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Archive for November, 2015

Digital Files Are Property in New Zealand

The Supreme Court of New Zealand has held that digital files in a CCTV system are property and could be stolen. Thus someone who accessed the system and uploaded the files to YouTube was convicted under the NZ criminal code for accessing a computer system without colour of right to obtain property.

The Court of Appeal had held that the digital files were not property, but the accused could be convicted of accessing the system to obtain a benefit, since he tried to sell the files before uploading them (not having found a buyer).

This seems like quite a change . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Of Wikibooks and the Impossible Trinity of Information

Poo-pooing Wikipedia’s citeworthiness has a rich and honoured tradition, and not just among academics. The authoritative quality of crowd-sourced wisdom is a well-flogged heel for those in legal circles too, often trotted out in judgments like some Karl Von Hess to be beaten up by proper prudent legal authority. Wikipedia was first knocked about in Canadian jurisprudence in Bajraktaraj v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2005 FC 261, a decision of the Federal Court which set the tone for dealing with the pariah:

… the quality of the sources relied upon by the applicant, including an article

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Technology: Internet

What Do You Do for Fun?

A few years ago I decided to test drive a question when I found myself in a social situation with people I didn’t know. Instead of asking “what do you do?” I asked “what do you do for fun?” And I did this for a time at cocktail parties, meetings, wedding showers – wherever there were new faces and friends to meet.

Some people were startled, and had to really think before they could answer. Fun? Do I actually have any fun in my life after I get through working, looking after the kids, getting in . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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.

Research & Writing

Get Writing!
Neil Guthrie

My first tip is simple: get writing! Or, more to the point, get blogging. Blogged content has high visibility and much higher readership than content that is distributed by e-mail. Unless you have a very targeted and well-maintained e-mail distribution list, it’s unlikely that a publication sent by e-mail will be opened (much less read) by more than 5% of its recipients. … . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Crowd Funding for Justice

Over the summer a non-practising UK solicitor launched “CrowdJustice“. It is a funding platform through which people can combine to build support for and share costs of taking legal action for issues that effect their community.

It is run by a team of lawyers and volunteers based in London.

The Case Owner sets a deadline and funding target for the amount needed to offset the costs. Only when the target is met are the pledges collected and paid to the lawyer’s trust account.Crowd Justice charges a fee if a case is successfully funded.

Cases recently funded or currently . . . [more]

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

I Quit(ish)! When a Resignation Is a Termination

When is a resignation not a resignation? Recently, the Ontario Superior Court dealt with a case where an employee cleaned out her desk, didn’t return to work but then took the position that she hadn’t quit after all.

Finding that she didn’t quit, the Court re-iterated that an employee’s resignation must be “clear and unequivocal.” In this case, the employee had sent an e-mail informing her employer that she had packed up her desk, but would be keeping her company cell phone, and that the employer could call her the following day to discuss. This e-mail was sent following an . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Some Law Firm Security Statistics From the 2015 ABA Legal Tech Survey

The 2015 ABA Technology Survey has been released, and Frank Strong at Business of Law blog has reviewed the 900-plus pages to see what it had to say about the state of law firm security.

Here are some of the findings that stood out:

  • the number of firms reporting a security breach has remained consistent (about 15%), but at the same time 23% of firms say they ‘don’t know’
  • there was a small increase in the firms reporting that security breaches “created downtime or loss of billable hours” (30%)
  • only 10% to 13% of firms have cyber liability insurance coverage
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

Library Services and the Mobile Lawyer

Technology, mobile devices in particular, has reduced the need for lawyers to be in a specific physical location. Lawyers can do their work from home, at a client’s workplace, or while on vacation. This mobility does have its downside: a lawyer of my acquaintance claimed to have holidayed in North Korea simply because no-one would expect him to check his email there.

The ABA Legal Technology Resource Center’s 2014 survey found that 91% of lawyers used smartphones (with the majority using iPhones) and 49% used tablets (with the vast majority using iPads). While these lawyers were primarily using their mobile . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

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 sixty 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. Library Boy 2. BC Injury Law and ICBC Claims Blog 3. ClickLaw Blog 4. Excess Copyright 5. Legal Feeds

Library Boy
Public Service Survey Confirms Supreme Court of Canada as Best Workplace

Every three years, the Treasury Board Secretariat and Statistics Canada conduct a Public Service Employee Survey to . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Summaries Sunday: Maritime Law Book

Summaries of selected recent cases are provided each week to Slaw by Maritime Law Book. Every Sunday we present a precis of the latest summaries, a fuller version of which can be found on MLB-Slaw Selected Case Summaries at

This week’s summaries concern:
Civil Rights – Motor Vehicles – Trials – Constitutional Law – Police – Statutes

R. v. Michaud (G.) 2015 ONCA 585
Civil Rights – Motor Vehicles – Trials
Summary: The accused, a commercial truck driver, was required by law to equip his truck with a functional speed limiter set to a maximum speed of . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

FAILLITE ET INSOLVABILITÉ: Le candidat choisi par le tribunal pour agir à titre de chef de la restructuration a une solide expérience dans le domaine de l’aviation civile, il a participé à des restructurations dans ce domaine et les honoraires qu’il demande sont plus que raisonnables dans les circonstances.

Intitulé . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Justice Minister Trudeau on a Constitutional Bill of Rights

Later this week, Justin Trudeau will be sworn in as Prime Minister of Canada. Although he was elected on his own accord, with a platform and a style that is uniquely his, it’s no surprise that his surname evokes memories reminiscent of his father and former Prime Minister, Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

One of Prime Minister P.E. Trudeau’s most enduring legal legacies is obviously the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter continues to be the strongest symbol of Canadian identity among the public.

Constitutional reform is unlikely to feature prominently on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s immediate agenda, as he was . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous