Saturday, August 01, 2015

Nominations Open for ABA Joutrnal Annual List of the 100 Best Legal Blogs

Every year, the ABA Journal selects a Blawg 100 list (2014 list) of the best legal blogs based on input from readers.

It is time once again for nominations. Nominations can be sent in until the end of the day Aug. 16, 2015.

Here are the criteria:

  • We’re primarily interested in blogs in which the author is recognizable as someone working in a legal field or studying law in the vast majority of his or her posts.
  • The blog should offer insights into the practice of law and be of interest to legal professionals or law students. 
  • The majority of the blog’s content should be unique to the blog and not cross-posted or cut and pasted from other publications. 
  • We are not interested in blogs that more or less exist to promote the author’s products and services. 


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:19 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Canadian Forum on Civil Justice July 2015 Access to Justice Newsletter

The non-profit Canadian Forum on Access to Justice (CFCJ) has been publishing a monthly newsletter about Access to Justice since early 2013.

The latest issue of the newsletter includes:
  • an article on online divorce
  • news about the upcoming Innovation and the Access to Justice Conference in October 2015
  • a Summer Round Up: Our Picks for Must-read News and Articles from the CFCJ

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:11 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Slaw Research Tips on Deep Linking

Shaunna Mireau, Director of Knowledge Management and Process Improvement at the Alberta-based firm Field Law, has published a series of  Research Tips at Slaw.ca on how to create deep links to specific sub-collections in major Canadian legal databases.

They are:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:02 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Adam Dodek of University of Ottawa Wins Bar Association's 2015 Walter Owen Book Prize

The Canadian Bar Association has awarded its 2015 Walter Owen Book Prize to University of Ottawa law professor Adam Dodek for his book Solicitor-Client Privilege, published by Lexis-Nexis:
"Solicitor-Client Privilege explains key aspects of lawyer-client confidentiality, analyzes the exceptions to privilege, conditions where privilege is unclear, and situations of competing interests that might bring into question the application of privilege (...) "

"Prof. Dodek teaches public law and legislation, constitutional law, legal ethics and professional responsibility, and a seminar on the Supreme Court of Canada at University of Ottawa. He is a founding member of the faculty’s Public Law Group, the director of the Professionalism Initiative, and co-founder of the Legal Writing Academy."
The Prize seeks to recognize excellent legal writing and to reward outstanding new contributions to Canadian legal literature that enhance the quality of legal research in this country.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:45 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 2015 Issue of Connected Bulletin on Courts and Social Media

The July 2015 issue of Connected is available online. The bulletin covers news about the impact of new social media on courts.

The bulletin is published by the Virginia-based National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and the Conference of Court Public Information Officers.

In this month's issue:
  • Michigan court clerk comes up with ‘Uber’ offer for jurors
  • Federal judge suspends blog after court employees consider it ‘embarrassing’
  • Kansas Court of Appeals mulls case of expelled University of Kansas student
  • NCSC’s most popular post of the month
  • Social media tip of the month—Learn how to schedule posts so your court can save time

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:31 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New and Updated European Court of Human Rights Factsheets

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg has published a series of Factsheets that describe important jurisprudence of the institution on a number of subjects.

Recent additions and updates include:
The ECHR hears complaints from individuals living in any of the member states of the Council of Europe about violations of the European Convention of Human Rights. The Council of Europe is one of the continent's oldest political organizations, founded in 1949. It has 47 member countries.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:47 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Monday, July 27, 2015

Globe and Mail Weekend Feature on Judicial Appointments in Canada

Sean Fine, the Globe and Mail's justice correspondent, published a lengthy piece in the weekend edition of the newspaper on Stephen Harper’s courts: How the judiciary has been remade.

