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Archive for May, 2013

CPSR Wraps It Up

The Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (known as CPSR) has decided to wind up, having pushed for responsible – and notably peaceful – uses of information technology for over 30 years. As they say in their notice, back in 1981 there was no one else with their message. Now there are many – though the task remains to be done.

As the official announcement states:

CPSR was launched in 1981 in Palo Alto, California, to question the
computerization of war in the United States via the Strategic Computing
Initiative to use artificial intelligence in war, and, soon after, the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Technology: Internet

Judicial Copying in Reasons for Judgment Isn’t Wrong of Itself

In fact, it’s necessary for the efficient functioning of the legal system.

Merits and appearances matter.

Cojocaru British Columbia Women’s Hospital and Health Centre, 2013 SCC 30 [CanLII link here], released today, holds, unanimously, that the mere fact judicial reasons duplicate, with or without attribution, a party’s submissions does not amount to reversible error.

The plaintiff succeeded at trial. The BCCA (by a majority) ordered a new trial. The SCC allowed the appeal. Then dealing with the merits, the SCC unanimously varied the trial judgment so that the plaintiff obtained judgment only against one of the defendants. The . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Friday Fillip: Good Noise

Noise. Some like it, some don’t. I go back and forth myself, donning a pair of noise-cancelling earphones when I have to fly but keeping the radio tuned to a classical station when I’m working. But, unlike a lot of people, I don’t plug into music when I’m wandering out and about, preferring city noise to earbuds.

If you’re one who likes “ambient” sounds when you’re working, relaxing or dropping off to sleep, I’ve got some links for you — and even some research that suggests a mild amount of ambient noise can boost your creativity.

Let’s stop by the . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

The Professional Business Plan

Many professionals find developing a business plan a daunting and somewhat scary thing to do. In law, so much of what a professional does is taught and yet one of the most important parts of practice – finding and keeping clients – is not. Lawyers like things that are definable and business plans can be made to be just that.

If we break down a business plan to its simplest form, there are three areas: Objectives;
Strategies; and Action Plans.

Well conceived Objectives will help focus towards specific results, provide targets, define success, minimize subjectivity and establish a framework for . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Handbook for Police and Crown Prosecutors on Criminal Harassment

This week’s issue of the Weekly Checklist of Canadian Government Publications includes the Handbook for Police and Crown Prosecutors on Criminal Harassment:

“Criminal harassment, which includes ‘stalking,’ is a crime. While many crimes are defined by conduct that results in a very clear physical outcome (for example, murder), the offence of criminal harassment prohibits deliberate conduct that is psychologically harmful to others. Criminal harassment often consists of repeated conduct that is carried out over a period of time and that causes its targets to reasonably fear for their safety but does not necessarily result in physical injury. It may
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Discontinuance of the Printed Edition of the Canada Gazette

Division 27 of Part 4 of the federal Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act (legislation to implement Budget 2012 measures), which received royal assent on June 29, 2012, will repeal section 13 of the Statutory Instruments Act on April 1, 2014, and remove the requirement to deliver and sell printed copies of the Canada Gazette.
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology

Thursday Thinkpiece: Gavigan on Criminal Law on the Aboriginal Plains

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.

Hunger, Horses, and Government Men: Criminal Law on the Aboriginal Plains, 1870-1905
Shelley A.M. Gavigan
Vancouver: UBC Press, 2012

[Footnotes have been converted to endnotes.]

[Note: UBC Press has kindly offered Slaw readers a 20% discount on this book. The discount code to enter when ordering is SLAW-20.]

Excerpt #1, Poundmaker’s Horse . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Beware of Obviosities: Can the Obvious Ever Be a Settled Question?

A long time ago – sometime back in the last millennium, as a I recall – Michael Enright, the C.B.C. host and motorcycle rider – during yet another debate on gun control, said of the bill then before Parliament, “I should think it would be an obviosity.” Besides any other criticism of this neologism, the case for (or against) gun control is anything but obvious. Any legislative proposal that divides the country almost evenly in half does not deserve to be called an “obviosity.” I have not heard this noun used since, and I remain, by and large a . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Let’s Not Hate on Rob Ford for the Wrong Reasons Part 2

A few months ago we blogged about Rob Ford when he was removed from office and we asked all the haters to hold back from castigating the mayor for the wrong reason. Back in November we were disappointed to see so many people making fun of Ford for his weight and appearance.

Well, we still hate Ford as much as the next guy, and would like to again remind folks that there are so many valid reasons to dislike the him and to think he’s not suited for public office and yeah, to think he’s an overall disgrace. We all . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Practicing Courage

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” asked Sheryl Sandberg in her bestseller, Lean In.

And what is it you’re afraid of? There are the common fears that many of us can relate to: heights; falling; spiders; darkness; silence; being alone. In professional life, your fears may include: forgetting something important; making a significant error; not meeting expectations; looking foolish; not having enough work or maybe having too much work.

The concept of courage has been front-of-mind lately. I am reading Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly, which focuses on living a whole-hearted life and in that context, . . . [more]

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

Motherhood and the Road to Partnership

On Mother’s Day, I sat down to write this blog – and reflected on the extra challenges that women associates still face in making it to partner. This is despite the fact that most law firms have generous maternity leave policies. From the firm’s perspective, their greatest challenge in developing more women partners is the loss of very good senior women associates from the partnership track, particularly at the six year call level – just when firms are considering associates for partnership. Why is this? It is not because women lose interest in becoming partners after six years of call, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

There Is Secure, Then There Is Secure

This ars technica article points out that Microsoft scans Skype message contents for signs of fraud, which means that Microsoft can read them. While Skype messages may be encrypted to prevent third parties from reading them, that apparently does not apply to Microsoft. 

This is not just a Microsoft issue. Other providers of communication and data storage may also be able to do that for certain services (Facebook, Google). A close read of various service provider terms of use and privacy policies show they have the option to review data. It is usually intended as a way to control things . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet