Shaunna Mireau on Canadian Legal Research

Tips on Canadian legal research from the Library at Field LLP.
Postings are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the firm.

February 26, 2009

Your facebook is my evidence

Dan from All About Information posted on an interesting Ontario case:
On February 20th, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted leave to cross-examine a plaintiff in a motor vehicle accident suit about the nature of content he posted on his Facebook profile.

If defence of a claim for compensatory damages for loss of enjoyment of life, the defendant sought production of all content in the plaintiff’s Facebook. It did not examine the plaintiff on whether he had any photographs revealing of his post-accident lifestyle in oral discoveries, but learned of his Facebook’s existence after discovery and developed a theory that it would contain such photos.

As Dan states in his post a party should ordinarily be granted a right to cross-examine on an affidavit of documents where it does not have a right of discovery (as in Simplified Rules actions) when a plaintiff who makes a claim that puts his or her lifestyle in issue produces “few or no documents” from his or her Facebook.

The challenge to individuals who value the openness that technology provides to our lives is that your life is open. Take responsibility. Be accountable. Your life is an open book, because you make it that way. Live with integrity.

This is not a personal statement about the parties in any litigation, but rather a statement about the information economy in which we live.


February 04, 2009

Law reviews in print

An interesting article from Inside Higher Ed on the decline of print subscriptions to law reviews crossed my inbox today.
The article points to a paper posted at SSRN. The paper discusses the declining print subscriptions and interested methodology used to collect this statistic in the US. It also says:

On the other hand, while our tables do show declines in law‐review circulation, they do not account for any rise in web‐based consumption that might roughly correspond to, and at least partly explain, those declines. Westlaw, Lexis, HeinOnline, Findlaw, etc. — and more recently even the law reviews themselves — have made it easy to read journals without a subscription. Perhaps the net consumption of law reviews is actually on the rise, along with their influence and status. Who knows?

Here at Field, we still subscribe to some Canadian law reviews in print. We also have access to law reviews through WestlaweCarswell's "Law Reports and Journals" search template. Journals and law reviews are available from LexisNexis. All members of the Alberta Bar have access to HeinOnline by walking in to their closest Courthouse library, and the Internet has tons of commentary - not necessarily peer-reviewed, but still a valid source of commentary.

Unlike some of the comments on the Inside Higher Ed article I think that looking at new law review articles for emerging trends and historical law review articles for a picture of how the law evolved is a useful research method for practitioners. What do you think?

This topic is also covered at