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Archive for January, 2014

Sochi Olympics – Social Media for Personal Use Only

The limitations and restrictions regarding social media use during the 2014 Winter Olympics Games continue to be controversial. While the International Olympic Committee (“IOC”) has eased up on their social media restrictions over the years, the IOC guidelines are fairly similar to the guidelines provided for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

(So no apparent extra control over social media as compared to prior Olympics – unlike allegations that participants and athletes will face the most invasive and massive surveillance ever, including monitoring of all communications, and allegations that it is the most corrupt Olympics in history. )

Take . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

A Full and Equal Voice

Why is it still so common to see a panel predominantly made up of middle-aged white male lawyers on the dais at a legal conference or CPD session? I noted this again at a legal conference I attended last week. Of course, there were exceptions – the panel of women in corporate counsel positions and the Aboriginal law panel, for example – but shouldn’t a gender balanced, diverse panel of speakers now be the rule, rather than the exception?

These questions have been roiling about my mind since last fall, when I read the numerous, thoughtful comments to my Slaw . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing

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. Hryniak v. Mauldin 2014 SCC 7

    [1] Ensuring access to justice is the greatest challenge to the rule of law in Canada today. Trials have become increasingly expensive and protracted. Most Canadians cannot afford to sue when they are wronged or defend themselves when they are sued, and cannot afford to go to trial. Without an effective and accessible means of enforcing rights,

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

“Low-Value, High-Volume” Disputes: Defining the Indefinable

Since 2010, those of us in the online dispute resolution (ODR) community have usually either ended the year or begun the new one reading reports from the November session of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law’s (UNCITRAL) Working group on online dispute resolution (Working group III or WG3) to see what – if any – strides have been made since the preceding Summer session. We (and others) have discussed at great length the work being done by this working group and have even expressed our doubts as to whether said work would ultimately be useful . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

The Supreme Court of Canada’s Decision in Hryniak: Courts Must Change

Last week, the Supreme Court of Canada released an important decision explaining when summary judgment rules can be used to resolve civil litigation disputes. Omar Ha-Redeye posted about the decision last week.

Some Supreme Court decisions are targeted at the litigants in a case. Other times, Members of Parliament who have to write new laws. Although the decision has messages for everyone, I think the Supreme Court’s decision in Hryniak is aimed in many ways at Ontario’s court system itself.

The Supreme Court of Canada extensively discussed “tools to maximize the efficiency of a summary judgment motion,” concluding . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Fired for Being Too Pretty

I have wanted to write about this case for a while now, but waited to see if it would be appealed any further after last summer’s Iowa Supreme Court ruling. Unfortunately, it has not.

On December 21, 2012, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously upheld the district court’s decision that firing a female employee because she is too attractive does not violate the state’s Civil Rights Act. In that specific case, James Knight, a dentist, fired his dental assistant of ten years, Melissa Nelson, solely on the basis that he had become attracted to her and she had become a threat . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

Design for Findability Not Just Search

find∙a∙bil∙i∙ty n. – “the ease with which information contained on a website can be found, both from outside the website (using search engines and the like) and by users already on the website”

I prefer this term to “search” as it focuses on outcomes (how easy it is to find something), rather than inputs (what someone may or may not put into a search box). It also transfers the onus onto those in KM to make something really easy to find, rather than on lawyers knowing what they should or shouldn’t be typing into that box.

I’ve . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

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.


How to Tell Which Side of the Car Your Gas Cap Is On
Dan Pinnington

The location of the gas cap on any car you own or drive regularly is probably second nature to you. But when you drive a rental car into a gas station, how do you know which side the gas cap is on? Can you spot it in the side view mirrors? Probably not. Do . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Update: Nearly $19,000 in Costs Awarded Against Lawyer Who Accepts Settlement Offer Without Instructions

Back in October, I wrote about a case where the plaintiff’s lawyer accepted an offer to settle from the defendant, knowing full well they had no instructions to do so, in the hopes that they could in turn convince their client to accept the (already accepted) offer.

When the plaintiff refused to accept the offer, the defendant brought a motion to enforce the settlement. Justice Price held, correctly, that it would not be fair in the circumstances to bind the plaintiff to an offer that her lawyer accepted without her instructions and dismissed the motion. In doing so, Justice Price . . . [more]

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


The 2008 Law via the Internet conference got things started; October 3, 2011 marked the first meeting specific to the EuroLII initiative. January 2014, the EuroLII Observatory site launched with the aim at answering the question of how European countried promote and improve free access to law.

The site provides a jumping off page to the European Law overview page at WorldLII which helps searchers determine data coverage as well as search.

Some of the new content added to WorldLII January 28, 2014 includes:

Portuguese Constitutional Court Summaries
Portuguese Constitution 2005
Vatican City Laws
Bulgarian Laws
Azerbaijan Laws
Albanian Constitutional . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

W3C Best Practices for Publishing Linked Data

Earlier this month the Government Linked Data Working Group (GLD) at the W3C relaeased their Best Practices for Publishing Linked Data.

Their goal was to “compile the most relevant data management practices for the publication and use of high quality data published by governments around the world as Linked Open Data.” And although this report is directed at “developers, government information management staff, and Web site administrators” it provides good guidance for anyone involved with the care and feeding of information resources on the Web.

In all the GLD outlines 10 best practices:

  1. Prepare Stakeholders
  2. Select a Dataset
  3. Model
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology: Internet

Protecting Yourself From Cybercrime Danger: Inside People Can Be the Most Dangerous

Cybercrime dangers are many, complex and ever-changing. Hardly a day goes by without another news report of a data breach or other cyber-related scam or theft. Cyber criminals have considerable resources and expertise, and can cause significant damage to their targets. Cyber criminals specifically target law firms as law firms regularly have funds in their trust accounts and client data that is often very valuable. This article, from the December 2013 issue of LAWPRO Magazine, reviews the specific cybercrime dangers law firms need to be concerned about, and how they can mitigate their risks.

People inside your office have . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended, Technology