Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New 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.

The ECHR recently added new Factsheets on:
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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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

American Association of Law Libraries Report on Access to Justice

The American Association of Law Libraries recently released a report of a special committee it formed on Law Libraries and Access to Justice.

 It describes how law libraries can foster greater access to justice in society:
"From the earliest days of their profession, law librarians have facilitated access to legal information. At first, their services were extended primarily to judges, legislators, and attorneys, but in the last part of the 20th century, the public came to rely on public law librarians to locate information to assist them in handling their own cases, without the assistance of counsel. The number of self-represented litigants accessing the courts continues to grow rapidly. For many self-represented litigants, who may not have civil legal aid available to them, attorneys’ fees can be a burdensome expense. Still, they may find the legal system to be highly complex and often more favorable to those parties with sufficient resources, such as the benefit of counsel. In spite of this, the number of self-represented litigants accessing the courts is rapidly growing. "

"The Access to Justice movement challenges society to seek ways to educate citizens about the law and legal procedure, expand the appearance of counsel to those most in need, and provide information and programs for those handling their own cases. By providing a wide array of services, the movement hopes to allow disadvantaged and self-represented litigants to gain a more equitable foothold when resolving disputes with those parties who bear greater resources."

"As the principal providers of legal information, law libraries are an indispensable part of the services that can be provided to those with legal needs. Law libraries make 'The Law' available, and law librarians serve as guides to finding the most relevant legal information. Some may think that only court librarians can play a role in fostering access to justice. While it is true that they have such a core responsibility, law school and private firm libraries, by fostering the rule of law, can also be leaders in promoting access to justice in their communities."

"The goal of this White Paper is to outline in detail the many valuable ways in which law libraries can take an active part in improving access to justice. It should serve as an important guide for stakeholders in the Access to Justice community as they consider the implementation of services to benefit those in need."


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Monday, September 15, 2014

Recently Released Research from Public Safety Canada on Witness Protection Programs

The latest issue of the Weekly Checklist of Canadian Government Publications includes a "Research Brief" from Public Safety Canada on Witness Protection Programs in Selected Countries:
"This paper reviews the practices and outcomes of witness protection programs using open source literature on the legislation and practices followed in Australia, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) and compares them with both federal and provincial programs in Canada."

"Each country reviewed has established legislation and criteria for acceptance and retention of protected witnesses. The paper also reviews approaches to witness protection adopted in international fora, such as the International Criminal Court, the United Nations, and the Council of Europe."
The Weekly Checklist includes a listing of titles made available by the Parliament of Canada, federal departments, and Statistics Canada to the Depository Services Program for distribution to a network of Depository Libraries in Canada and abroad.

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Recently Released Research from Justice Canada on Malicious Referrals to Child Welfare Agencies

The latest issue of the Weekly Checklist of Canadian Government Publications includes a Justice Canada research report from 2013 on Malicious Referrals, Custody Disputes and Police Involvement in the Canadian Child Welfare System: Data Tables from the 2008 Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect:
"This report presents information about malicious referrals to child welfare agencies in Canada using data from the 2008 Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (CIS‑2008). The CIS‑2008 is the third national study to examine the incidence of reported child abuse and neglect in Canada ... The primary objective of the CIS‑2008 was to provide reliable estimates of the scope and characteristics of child abuse and neglect investigated by child welfare organizations in Canada in 2008..."

