Saturday, May 23, 2015

National Post Interview With Chief Justice of Canada Beverley McLachlin

The National Post has published a lengthy article based on an exclusive interview with Beverley McLachlin, Chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

It goes over her philosophy of judicial review, the Court's evolution since the introduction of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, what some observers quoted in the interview have called the Court's often adversarial relationship with the current federal government, and McLachlin's leadership style.


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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Vote for the 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

Members of the public have until Friday, June 5 at 11:59 p.m. to vote online for the winner of the 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.
The prize, which is sponsored by ABA Journal and the University of Alabama School of Law, is intended to recognize a work of fiction that best exemplifies the role of lawyers in society.
The three finalists this year are:
There is a judging panel of four:
  • Roy Blount Jr., author and humorist
  • Wayne Flynt, author and Alabama historian
  • Mary McDonagh Murphy, independent film and television writer and producer
  • Michele Norris, NPR host and special correspondent
The public vote will act as a fifth judge.

The 2015 prize will be awarded Sept. 3 at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the Library of Congress National Book Festival.

The award is named after author Harper Lee, whose novel To Kill A Mockingbird, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961. Previous winners include John Grisham, Michael Connelly and Paul Goldstein.

Earlier Library Boy posts about the prize include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:41 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Interview With Law Library of Congress Foreign Law Specialist Jenny Gesley

In Custodia Legis, the blog of the Law Library of Congress in Washington, has been running an interview series featuring members of the library staff. The series started in late October 2010.

The most recent interview is with Jenny Gesley, Foreign Law Specialist who provides research and reference services related to Germany and other German-speaking countries:
"How would you describe your job to other people?
As a foreign law specialist, I cover the German-speaking jurisdictions of Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Liechtenstein. In this capacity, I answer requests from members of Congress, executive agencies, courts, and also the general public on the laws of these countries. The work is at the intersection of research and practice and can cover every area of the law, which makes it both challenging and interesting. In addition, I am in charge of maintaining and updating the Law Library’s collection for these countries (...)"

"What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Law Library of Congress?
I have learned a lot of interesting facts about the Law Library of Congress, but what impressed me the most were the following two facts. The Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress was the first public building constructed with electrical wiring in the city of Washington, D.C. Members of Congress would come to the Member’s Room at the Library of Congress to marvel at the new invention. Second, the Law Library’s collection of law books for a country sometimes surpasses the collections of institutions within the country itself, which can also be helpful if that country’s collections are destroyed as a result of a natural disaster or conflict."
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 7:52 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

June 15 Deadline for Applications for James D. Lang Memorial Scholarship Fund

Members of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) have until June 15, 2015 to apply to the James D. Lang Memorial Scholarship fund.

The scholarship is designed to support attendance at a continuing education program, be it a workshop, certificate program or other similar activity deemed appropriate by the CALL Scholarships and Awards Committee.

Here is a testimonial from a recent recipient, Mary-Jo Mustoe, Librarian at the R. Boak Burns Law Library at the Welland County Law Association in Welland, Ontario:
“I’ve been aware of the James D. Lang Scholarship for many years, but it never occurred to me to apply. This year I was seriously thinking of expanding my educational opportunities outside of the usual library conferences and I found a really interesting course offered by the iSchool Institute. The James D. Lang Scholarship enabled me to attend the two-day course - Defining New Metrics for Library Success. This course opened a whole new dimension of learning and analytics and has added a new skill to my daily work in the law library.”
This scholarship fund was established in memory of James D. Lang, a long- time employee of Canadian publisher Carswell and member of CALL.

More details are available on the CALL website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:42 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Petition to Re-Instate the Ontario E-Laws Detailed Legislative History Tables

Annette Demers, Law Librarian at the University of Windsor and former president of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries, has prepared a letter and petition to the Ontario Minister of Justice asking that the Detailed Legislative History Tables be maintained on the government's E-Laws website.

E-Laws is the Ontario government's official legislation website. When it was migrated to a new platform, the decision was taken to discontinue producing the Tables which provide essential information about legislative amendments and coming into force provisions.

As the letter explains:
"As advanced users of legal information, who conduct research on behalf of lawyers, judges, law professors and students, and as teachers of the next generation of lawyers, we are opposed to the discontinuation of this research tool, particularly insofar as an alternative has not yet been devised."

"No technology upgrade should result in a loss of functionality ‐ upgrades should achieve the goal of maintaining and enhancing existing functionality. This project should not have went live until a suitable solution was devised, and after appropriate consultation with stakeholders. "

"If an alternative is devised in one year, this is one full year of legislative activity which will not have been tabulated. The longer it takes to devise a strategy, the more the tracking of amendments is aggregated, creating a larger problem requiring more and more resources to remedy in time. The outcome may surely be an entire timeframe where there is no tool to assist researchers."
Please circulate this petition widely. Demers hopes to deliver it to the Ontario Ministry of Justice by June 15.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:36 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Monday, May 18, 2015

New Zealand Law Commission Issues Paper on National Security Information in Proceedings

The Law Commission of New Zealand has published an Issues Paper that discusses how national security information should be used and protected in criminal, civil and administrative proceedings.

It focuses on instances where national security information is relevant to a decision that affects a person's rights or interests, but its disclosure might prejudice national security. The Law Commission’s objective is to establish whether the current law effectively protects such information while upholding fair trial rights and the principles of natural justice, or whether there is scope for reform:
"This issues paper deals with issues of considerable public importance such as when the Crown should have the ability to refuse to disclose information in court proceedings, which strikes at the very heart of the open justice principle. We invite submissions as to what amounts to legitimate national security concerns (for example, protecting intelligence-gathering partnerships and methodology) and what responses can help mitigate the impact that non-disclosure of national security information might have on what are fundamental principles of our rule of law system. Our aim is to ensure the procedure is clear and effective when legitimate national security concerns necessitate that the Crown’s disclosure obligations be altered." (...)

"This review looks at the protection, disclosure, exclusion and use of relevant classified and sensitive national security information in such proceedings. As part of the review the Law Commission is considering whether legislation is needed to provide a process by which national security information may be disclosed and used in court (including criminal trials) and in tribunal proceedings and administrative decisions (and appeals against decisions) in a way that protects the information while maintaining principles of natural justice."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:16 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Library and Archives Canada Response to Library Community Concerns About Outsourcing of AMICUS National Catalogue

This is a follow-up to the March 11, 2015 Library Boy post entitled Canadian Library Association Concerns About Outsourcing of AMICUS National Catalogue to OCLC.

Library and Archives Canada (LAC)  has been negotiating with the OCLC international library cooperative about taking over AMICUS, Canada's national union catalogue. Many Canadian libraries use AMICUS to identify institutions from which to order materials via inter-library loan.

The Canadian Library Association (CLA) wrote earlier this year to LAC to express concerns about the change. These concerns include questions relating to:
  • access to the new AMICUS for libraries that are not members of OCLC
  • the openness of OCLC
  • accessibility issues for libraries using older technologies
  • the maintenance of Canadian authorities and subject headings going forward
  • cross-references between English and French authorities and subject headings
Library and Archives has responded and that response has been published on the CLA website.

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

Roundup of SLA Twitter Chat on Networking

The international information professional organization SLA (Special Libraries Association) organized a Twitter chat on March 25, 2015 to identify the tools, tricks and techniques info pros use to network.

The SLA has now published the contents of the event on the Storify website.


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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Library of Parliament Adds Journals to its Historical Resources Database

In 2013, the Library of Parliament, in collaboration with, launched a new Canadian Historical Parliamentary Resources digital portal.

The portal offers free public access to digital versions of the debates of the Parliament of Canada in both official languages, starting with the first session of Parliament in 1867 until debate coverage on the parliamentary website begins (Debates for the House of Commons are available as of January 17, 1994 ; Debates for the Senate of Canada are available from the parliamentary website as of February 27, 1996).

