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Archive for November, 2012

CBA Looks Into Legal Futures With Susskind

I just wrapped up meetings this weekend in Montreal with the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) Young Lawyers conference. The National Directorate from across Canada conducted brainstorming and discussions on issues of importance to young lawyers, particularly the future of the profession.

As expected, the articling debate in Ontario has been closely watched in other jurisdictions. Young lawyers across Canada are thinking deeply about where entry to practice licensing should end up. You can read some of my thoughts about the motion passed this week at Convocation in an article yesterday by Kirk Makin in The Globe.

But as . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Search Engines and Newspapers’ Websites

You may remember the Belgian newspapers’ lawsuit to prevent Google from linking to their sites, or from running short extracts from their sites in a Google News aggregation – a lawsuit that (if I recall correctly) the papers succeeded in, then found that they had a lot less traffic on their sites, so they made an arrangement with Google. It appeared that they really had intended to dip their ladles into Google’s revenue stream. It’s not clear how well they succeeded.

German newspapers seem to be taking a different route but probably to the same intended destination. They have apparently . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Internet


I have a question that I’m hoping I can crowd-source here at Slaw, or perhaps Slaw-source. I have asked several friends and acquaintances and have yet to get a satisfactory answer. Charity as a legal concept dates back to 1601 and the Statute of Charitable Uses 1601 (aka. Statute of Elizabeth) wherein the preamble to the act contained the first statutory definition of charitable uses. Since that time the nature and scope of charities has changed dramatically; to the point where some have become leery of large charities that are run more like a business than a charity. This leads . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Legislation

Early English Laws

Initiated in 2006, the Early English Laws project

aims to produce new editions of all legal codes and treatises produced in England between the reign of Æthelberht of Kent and Magna Carta (1215).

The results are impressive so far: high quality digital images of the manuscripts, transliterations, philological notes, translations, and scholarly commentary, all of which can be compared line by line in the very nice interface. Here is Aethelbert’s Code, which the project describes as:

This law-code is thought to be the one Bede attributes (Historia ecclesiastica, 2.5) to King Æthelberht of Kent (560–616). It has survived in

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Can a Search Suggestion Be Defamatory?

Here is a summary article from, reviewing the law in the UK and elsewhere as to whether Google’s ‘autocomplete’ function for search topics could be defamatory if one or more of the suggested completions for the search term entered had a nasty meaning. A number of countries have held Google liable, including France and Japan. The brief linked to here concludes that there would probably not be liability in the UK.

The Australian courts have followed the French – but not the UK opinion mentioned above – and have found Google liable in defamation for the suggestions that . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

The Friday Fillip: Music Is Fractal

Well, the styles seem to be, at least: gaze into one genre and listen to it split into dozens of others; rinse, repeat.

I stumbled across the term “shoegaze” used to describe a style of music. (Wonderful term, inventive linguistically far more than the music it labels, I think.) It served yet again to remind me how wide the world of music is and how narrow my own tastes. I imagine that once past a certain age — 25? 32? — everyone loses their grip on what’s current in the music scene. For one thing, styles pop into and out . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

OMG Pro Sports Strike Again, Now What?

For the second straight year pro sports in North America had a work stoppage. For many lawyers this is a catastrophe as they have no idea how to entertain clients without a game to attend.

What is interesting about business development is that we regularly go back to the tried and true without ever asking our clients if that is what they like to do. If every year for the past decade you have taken a client out for dinner for a steak dinner followed by a hockey or basketball game and every year billings go up slightly it must . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Library of Parliament Paper on Omnibus Bills

So-called omnibus bills have been in the news a lot this year. The 2012 federal budget that amended dozens of pieces of legislation was referred to by many commentators as an omnibus bill.

What is this legislative creature?

The Library of Parliament recently published a paper entitled Omnibus Bills: Frequently Asked Questions that tries to get to the bottom of the issue:

Omnibus bills have been used for decades by governments of various political stripes as a vehicle to propose certain kinds of legislation to Parliament. While their use is well entrenched in Canadian parliamentary practice, it is nonetheless often

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Legislation

Articling Debate Exposes Convocation’s Flaws

Today the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) once again considered the issue of what to do with articling in Ontario.

Once again, the matter was webcast so that all could see the debate.

Once again, viewers were shocked by what they saw.

Once again, Benchers came across as clubby and out-of-touch.

Time and again, they stood up and made verbose, rambling arguments based on nothing more than anecdotes, personal experience and emotional pleas.

Given that most are litigators, it’s astounding that so many do not understand how to make brief, pithy remarks; they’ve clearly been trained (perhaps during articling) . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Revival of a Really Big iPhone

Ok, it’s not an iPhone, but it is a very old computer from the 1950’s. One of the first dozen ever to exist, weighing in at 2.5 tons; and it has been restored back to life by the National Museum of Computing in Buckinghamshire, UK.

Here’s a clip:

It’s called the Harwell Dekatron (aka ‘WITCH’ — ‘Wolverhampton Instrument for Teaching Computation from Harwell’ ). The NMOC website describes its original purpose:

“The Harwell Dekatron computer first ran at Harwell Atomic Energy Research Establishment in 1951 where it automated the tedious calculations performed by talented young people using mechanical hand calculators.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

No Continuity of Business: Target Not the Successor Employer of Zellers Employees

The Vice-Chair of the Labour Relations Board just decided that there was not a continuity between Zellers’ business for its employees to be successively employed by Target in Canada. Although the employees would perform similar jobs at Target stores as they had at Zellers, and the transaction agreement confirmed the transfer of leases, pharmacy records and the brand waiver, these things were not sufficient to conclude that there would be a handover of these employees. As a result, the union’s application was dismissed.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Dean’s Letter Re Diversity in Judicial Appointments

This is simply a pointer to an open letter sent to the Minister of Justice and the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs by Osgoode Hall Law School Dean, Lorne Sossin, and Professor Sonia Lawrence over on Dean Sossin’s Blog. The writers express concern about the difficulty in obtaining statistical information about those in the pool from which federal judges are appointed. A brief quote:

We write to urge that either the Ministry or the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs release demographic data about the pool of applicants seeking federal judicial appointment. We believe

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues