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Archive for May, 2012

Text Message Preservation

(Also by Jesse M. Lindmar)

With an average of 193.1 billion text messages sent every month in the United States, the importance and use of text messages in litigation is ever-increasing. As a consequence, the importance of text message preservation for e-discovery is also growing. Understanding how text messages can be preserved and the pitfalls to avoid is essential. While we recommend engaging the services of a digital forensics service provider who is familiar with the complexities of mobile phone forensics, there are certain situations in which the end-user can at least create a preserved, forensically sound copy that a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

BCSC Rules Hearing Fees Unconsitutional Barrier to Access

On May 22 the B.C. Supreme Court issued an interesting ruling in Vilardell v. Dunham, 2012 BCSC 748, an application that arose out of a family law proceeding. The plaintiff had sought to be relieved of hearing fees, or fees for the use of the courtroom. It is important to note the fees in question were as existed under a version of the Supreme Court Rules that was repealed and replaced in 2009; hearing fees continue to exist (at least to the point of yesterday’s ruling) but are reduced.

The Courthouse Libraries BC prepared an excellent and short . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

GSU Fair Use Roundup

On May 11 a US District Court issued its long awaited decision in the lawsuit brought by three academic publishers against Georgia State University for its use of copyrighted materials in its “electronic reserves” system. A practice at many universities is to post scans of required classroom readings to secure “student only” websites or course management systems such as Blackboard. The GSU had developed a policy on the use of copyrighted materials that attempted to balance the rights of copyright holders and the University’s fair use rights. The GSU policy includes a “fair use checklist” that is based on the . . . [more]

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

Mobile Payment Guidelines Released

The Canadian Bankers Association just released a mobile payments reference model as a voluntary guideline for development of mobile payments at point-of-sale in Canada. In practice this means that your phone will have a mobile wallet that replaces your debit and credit cards. Phones with NFC (near field communications) will be able to use this feature to pay by holding it near a payment terminal similar to how we can now use the paypass feature on our cards. The CBA press release has links to the full guideline, and a summary version.

From the press release:

The voluntary guidelines, technically . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology

Part-Time Partners and Associates – It Can Work

One of my closest friends is a senior litigation partner at one of the largest law firms in Australia. She has always worked part-time through an arrangement with her firm where she works more than full-time during hectic trial periods and then will take a few weeks or a month off during the various school holidays. I have always admired her tenacity in making this work despite some pushback from her partners when she first started this arrangement eighteen years ago.

Recently, she remarked to me that flexible work arrangements were now common at the large national and international firms . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Library of Parliament Review of Legislation on Prostitution

As the status of the various Criminal Code provisions concerning prostitution floats its inevitable way upward towards the Supreme Court, now that the Ontario Court of Appeal has struck down some of them, readers of Slaw might like to learn something about how the matter is handled in other countries. The ever helpful Legal and Legislative Affairs Division of the Library of Parliament’s Information and Research Service has released online a “Prostitution: A Review of Legislation in Selected Countries” (by Laura Barnett, Lyne Casavant, and Julia Nicol) [PDF].

The countries examined are Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Sweden, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Twitter Updates Privacy Policy and Terms of Service

Twitter is growing. There is no news in that statement. What is new is that they are now sending users a weekly email about what they are doing. They’ve also made a number of updates to their Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Privacy changes include:

  • A tailored suggestions feature, which is based on recent visits to websites that integrate Twitter buttons or widgets, an experiment they are beginning to roll out to some users in a number of countries.
  • They now support the Do Not Track (DNT) browser setting, which stops the collection of information used for tailored
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology: Internet

What Part of “No” Don’t You Understand, O Gracious Crown?

In the thesis I’m in the midst of writing, about burdens of proof in litigation between First Nations and the Crown pursuant to s.35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982, I argue that the Crown invariably takes a position that denies any meaning to the guarantees of Aboriginal and treaty rights in that section, contrary to numerous Supreme Court decisions.

I’ve just come across a statutory example of the same sort of conduct in the Proceedings of the Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, from May 31, 2010, almost two years ago.

In 2088, Parliament amended the Canadian Human Rights Act ( . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Victoria Day Holiday

It’s May 2-4, even though it’s only May 21, a holiday in Canada. So things will be pretty quiet here on Slaw today. Friends to the south or overseas, talk among yourselves. We’ll be back bright and early tomorrow.

Where I am — Toronto — the holiday is generally known as May 2-4, because: it was created to celebrate the birthday of Queen Victoria, which was May 24th; and “a two-four” is slang for a case of 24 bottles of beer, i.e. that which often accompanies BBQ festivities on this first warm-weather (we hope) holiday in Canada. However, unlike other . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Penguin’s Freeze for Small Businesses and Firms

Google makes up to 500 changes a year to its algorithm. The newest Google Algorithm change was released on April 24, 2012 and was dubbed Penguin. This update focuses on webspam and eliminating black hat SEO tricks, but it’s likely that other changes to the previous Panda algorithm this year will also be referred to in pop culture as Penguin as well. Web analysts have been closely watching the effects of these changes over the past few weeks.

Entire industries are thriving primarily off of search engine results, and it’s only a matter of time before law firms . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing

Ontario Bill to Amend the Electronic Commerce Act

A private member’s bill, Bill 96, the Electronic Commerce Amendment Act, 2012, was introduced on May 17, 2012, to amend Ontario’s Electronic Commerce Act.

The bill does three things:

i) It repeals the exclusion of land transfers from the E-Commerce Act (paragraph 31(1)(d) of the Act, s. 2 of the Bill).

ii) It requires for a land transfer that is electronically signed, that

in light of all the circumstances, including any relevant agreement, the purpose for which the document is created and the time the electronic signature is made,

(a) the electronic signature is reliable for the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Interesting Stats and Info in Altman Weil 2012 Law Firms in Transition Survey

Altman Weil just released its Altman Weil 2012 Law Firms in Transition Survey. This is the fourth time they have released this survey. While a tad big US law focused, it does clearly show that the bigger firms are waking up to and addressing the profound changes and challenges that are occurring in the practice of big law. A good read for those with a bit of extra time this long (at least here in Ontario!) weekend. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice