Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for October, 2011

Electronic Seals

Canada’s electronic commerce legislation in Canada tells us how to create an electronic document that will satisfy a legal requirement that the information must be in writing. Most such legislation also tells us that a legal requirement that a document be signed is satisfied by an electronic signature. In the common law provinces and the territories, however, it stops short of telling us how to create a sealed document.

This article addresses that shortcoming, if it is one. It will restrict itself to seals on transactional documents. Seals by public authorities will be the subject of a future column. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

You Might Like… a Few Divertissements on Octopi, Madonna, Tokyo, Winter, Bubbly and More

This is a post in a series to appear occasionally, setting out some articles, videos, podcasts and the like that contributors at Slaw are enjoying and that you might find interesting. The articles tend to be longer than blog posts and shorter than books, just right for that stolen half hour on the weekend. It’s also likely that most of them won’t be about law — just right for etc.

Please let us have your recommendations for what we and our readers might like.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading: You might like...

Antonio Cassese, Pioneer of International Criminal Courts, Dies at Age 74

A few days ago, Antonio Cassese, a renowned international war crimes expert, died at his home in Florence, Italy at the age of 74.

A well-known professor of international criminal law, he was appointed in 1993 as a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, based at the Hague. It was the first international criminal tribunal since the ones that followed World War II.

Among his early decisions, seen as controversial at the time but widely accepted since, were several that changed basic precepts of international criminal law. One was that war crimes could be punished

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law

New Titles From the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History

The Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History held a book launch in Convocation Hall yesterday evening. Four new titles were added to the Society’s roster of over eighty titles published since the Society was launched in 1979.

The annual event was presided over by its founder and president, Roy McMurtry. It was attended by numerous legal luminaries with an interest in legal history, including most notably Andromache Karakatsanis, the newly appointed Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. Legal history really does have cachet after all.

As in previous years, the Osgoode Society continues to demonstrate its interest in a . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading

Supreme Court Constrains Informer Privilege

In R. v. Barros, 2011 SCC 51, handed down yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled on whether the defence in a criminal matter is bound by the “informer privilege,” deciding that it is not so bound.

Mr Justice Binnie wrote the judgment for the 7 in the majority, and on the broad point just stated his first paragraph says it all:

The jurisprudence establishes that the identity of police informers is protected by a near-absolute privilege that overrides the Crown’s general duty of disclosure to the defence. This privilege is subject neither to judicial discretion nor any balancing of

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

Aboriginal Land Claims: The Alice in Wonderland Dimension of the Canadian Judicial System

When I first began working with First Nations political organizations, a childhood friend who had become a rising star in the Ottawa public service told me, “Indian Affairs (DIAND) is the funny farm of the civil service.” Sadly, in the several decades since that conversation very little has changed. On the contrary the very qualities that won DIAND that award have, more recently, made Aboriginal land claims process, and particularly “specific claims” the Alice in Wonderland (AIW) of the Canadian Judicial System. It is this dubious quality, and particularly its significance for the judicial system that I want to share . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Slaw Site News – 2011-10-27

Site news for those who read Slaw only via RSS or email

1. Comment Watch:

In the last week there were 52 comments. You might be particularly interested in these:

  • “Mediation can offer a distinct good that no other process can or is designed to offer, viz., the possibility of re-orienting the parties to each other.”

    an interesting exchange about John O’Sullivan’s post on Quantum Physics and Mediation

  • “A lawyer can article in a transactional Bay Street practice, and that is considered sufficient and necessary practical experience to conduct a criminal defense practice in Northern Ontario. Why?”

    a discussion of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Slaw RSS Site News

Aids to Searching Caselaw

The development of computers changed and enhanced the searching of caselaw.

In 1971 a study of the application of computers to legal research was undertaken by the Federal Department of Justice and the Canadian Bar Association. The study was completed in April 1972 and the opening paragraphs of the report were as follows:

This study referred to as ‘Operation Compulex’was undertaken at the initiative of the Federal Department of Justice and the Canadian Bar Association. The Bureau of Management Consulting of the Federal Government was engaged to carry out the inquiry which began in June of 1971 and terminated in

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Publishing

Tamir Israel Joins Slaw

I’m pleased to announce that Tamir Israel has joined Slaw as a regular blogger.

Tamir is staff lawyer with the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, where he conducts research and advocacy on various digital rights-related topics. The issues that concern him at CIPPIC include online privacy and anonymity, net neutrality, intellectual property, intermediary liability, spam, e-commerce, and consumer protection generally. Tamir also lectures on Internet regulation matters at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies.

Please welcome Tamir to the company of Slawyers. . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Announcements

U.S. Copyright Office and Canadians

Yesterday U.S. Register of Copyrights, Maria A. Pallante, released a Document setting out 17 priorities of the U.S. Copyright Office over the next two years on copyright policy and administrative practice, and announced 10 new projects. Interesting read for Canadians as many of the issues discussed and proposals for the next two years may affect Canadians. As the report states, the “Office’s registration system and the companion recordation system constitute the world’s largest database of copyright works and copyright ownership information.” In fact, many Canadians register their works in the U.S. Copyright Office (since a deposit of the work is . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

New HeinOnline App

The staff at HeinOnline have a new, free HeinOnline iPad app to access their database.

Logging into the app is easy and users are invited to have their login and password information remembered.

Once logged in, one gets a table of contents of the various libraries in their database, depending on the scope of one’s subscription (e.g., Law Library Journal, US Reports, English Reports, Legal Classics, and so on).

Browsing by law journal title and volume is easy to do. At that stage, there is an option of viewing the table of contents for the particular volume. The screenshot below . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing

M-Commerce – Food for Thought

I’ve been thinking about mobile commerce recently, in part because I am on a panel at the Canadian IT Law Association annual conference tomorrow entitled “Mobile Business: Industry Trends, Public Policy Issues and Legal Implications” along with Jacob Glick of Google, and Eric Gross of Gowlings.

m-commerce is already here, and will grow significantly in the near future. Consider that mobile devices are outselling PC’s.

North America is not on the leading edge of this. Places like Japan and Korea, and parts of Europe are ahead of us.

As examples of what can be done, take a look at these . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology