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Sep

30

www.duhaime.org – Amazing Legal Resource!

Michael CarabashI am upset with myself for not coming across Duhaime.org sooner. What a great legal resource!

In a nutshell, Duhaime.org is an entertaining and comprehensive legal dictionary website. Started by Victoria, B.C. lawyer Lloyd Duhaime, as a bulletin board in Ottawa (1993-1994), Duhaime.org has grown into a very popular go-to place to find out about legal terms, Canadian legal history, legal Latin terms, crazy laws, and more. The website has been hailed as (among other things):

  • “One of the best legal dictionaries on the Web”: Forbes.com (2008);
  • “…a great resource for improving your general understanding of Canadian law”: about.com (2009); and
  • “a dictionary translating legalese into plain English”: Monday Magazine (1999).

On a more personal nature, Lloyd is an avid lawyer, writer, NHL- nut, jogger, goalie, and self-proclaimed renegade. He keeps electric guitars in his office and wants to give the legal system ‘back to the people’ through simplification, transparency, accountability, and access.

He’s also a social entrepreneur. Apart from Duhaime.org, in 1987, Lloyd started a company that faxed legal precedents to lawyers across Canada. He duplicated judge’s decisions (from law reports), removed footnotes and summaries (what he considered to be copyrighted materials), and sent the rest. He was ultimately threatened with copyright infringement from legal publishers and had to shut down the business. He argued, however, that judges own their own copyright, not legal publishers. Source: “Accessing Justice: Many People Go to Court and Come Away Poor and Frustrated” (September1999), Monday Magazine, p. 8.

Today, many judicial decisions are free for the public to access, courtesy of canlii.org.

Lloyd is a big proponent of access to justice through the technology. He has written countless guides and primers on Canadian law (e.g. how to write a contract, Affidavits: the How To Guide, and much more!). He’s also a fun and entertaining writer. I particularly like (and I think many other people do too!) the section in his website called “Law Fun“, where you’ll find Crazy Laws – American Style and Dumb, Crazy or Stupid Laws Around the World.

There’s just way too much to write about Lloyd and Duhaime.org. I would highly recommend the website and encourage you all to check it out (p.s. it’s regularly updated!).

I smell another profile report coming up… :)

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