The portal has now added access to the Journals of the Senate and of the House of Commons of Canada, again going back to 1867. The Senate and House of Commons Journals are the notes and records kept by the Clerks and other Table Officers during a sitting. They are the official record of Senate and House decisions and other transactions such as petitions presented, documents tabled, etc. is a not-for-profit, charitable organization made up of public libraries, archives, research institutions, and other organizations committed to digitizing, preserving, and providing access to Canada’s documentary heritage.

[Source: @LoPinformation]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:52 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Lex Machina Wins American Association of Law Libraries New Product of the Year Award

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) announced today that Lex Machina’s Legal Analytics product is the winner of its 2015 New Product Award:
"Lex Machina’s Legal Analytics product, created by experts at Stanford’s Computer Science Department and Law School, assembles data sets from millions of pages of legal information that contain valuable information on districts, judges, law firms, lawyers, parties, and patents. The Software-as-a-Service product helps users predict the behaviors and outcomes that different legal strategies will produce, enabling them to win cases and close business."
The product can help litigators answer questions such as:
  • How likely is a judge to grant or deny a specific motion?
  • How long do cases take to terminate, get to trial, or get to the claim construction hearing before a judge?
  • How likely is a judge to find patents, trademarks or copyrights infringed, invalid, or unenforceable?
  • Opposing counsel’s experience before specific judges and courts,
  • Opposing counsel’s client list
  • Which law firms have the most experience against opposing counsel
  •  A party’s experience before specific judges and courts, find the timing from filing to key events in cases involving them, and view damages awarded in patent cases
  • Total number of times each patent has been asserted
  • Total findings of infringement, invalidity, and unenforceability of patents, damages awarded, parties involved
  •  etc.
According to the AALL:
"This award honors new commercial information products that enhance or improve existing law library services or procedures or innovative products which improve access to legal information, the legal research process, or procedures for technical processing of library materials. A 'new' product is one which has been in the library-related marketplace for two years or less."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:22 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Library of Parliament Analysis of Freedom of Religion and the State’s Duty of Neutrality

The Library of Parliament today published a post on its HillNotes blog that refers to the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision Mouvement laïque québécois v. Saguenay (City) .

The Court ruled unanimously that the City of Saguenay, Quebec cannot open its council meetings with a prayer:
"The Court held in Mouvement laïque québécois v. Saguenay (City) that the recitation of prayers before council interfered with an atheist appellant’s freedom of conscience and religion and failed to respect the state’s duty of neutrality on religious matters. This duty requires that the state abstain from favouring one religious belief over others (...)"
"Writing on behalf of the Court, Justice Clément Gascon stressed that the decision should not be viewed as 'taking a stand in favour of atheism or agnosticism' over religion. Rather, he wrote that in preserving 'a neutral public space that is free of discrimination and in which true freedom to believe or not to believe is enjoyed by everyone equally,' the state helps preserve every person’s 'freedom and dignity' (...)"

"Justice Gascon discussed the Supreme Court’s 'evolving' understanding of the freedom of religion and conscience. He added that it must be interpreted in light of section 27 of the Canadian Charter, which recognizes the multicultural nature of Canada. He recognized that there are many traditional practices in Canada’s heritage that are religious in nature."

"A reference to a religious faith by the state is not on its own determinative. Rather, it is the purpose and effect of the reference that may be discriminatory. The traditional element of such practices, however, cannot be used to justify promoting the participation of certain believers to the detriment of others."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:29 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Monday, May 11, 2015

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles April 2015

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the month of April 2015 is now available on the Court website.

The web page explains: "The Supreme Court of Canada Library lends materials from all but the most recent New Library Titles list in accordance with its Interlibrary Loan Policy."

