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Archive for January, 2015

The Friday Fillip: Immortal Hand or Eye?

What is it about beauty? You can’t eat it. You can’t spend it. You can’t get agreement on it. Yes, what is beauty, anyway?

Some would say it depends on whom you ask — that is, that beauty lies, well, not in the holder but in the beholder, a projection, in effect. Others would espouse a version of that in which the beholder is an entire culture and beauty is a matter of group-think. Still others go even wider, making beauty a phenom of nature, which is more or less to say that beauty is an objective reality at least . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

A Legal Publisher and the McGill Guide

Early in my career, when I was a freshly hatched legal editor, I pored over the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (the McGill Guide). It answered many of my questions about the finer points of legal citation: the meaning of square or round brackets; which words should be italicized; the correct order of parallel cites; and so on. I’m pretty sure I was using the first or second edition (we’re talking about 1988 and 1989). The Guide was tremendously helpful to me; although the rules were somewhat complex, they were clearly spelled out and easy to follow. On reflection, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Seeking Nominations for the 2015 Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is accepting nominations for the 2015 Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing.

It honours a publisher (whether for-profit or not-for profit, corporate or non-corporate) that has demonstrated excellence by publishing a work, series, website or e-product that makes a significant contribution to legal research and scholarship.

Members as well as non-members of CALL can make nominations.

Nominations can be submitted to Cyndi Murphy [cmurphy AT stewartmckelvey.com], past president of CALL, before February 15, 2015.

The award honours Hugh Lawford (1933-2009), Professor of Law at Queens’ University and the founder . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

When a Business Owner Sexually Harassed an Employee, His Company Paid

n Emslie v Doholoco Holdings Ltd., the Manitoba Human Rights Adjudication Panel concluded that the company's owner sexually harassed an employee and the company was liable as the employer-for an award of $36,000.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Confidentiality of Mediation and Arbitration

Confidentiality and privacy are often mentioned as advantages of mediation and arbitration over litigation in commercial disputes.

In some cases, of course, the threat of publicity can be a tactical advantage for one party. But, going into an agreement at least, both parties usually have an interest in protecting trade secrets and business goodwill. Even after a dispute arises, private and public-sector organizations may be reluctant to air their disputes in public, for a variety of reasons. So they want any agreed dispute resolution process to be private and confidential.

Recent cases in Canada and elsewhere illustrate the care parties . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Website Relaunch for Provincial Court of BC

The Provincial Court of BC recently announced the relaunch of its website, which had been undergoing incremental change for the past year. In keeping with the scope and reach of the Court and access to justice principles, the new features appear designed to offer accessible public and professional understanding of the Court, its operations, and its initiatives. The redesign features information about alternative dispute resolution, links for self-represented litigants, and updates about Court initiatives, among other things.

It should go without saying that the new site also continues to offer current case law, and I want to highlight the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information

The Root of All Growth

Do you ever get that feeling that the universe is trying to communicate some idea or message to you? I do. There are times I find myself besieged with a persistent theme through a range of sources, from my personal reading to blog posts to conversations I’m part of. While I don’t always notice until much later, every so often I snap to attention right away.

This week has been like that. Lately, I’ve been reading and hearing a lot about the process of experimenting as a means to uncover a solution to a problem. This is, of course, the . . . [more]

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

Red Tape Awareness Week

January 19-23 is the CFIB’s (Canadian Federation of Independent Business) 6th annual Red Tape Awareness Week.

During the week the CFIB will make several announcements, starting off by announcing the winner of its annual Paperweight Award, citing the most egregious example of government red tape on small businesses. My guess is that CASL will win that.

My personal view is that government does a better job of talking about reducing red tape than actually accomplishing it. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Let the Next Generation In

The idea that any of our law societies could sanction ABS – business structures that permit fee-sharing, multi-disciplinary practice, and ownership, management and investment by persons other than lawyers – has prompted vociferous debate about whether the legal profession should change. Benchers, legal ethicists, personal injury lawyers, and academics dominate the debate, with some arguing that if there’s no prospect of benefit to the public, we shouldn’t adopt ABS, versus others who argue that if the access to justice crisis continues, we shouldn’t maintain the status quo.

Often lost in the debate are the perspectives of those who stand to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

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. Szakacs v. Clarke, 2014 ONSC 7487

[1] For best courtroom adaptation of a work of fiction, the award goes to the applicant, Clarissa Olenka Szakacs, who shamelessly feigned what she thought was necessary to convince the court to circumscribe access by the respondent to their almost-six-year-old daughter.

[2] One could sit in Family Court for many years and not encounter such . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

The Value of Library Resources

The end of the year is budget season. For librarians, part of the budgetary process is looking at our collections, calculating how much it will cost to keep each service, print or electronic, and then deciding if the cost of the service reflects the value we get from that service.

When I look at what the value of an item is for my library, I consider a number of variables:

  • Current usage. Circulation statistics do not tell the whole story. Some lawyers use books in the library rather than checking them out. Other lawyers may take a book out
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

Data Visualization With CartoDB

No matter where you live in Vancouver, odds are pretty good there’s a dog nearby with the name Charlie.

How do I know this random tidbit? It’s thanks to CartoDB, a (mostly) free cloud-based mapping tool. While browsing their online gallery, I came across a user-generated map of popular dog names in Vancouver, created using open source data.

The product concept is pretty simple: CartoDB will take geo-location data, along with other connected contextual data, from an Excel spreadsheet or CSV file; and then turn those pieces into an professional-looking, interactive map.

We recently used CartoDB for . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet