers love semicolons and colons. If we are to maintain our love of semicolons, we must use them properly.
Typical usage of semicolons by lawyers is in long complex sentences, or in lists. However, either way, two primary rules must be followed:

  1. You can use the semicolon to connect two independent
. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Public Commission on Legal Aid in B.C. Hears Rural Perspectives

Over the past few months I have had the privilege to be involved in an important project in British Columbia known as the Public Commission on Legal Aid (“Public Commission”).

Although the scope of the Public Commission is province wide and therefore includes cities and communities of all sizes, I have been personally interested to hear the unique challenges faced by those in rural communities in regards to legal aid. Commissioner Leonard Doust, Q.C. will be releasing an official report of his findings sometime in 2011; however, I wanted to take the opportunity now to share some background on the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Baldwin v Costner, and the BP Oil Spill

Most people are too busy shopping during the holidays to be worried about filing suits. Unless, maybe, you’re a celebrity.

Stephen Baldwin filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against Kevin Costner, not for any work they had done together in the entertainment industry, but for Baldwin’s investments in Costner’s company, Costner in Nevada Corporation (CNIC).

Baldwin claims he met Costner in April and decided to become a 10% partner in an invention backed by CNIC which could separate oil from water. With the backdrop of the April 20, 2010 BP oil spill, it seemed like a good venture. Interestingly . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Christmas in 1594

The law student of 1594 passed Christmas revelling to The Comedy of Errors by Shakespeare. We know this because of the Gesta Grayorum which was printed in 1688 from a much older manuscript. This text has been conveniently reproduced with an introduction on the Mr. Shakespeare blog.

We can also look forward to a 3 volume set, part of the Records of Early English Drama series, to be published in January 2011 by Boydell & Brewer: Inns of Court, edited by Alan H. Nelson and John R. Elliott, Jr. According to the publisher’s blurb:

The Introduction provides

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Miscellaneous

The Friday Fillip

Think of it as a stocking. (How did socks become stockings — and not sockings, eh? Blame belongs to the Old English, it seems, whoever they were.) Yes, a Christmas stocking just crammed with little goodies, the sort of things to keep you occupied while the rest of us sleep in for just a little bit longer, which is what we’ll be doing here at Slaw for the next little while, I imagine. (The Christmas stocking thing didn’t begin as a distraction, it turns out, but rather as boots with gifts for Odin’s flying horse, Sleipnir; Odin would . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous


How many seasons have you watched “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”? “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”?, “Frosty the Snowman”? The answer being several. In that spirit, I present to you a re-re-Blog posting. In my defence I have attempted to update this post, but the cases that appear would likely not do much to uplift your holiday spirit. So, in the proper holiday spirit let’s see how Santa Claus has fared in Canadian Courts.

From: Santa in the Courts

Community Funding Corp. v. Newfoundland (Department of Government Services and Lands), 2004 NLTD 236, 243 NFLD & PEIR 255.

A very . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Just Plain Wrong

Clements (Litigation Guardian of) v. Clements, 2010 BCCA 581 – right result, bad reasons.

A sub-text to the case is the manner in which the panel used a hot-off-the press article in a law review to explain and justify its analysis and conclusion, introducing and setting up the manner in which it intended to use the article this way:

[54] The question of when it will be appropriate to resort to the material-contribution test discussed in Resurfice Corp. has been the subject of some appellate consideration and considerable academic writing. In my view, the answer to this question

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Ontario Publishes Advisory Panel Report on Anti-Activist Lawsuits

The Ontario government this week made public the final report of an advisory panel on SLAPP suits (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation).

SLAPP suits typically take the form of abusive defamation lawsuits aimed at shutting down criticism by non-governmental organizations or citizen lobby groups. Targets of SLAPPs in various parts of North America have been local residents, neighbourhood associations, municipal governments, and peaceful protesters, who have been sued for acts such as reporting bylaw violations, speaking at municipal meetings or even just picketing and circulating petitions.

The panel recommends that Ontario adopt anti-SLAPP legislation to protect the freedom of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation