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Archive for August, 2013

SOQUIJ to Provide Summaries for Summaries Sunday

Slaw est très heureux d’annoncer que, grâce à la Société québécoise d’information juridique (SOQUIJ), nous présenterons un résumé hebdomadaire d’un jugement d’un tribunal québécois tous les dimanches comme un de nos billets «Summaries Sunday». SOQUIJ a dit qu’ils axeront leur sélection pour Slaw vers des décisions ayant un intérêt pancanadien.

SOQUIJ se joint à un groupe d’éminents comprenant Maritime Law Book, OnPoint Legal Research et Supreme Advocacy LLP, qui tous contribuent résumés pour Summaries Sunday.

Slaw is very happy indeed to announce that, thanks to the Société québécoise d’information juridique (SOQUIJ), we will offer . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw


Despite the fact that “de-nial ain’t just a river in Egypt”, we are about to head into September which means the real new year for academics like myself is about to kick off. On the the day after Labour Day (American friends take note of the proper spelling with a “u”) a new crop of bright eyed students arrive at university campuses across the country. Every year at this time I always like to take advantage of the excellent work done by the folks at Beloit College who produce the Mindset List, in order to see what I’m getting . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools

The Friday Fillip: Nonsense and Nonsensibility

“The family of Harper has long been settled in Sussex Drive.”

Parliament, it would appear, is demiprorogued, which might seem as impossible as being just a little bit pregnant. Yet the will-he, won’t-he, has-he, hasn’t-he uncertainty persists so long as the definitive decision is . . . well, prorogued. What is certain, though, is that the House is not in session, which gives us a little time to prepare for what we might say when we again rise up on our hind legs and give voice to our thoughts. And for what we may not say even though we may . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

What Is the Future of Courts?

Where are courts heading? Three things are converging that are likely to cause seismic shifts in the way they function. It’s a pity that those shape and run courts don’t seem to be aware.

First, there is a financial crisis; acute and big. Everywhere – the Eurozone, the US, Canada, Australia – government budgets are being cut and court budgets are not being left out. “If you think 2013 was bad, you don’t want to see 2014” a senior official of the Dutch Ministry of Justice recently told me. The message from the ministries of finance: do more with less. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Dreams and Copyrights

Yesterday gave us rare opportunity to see the glory of the delivery of the famous “I Have a Dream” speech, as many in the world commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington.

Commentary about the March and the speech, their context and their legacy abounded this week. But many also heard the entirety of Dr. King’s speech, delivered in his own voice. The copyright in the speech is protected and strictly enforced, now by his estate.

Some media outlets secured the required permissions for wide reproduction of the speech or its broadcast. Licence fees . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended, Substantive Law

Lawyers and Conflicts – the Myopia Continues

Yesterday, retired judge Dennis O’Connor resigned from heading up the Toronto Police use of force review. He did so because of a perceived conflict of interest over his role at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP; BLG represents the Toronto Police when they are sued.

According to the Toronto Sun, O’Connor said in a statement, “We were surprised by the objections raised by lawyers for some of the victims’ families to my conducting the review. We had thought that I could structure and conduct the review to satisfy any concern but apparently not….. I regret that this issue has arisen but . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Liability for Texting to a Driver

An appeals court in the US has held that in principle, someone who sends a text message to someone she knows is driving (in this case, a motorcycle) and is likely to text back while driving, can be liable for damages caused by that driver while distracted by texting [Kubert v. Best]. In the case in point, the court held that the woman who was texting her boyfriend did not know he was responding while driving, so she was not liable for the damages he caused. (He himself settled with the victims, but his insurance did not cover . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Canadian Internet Registration Authority Calls for National Dialogue on Online Privacy

A recent survey from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) shows a disturbing trend that online surveillance often happens without transparent judicial oversight, and yet appears to be raising relatively little concern among the public. As a result, the CIRA, which is the organization that manages the .CA Internet domain, is calling for a national dialogue on online privacy.
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology, Technology: Internet

Digitisis, Part One

The larger legal publishers’ 2013 half-year and interim results season was quietly revolutionary. At 80% the issue is done and dusted. The issue that has been plaguing the legal and professional publishing world for decades now can be consigned to history. With a palpable flop over the finish line, you can hear the words ‘largely complete’ panted in an exhausted and rasping whisper. The digital transition is finally finished; honest; no really; trust me – finished.

Looking back over the 15 years it has taken to get here 2 lessons are clear:

  1. Readers buy confidence not content; formats are secondary;
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Thursday Thinkpiece: McCormack & Bueckert on Religious Dress

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.

Introduction to the Law and Legal System of Canada
Nancy McCormack and Melanie Bueckert
Toronto: Carswell, 2013

Excerpt chosen by the publisher.

(iv) Religious Dress

Another intersection between law and religion arises with respect to religious dress.28 This issue has come to the forefront primarily in connection with Sikhs and Muslims.

In . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Oh, When the Public Comes Marching In

I want to add my voice to those concerned with what might be cast as Myriad Genetics Inc.’s continuing infringement of the public trust, most recently exacerbated by its recent efforts to enforce through the courts its patents for testing BRCA1 and BRCA2. These genetic tests, which grew out of federal funding for University of Utah research, can detect mutations that speak to much higher risks of breast cancer, which can be used, in turn, to take steps that significantly reduce those risks for women. The Myriad genetic tests cost approximately $4,000, and the company is working hard to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Facebook Advertising Meets Class Action …

A couple of years ago, Connie Crosby mentioned on Slaw (third comment) that she had been surprised to discover that when she ‘Liked’ a page (by joining a ‘fan club’) devoted to a product, her name later appeared in advertisements for that product on her Facebook friends’ pages.

A number of others appear to have been not only surprised but offended at this practice. They brought a class action against Facebook for the practice, an action now settled for $20 million. Whether Connie gets a share of that, I can’t say. Probably not enough to fund a bottle of . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions