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Archive for March, 2013

Full Collection of Digitized Federal Hansards by 2015?

I attended a presentation yesterday organized by the National Capital Association of Law Libraries (NCALL) where a representative from the Library of Parliament (LOP) outlined plans to make all older federal parliamentary debates available for free via PDF within the next few years.

Currently, pre-1900 debates are available in digital format on the subscription website. Senate debates from 1996 onwards and House of Commons debates from 1994 onwards are available online on the parliamentary website.

LOP has teamed up with in a five-year collaborative effort to create a free-of-charge portal that will offer searchable access to federal . . . [more]

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

Amending the Professional Code With Respect to Disciplinary Justice

In light of the ongoing revelations at the Commission Charbonneau and recommendations from l'Office des professions et du Conseil interprofessionnel du Québec, on February 13, 2013, the Quebec government tabled Bill 17, An Act to Amend the Professional Code With Respect to Disciplinary Justice to improve the effectiveness of professional disciplinary boards and to reform how they issue disciplinary measures when a complaint against a professional is made.
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Thursday Thinkpiece: Melville on Bartleby

Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt, usually 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.

Bartleby, the Scrivener
Herman Melville
New York: 1853, Putnam’s Magazine (Public domain)

[A LibriVox recording of the novella is also available.]

. . . Now my original business—that of a conveyancer and title hunter, and drawer-up of recondite documents of all sorts—was considerably increased by receiving the master’s office. There was now great . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

That Wifi May Be Free, but Don’t Pay for It With Poor Security…

“Would you pick up a half bottle of beer left on the pavement and drink it?”

This question was put by Rob Cotton, CEO of NCC Group , to a BBC Radio4 presenter when he was discussing the risks of using free wifi hotspots in cafes, etc. Perhaps the image was a bit extreme, but it caught my attention, as intended. He was drawing a picture of the not so pristine world of unsecured free wifi hotspots, and the lure of joining the Cloud wherever you find yourself. The premise is that you should think about what you search, or . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

US Copyright Law Moving Along

This is an eventful week so far for those interested in US copyright matters. As many will have read, on Tuesday the Supreme Court of the US released a 6-3 ruling in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., in which it addressed the reach of the first-sale doctrine in respect of works published for foreign markets, or—stated another way—the reach of a copyright owner’s control over those products. Twitter continues to show joy over the decision among librarians and consumers of information, along with dismay among others concerned with importation and copyright control.

In Opinion analysis: Justices reject . . . [more]

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

Google Keep

Google giveth and Google taketh away. The most recent taking was, of course, the wildly popular Google Reader. And the new gift today is Google Keep, a kind of reprise of the older (and discontinued) Google Notebook.

Keep was announced today on the Official Blog. If you’ve got an Android device you can give it a whirl — let us know what you think. The rest of us will have to wait until Google fulfils its promise to make it accessible via Google Drive.

The woods are full of notetaking apps, the most prominent perhaps being Evernote. It’s going . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Miscellaneous, Technology: Internet

More Teachables About Sexual Assault

Last week we authored a post about rape culture, using the recent incident between Sarah Thomson and Rob Ford as an illustration of commonly held myths about sexual assault. We received a variety of comments, some of which deserve further discussion.

One commentator admonished us, as practicing lawyers, for making a determination of Mr. Ford’s culpability without his having been charged criminally. That same commentator argued that Mr. Ford is “entitled to the presumption of innocence” and that he “IS innocent until proven guilty.” Right. Ok, so first of all, a person can be found to have committed the tort . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Cloud Storage, Privacy, and Megaupload

The ongoing Megaupload case is a controversial lightning rod case for issues on cloud storage, privacy and copyright. Megaupload basically ran a file storage and viewing service. The US Department of justice shut them down, seized assets, and launched criminal prosecutions alleging that it is an organization dedicated to copyright infringement. 

Ben Schorr mentioned the case on Slaw recently, starting with the comment that “One thing has become clear in the last few months: Hollywood has declared war on the Internet.”

Wikipedia summarizes the situation well, and points out that:

Techdirt argued that while the founder of Megaupload had a . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Internet

Notes From the Road to Access to Justice

There are many roads to enhancing access to justice across Canada and I have been fortunate to travel several of these via involvement with Manitoba organizations like Legal Aid Manitoba, Community Legal Education Association, Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre and Legal Help Centre of Winnipeg. Government funded legal aid, public legal information and education programs, and free legal advice services are all essential routes to providing broad-based access to justice.

Another route to access to justice runs straight through our law schools. For the past several years, I have had the privilege to work with law students . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Justice Issues

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 March 12 to 19:

  1. R. v. Pham 2013 SCC 15

    [1] The central issue in this appeal is whether a sentence otherwise falling within the range of fit sentences can be varied by an appellate court on the basis that the offender would face collateral consequences under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27 (“IRPA”), s. 64, that were not

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

Firebug, JQuery and Kludge

Have you had a good look at what’s been coming into your browser lately? I was moved to do so recently when Michael Geist posted (March 7, 2013), on his blog (, “Forget Fair Dealing: National Post Seeks $150 To License Short Excerpts”. The title pretty much tells the story. Prof. Geist was surprised to be asked for money when he used his mouse to highlight some text in the article by Chris Selley, “Full Pundit: You can’t say that in Canada” ( On March 12, 2013, Prof. Geist posted a followup, “National Post Appears to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

EU Goes for ODR

The European Union is adopting regulations on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and online dispute resolution (ODR), according to a press release and associated documents, including a draft ODR regulation. This is aimed at consumer e-commerce in particular.

I have not yet found in the documents answers to some questions that occur to me off the cuff. (The answers may be in there somewhere – feel free to provide via comments.)

  • Who pays? It appears to be taxpayer-funded, rather than relying on user fees. There is mention of a cost of 4.6 million Euros (annually?).
  • What law applies? This list
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, ulc_ecomm_list