In it, Fine provides an analysis of appointments to the Canadian federal judiciary over the past decade under the Conservatives:
"The Conservative government has now named about 600 of the 840 full-time federally appointed judges, or nearly three in every four judges on provincial superior courts, appeal courts, the Federal Court and Tax Court. " (...)
"The judges, who can serve until they are 75, may be sitting long after other governments have come along and rewritten the laws. They also are a farm team or development system for the Supreme Court. They are Mr. Harper’s enduring legacy" (...)
"The rules in the appointments system are few, and all previous governments have used the bench to reward party faithful. But Mr. Harper is the first Prime Minister to be a critic of the Charter, and early on he told Parliament that he wanted to choose judges who would support his crackdown on crime." 
"The Globe spent months exploring the secret world of appointments to understand the extent of the changes and how the government set out to identify candidates who share its view of the judiciary’s proper role. We spoke to dozens of key players – political insiders, members of judicial screening committees, academics, judges and former judges – often on a condition of anonymity, so they could talk freely."
Related Globe and Mail articles include:
  • Legal observers urge Ottawa to revamp judicial appointment process (July 26, 2015): "Merit is too often trumped by political considerations in judicial appointments, leaders in the legal community say in calling for the federal government to overhaul the process. Among the simpler proposals: Putting ordinary Canadians on the committees that screen future judges, and restoring the right of these committees to say which ones they 'highly recommend.' They are now limited to recommend or not recommend. Some legal observers say the importance of politics in appointments could be further reduced by adopting models like Ontario’s, or Britain’s, in which independent committees give short lists of candidates from which the government must choose."
  • Supreme Court unfair to Harper government, new Ontario justice says (July 26, 2015): "The newest judge on Ontario’s top court has an explanation for the Conservative government’s well-known losing streak at the Supreme Court of Canada: The court’s reasoning process is unfair, making it almost impossible for the federal government to defend its laws, such as those involving assisted suicide, prostitution and the war on drugs. Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Bradley Miller, whose appointment was announced last month, is part of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s vanguard on the bench – a leading dissenter, along with fellow appeal-court Justice Grant Huscroft, from much of what Canada’s judges have said and done under the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As The Globe reported on the weekend, Mr. Harper has been on a decade-long quest to transform the lower courts by finding judges who would be less activist, and less likely to stand in the way of policies such as a crackdown on crime. Justice Miller and Justice Huscroft offer an approach that is more deferential to government than is currently the norm on Canadian courts. If over time they are able to point the court in a new direction, judges will become less likely to strike down laws in which broad moral issues are at stake; government would be given more respect as the authority to decide such issues."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:02 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Best Practices for Library Research Guides

The LLRX.com website has published a helpful list of tips on best practices for creating library research guides.

Among the tips:
  • Create a clean and consistent look
  • Create guides for specific tasks or courses
  • Quality over quantity
  • Provide short resource descriptions and tutorials
  • Break down the research process into smaller parts or steps
  • Keep text to a minimum
  • Avoid or define library terms
  • Provide prominent access points
  • Update guides regularly

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:53 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

LLRX.com Article on Cut-and-Paste Judicial Decisions

In the Cojocaru v. British Columbia Women's Hospital and Health Centre decision (2013 SCC 30, [2013] 2 SCR 357), the Supreme Court of Canada had to decide whether it was OK for a judge to simply copy-and-paste, without attribution, vast portions of a party's factum in their own reasons.

The LLRX.com website yesterday published an article on the topic of judges copying verbatim sections from parties' facta:
"Decisions are evidence of judicial thinking. Indeed, legal precedent has earned a 'presumption of correctness' based on the 'judge's own considered conclusions' unless 'clearly erroneous.' of fact and conclusions of law, evidence showing a lack of 'independent judgment' might reveal a due process violation."
"Some common objections to verbatim copying in judicial decisions include: (1) adoption of one party's fact-finding ex parte; (2) no independent decision-making; (3) no notice, hearing or opportunity for objection by other party; (3) no evidence to support adopting findings; and (4) improper delegation of decision-making power to a party."

"In response, appellate decisions and scholarly literature have offered some useful indicia of 'independent judgment': (1) an oral pronouncement that reveals decision-making before inviting or adopting the proposals of parties; (2) citation of evidentiary support and legal principles for the court's conclusions; (3) biases and advocacy of the parties filtered out in vetting the factual findings; and (4) a robust appellate review assuring fidelity to due process and statutory requirements for independent judicial reasoning."
"This article collects notable decisions and scholarly research concerning the legal and ethical issues associated with cut-and-paste decision-making."
The article cites to US and to a few Canadian decisions and articles.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:49 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Irish Law Reform Commission Report on Prevention of Benefit from Homicide

The Law Reform Commission of Ireland has released a Report on Prevention of Benefit from Homicide that recommends comprehensive legislative reform to prevent a person from benefitting from his or her wrongdoing, especially an act of homicide.

The recommendations are intended to prevent an offender benefitting, whether under a joint tenancy or, for example, a life insurance policy or a pension. The Report contains a draft Bill to implement the recommendations in the Report.

A joint tenancy is a type of co-ownership of property, often arranged between spouses. Where one of the spouses dies, the entire interest in the property automatically passes to the surviving joint owner who becomes full owner. The property held in a joint tenancy does not become part of the deceased joint owner's estate because ownership automatically vests in the surviving co-owner.

This legal consequence, called the right of survivorship, applies even where, as in Cawley v Lillis, the surviving co-owner has killed his or her spouse; and the High Court (Laffoy J) decided that, under the current law, the interest of the deceased should be held by the surviving spouse - the killer - in trust for the deceased’s daughter. The Court also suggested that the law in this area should be reviewed, and the Report being published today has done this.

The report examined case law and legislation from other jurisdictions, including Canada, the USA, Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:26 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Statistics Canada Article on Police-Reported Crime Shows 11th Consecutive Year of Decline

Yesterday, the Statistics Canada publication Juristat published an article entitled Police-reported crime statistics in Canada, 2014 that shows that both the crime rate and the crime severity index (CSI) declined for the 11th year in a row.

The crime severity index measures the volume and severity of police-reported crime.

Among the highlights:
  • With a base index value of 100 for 2006, the crime severity index has decreased to 66.7 in 2014. This decrease was driven primarily by a decline in breaking and entering, and robbery. 
  • The police-reported crime rate, which measures the volume of police-reported crime, also declined in 2014, decreasing 3% from the previous year to 5,046 incidents per 100,000 population. This represented the eleventh consecutive decrease in the police-reported crime rate, and the lowest rate recorded since 1969.
  • There were just under 1.8 million Criminal Code incidents (excluding traffic) reported by police in 2014.
  • Despite a decrease in the majority of Criminal Code violations (excluding traffic) between 2013 and 2014, the rate of police-reported violations increased for child pornography (+41%), terrorism (+39%), extortion (+16%), identity fraud (+8%), sexual violations against children (+6%), abduction (+4%), fraud (+2%), and motor vehicle theft (+1%).
  • Almost all provinces and territories recorded a decline in their police-reported CSI and crime rate in 2014. The only exceptions were Yukon, where the CSI was up 11% from 2013 and the crime rate remained stable, as well as British Columbia, where the CSI was up 3% from the previous year and the crime rate increased 2%. In addition, Alberta’s CSI increased slightly between 2013 and 2014, up 1%, while the police-reported crime rate remained stable.
  •  The overall volume and severity of violent crime, as measured by the violent CSI, declined 5% between 2013 and 2014 to 70.2, and was driven largely by a decrease in robbery. This drop marked the eighth consecutive decline in the violent CSI. 
  • The overall rate of Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) violations decreased in 2014, down 6% from the previous year. This decrease was primarily the result of fewer drug offences involving cannabis and cocaine.
  • Police-reported youth crime also decreased in 2014, with both the youth Crime Severity Index and the youth crime rate declining 9% from the previous year. The rate of youth accused of some of the most serious violations also decreased, including a drop in the rate of youth accused of homicide (-38%).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:46 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

English Law Commission Consultation on Firearms

The Law Commission of England has published a Scoping Consultation Paper on Firearms Law as part of a project to examine the law governing the acquisition, ownership and use of firearms.

As the web page for the project explains:
"The law regulating the use and acquisition of firearms is contained primarily within the Firearms Act 1968. Further provisions, however, are to be found in an additional 33 Acts of Parliament. In total therefore, to understand fully the law on firearms it is necessary to have regard to 34 Acts of Parliament. In addition to these, the law is to be found in numerous pieces of secondary legislation."

"Early fact finding with stakeholders suggested there was consensus on those problems that cause the most difficulties in practice. In this scoping consultation paper, the Law Commission sets out these problems and makes some provisional proposals as to how they could be remedied. By providing immediate solutions to these pressing problems, the aim is to maximise public safety whilst also providing clarity and certainty for members of the licensed firearms community."

"From discussions with stakeholders, it also became clear that there are more fundamental problems with the law. These problems are attributable to the fact the law has become increasing complex, inaccessible and in some instances incoherent. Given that the Firearms Act 1968 was a consolidating Act, many of its provisions have their origin in older legislative provisions, such as the Pistols Act 1903. It is questionable whether these remain fit for purpose in the 21st century."

"It is for these reasons the Law Commission has also examined in this scoping consultation paper whether more comprehensive reform of the law is necessary. We conclude that the law is problematic and could be improved. The consultation paper gives some examples of problems stakeholders have brought to our attention which we believe could be remedied by codifying the law."
The consultation period ends September 21, 2015.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:09 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Five Questions with Jennifer Walker, Head Librarian, County of Carleton Law Association

Last fall, the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) launched a series of member profiles called Five Questions With...

The most recent interview is with Jennifer Walker, Head Librarian, County of Carleton Law Association in Ottawa.

Other interviews in the series include:
  • Annette Demers, Acting Law Librarian and Sessional Lecturer, Paul Martin Law Library, and former President of CALL
  • Connie Crosby, Crosby Group Consulting and current CALL President
  • Sarah Sutherland, Manager, Content and Partnerships CanLII
  • Shaunna Mireau, Director of Knowledge Management and Process Improvement Field Law
  • Kim Clarke, Head, Bennett Jones Law Library, University of Calgary
  • Mark Lewis, Reference/IT Librarian, Sir James Dunn Law Library, Dalhousie University
  • John Kerr, Librarian, Wellington Law Association
Other interesting profile series include the CLA Government Library and Information Management Professionals Network series of librarian profiles called 13 Questions With... as well as the interview series by the Law Library of Congress in Washington with members of its staff.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:58 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:18 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Monday, July 20, 2015

Canadian Bar Association Conference Honouring Supreme Court of Canada Justice Louis LeBel

The Canadian Bar Association (Quebec Region) will hold a colloquium honouring retired Supreme Court of Canada Justice Louis LeBel in Montreal on October 29, 2015.

The full-day event takes place at the downtown Fairmont Le Reine Élizabeth Hotel.

Lots of big names will be giving speeches tackling LeBel's many, many contributions to civil law and procedure, administrative law, criminal law, Canada's bijuralism, labour law and the area of conflict of laws.

Justice LeBel who retired on November 30, 2014 will speak at the closing cocktail reception.

Get your tickets now!

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:38 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Where to Find Foreign Constitutions

Lyonette Louis-Jacques, Foreign and International Law Librarian and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School, has a very useful post on Slaw.ca on the topic of Locating Current Constitutional Texts.

She offers a list of resources for finding contitutions from around the world:
  • the Constitute Project
  • World Constitutions Illustrated on HeinOnline (subscription site)
  • Oxford Constitutional Law (subscription site)
  • ConstitutionNet (International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance)
  • and more...

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:06 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Emerald Publishing Launches Green Open Access for LIS Journals

The UK publisher Emerald Group Publishing announced last week that it is launching an open access "zero embargo" trial for articles submitted to its Library and Information Science and selected Information and Knowledge Management journals:
"Emerald's Green OA route offers all Emerald authors of journal articles the option to make their research openly available, free from payment and time restrictions. Once an article has been published by Emerald, an author may voluntarily post their own version of the article that was submitted to the journal (pre-print) or the version of the article that has been accepted for publication (post-print) onto their own personal website or into their own institutional repository with no payment or embargo period (with the exception of funded research where Emerald’s standard 24 month embargo period applies to mandated articles)."
The journals in the trial include:
  • Collection Building
  • Interlending & Document Supply
  • Library Hi Tech
  • Library Hi Tech News
  • Library Management
  • Library Review
  • New Library World
  • OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives
  • Performance Measurement and Metrics
  • Program
  • Reference Reviews
  • Reference Services Review
  • The Bottom Line
  • Aslib Journal of Information Management
  • The Electronic Library
  • Information and Computer Security
  • Information Technology & People
  • Internet Research
  • Journal of Documentation
  • Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society
  • Online Information Review

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:11 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

2015 Canadian Library Assessment Workshop Coming in October

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) and Ryerson University in Toronto are hosting the Canadian Library Assessment Workshop which will take place in Toronto on October 15 & 16, 2015.

The workshop will cover the following topics:
  • Linking your assessment plan to the Library’s strategic plan
  • Data collection for decision making
  • Data visualization
  • Assessing the unbundling of the big deal

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:04 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Library of Parliament Analysis of Aboriginal Representation on Juries

The Library of Parliament today published a post on its HillNotes blog that refers to the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision in R. v. Kokopenace that looked at the right of an Aboriginal accused person to be tried by a representative jury.

The case dealt with  the right to a fair trial by an impartial tribunal under section 11(d ) of the Canadian Charter of Rights  and Freedoms and the right to a trial by jury for certain offences under section 11(f ).

In the original case in 2008 in the Superior Court of Kenora, Ontario, the accused was found guilty of manslaughter by a jury. Aboriginal on-reserve residents represent about 30% of the adult population in the judicial district, but  accounted for only 4% of the jury roll from which the actual jurors were selected.

The accused Clifford Kokopenace is an Aboriginal man from the Grassy Narrows First Nation reserve.

The Court ruled that the manner in which the jury roll was created in this case did not violate the constitutional right of the accused to a representative jury:
"The majority of Supreme Court justices ... stated that the province would meet its constitutional obligation by providing a fair opportunity for a broad cross-section of society to participate in the jury process, irrespective of the ultimate composition of the jury roll. A fair opportunity will have been provided when the state makes reasonable efforts to compile the jury roll using random selection from lists that draw from a broad cross‑section of society, and deliver jury notices to those who have been randomly selected."

"The majority ruled that it is beyond the scope of section 11 to require that the state encourage the participation of Aboriginal peoples on juries, or address systemic issues related to their disengagement from the justice system."

"They held that the state will only violate the right to an impartial tribunal that is set out in section 11(d ) if it deliberately excludes a particular group, or if its efforts are 'so deficient that they create an appearance of partiality'. "

(...)
"The two dissenting judges defined a representative jury roll as one that substantially resembles the group that would be assembled through a process of random selection. They stated that the jury roll will comply with section 11 as long as the state takes appropriate steps to ensure that random selection will result in a group that is broadly representative of the community from which it is drawn."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:13 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

List of Fastcase 50 Legal Innovators for 2015

Fastcase, an American-based provider of electronic versions of U.S. primary law (cases, statutes, regulations, court rules, and constitutions), has unveiled its list of Fastcase 50 winners for the year 2015:
"The Fastcase 50 for 2015 highlights entrepreneurs, innovators, and trailblazers — people who have charted a new course for the delivery of legal services. In law firms – including some of the nation’s largest – with new delivery models, legal tech startups, legal publishers, academia, and the judiciary, these pioneers are giving the world a first look at what’s next for law and technology."
Simon Fodder, the founder of Slaw.ca, Canada's preeminent online legal magazine, was recognized as one of the Fastcase 50 in 2014.

Fastcase and HeinOnline were the joint winners of the 2014 New Product of the Year Award of the American Association of Law Libraries.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:01 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

SLA Twitter Chat on Knowledge Management

The international information professional organization SLA (Special Libraries Association) is organizing a Twitter chat on knowledge management (KM) on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 from 3 to 4PM Eastern time.

The chat will deal with 4 questions:
  • the definition of KM
  • are you responsible for areas in your workplace that can be considered KM?
  • what KM strategy or technique do you find most valuable?
  • which resources do you use to learn about or sharpen your KM skills?

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:57 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Monday, July 13, 2015

Australian Law Reform Commission Michael Kirby Lecture 2015

On July 9, 2015, Professor Rosalind Croucher, the President of Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC), gave the 2015 Michael Kirby Lecture.

The title of the lecture is Michael Kirby's Vision, Human Rights and the Australian Law Reform Commission in the 21st Century. The lecture is named after Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court of Australia. Justice Kirby was the first President (or "Chairman") of the ALRC. His term lasted 1975-1984.

From Croucher's remarks:
"How do we know we are doing well? To justify our existence over 40 years we must be doing something ‘good’ (to paraphrase sister Maria in The Sound of Music)."

" ‘Implementation’ data is one way – the darling of those who like KPIs. But it is not all about statistics. A lack of implementation, of itself, does not mean failure. It is not even a very good guide to performance. (Although our ‘numbers’ are good: as of June 2014, over 88% of ALRC reports had been substantially or partially implemented)."

"My personal conviction, after nearly nine years at the ALRC, is that an assessment of the contribution that law reform work makes must be seen through another lens. It is like a pebble in a pond. There are ripples that run over the surface of the pond—the extending, echoing impact, long after the pebble has disappeared beneath the surface of the water."

"The ripples are multiple and overlapping. Here are some ...."


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:40 p.m. 0 comments links to this post