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Archive for February, 2015

Executor’s Insurance in Canada: An Idea Long Overdue

For 13 years I practiced in a small community in northern Ontario, and one of the things you do in such a practice is a fair bit of estate work. One of things I quickly learned was that what appeared to be sweetness and light prior to the death of a family member is something entirely different after the death of that family member. With one sibling named executor, other siblings started to question and attack that particular sibling. Siblings that were beneficiaries started arguing with each other and in many occasions it was a very unhappy experience for everyone . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Friday Fillip: Music of the Spheres . . .

. . . and octahedrons, and cuneiforms, and cross-stitches.

Music is weird. It has no known evolutionary advantage that might account for its existence, at least none that is agreed upon. As for social purpose, were it to disappear from the world, it’s not at all certain that anything would change. And although definition is always difficult and imperfect, it’s particularly hard to say in words what, if anything, makes music different from just noise.

Yet we keep at it, keep making music, hearing it in noise, and, some would argue, have done so even before we could talk about . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

It’s Easy to Bypass Smartphone Fingerprint Security

Ever since Apple delivered an iPhone with Touch ID there have been all kinds of ways to defeat the fingerprint sensor. There have been some elaborate (and expensive) methods from using 3-D printing to using Gummi Bears and everything in between. Back in September of 2013, German hacker Starbug successfully proved that bypassing Touch ID was “no challenge at all,” according to Ars Technica. As Starbug mentioned in the interview, it took him nearly 30 hours from unpacking the iPhone to developing the hack to reliably bypass the fingerprint security.

At the recent 31C3 conference, the folks from Chaos . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

UN Launches Database of Cases by Expert Committees on Human Rights

The UN Human Rights Office has launched a major public online database that contains all the case law issued by the UN human rights expert committees known as the Treaty Bodies.

The Treaty Bodies are committees of independent experts that monitor implementation of the core international human rights treaties. There are 10 of them including the Committee against Torture, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The database was developed using data from the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) at the Utrecht . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Age Limit for Loss of Earnings Benefits Doesn’t Violate Charter

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Act’s age cut-off for loss of earnings benefits does not violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Ontario’s Divisional Court decided in Gouthro v. Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal et al.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Electronic Discovery: The Concept and Purpose of the Sedona Canada Principles 2nd Edition

  1. Electronic records management system technology

My published paper “The Sedona Canada Principles are Very Inadequate on Records Management and for Electronic Discovery[i] criticizes the first edition (January 2008) of: The Sedona Canada Principles—Addressing Electronic Discovery (hereinafter, “Sedona Canada”) because it provides neither analysis nor description of the relationship between electronic discovery and electronic records management systems.[ii] The integrity (reliability; truthfulness) of an electronic record is dependent upon the integrity of its electronic records management system (its ERMS). That is the “system integrity” concept of records reliability, i.e., “records integrity” requires proof “records systems integrity,” which . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

A Constitutional Right to Technology?

A column in the Canadian Lawyer suggests that “technology in a modern advanced society such as the one in which we live, should be recognized as a constitutionally protected right to ‘life, liberty and security of the person,’ under s. 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms”.

Does this suggestion appeal to you? What do you suppose it means in practice?

A bit later on, the columnist suggests he is talking about “access to at least the most basic and rudimentary elements of technology, and arguably, reasonable levels of technology”.

So: the right is access to technology – but . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Big Brother in Your TV? 10 “Freaky Line” Things to Think About

There has been a big kerfuffle in the last few days over the thought that Samsung smart TV’s are listening to and recording TV watcher’s conversations via their voice command feature. That arose from a clause in their privacy policy that said in part “…if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.”

Samsung has since clarified this language to explain that some voice commands may be transmitted to third parties to convert the command to text and make . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

For Justice Innovators, Asking the Right Questions Is Key

“Answers are closed rooms; and questions are open doors that invite us in.”
~ Nancy Willard

In my last couple of posts (here and here) I’ve been exploring some of the conditions needed for justice innovation. I’ve looked at why including users in the design of new justice solutions is important, and I’ve discussed why I believe we need to rethink some of our problem solving approaches. In my last post in this innovation series, I want to talk about the “art of questioning” and how asking the right questions can help us become more empathetic, creative and . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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. Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), 2015 SCC 5

[1] It is a crime in Canada to assist another person in ending her own life. As a result, people who are grievously and irremediably ill cannot seek a physician’s assistance in dying and may be condemned to a life of severe and intolerable suffering. A person facing this prospect has two options: . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Lexum on the Departure of Colin Lachance From CanLII

CanLII’s Board of directors announced yesterday, February 9th, that Colin Lachance is to step down from his position of President and CEO of CanLII. On this occasion, Lexum wishes to acknowledge Colin’s important contribution to the development of Free Access to Law in Canada.

Colin Lachance has held the title of President and CEO of CanLII for four years. Under his leadership, CanLII became stronger and confirmed its status as a leading source for Canadian legal research. Colin is also the driving force behind CanLII*Connects – a legal commentary website which complements and enriches CanLII. He also led the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

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.


USB Logo Helps When Plugging in USB Cord
Dan Pinnington

The Universal Serial Bus or USB cable has become the universal standard for charging and connecting electronic devices. USB cable connectors come in a variety of shapes and they can fit very snugly or offer very little resistance when you plug them in. Getting the right orientation can sometimes be a challenge, and forcing them in the wrong orientation . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday