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Archive for June, 2011

Is Your Blog Listed in the Canadian Blog Directory?

The Canadian Blog Directory, by Mark Evans and Seth Singer, aims to create a directory of the thousands of Canadian blogs out there. Each blog is reviewed and has to meet a quality test, and the directory can be searched by name or subject. Since its launch, the project has added about 300 blogs.

Be sure to submit your own blog to make it that much easier for Canadians to find you. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

US Supreme Court Decision on Violent Video Games

Yesterday the United States Supreme Court delivered a 7-2 opinion about violent video games: Brown, Governor Of California, et al. v. Entertainment Merchants Association et al. [PDF]. Justice Scalia wrote the majority decision, in which it was decided that a California law prohibiting the sale or rental of “violent video games” to minors is invalid as violating the first amendment protecting freedom of speech.

As might be expected, Scalia reviewed those restrictions on speech that have been supported by the courts, finding them in American traditions as spelled out in United States v. Stevens [PDF], a case concerning depiction of . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Health Law History Blog

Ubaka Ogbogu, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Alberta is writing what I expect will be a very useful blog called Health Law in British North America. The blog is very new – there are only a couple of posts, but they lead to some interesting places in google books – historical statutes of Canada for example.

I like that the blog links to places I rarely visit:
British Library: Canadian Collections
History Matters
NLM:Medicine in the Americas, 1619-1920
SSRN Legal History Page

Professor Ogbogu’s teaching and research interests include health law, law and bioethics, law . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Reading

The Apostille Convention: Authentication in Action

Last August I reviewed basic principles of authentication, in general and as applied to electronic documents. In that context I mentioned The Hague Convention of 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, known as the Legalization Convention or the Apostille Convention. Since Canada is considering acceding to this Convention, this column will review some of the issues involved in that process and in particular the technological frontiers of authentication that The Hague Conference on Private International Law is exploring with respect to electronic apostilles.


What is at stake in this discussion is the authentication of public . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Human Cost of the Adversarial System.

There is a chilling tale in the UK press this week about the trial of a man accused of abducting and murdering a child.

What is as gruesome as the fact of the murder, is the personal cost borne by the family members of the victim who gave evidence. It is a corollary of the adversarial system.

The path of the cross examinations was to show the victim’s mother was guilty of neglect, and that perhaps favouritism of the victim’s sister precipitated her death. The father’s use of pornography were put in evidence. Portions of the victim’s diary was read . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

The New Lawyer Resources Page: A practicePRO Resource for New (Or Soon to Be) Lawyers

practicePRO has worked hard over the years to make lawyers aware of the wealth of practice management and claims prevention information available on the practicePRO site. Those efforts have resulted in becoming a regular destination for many lawyers, particularly solo and small firm lawyers who may not have access to all the resources of a larger firm.

Lately there is one segment of lawyers that LAWPRO and practicePRO have made an extra effort to reach out to: new lawyers and those about to be called to the bar. Its been our experience that when lawyers were students, they really . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

lawTechcamp a Success

Omar Ha-Redeye gave an excellent write-up of some of the ideas explored at last weekend’s lawTechcamp in (and after) the sessions, but I want to make note of the event itself.

About 100 people from the law and tech industries attended the free half-day event, held at the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto. The event was organized by Monica Goyal, owner and CEO of My Legal Briefcase, Sapna Mahboobani, principal of Sapna Law Professional Corporation, and lawyer/writer Mitch Kowalski.

lawTechcamp took an informal approach, taking cues for topics from ideas submitted by registrants. . . . [more]

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

Solicitor Negligent in Collaborative Family Law Settlement

In Webb v. Birkett, 2011 ABCA 13, the Alberta Court of Appeal held that the defendant solicitor Birkett was negligent in representing the plaintiff Webb in a collaborative family law settlement.

The Alberta Court of Appeal held that CFL practitioners must meet the same standard of care required of other family law practitioners — including taking appropriate steps to get the financial information needed to properly advise the client. A lawyer must obtain sufficient reliable information to be able to ascertain what the client would likely receive, or be required to pay, for spousal support, child support and matrimonial . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Selection of Cases for Publication in Print

Prior to the existence of the Internet there was a long standing debate respecting the volume of cases that were being published by legal publishers. Some lawyers and judges claimed that too many cases were being published because most cases apply well settled principles. Others claimed that the application of old principles to new facts was worthy of publication. The new facts result from an evolving and changing world. Some judges have tried to limit the publication of their decisions.

In 1979 there was no provincial case law reporter for Saskatchewan and Maritime Law Book was preparing to start a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

UofO Law Prof Sues for Libel

Denis Rancourt has a long history of legal proceedings with the University of Ottawa (UofO), where he was once a physics professor. He was in the news again this week for being named the defendant in a libel suit by Joanne St. Lewis, a law professor at UofO, over a blog post on Rancourt’s site, UofO Watch.

Tom Spears of the Ottawa Citizen provided background to the case yesterday,

The contention began when St. Lewis, as the director of the university’s Human Rights Research and Education Centre, submitted an evaluation of a student-produced report alleging systemic racism at

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

A Tech Quartet

It’s been some time since I shared some tech discoveries with you. While it rains here, I’m culling the list onto which I fling unconsidered trifles for later consideration; and four things have survived to be passed on to you.

  1. After a lifetime of living dangerously, I now back up my machine routinely. In fact, I’ve turned into a belt and suspenders kind of guy about it (the English have it as “belt and braces,” which sounds better IMHO), backing up to a peripheral hard drive and also to an online backup service. I find that the latter takes a
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

The Unreasonable and Transgressive Nature of Omnibus Bills

What I plan to do in these periodical contributions to Slaw is to examine debates and committee proceedings on bills that may be of special interest to lawyers and legal scholars. What I want to do in this first discussion is to look at the nature of “omnibus bills” and to consider whether such bills tend to erode the capacity of parliamentary scrutiny and may be, to that extent, inconsistent with one or another part of our Constitution.

Many lawyers and legal scholars will be familiar with the notion that “the test of the reasonable man [person] is the man . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues