Law, IP, crime, technology, and everything else

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Deep Links to Legal Research Databases in Australia

I wrote a post a while back about how to use Quicksilver (an app for OS X) to quickly look up a citation on AustLII. The obvious next step was to see whether it could be done or not.


You can do this sort of thing with Westlaw International, but not with Westlaw AU. Kind of sucks. I'm told that Westlaw are hoping to make this sort of thing possible later in the year. I may have worked out a way around it, but dare not share it because (a) it's ugly; and (b) it's unreliable; and (c) sharing it might just breach the user licence.

(As a side note, I note that Westlaw allow you to create deep links to specific cases once you find the one you want. Instructions are available online.)


Lexis Australia is way more advanced. Not only do they allow deep linking, but they give you the code to embed a search box in another site, and have nice tidy URLs for searching (for example) CaseBase by citation.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Making affidavits the PDF way on Mac OS X

There are still a lot of lawyers who use the combination of a rubber annexure stamp, and manual handwritten numbering, to finalise affidavits.

But there is an easier way.

I write the affidavit using Word. Any annexures get scanned in using the chambers photocopier.

On OSX, I use Stamp and Number Pro 2 to handle numbering of the PDF, you can select the positioning, and the start and finish number.

Then, the rest (annexure stamps) gets done with Preview, by just inserting a text box.

Unfortunately, you then need to print the whole lot before you can have it sworn/affirmed, so if you want to have it back in the computer again, you need to scan one more time.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Imitation is the sincerest form of innovation

"Copying is the mighty force that has allowed the human race to move from stone knives to remote-guided drones, from digging sticks to crops that manufacture their own pesticides. Plenty of animals can innovate, but no other species on earth can imitate with the skill and accuracy of a human being. We’re natural-born rip-off artists. To be human is to copy."

-- Kat McGowan, "Brilliant Impersonators" Aeon Magazine 

Friday, 31 October 2014

Working Guide to the Evidence Act

Last year I gave a seminar called the "A Working Guide to the Evidence Act". I tried to avoid getting bogged down in detail, and give people an overview of the (almost) Uniform Evidence Acts framework.

A copy of that seminar paper is available on the CriminalCLE website.

Now, in furtherance of that project, I have made available an online version of my Working Guide. I plan to keep on updating it, adding bits of detail as I go along, in the hope that it will be useful to people.

You can find it here:

Any feedback is more than welcome.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

On the need for specificity in tendency notices

From the Victorian case of CGL v DPP [2010] VSCA 26:
39 Part of the difficulty lies, once again, with the degree of generality in the notices. When s 97(1) speaks of a tendency ‘to act in a particular way’, we hardly think that Parliament had in mind a tendency which would be expressed as generally as ‘a tendency to act upon sexual attraction to young girls aged between eight and 13 years’.
CGL was referred to with approval in PCR v The Queen [2013] VSCA 224.
CGL also sets out a useful extract from the pre-Evidence act case of Papamitrou [2004] VSCA 12 which informs the extract set out above, and is of course of practical benefit in understanding the issues in an application to sever a multiple complainant indictment:
Whether one describes these factors as providing an ‘underlying unity’, or a common ‘modus operandi’ or a ‘pattern of conduct’ is of little consequence. The ‘links’ were sufficient, in my view, for his Honour to conclude that the evidence of one victim about what had happened to her was so related to the evidence of other victims about what had happened to them that the evidence of the first victim provided strong enough support to the evidence of the others to make it just to admit it notwithstanding its prejudicial effect. Absent collusion, collaboration or other forms of ‘infection’ the relationship of time and circumstance and the nature of the evidence of each complainant were such as to render the evidence of each as supportive — and in my view strongly supportive — of the evidence of others.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Currently accepting briefs in all areas

Variety really is great. At the moment, I'm working on matters in:

  • employment law
  • family law
  • criminal law
  • copyright
  • patent law
  • building & construction
  • contractual disputes
They are at a variety of stages, from drafting statements of claim, through to hearing. Plenty of defence work, but plenty of plaintiff work as well.

Although at times it takes some serious work to get right into a different area of law, it really feels like I get something new from the experience each time.

So I'm currently accepting briefs in all areas.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Legal Cross-Training: Performance, Feedback, Revision

Today I gave my advocacy cross-training seminar for the second time, this time to staff and students at the University of Tasmania in Hobart.

I applied the principles of evolutionary biology to my paper, so after my last performance, took feedback (including my own self reflection), then revised the paper accordingly.

I have also now recorded the paper in the form of an article. I welcome any feedback.

(Link to article: