Thursday, July 19, 2018

List of Fastcase 50 Legal Innovators for 2018

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 2018.
"Created in 2011, each year the Fastcase 50 award honors a diverse group of lawyers, legal technologists, policymakers, judges, law librarians, bar association executives, and people from all walks of life. In many cases, honorees are well known, but in many others, the award recognizes people who have made important, but unheralded contributions."
There are a number of law librarians in the list:
  • Kenton Brice, Director of Technology Innovation, The University of Oklahoma College of Law
  • Femi Cadmus, Edward Cornell Law Librarian, Associate Dean for Library Services, and Professor of the Practice, Cornell Law School
  • Kate Hagan, Executive Director, American Association of Law Libraries
  • Saskia Mehlhorn, Director of Knowledge Management & Library Services, Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
Simon Fodden, the founder of, Canada's preeminent online legal magazine, was recognized as one of the Fastcase 50 in 2014.

Michael Mills, one of the Fastcase 50 in 2012, wrote in 2015 on LinkedIn about how the winners of the previous 5 years had begun to form an ecosystem of innovation:
“They champion transparency—in lawyer/client relations, in government data, policy, and practice, in judicial proceedings, and in legal education. They advocate for access—to the law itself, and to justice. They build structures, systems, and tools for access, quality, economy, and efficiency.”

They also collaborate. A tour of the five classes found time and again 50’s who are working together across organizations and projects, who influence and inspire one another.” [my emphasis]
Using his company as an example, Mills writes that “from any one person among the Fastcase 250, there are lines linking in many directions to many others.”

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Recent Research Publications from Canada's Library of Parliament

The Library of Parliament has published a number of interesting research publications recently:
  • Hate Speech and Freedom of Expression: Legal Boundaries in Canada: "This paper explores the different types of restrictions that have been used in Canada to address the promotion of hatred and other related and potentially harmful forms of expression, such as the glorification of terrorism or the display of an intent to discriminate. It includes information on other ways in which crimes motivated by hatred are addressed in the criminal sentencing process and are tracked by law enforcement agencies. It also reviews some aspects of the debate surrounding ways to address hate propaganda."
  • The Role of Parliamentary Secretaries: An Overview: "Parliamentary secretaries are members of Parliament from the governing party who are appointed by the prime minister to assist Cabinet ministers with their parliamentary duties. Under the direction of these ministers, parliamentary secretaries handle routine matters in the House of Commons, engage in committee work as non‑voting members, and assume some extra‑parliamentary responsibilities. Thus, parliamentary secretaries act as a link between ministers and other parliamentarians. Some may be given special assignments as well. Moreover, the office can serve as a training ground for future ministers or as a way of rewarding members of the government caucus. This provides an overview of the role of parliamentary secretaries and how this office has changed over time." 
  • Taxation and Regulation of Digital Currencies: "Some believe that one day, digital currencies might replace a significant portion of currencies that governments have declared to be legal tender in their country, avoiding regulatory oversight and control. Therefore, the challenge for governments and regulators is to develop a regulatory environment for digital currencies and fintechs that fosters responsible development of these technologies, while protecting consumers, investors, businesses and the financial system. In Canada, legislation and/or regulations related to digital currencies exist with respect to taxation, money laundering and terrorist financing, securities and other financial regulations that affect fintechs."
  • Federal Legislation affecting People with Disabilities: Where We Are Today:"While there is currently no overarching federal disability legislation in Canada, the idea has garnered attention for decades. Many voices, including a parliamentary committee, a federal task force, and advocates have called for legislative action to remove barriers to full participation and ensure the equality of people with disabilities (...) The introduction of federal accessibility legislation ('An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada') is expected to benefit not only people with disabilities but also their caregivers. In a society where approximately 3.8 million Canadians aged 15 years or older have reported living with disabilities that limited their daily activities, any legislative reform is likely to have a major impact from coast to coast to coast."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:49 pm 0 comments links to this post

CanLII Launches Authors Program

CanLII, the Canadian Legal Information Institute that makes Canadian legal information (caselaw, legislation and commentary) available to the public for free, is launching the CanLII Authors Program:
"Starting today we accept submissions of legal commentary from the legal community. If you are the author of a text that you would like to see on CanLII, whether it was published elsewhere before or not, you can now submit it to us for inclusion in our commentary section."

"We know that the legal community as a whole writes a great deal more valuable content than what can be easily found using existing tools. This may include papers professionals submit when they agree to give a presentation at a CLE event, or long papers that are posted on their firm’s website, etc. We also know that many established authors would rather contribute their work to CanLII for it to be available openly and circumvent closed publishing channels."
CanLII already publishes law reviews, reports, newsletters and case commentaries.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:32 pm 0 comments links to this post

How to Figure Out the Status of Federal Tax Legislation

SlawTips are a regular feature on the website. They contain short legal research and writing advice. I often discover something I didn't know.

Last week, Susannah Tredwell, Manager of Library Services at DLA Piper (Canada) LLP in Vancouver, offered tips on How to Figure Out the Status of Proposed Federal Tax Legislation.

It's a quick step-by-step tutorial. 

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection from July 1 to 15, 2018 is now available on the Court website.

It is possible to subscribe via e-mail to receive the list.


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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

More Background on US Supreme Court Nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Resources on US Supreme Court Nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh

The Library of Congress in Washington has published a page with resources about US Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh.
The page includes links to articles and books by and about the nominee, to cases decided by him (coming soon), to Congressional materials about his earlier nominations to federal judicial posts, and to web resources.

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Sunday, July 08, 2018

Most Recent Issue of LawNow: Law on Travel and Transport

The most recent issue of LawNow is available online.

The magazine is published by the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta.

The issue features a series of articles on laws that impact travel and transport (cycling, travel taxes, air passenger rights, etc.) as well as a special report on diversity in the law and the legal profession.

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Canadian Federation of Library Associations Applauds Government Support for Net Neutrality

The Canadian Federation of Library Associations issued a press release last week applauding the federal government’s response to the Protection of Net Neutrality report from the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) should give consumers access to all legal content and applications on an equal basis, without favoring some sources or blocking others.

In its press release, the CFLA states:
"The government’s response highlighted its commitment to support principles of net neutrality in telecommunications services, particularly through the Telecommunications Act. The government has also supported motion M-168, which indicated the need to uphold standards of net neutrality that are globally recognized. "

"CFLA-FCAB is also pleased to see the government is committed to ensure that international regimes will not inhibit Canada’s position on net neutrality noting 'The Government of Canada is mindful of the concerns of Canadian enterprises and citizens over the recent changes in the United States (US) to its net neutrality regime and will seek to address with the US any situation whereby a Canadian enterprise is negatively affected by the traffic management practices of a US ISP'."
The CFLA is the national voice of Canada’s library associations.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2018

July 2018 Issue of In Session - E-Newsletter of Canadian Association of Law Libraries

The July 2018 issue of In Session is available online.

It is the monthly e-newsletter of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) and contains news from CALL committees and special interest groups, member updates and events.

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Monday, July 02, 2018

Who Will Trump Select to Replace Retiring US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy?

Last week, US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he is retiring as of the end of this month.

Who might Trump be thinking of as his replacement?

The California-based non-profit Free Law Project has compiled Trump’s Supreme Court List:
"In response to this announcement, President Trump stated that his next Supreme Court nomination would come from his existing list of potential Supreme Court justices."

"In our Judge and Appointment database, we have compiled extensive information about American judges, including their biographical data, the roles they have held before, during and after their time in the judicial branch, their political affiliations, and their campaign finance information (if applicable). The judges are also linked to the opinions they have authored."

"Below are links to every judge in our database that is on President Trump’s list. For a few judges, we have not yet completed this work, and so there’s no link."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:03 pm 0 comments links to this post

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection from June 16 to 30, 2018 is now available on the Court website.

It is possible to subscribe via e-mail to receive the list.


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Thursday, June 28, 2018

New Research Report on Access to Court Transcripts

The National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP) has published a new research report entitled Is Access to Court Transcripts an Access to Justice Issue?

From a description of the project:
"For SRLs, access to a written (or audio) transcript of their hearing is frequently critical to their effective participation in the justice system. We hear regularly from SRLs who feel that without a transcript, it is simply impossible for them to know what to do next, or how to weigh their options – whether to settle, to appeal, or to prepare for another step in the legal process."
"The reasons for this are surely obvious. SRLs consistently tell us that they find hearings (including case management and settlement conferences) the most intimidating and difficult part of the legal process. They are often operating in a state of high anxiety, typically with little sleep the night before. Without legal training and experience, they understandably, no matter how well-educated or how well-prepared they may be, find it extraordinarily difficult to pinpoint what is most important in what the judge or master has said during the hearing. They often hear terms or expressions that they do not readily understand (...) "
"We found that:
  • The process (and cost) of obtaining a transcript varies widely across the country.
  • Some processes are relatively simple, others extremely hard to figure out (Becky and Kaila spent four months just gathering the relevant information for each province and territory).
  • Transcripts are always costly; some are very costly. And they are not generally included in fee waiver schemes for indigent litigants.
  • Some court hearings in some courts do not offer transcripts.
  • Some appeal processes require the litigant to obtain a transcript of the lower court decision."
"These challenges have a further, unfortunate, but understandable consequence. When they face difficulty accessing their hearing transcripts, some SRLs begin to wonder if there are nefarious reasons behind why this is being made so hard for them, and may come to believe that transcripts are being deliberately withheld. In short, this is yet one more way in which the justice system is unintentionally creating mistrust and reducing public confidence."
The NSRLP, which flows out of the work conducted by Dr. Julie Macfarlane, Faculty of Law of the University of Windsor, describes itself as a clearinghouse for resources, research data, new initiatives, training materials and other information that affects and reflects the SRL phenomenon.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:07 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Alberta Law Reform Institute Report on Property Division Rules for Common-law Couples

The Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) has published a report on Property Division: Common-law Couples and Adult Interdependent Partners:
"Couples should be free to make their own agreements regarding ownership and division of property. ALRI recommends that legislation should allow common law couples to make their own agreements. ALRI further recommends that agreements should be subject to specific requirements in order to be enforceable. Those requirements, which include independent legal advice, are intended to make sure that each common law partner is aware of their potential claims to property and the nature and effect of the agreement, and that each partner is entering the agreement freely and voluntarily."

"An agreement that does not satisfy these safeguards is not enforceable but may be considered by the Court in an application by one or both partners to divide property."

"If a couple does not make their own agreement or their agreement is not enforceable, ALRI recommends that there should be default rules to govern the division of property."

"Legislated default rules for property division should apply to couples who are adult interdependent partners under the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act. The criteria in the Act consider whether the couple are interdependent economically, domestically and socially. Couples also have to live together for a specified qualifying period, although they may shorten or eliminate the qualifying period by making a written agreement. Short term or casual relationships would not trigger the property division rules."

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Statistics Canada Article on Adult and Youth Correctional Statistics in Canada

The Statistics Canada publication Juristat last week published an article entitled Adult and youth correctional statistics in Canada, 2016/2017.

According to the article, the number of adults and youth being supervised by correctional services in Canada has fallen by almost one-fifth since 2012/2013.

It also found that the overrepresentation of Indigenous Canadians continued.

Aboriginal adults represented about 5% of the Canadian adult population in 2016/2017, while accounting for 28% of admissions to provincial/territorial correctional services and 27% of admissions for federal correctional services. In comparison, in 2006/2007, Aboriginal adults accounted for 21% of admissions to provincial and territorial correctional services and 19% to federal correctional services.

Aboriginal males accounted for 28% of male admissions to custody in the provinces and territories in 2016/2017, while Aboriginal females accounted for 43% of total female admissions to custody.

The overrepresentation also applied to Aboriginal youth. They accounted for 46% of admissions to correctional services in 2016/2017, while representing 8% of the Canadian youth population.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:50 pm 0 comments links to this post

Law Library of Congress Report on Regulation of Cryptocurrency Around the World

The Law Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. recently published a report on the Regulation of Cryptocurrency Around the World:
"This report surveys the legal and policy landscape surrounding cryptocurrencies around the world. While not dissimilar in form to the 2014 Law Library of Congress report on the same subject, which covered forty foreign jurisdictions and the European Union, this report is significantly more comprehensive, covering 130 countries as well as some regional organizations that have issued laws or policies on the subject. This expansive growth is primarily attributable to the fact that over the past four years cryptocurrencies have become ubiquitous, prompting more national and regional authorities to grapple with their regulation. The resulting availability of a broader set of information regarding how various jurisdictions are handling the fast-growing cryptocurrency market makes it possible to identify emerging patterns, some of which are described below. The country surveys are also organized regionally to allow for region-specific comparisons." 
"One interesting aspect of the fast-growing cryptocurrency market is the fluidity of the terms used to describe the different products that fall within its ambit. While the various forms of what are broadly known as “cryptocurrencies” are similar in that they are primarily based on the same type of decentralized technology known as blockchain with inherent encryption, the terminology used to describe them varies greatly from one jurisdiction to another. Some of the terms used by countries to reference cryptocurrency include: digital currency (Argentina, Thailand, and Australia), virtual commodity (Canada, China, Taiwan), crypto-token (Germany), payment token (Switzerland), cyber currency (Italy and Lebanon), electronic currency (Colombia and Lebanon), and virtual asset (Honduras and Mexico)."
The Law Library of Congress is the world’s largest law library, with a collection of over 2.65 million volumes from all ages of history and virtually every jurisdiction in the world.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:41 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Lawyer Moms of America Against Trump Immigration Policy

In news from south of our borders:
"A new group called Lawyer Moms of America, formed to oppose separation of immigrant families, has quickly grown to 10,000 members, thanks to social media. " 

"The group is planning a Day of Action on June 29, even though President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to end family separations."

"Lawyer Moms says the executive order is silent on the status of more than 2,345 immigrant children who are already separated from their families, and the group is urging they be reunited. And the group is concerned about families being held indefinitely in what could amount to internment camps."
Earlier this week, the American Library Association mentioned a whole list of other organizations fighting the Trump administration's cruel anti-immigrant policy:
“We express our sincere appreciation and stand in solidarity with those of like mind including ACLU, Al Otro Lado, Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project, Border Angels, CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, Immigrant Defender's Law Network , KIND (Kids in Need of Legal Defense), Pueblo Sin Fronteras, REFORMA: Children in Crisis, Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, Texas Civil Rights Project, The Florence Project and Refugee Rights Project, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, The Young Center of Children's Immigrant Rights, and Together Rising.”
Send them money.

The American Association of Law Libraries has also reacted this week.

Amnesty International has declared that it "considers intentionally inflicting severe mental suffering on families for coercive purposes a form of torture".

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Victoria Law Reform Commission Report on Litigation Funding and Class Proceedings

The Victoria Law Reform Commission in Australia has tabled a final report in the state parliament on Access to Justice - Litigation Funding and Group Proceedings:
"Each of the three components—litigation funding, contingency fees, and class actions (group proceedings)—does, or has the potential to, contribute to access to justice. Litigation funding reduces the risks to litigants of taking proceedings; removing the ban on contingency fees could introduce another means of doing so; and class actions take advantage of economies of scale."

"This report, informed by the overarching issue of access to justice and the aim that litigants are not exposed to unfair risks or disproportionate cost burdens, examines the specified issues in the terms of reference, and makes recommendations in respect of each of them."

"In relation to litigation funding, the Commission makes recommendations for national regulation of the industry and greater transparency when a litigation funder is involved in proceedings. The Commission does not recommend fixed caps or limits on funding costs; rather, it encourages appropriate court control."

"In relation to the prohibition on law firms charging contingency fees, the Commission recommends that, in principle and in appropriate areas of law, lawyers should be allowed to charge contingency fees. This is also a matter which should be developed nationally, in the interests of consistency."

"In relation to class actions, the Commission’s recommendations seek to strengthen the Court’s powers [note: the Court refers to the state's Supreme Court], particularly in ensuring that a successful outcome is not unduly eroded by legal and funding fees. The Commission also makes recommendations to improve efficiency and accountability, which should reduce delays and associated costs, but has concluded that the introduction of a pre-commencement certification requirement is neither desirable nor necessary."
The state of Victoria is in south-eastern Australia and its capital is Melbourne.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:24 pm 0 comments links to this post

British Columbia Law Institute Consultation Paper on Employment Standards Act

The British Columbia Law Institute has published a consultation paper on the province's Employment Standards Act.

The Act sets minimum standards for terms of employment and working conditions, and applies to most workplaces in British Columbia.

The paper contains 78 tentative recommendations dealing with all of the following areas:
  •  scope of the legislation
  •  hiring of employees
  •  hours of work, overtime and flextime
  •  wages and wage payment
  •  annual vacation and special leaves
  •  termination of employment
  •  vulnerable classes of employees
  •  complaints and enforcement
  •  enforcement mechanisms 
The paper examines comparable legislation in other jurisdictions in Canada and abroad.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

2018 Legal Research Teach-In Toolkit from American Association of Law Libraries

The Research Instruction and Patron Services Special Interest Section (a sub-group of the American Association of Law Libraries) has released its 26th Annual National Legal Research Resources Kit.

Every year, the Section solicits contributions from the law library community that other librarians can use to develop their own instructional activities at their institutions.

This year, there are submissions that include games, course and presentation materials, infographics and more.

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) has an Instructional Resources Bank in the members-only section of the CALL website.

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection from June 1 to 15, 2018 is now available on the Court website.

It is possible to subscribe via e-mail to receive the list.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:08 pm 0 comments links to this post