Tag: email

Conference: Recent developments in Irish Defamation Law

TCD front square, via TCD websiteNext week, the School of Law, Trinity College Dublin, will host a conference on

Recent Developments in Irish Defamation Law – Including the Defamation Act, 2009

It will be on from 9:30am to 1:15pm on Saturday, 28 November 2009, in the Davis Theatre, Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin.

As regular readers of this blog will know, Irish Defamation law has undergone a number of radical changes in the last twelve months including, most notably, the changes which are to be wrought by the newly enacted Defamation Act, 2009 (pdf). These changes will significantly influence the way in which defamation cases are to be managed and may, potentially, represent a shift in the traditional balance between plaintiffs and defendants in defamation cases. The conference will consider the nature of such changes. Here’s the provisional programme:

  09:00   Registration

  09:30   Paul O’Higgins, SC  The Defamation Act from the Plaintiff’s Perspective
  09:55   Eoin McCullough, SC  The Defamation Act from the Defendant’s
  10:20   Paula Mullooly  The Defamation Act from the Solicitor’s Perspective
  10:45   Questions and Discussion

  11:00   Tea/Coffee Break

  11:15   Brendan Kirwan BL  Injunctive Relief and Remedies
  11:40   Ray Ryan BL  Key Points of Practice and Procedure in Defamation
  12:05   Dr Eoin Carolan BL  Alternative Causes of Action
  12:30   Dr Eoin O’Dell The Defamation Act: The Constitutional Dimension
  12:55   Questions and Discussion

  13:15   Conference Ends

  14:30   Ireland v South Africa    (Croke Park)

For more information or to make a reservation, please phone ((01) 896 2367), fax ((01) 677 0449), email, or visit the website.

Other forthcoming events in the Law School are listed here; other forthcoming Law events in Ireland are listed here by Darius.

Technology, students and universities

Cover of 'The Tyrrany of Email' via AmazonThere are some – related – articles in today’s Irish Independent on themes which have featured on this blog. A report published yesterday by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) shows that the number of students going to college has hit a record high (the Irish Times ran the same story under the headline that there are more students than farmers in Ireland) and that courses in science and computing are now back in favour.

However, technology is not necessarily an uncritically good thing, as is shown by the headline to another story: I’m so addicted to email, Facebook and Twitter, I have to hide it from my wife …. In that piece, reviewing The tyranny of email by John Freeman, James Delingpole owns up to his own addiction to communications technology. Of course, he is not the only person whose life is being ruined by email. Moreover, a similar addiction drives the use of mobile phones and laptops in class as increasingly popular displacement activities.

Finally, and a little more seriously, the print edition – but not, so far as I can see, the online edition (though it may in time be published in the archives of the Education section or, perhaps, of the Technology sections) – has a really interesting piece on distance learning at third level, discussing the Open University and Hibernia College. Online education poses both challenges and opportunities for bricks and mortar universities, and they will have to be faced and embraced if universities are to survive and thrive.

The moral of the stories is, of course, that if the undergraduates who now outnumber farmers can’t tear themselves away from their email and social networking sites, they might decide to eschew traditional universities and study online instead!

Judicial Activism

Image of Chief Justice Balakrishnan, via Indian Supreme Court siteThe Hon. Mr. Chief Justice Balakrishnan, Chief Justice of India, will deliver a Guest Lecture at the School of Law, TCD:

Judicial Activism Under the Indian Constitution

It will be held on Wednesday, 14 October 2009, at 6:00 pm in the JM Synge Theatre, Room 2039, Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin (map).

If you would like to attend, please contact the Law School, by email, by mail to School of Law, House 39, Trinity College, Dublin 2; by phone to (01) 896 2367 or by fax to (01) 677 0449.

It promises to be an interesting evening. The label “judicial activism” is often used loosely, sometimes to describe the judicial process, sometimes to castigate judges as failing to confine themselves to reasonable interpretations of laws, and instead substitute their own political opinions for the applicable law. I particularly reocmmend the posts on Balkinization. The issue, a long-time staple of constituitonal jurisprudence, came to the fore again during the confirmation hearings for US Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor. But the debate is not confined to the US: rather, it arises where-ever there are Courts – so judges in Canada, Australia, the European Court of Justice, and Ireland are all routinely praised and criticised accordingly. The perspective from another court and another country will be fascinating indeed.

Creative Commons in Ireland: Cimín Cruthaitheach in Éireann

Creative CommonsThere is a tension at the heart of creativity. On the one hand, I might be moved by the muse to write/paint/create something interesting (I know, if you’ve read anything on this blog, you might wonder if that muse has ever struck, but bear with me). If I am, the law is likely to reward me for doing so by giving me a copyright (or similar intellectual property right) in what I have written/painted/created. On the other hand, the muse might strike you in such a way as to develop what I have done (entirely plausible, if you ask me), but my copyright protection can make this hard for you. You could email me and ask me if I’d let you do it, and I’d probably say yes. But now, multiply this a million million fold, to take into account everyone who has copyright and everyone who wants to develop a copyrighted work. Asking for individual permission every time becomes a logistical nightmare. So, Creative Commons has filled the gap, by drafting licences which any copyright holder may use to determine how others may exercise their copyright rights. If you look below the last post at the bottom of this page, you will see that I use just such a licence to allow you to use and share the contents of this blog, provided that you do so for non-commercial reasons and give me an attribution.

The terms of this licence are drafted having regard to US copyright law, which is similar to Irish copyright law in the same way as close cousins are similar: there is a strong family resemblance, but there are very important differences. The similarities are enough that I can reasonably use the US text, and I do; but it would be better to have a version drafted specifically to take Irish law into account. As I have mentioned previously on this blog, for some time now, Dr Darius Whelan and Louise Crowley of the Law Faculty, UCC have been working on just such a draft of an Irish Creative Commons Licence.

We are now fortunate to have the next fruits of that labour, as they have just announced that an Irish draft of the Creative Commons license version 3.0 is now available for public discussion, on either their mailing list or their blog. They have taken the existing US Creative Commons v3.0 licence and localised it to Irish conditions in the light of the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000 (also here) as amended in 2004 (also here) and 2007 (also here).

They have produced a good summary (pdf) of their reasoning for the various changes they recommend. It seems to me thorough, comprehensive, and persuasive – all in all, an excellent piece of work which will benefit the entire Irish online community. I eagerly look forward to the day when I make this blog subject to the Irish version of the licence. In the meantime, click on the widget below:

Email disclaimers

John Naughton, via his site.From John Naughton‘s column in today’s Observer

By reading this, you agree to stop adding useless disclaimers

… consider the curious legalese that is increasingly appended at the foot of emails dispatched from corporate email servers. … A friend sends you an email saying “How about lunch?” and it comes with this implicit threat that if you so much as breathe a word of it to any living being the massed litigators of Messrs Sue, Grabbit and Runne will descend upon you. The practice is now so widespread that most of us have become inured to it. …

The funny thing is that the practice is, at best, legally dubious. “The value of disclaimers is limited,” writes Simon Halberstam (of Sprecher Grier Halberstam) in an article on weblaw.co.uk, “since the courts normally attach more weight to the substantive content of the communication and the circumstances in which it is made than to any disclaimer. Having said that, disclaimers may possibly be helpful if an issue ends up in court in various respects … and, since disclaimers cost (almost) nothing, it is worthwhile to use them.”

But don’t forget that, in Hedley Byrne & Co Ltd v Heller & Partners Ltd [1964] AC 465, [1963] UKHL 4 (28 May 1963), the case that established liability in principle for negligent misrepresentation, a disclaimer was effective!