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

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:44 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Law Library of Congress Comparative Law Report on Responses to Health Emergencies

The Law Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. recently published a study of Legal Responses to Health Emergencies:
"This report contains discussions of the regulations addressing health emergencies in twenty-five jurisdictions. The jurisdictional surveys that are included cover countries from six continents and reflect national, regional (European Union, EU), and international (World Health Organization, WHO) approaches to the problem. The report is supplemented by an annotated bibliography that lists recently published English-language monographs and academic articles on issues related to handling public health crises. All surveys included in this report review government structures tasked with delivering public health protection, relevant legislative frameworks for addressing health emergencies, and the powers of government institutions in times of health crises and their ability to mitigate the consequences of such crises. Analyses of the regulation of such issues as disease surveillance and notification systems are also provided. Individual surveys discuss the role of medical and emergency services personnel in responding to public health challenges, the coordination of government activities aimed at minimizing the spread of epidemics, and the cooperation of national health-care institutions with the WHO in implementing pandemic preparedness measures. Measures taken by national governments in response to recent outbreaks of infectious diseases, including the Ebola epidemic in western Africa in 2014, are also described."
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 5:58 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Library of Parliament Publication on Assisted Human Reproduction in Canada

The Library of Parliament has published a revised version of its research publication on Legal Status at the Federal Level of Assisted Human Reproduction in Canada:
"The world’s first 'test-tube baby,' the result of fertilizing a human ovum in vitro and transferring the resulting embryo to a woman’s uterus, was born in England in 1978. This achievement followed decades of clinical and laboratory research. It also catalyzed interest in a new area of medical ethics as multiple technological advances, along with their implications for genetics, posed new ethical questions and responsibilities."

"This paper provides an overview of the many steps that the Canadian federal government has taken to establish a legislative and regulatory framework for reproductive technologies and related research. This background includes a description of the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies, early attempts at legislation and a discussion of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, in force since 2004, including its list of prohibited activities. The constitutional challenge to the legislation that was brought by the Attorney General of Quebec and ultimately heard by the Supreme Court of Canada is reviewed. Finally, the federal government’s response to the Supreme Court decision in the form of amendments to the Act is summarized. This paper does not examine how activities related to assisted human reproduction may be regulated by the provinces."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:30 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

HeinOnline Oral History of Law Librarianship

U.S. vendor HeinOnline has created a series of online interviews entitled An Oral History of Law Librarianship.

The interviews are part of the HeinOnline library Spinelli’s Law Library Reference Shelf and are also viewable on the HeinOnline YouTube channel.

The videos contain interviews of active and retired law librarians and others related to the profession. This series showcases individuals in the profession as they discuss and reflect on their experiences.

The focus is obviously American.

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

April 2015 Issue of Connected Bulletin on Courts and Social Media

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

In this month's issue:
  • Judge criticizes parents on Facebook
  • Wife gets the ok to file divorce papers on Facebook
  • Former gun store owner refuses to turn over social media passwords
  • Turkish court blocks Twitter and YouTube after graphic photos leaked online
  • Social media tip of the month
The bulletin is published by the Virginia-based National Center for State Courts and the Conference of Court Public Information Officers.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:19 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, May 07, 2015

UK Supreme Court Launches 'Video on Demand' Service

This week, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom launched an on-demand archive of past hearings ... to complement the court's existing live streaming service:
"Footage of the proceedings in court will be freely available via each case's page on the Supreme Court website, and will be uploaded the next working day. Once judgment is delivered, footage of the Justices' summary in court will also be published alongside the full judgment text and press summary."

"The service will include footage of proceedings of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (or JCPC, which hears appeals from a number of Commonwealth countries, British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies)."

"Footage will remain available for approximately one year after the court hearing, before being removed to make way for new cases. For copyright reasons, users will not be able to download the footage for long term storage or editing."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:34 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Supreme Court of Canada Hearings Calendar for May 2015

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of Canada published its calendar of appeal hearings for May 2015.

To find out more about any particular case, the Court's website has a section that allows users to find docket information, case summaries as well as factums from the parties. All you need to do is click on a case name.


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Canadian Association of Law Libraries Conference Session on Collection Issues

One of the sessions I attended at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries that ended yesterday in Moncton, New Brunswick had to do with "Collection Issues in Changing Times".

A panel of library representatives from academic, courthouse, and law firm libraries discussed the issues that each faces – some the same, some that are unique to each because of different user groups and mandates.

Louis Mirando, director of the library at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, started off the discussion by describing the issues he thinks are paramount when it comes to collections.

Among these are:
  • the need to discuss the creation of a Canadian print archive network that would guarantee that a best last copy of all important print materials would be preserved and made available via inter-library loan. The US-based PalmPrint project run by the New England Law Library Consortium of which my library is part provides this last print copy service for many American legal materials
  • doubts about whether academic library patrons are using the collection. Mirando explained that students appear to prefer reading little beyond the contents of their coursepacks and his library has no way of tracking e-books
  • the impact of e-licenses that are closing academic law libraries more and more to the general public who are often not seen as authorized users of the licensed e-resources
  • the impossibility of sharing e-books via inter-library loan again because of e-license restrictions. What if every library has ditched their print copies of important materials?
  • who bears the responsibility for maintaining specialty collections in an era of budget cuts? Osgoode may assume that Dalhousie continues to buy maritime and fisheries law, Dalhousie may assume the University of Alberta is buying print materials in energy law. etc. What if the assumptions are wrong?
  • many academic libraries are eliminating purchases of law reporters in print. Will there be anyone left soon to act as the repository of the last print copy for sharing with other institutions?
  • fair dealing provisions in Canadian copyright legislation have not prevented universities from being sued by copyright collectives
Cyndi Murphy, Knowledge Manager in the Halifax office of Stewart McKelvey, described the issues faced  by a regional law firm library serving offices spread across the Atlantic provinces.

Budget constraints have led to the centralizing of ordering and technical services in Halifax, the abandonment of one of the two major Canadian legal research platforms (she did not specify whether this was Quicklaw or Westlaw), and a change in acquisition practices. The firm used to buy all new major Canadian law books and now purchases what is needed. It has also cancelled many looseleafs in recent years, preferring to look for online options when available. The effect of these trends is that the print collection has become concentrated in two cities and materials will go to other offices via inter-library loan. Decisions have become much more usage-based, for example if a work is frequently loaned out to another office, a new copy will be purchased for that location.

The final speaker was Jenny Thornhill, Manager of Court Library Services for the Nunavut Court of Justice, located in Iqaluit, Nunavut. She is the sole person in charge of both the main Law Library and the Judges Chambers Library. Jenny is responsible for all Law Library services to the judges and lawyers of Nunavut.

Her description of the physical library and her technological infrastructure surprised many people.

Her library is tiny, inter-library loans are difficult since Library and Archives Canada abolished its ILL service, IT access is sometimes wonky with only one satellite available to serve the huge territory. She works with Windows XP and Internet Explorer 8. Many sites and databases load slowly and webinar training is not always easy because it often requires downloading software that is not supported by local staff.

The budget situation in Nunavut does not make thing easier. The budget, already very low at $220,000 per year, has not increased in 5 years. Dealing with vendors is also a headache since the library cannot use a government credit card for purchasing and still works with invoices (and cheques I suppose). Of course, the major problem from a collections point of view is the limited relevancy of many Canadian legal texts to the realities of the far North.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:24 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Supreme Court of Canada Library Director Wins National Award for Excellence in Law Librarianship

Rosalie Fox, director of the library at the Supreme Court of Canada, was honoured this morning with the Denis Marshall Memorial Award for Excellence in Law Librarianship for 2015.

The announcement was made before this morning's plenary session on the final day of the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL/ACBD) in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Here is an excerpt from the award presentation:
This year’s recipient is described by her colleagues as a born leader, with the kind of charisma, enthusiasm, vision, and a keen ability to think strategically and move organizations through change and transformation that we all aspire to learn from. She is a leader who shares her techniques by passing them on to others, leading by following, and supporting and encouraging new talent in our field. She brings people and groups together across tables to collaborate to improve everyone’s situation as we move through this transformational phase from analog and print, to digital and pervasive legal information. She is honest and reliable as a community leader. She is also considerate of the needs of the people around her who want to work with her to make a vision she built with them become reality. She is confident and committed to the cause of law librarianship. Our recipient is a leader in our field."
According to the official description of the Award:
"This award is an honour bestowed upon a current member of CALL/ACBD who has provided outstanding service to the Association AND/OR enhanced the profession of law librarianship in the recent past. The specific contributions  must reflect the qualities embodied by Denis Marshall:  
  • a continued commitment to excellence in law librarianship; 
  • a strong service ethic;
  • a commitment to continuous learning;
  • a significant contribution to the scholarship of the library profession;
  • mentoring and encouraging those who seek a profession in law librarianship;
  • the pursuit of innovation and/or innovative solutions;
  • and/or a contribution to leadership in the law library profession."
Rosalie Fox is a former President of CALL/ACBD. During her tenure, the Association introduced many important changes including the creation of its very successful continuing education webinar program and vendor open forums at the annual conference among other initiatives.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:07 a.m. 0 comments links to this post

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Conference Sessions Now Recognized for Legal Continuing Education

One interesting piece of news coming out of this year's annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) ending today in Moncton, New Brunswick is the fact that the Law Society of New Brunswick has recognized a number of the conference sessions as being eligible for lawyers' continuing professional development credits.

That probably explains the presence of practising lawyers at a few of the sessions I have attended, including yesterday's presentation by University of Moncton law professor Michel Doucet on the constitutional rights of official language minorities and this morning's plenary session with Dalhousie University's Wayne MacKay on cyberbullying.

CALL planners for next year's annual conference in Vancouver intend to continue this kind of educational outreach to people beyond the law library bubble.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Conference - Language Rights in Canada

At the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries taking place right now In Moncton, I caught a talk earlier today by University of Moncton law professor Michel Doucet on language rights in Canada.

Doucet provided a rapid overview of the constitutional guarantees for official minority language communities (Francophones outside Quebec and Anglophones in Quebec) as well as a summary of how the Supreme Court of Canada has interpreted those rights since the adoption of the Charter of Rights in 1982.

He emphasized the collective nature of many of those rights, in particular the right to receive instruction in the language of the minority. These rights have a more collective dimension because the ultimate beneficiary is the community of speakers of the minority tongue.

Doucet then outlined the shift in how the Supreme Court of Canada has interpreted the constitutional provisions on these questions.

Many minority language advocates were disappointed by a trilogy of decisions in 1986 , he said, because the Court gave a restrictive interpretation to language rights, described as political rights arising out of a compromise, as opposed to being fundamental rights.

In the later Beaulac decision however (I will supply the link later), the highest court of the land turned tack according to Doucet and offered an expansive, more generous view of official minority language rights, the object of these rights being the maintenance and flourishing of the community. To ensure substantive equality between the minority community and the speakers of the majority official language of a region, the particular collective needs of the language minority must be taken into account. this may include the right not only to receive services in their language, but also the right of the minority to exclusive management of its educational and cultural institutions.

Another section of the Charter states that English and French versions of federal statutes have equal force of law, one not being a simple translation of the other. Doucet then added that you are only half a lawyer if you can't read both versions in case of discrepancies or ambiguities. He provided the example of a case that went to the Supreme Court of Canada. At the hearing, Justice Bastarache asked the parties whether they had read the French version of the federal statute at the heart of the dispute. They had not and the court handed down a short ruling based on the unambiguous meaning of the French text.

In the Supreme Court case that decided that parents from the minority language group had the right to manage their own schools, there were differences in the two versions of the statute text. The Chief Justice at the time ruled, according to Doucet, that a  word in the French version made the meaning clear.

On the question whether Justices of the Supreme Court should be bilingual, Doucet clearly answered yes. He explained that he had once listened to the translation of his own words from a time when he pleaded in French in front of the Justices and found many ambiguous passages and missing words. During hearings, judges often interrupt and ask questions at a quick pace. The translator could be heard saying : "cannot follow" during the quick back and forth. Doucet explained he felt this disadvantaged French litigants whose words could not be fully heard and understood by judges who did not speak French.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:38 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Canadian Association of Law Libraries - Monday Keynote Speech on Future of the Legal Profession

LBThe opening keynote speech at this year's annual of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries was given yesterday by Fred Headon of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA).

The conference is taking place in Moncton and continues until tomorrow.

Headon led the CBA Legal Futures Initiative, a lengthy consultative exercise to analyze the challenges facing the legal profession and how to respond to them.

The challenges are many as we all know, including:

- a growing gap between citizens and the legal system, an uncoupling
- non-stop change in technology
- risk aversion in the profession
- the arrival, especially in the US legal services market, of new firms outside the legal industry that offer cheap, standardized services for online divorce, online deal closing, online document review for litigation, etc.. All these new players are eroding lawyer market shade. This includes large international accounting firms that have hired thousands of lawyers worldwide to offer legal-style services in loan negociations, contracting etc.

The Legal Futures Initiative conducted research into the expectations of the public and found that people expect more flexibility in services, billing, and delivery arrangements, as well as more speed and participation. People want more predictable pricing, and be able to know exactly how far any process has progressed. Headon explained that process management tools could allow firms to break down work product into separately identifiable chunks, assign a price to the different steps and deliver information to the client using technology in predictable ways. Yet many firms and practitioners look as if they were still stuck in the era before the Industrial Revolution, according to Headon.

Headon stressed again and again that there is a growing gap between how lawyers and clients identify the value-add of various legal services. The clients expect lawyers to use the cheaper, effective ways. This could include automating the parts of the workflow that lend themselves to that, in the same way that Turbotax for example automates the way many Canadians do their taxes. Behind the scenes, the knowledge of how the Income Tax Act handles deductions, exemptions, eligibility thresholds has been automated and coded into the software's features. Lawyers, on the other hand, continue, said Headon, to see the value of their services in their "knowledge" and expertise.

Headon explained some of the Initiative's recommendations. Many of them involved exploring opening up the legal industry structure to new kinds of business structure, unbundling of services, partnering with other professionals and non-lawyer consultants to provide a multidisciplinary array of services to clients, training lawyers on a broader range of knowledge such as KM and project management, and automating the segments of the work process that make sense.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:05 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Monday, May 04, 2015

2015 Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing Awarded to Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History

Earlier today, the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) awarded the 2015 Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing to the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History book series (University of Toronto Press).

The announcement was made at the CALL annual conference in Moncton, New Brunswick.

 It honours a publisher that has demonstrated excellence by publishing a work, series, website or e-product that makes a significant contribution to legal research and scholarship.

The award honours Hugh Lawford (1933-2009), Professor of Law at Queens’ University and the founder of Quicklaw.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:12 p.m. 0 comments links to this post

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Conference - Thomson ReutersVendor Demo

Thomson Reuters demo'ed some of its product enhancements this morning at a breakfast session held at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Among the highlights that attracted my attention were a number of recent or upcoming enhancements to the WestlawNext research platform:

- international content will soon be migrated to the platform from the old legacy platform
- the financial research tool LiveEdgar will be returning
- Quantum services, with new results graphing capability, will be moving to WestlawNext
- directories for expert witnesses, Canadian lawyers and ADR professionals will be added to the Litigator product
- the Index to Canadian Legal Literature is also being fully integrated into WestllawNext and adding new content sources such as continuing public education podcasts and YouTube tutorials. It will offer new sorting and filtering of results by document type e.g. Article, book review, seminar paper, podcast etc.

The Quebec portal "La Reference" from the editor Yvon Blais in Montreal has added new doctrinal collections in Quebec law such as 10 monographs in commercial law, as well as new quantum services for personal injury and dismissal cases. The portal contains the most often cited doctrinal texts by Quebec courts including many classics such as "Les obligations" by Baudouin. It also offers access to an extensive collection of Quebec Bar Association materials, materials from the Chambre des notaires, legal encyclopedias etc.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:28 a.m. 0 comments links to this post