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Archive for January, 2013

GOV.UK and the “One Stop Shop” Approach

Nick Holmes over at Binary Law has posted an interesting review of the new GOV.UK universal website. The UK government’s attempt to make web surfing for government information “simpler, clearer, faster.”

The website is only partially finished at the moment, with all departments expected to be integrated by April, 2013. Like any large portal, the arrangement of information — along with a dysfunctional site-search functionality, which Holmes touches on a few times — are going to be major hurdles to overcome.

The interesting issue for me, however, is whether they are trying to accomplish too much on a singular . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management

Association of Parliamentary Libraries in Canada Launches Government/Legislative Documents Portal

The Association of Parliamentary Libraries in Canada (APLIC) has launched the bilingual Government and Legislative Libraries Online Publications Portal.

It provides access to over 340,000 electronic provincial, territorial and federal government publications and legislative materials dating back in some cases to the mid-1990s.

Users can search by keyword, title, author, and then link to the electronic copies of the materials hosted by the collecting library. Results can be cross‐jurisdictional or limited by jurisdiction or date.

APLIC provides a table describing the types of material as well as the coverage period for each jurisdiction. . . . [more]

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

SCC: The Rights and Obligations of Common-Law Spouses in Quebec

On Friday, January 25, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in a tight majority judgment (five: McLachlin, Deschamps, Abella, Cromwell and Karakatsanis, against four: LeBel, Fish, Rothstein and Moldaver) that the Quebec Civil Code discriminates against common-law spouses because it does not grant them the same rights as married couples in regard to spousal support and division of property. However, and thankfully, the Court does not find that the discriminatory nature of these Civil Code provisions is unconstitutional. According to the Court’s decision, the infringement is a reasonable limit prescribed by law that can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society under section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Anti-Spam Act, Part 4 of 5: Things We Can Do Now to Prepare

Today’s’ article talks about what we can start doing now to be ready when the Act comes into effect.

This is the forth of a series of 5 articles that will introduce the Act, describe what spam is and is not, talk about collateral provisions, what we can do now, and some of the challenges going forward.

At this point it is unclear when the Act will come into force. Expectations range from the next few months to as late as June of 2014. We have been waiting for some time for the regulations to be finalized, as they are . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Predictions: Crime & Punishment in 2013

Another year is in the history books as the creaking structure of the Canadian justice system stumbled along under the weight of crushing new legislation and in the face of chronic underfunding. What does 2013 portend? Read on for some predictions of trends to watch for in the New Year.

1. Prison Overcrowding

About a decade ago prison overcrowding was a major news headline in jurisdictions across the country as an under-funded system struggled to deal with a growing population and a steady increase in the number of incarcerated persons. A multi-faceted approach that included an increase in non-custodial sentences . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Thursday Thinkpiece: Cohen on Privacy

Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt from a recently published book or journal article. In every case the proper permissions have been obtained. If you are a publisher who would like to participate in this feature, please let us know via the site’s contact form.

by Julie E. Cohen
126 Harv. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2013)

Excerpt: pp. 16-19 of online symposium paper

[Footnotes omitted. They are available in the PDF version of the article, available via the link on the title above.]

Innovation is never a neutral quantity. Technologies and artifacts are shaped by the . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Social Media (Facebook) Questions

A US appeals court has reversed an order banning a convicted sex offender from having a Facebook account. Would such an order be made and upheld in Canada? What limits might be possible, and how would they be enforced? For that matter, how could the order itself be enforced? It’s not hard to get a FB account in another name, though it may be contrary to the terms of service to do so.

Could a no-contact order be made for FB use, e.g. not to friend or comment on any FB page relating to or about a designated person?

Meanwhile, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Binaries, Triplets and the Use of Gender Neutral Language

How do we assess the social and cultural significance the words we choose? And what is the impact of using gender-neutral language in our communications?

These questions were the subject of a spirited panel discussion at last week’s Manitoba Bar Association Midwinter Conference in Winnipeg. Dr. Jila Ghomeshi, syntactician and author of Grammar Matters and Sandra Petersson, Research Manager of the Alberta Law Reform Institute participated in the discussion moderated by Patricia Lane on how lawyers can reflect gender neutrality in their use of language.

Ms Lane referred to the business and practical reasons for using gender neutral . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

The Anti-Spam Act, Part 3 of 5: Other Things in the Act

This article talks about things in the Anti-Spam Act that are not directly related to spam.

This is the third of a series of 5 articles that will introduce the Act, describe what spam is and is not, talk about collateral provisions, what we can do now, and some of the challenges going forward.


The Act contains anti-spyware provisions – the goal being to eliminate spyware, malware, and other malicious software.

You may recall the Sony copy protection rootkit scandal from 2005 where Sony music CD’s automatically installed digital rights management software on users’ computers without their knowledge or . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For the week of January 22 – 29:

  1. Magder v. Ford 2013 ONSC 263

    [1] Robert Ford appeals the decision of Hackland R.S.J. dated November 26, 2012 which held that Mr. Ford contravened s. 5 of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M.50 (“MCIA”) and declared that Mr. Ford’s seat as Mayor of the City of Toronto was vacant. This appeal raises important issues

. . . [more]
Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Measuring Marketing Effectiveness

“I’m convinced half of all the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” John Wannamaker

If you manage – or help pay for – your firm’s marketing expenditures, this quote likely has some resonance for you. “How do you know if it will work?” is a question I hear frequently in meetings with lawyers while discussing different marketing initiatives.

How does a firm track the effectiveness of its marketing efforts? The answer in most cases is anecdotally, if at all. If you are a sole practitioner dealing with every phone call . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing