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Archive for January, 2011

Death to Needlessly Prolix Citation Guides – Judge Posner’s Alternative

The latest issue of the Yale Law Journal contains a supremely sane and caustic attack by Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on the tendency of the Blue Book (Uniform System of Citation) to proliferate increasing thickets of rules and increasingly trivial sub-rules.

In an earlier essay, Goodbye to the Bluebook, 53 University of Chicago Law Review 1343 (1986), Judge Posner suggested four principles to guide the design of such a system:

“to spare the writer or editor from having to think about citation form,”

“to economize on space and the reader’s time,”


. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading: Recommended

Public Legal Education Webinars Just a Click Away

Just A Click Away, a Canada-wide initiative on public legal education and information (PLEI) being coordinated by Courthouse Libraries BC, is organizing a two-day intensive conference in Vancouver, British Columbia on February 23 & 24, 2011.

The conference is about how to use Internet and social media technologies to better educate the general public about the law and provide resources for individuals to solve legal problems.

As a run up to the conference, Just A Click Away has been running a webinar series that features different approaches being used to provide online PLEI.

So far, 2 webinars have been . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Miscellaneous, Technology: Internet

Social Media – a Good Source of Data About Insurability?

People have expressed concern about behavioural advertising, in which advertisers watch what one does online in order to send out ads that are likely to appeal to the person watched. A number of big online services are now developing a ‘do not track’ command to allow their users to prevent their information from being collected for that purpose.

A more interesting, and more intrusive, usage of behavioural information collected online is by insurance companies that may decide whether someone is a good risk to insure based on that information. Fans of XXX’s double-cheese-and-bacon deep-dish pizzas may find themselves having a . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

An Judge’s Outcry Over Toronto’s Superior Court System

On Tuesday, in a decision called Kaptyn v. Kaptyn, Justice D.M. Brown strongly criticized virtually all parties involved in an estate dispute, who collectively claimed $4.4 million in costs arising out of a four day hearing and 14 pre-hearing motions.

Concluding the two trustees were “unable to work together in any reasonable and effective way,” Justice D.M. Brown said the competing sides “cannot reasonably expect that unlimited judicial resources are available to devote to their internecine quarrels,” adding (with apparent frustration) (i) that the Commercial List in Toronto is “chronically short of judges,” (ii) that the “scheduling of criminal . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Change This Setting to Make Hacking Your Facebook Account More Difficult

From an announcement on the Facebook blog yesterday, Facebook has taken a big step to make your Facebook browsing experience far safer. I suspect this at least in part because someone was able to hack into Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook fan page.

If you’ve ever done your shopping or banking online, you may have noticed a small “lock” icon appear at the lower right of your browser or that the URL starts with a HTTPS. The HTTPS indicates that your browser is using a secure connection to communicate with the website you are on. This ensures that . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Do Naturists Offend Public Order in the 21st Century?

Brian Coldin, a naturist and owner of a nude resort in Barrie, Ontario, considers clothing optional even in public places. Coldin has launched a constitutional challenge of the Criminal Code provisions against public nudity, saying the Code limits freedom of expression and is too broad. Coldin’s lawyer, Clayton Ruby, calls the Code’s nudity provisions an oddity, meaning they are outdated and improperly worded.
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation


Unicode 6.0.0

Unicode 6.0.0 was released on October 11, 2010. Mainstream journalists didn’t take much notice, if the results of a search for "Unicode Consortium" in the Google News Archive are any indication. There was a bit of an exception in India: "Typing the Rupee symbol set to get easier". Since a significant number of the items retrieved were in languages that I don’t understand, and since I didn’t search at all for translations of "Unicode Consortium", I can’t say for certain what other exceptions there may have been. The Consortium itself noted the following highlights:

  • over 1,000
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology

Nova Scotia CA Opines on Scope of Employers’ Right to Address Off-Duty Conduct

When can a unionized employer discipline an employee for off-duty conduct?

This question is age-old, but is particularly relevant today given the frequency of disputes about off-duty internet expression. The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal issued a decision yesterday that addresses the so-called “nexus test” for employers’ disciplinary jurisdiction. It held that an arbitrator did not err by finding harm to reputation but failing to find a sufficient nexus to the workplace to warrant discipline.

The matter underlying this finding is about a 40-year-old school caretaker who a school board discharged for having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

More on the Anti-Spam Act

I just finished listening to another IT-Can teleconference on the anti-spam act, this one presented by Barry Sookman and Lorne Salzman of McCarthy Tetrault. For those wanting more detail, slides will be posted soon on the IT-Can website, the McCarthy Tetrault website, and Barry’s blog.

It reinforced my earlier concerns that this legislation is going to affect almost every business or organization. Many of its provisions strike me as a sledgehammer to kill a fly approach. Some of the highlights from the teleseminar are as follows:

Why be concerned?

There are large penalties for violations. They include extensive awards for . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Why Is There Such a Dearth of Reporting on the Legal Publishing Industry Outside North America ?

In what seems like another age I wondered about the same question and decided to start publishing an online newsletter that most readers of this article will be aware of, Law Librarians News.

Then to keep up with trends and technology I also started publishing the House Of Butter blog and subsequently a Law Librarians News Twitter both of which appear, I hope, to be popular with an online readership.

It might appear that I’m doing my utmost to blow my own trumpet but it has always been somewhat of a surprise that it’s only those from the U.S. and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information