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Archive for October, 2013

Top 5 Conference Tips

I attended the Canadian IT Law Association annual conference last week. It is IMHO consistently the best continuing ed program for IT law.

Some general conference observations:

  1. Pay attention to speakers even if they are covering topics you are familiar with. No matter how well you know the topic, something new / useful will come up.
  2. Conference materials in the cloud are the way to go. Much more convenient than on physical media.
  3. Hotel / conference centre AV equipment won’t always display your presentation the same as on your work computer, especially if it includes animation or video. It’s a
. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training

Lawyers Who Write Bogus Demand Letters: The Freemen in Our Midst?

The phenomenon of organized pseudo-legal commercial arguments (OPCA) being used to advance claims not recognized by law has received a great deal of attention in the past year. From last year’s judgment of Associate Chief Justice Rooke in Meads v. Meads, 2012 ABQB 571, to the recent occupation of a Calgary apartment by a Freeman-of-the-land who claimed it as an “embassy”, OPCA litigants have disrupted the functioning of legal system while attracting public attention and interest. In this column I argue that the defining indicia of OPCA are also present in the activities of some lawyers; specifically, in lawyers . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

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 this last week:

  1. Meads v. Meads 2012 ABQB 571

    [1] This Court has developed a new awareness and understanding of a category of vexatious litigant. As we shall see, while there is often a lack of homogeneity, and some individuals or groups have no name or special identity, they (by their own admission or by descriptions given by others) often fall into the following descriptions: Detaxers;

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

Remembrance Day, Veterans, Reservists and Employers

Remembrance Day is fast approaching. It’s a time to reflect on the sacrifices of our veterans, serving regular force members and reservists members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Since the war in Afghanistan, the Canadian public’s awareness and support of the CAF has increased significantly and has been maintained despite the draw down in operations in the part of the world.

When I joined the CAF in 2003 as an Army reservist, while public support was on the increase, legal support in the form of job protection for reservists was almost non-existent. Thankfully, in the 10 years since then, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Government Open Data

Last Thursday, the Edmonton Law Libraries Association welcomed Mark Diner, Chief Advisor, Open Government and Transparency, Service Alberta to give a presentation on Alberta’s Open Data initiative. Mark is best introduced with a blog post he wrote this summer about the, then new, Open Data Portal.

The Alberta Open Data initiative is supported by an Open Government Licence. Individuals are free to:

3.Copy, modify, publish, translate, adapt, distribute or otherwise use the Information in any medium, mode or format for any lawful purpose.

The idea of having access to data that would otherwise be costly (or impossible) to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management

Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on technology, research and practice.


To Avoid Corruption – Formatting a Memory Card Is Better Than Erasing Images on It
Dan Pinnington

With DSLRs, it has become very easy to fill your SD or memory card to capacity. Many of us have will have found ourselves deleting pictures when we run out of space. Doing this in the middle of a photo shoot is fine. However, if you are taking a bunch of pictures . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Free Access to Law in the United Kingdom and Beyond

I did not to go to Law via the Internet 2013 held on the Island of Jersey September 26 and 27, because the dates were not close enough to my planned trip to England in October to be able to do both. You can get a taste of what the conference was about from their web page and this statement:

It is 11 years since the Declaration on Free Access to Law was signed at Montreal and the Free Access to Law Movement (FALM) was founded. Since then the movement has grown to include organisations from more than 50 countries

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

CALL/ACBD 2014 Call for Program Submissions – Deadline Extended

The deadline for program submissions for the Canadian Association of Law Libraries conference to be held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, May 25-28, 2014 has been extended to November 1st (this Friday). Submissions can be made by anyone; you do not have to be a member. If you have an idea but have been wondering if you should submit, now is your chance!

Details and links below.

2014 Annual CALL/ACBD Conference


Submissions for the 2014 Annual CALL/ACBD Conference program are open! The conference is an exciting opportunity to explore and learn about emerging

. . . [more]
Posted in: Announcements, Education & Training, Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Steer Clear of Real Estate Claims by Asking These Five Questions on Every Deal

The real estate lawyer’s job is more than just conveying title, and not every matter will be straightforward. Communication errors and inadequate investigation are the biggest causes of real estate claims at LAWPRO, respectively 41 per cent and 26 per cent of claims reported between 2001 and 2011. Busy, high-volume practices often lead to situations where the lawyer is not taking the time to communicate with the clients properly.

Lawyers need to take the time to speak to clients to ensure they’ve gathered all the relevant information.

Here are five questions lawyers should be asking their clients or themselves on . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Drafting a EULA Using Only the 1000 Most Common Words in American English

A few months ago, my son-in-law showed me the simple-word explanation of a Saturn 5 rocket (the up-goer space car). It can be found at More recently, there was a discussion on the ULC Listserv concerning Google’s terms of use, with an allegation that they are harder to understand than Beowulf. David Ma, who is one of my favourite IT lawyers, pointed to the Up-goer Five explanation and it got me thinking that it might be possible to use a limited number of words – namely the 1000 most common words in American English – to write a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous

UN Human Rights Review and the Canadian Cold Shoulder

In previous columns I have written about the fact that Canada’s approach to implementing its international human rights obligations is rather a shambles. I have written of the pressing need for action to address violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada. And I have highlighted the mystifying failure of the Canadian government to sign on to a UN torture prevention treaty that is more than a decade old.

Those all came together in a very significant way earlier this fall. Sadly the disappointment and shortcomings have only deepened.

2013 has brought Canada’s second turn through the UN Human Rights . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada's award-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from forty-one recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. Rule of Law   2. Michael Geist   3. Doorey’s Workplace Law Blog   4. Slater Vecchio Connected    5. Off the Shelf
Posted in: Monday’s Mix