The rise of the online courtroom

The digital revolution has not escaped the courts. The courtroom of tomorrow may no longer involve litigants and their lawyers pitching up armed with reams of papers to do battle before robed, bewigged judges. In fact, for many it may not involve a court at all. Judges could be replaced by computers and the courtroom with the internet to meet the needs of the 21st-century litigants.

Last month Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Liz Truss unveiled the Prisons and Courts Bill. Aside from wide-ranging plans to reform prisons, the Bill contained proposals to enable people and businesses with claims worth up to £25,000 to use an online digital process instead of going to court.

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The maker of an internet-connected garage door disabled a customer’s device over a bad review

There’s a new, dystopian risk to using internet-connected gadgets: If you complain, the company that made it might remotely kill your product.

This is what happened to one customer who bought Garadget — an internet-connected garage door opener. It lets you remotely lock or unlock your garage with an app, or see if it’s open.

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9 biggest legal myths holding you back

What’s the most damaging legal myth holding young entrepreneurs back?

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs, provided the answers to the following question: What’s the most damaging legal myth holding young entrepreneurs back? In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

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Sharp drop in law school applications

12.6% drop in law school applications.

87,900 people applied to ABA law schools in 2010. This number of people who applied was down 12.6% from the all-time high of 100,600 six years earlier.  That trend ought to have served as an early warning signal to law schools. After all, in 2008 and 2009 the economy was in the deepest recession since the 1930s, which should have have driven applications to professional school in general and law school in particular to new highs.

 

 

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Tired of the Government? Good Time to Start Your Own Country

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Micronations are a legal oddity, but also the newest trend in international politics

Prince Michael’s fiefdom isn’t exactly grandiose: it’s two towers sticking out of the water, housing some 20 citizens. But Sealand has its own currency, stamps and passports.
“No country has officially recognized Sealand”, explains Prince Michael. “But remember that a country can exist without formal recognition by other countries. For many years the United States didn’t recognize China.” Prince Michael succeeded his father, Prince Roy, as monarch of Sealand in 1999.
Prince Roy founded the tiny principality four decades ago. The British government had banned Roy Rates, then a pirate radio operator, from broadcasting from an abandoned military base off the English coast. Angered, Bates declared independence on September 2, 1967. Since then, Sealand has been Great Britain’s unwanted neighbor.
“Sealand, officially known as Roughs Tower, cannot constitute a separate independent state since it has none of the characteristics of a state, such as a territory or the ability to conduct international relations,” a spokesperson for the British Foreign Ministry tells Metro.
While micronations are a legal oddity, they’re also the newest trend in international politics. In the Baltic, the Baltic Seasteading group aims to form several modern Sealands. “On land we can’t live the way we want, so we want to form our own countries”, explains Baltic Seasteading coordinator Lasse Birk Olesen.
“Ideally, we’d like to be totally independent, but for the time being we’ll stay closer to the shore and have some relations with the government.” The Baltic country-builders initially plan to settle in international waters between Helsinki and Tallinn.
The Seasteading Institute in San Francisco has even grander plans. “We’ll build many independent ocean settlements around the world”, explains Executive Director Patri Friedman. “Each settlement will have different cultures and rules. People who have an idea of how society should work can display it in our ocean communities.”
TSI’s first community will launch in five years. “Some day we want them to be countries, but legal recognition is 50 years away”, explains Friedman. Futurist Thomas Frey predicts a boom of new micronations, primarily in the Middle East, where countries can sell new island-countries to wealthy buyers. The Google Republic may be the first such country, according to Frey.
People regularly apply for asylum in Sealand. The country has more than 20,000 fans on Facebook, too. “And in the past, people forged our passports, so after 9/11 we had to stop issuing passports”, says Prince Michael.
“We just don’t have the resources to chase forgerers around the world. Running a country is expensive.” To raise funds, Sealand sells titles. For £29.99, anyone can become a Lord, Lady, Baron or Baroness of the Principality of Sealand.

Prince Michael’s fiefdom isn’t exactly grandiose: it’s two towers sticking out of the water, housing some 20 citizens. But Sealand has its own currency, stamps and passports.

“No country has officially recognized Sealand”, explains Prince Michael. “But remember that a country can exist without formal recognition by other countries. For many years the United States didn’t recognize China.” Prince Michael succeeded his father, Prince Roy, as monarch of Sealand in 1999.

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ACLU Takes on Biotech Over Patent on Genes

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Lisbeth Ceriani, a breast-cancer survivor who was also a plaintiff in an ACLU case to overturn the patent on the BRCA gene held by Myriad Genetics

For Lisbeth Ceriani, news that a judge had invalidated the patent on the gene that almost killed her was a victory. Gene patents, she says, are “turning our bodies into commerce.”

 

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StreamTransport Grabs Hulu Videos for Offline Viewing

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Windows: It may not stick around that long once the powers that be find out, so if downloading and watching Hulu videos offline could help you out, grab StreamTransport. The tricky little app provides full-quality captures of streaming shows and movies.

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A Corporation Has Announced It Will Run For Congress

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Just what we need. Murray Hill Incorporated has just announced its intention to run for Congress in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District.

Murray Hill Inc. is believed to be the first “corporate person” to exercise its constitutional right to run for office. As Supreme Court observer Lyle Denniston wrote in his SCOTUSblog, “If anything, the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission conferred new dignity on corporate “persons,” treating them — under the First Amendment free-speech clause — as the equal of human beings.”

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Amazing Wooden Sports Car

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Sportin’ a Woodie!
Forget carbon fibre or special metal alloys, this Japanese sports car manufactured by Sada-Kenbi is made from wood. This special car was hand built by wood craftsmen and is actually legal to drive in Japan. The car can accelerate up to 80 kmh (50 mph) and is for sale at a bargain price of $44,000.

It also features a motorcycle-like handlebar steering system, gull wing doors and even has a stereo…. (Pics & video)

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Man Would Rather Count the Wrinkles on His Dogs Balls Than Serve on Jury Duty

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One, two, three….

There are probably better ways to avoid jury duty than the approach recently taken by a Montana man. After Erik Slye, 36, received a jury notice earlier this year, he filed a notarized affidavit seeking to be excused from serving on a District Court panel in Gallatin County. Slye’s caustic affidavit, which he prepared with help from his wife Jennifer, can be found below…

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