"The published literature examining the incidence and prevalence of false allegations in child welfare investigations is limited. Much of the research was conducted in the 1990’s and focuses primarily on false allegations of sexual abuse in the context of custody/access disputes ... In the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect 1998 (CIS‑1998), four percent of the investigations were judged to have been triggered by intentionally false allegations of child abuse or neglect... Approximately 2% of reports from custodial parents were classified as intentionally false ... Twenty‑five percent of reports from anonymous sources and 15% of reports from noncustodial parents were classified as intentionally false reports ..."
The Weekly Checklist includes a listing of titles made available by the Parliament of Canada, federal departments, and Statistics Canada to the Depository Services Program for distribution to a network of Depository Libraries in Canada and abroad.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Recently Released Research Summaries from Correctional Services Canada

The latest issue of the Weekly Checklist of Canadian Government Publications refers to a number of research documents released recently by Correctional Services Canada :
  • Substance Abuse Problem Severity, Treatment Readiness, and Response Bias among Incarcerated Men: "Offenders with severe substance abuse (SA) problems were aware of their SA problems and ready for treatment. This finding was true for both reliable and unreliable responders. In other words, those who needed help appeared to be the most ready to receive it. However, offenders with moderate to low level SA problems appeared less ready to accept treatment and were more likely to deny having a SA problem. This finding suggests that a focus on treatment readiness (TR) for this group could be beneficial, particularly for those with moderate level problems who may require intervention while incarcerated."
  • Preliminary Analysis of the Impact of the Restorative Opportunities (RO) Program in CSC:"A preliminary examination of the impact of the Restorative Opportunities (RO) program involving victim-offender mediation (VOM) within the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) indicates that the program shows some promise in reducing recidivism on release for participating offenders. A longer follow-up period would be required to allow for stronger conclusions."
  • Gangs and institutional adjustment in the context of the Security Reclassification Scale: "The results of the present study indicate that no further weight should be placed on gang affiliation when scoring the Security Reclassification Scale (SRS). Overall, gang affiliation does not appear to be predictive of SRS relevant outcomes (i.e., institutional adjustment, risk of escape, and risk to the public in the event of an escape). While some covariance between the indicators and gang affiliation was found, associations were mostly very weak and inconsistent. Further analyses revealed that those offenders identified as being affiliated with a gang had higher scores on the SRS, thereby reflecting that gang affiliation is already sufficiently accounted for within the current SRS assessment."
  • Descriptive Analysis of Unsuccessful Unescorted Temporary Absences: "Overall, the vast majority of unescorted temporary absences (UTA) are completed without incident. Of the 1.3% of UTAs that were recorded as 'unsuccessful' only about half represent genuine failures. Therefore, UTAs allow for important reintegration opportunities without posing significant risk."
  • Preliminary Development of a Dynamic Risk Assessment Tool for Women Offenders: An Examination of Gender Neutral and Gender Specific Variables: "Risk assessment measures have largely been developed using samples of male offenders. When applying these measures to women offenders there is a risk in misrepresenting women’s needs and over-classifying their levels of security and required intervention. As such, there is a need to develop risk assessment tools that are specific to women and reflective of women’s diverse risks and needs."
The Weekly Checklist includes a listing of titles made available by the Parliament of Canada, federal departments, and Statistics Canada to the Depository Services Program for distribution to a network of Depository Libraries in Canada and abroad.

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Law Library of Congress Report on Laws on Children Residing with Parents in Prison

The Law Library of Congress in Washington has released a new comparative report on the Laws on Children Residing with Parents in Prison:
"This report provides information on select international and regional measures ...  and the laws of ninety-seven jurisdictions from around the world ... that relate to allowing children to reside in prison with an incarcerated parent.  The report also provides information on the number of children residing in prison with a parent in various countries, where such information was available.  The final section of the report includes a bibliography with additional sources ..."

"Over the last decade, efforts have escalated at the international level to create policies specifically geared towards addressing the situation of the young children of incarcerated parents.  Some measures seek to ameliorate the treatment of pregnant women, nursing mothers, and mothers with children; others seek to encourage the provision of better conditions, such as nurseries and kindergartens and specially trained staff, for the children; still others try to promote better hygiene and a better environment in general.  There have also been trends urging the incarceration of mothers only as a last resort and that fathers’ needs to be with their young children be taken into account.  The discussion in Part II below highlights key international measures that address the issues surrounding children residing in prison with an incarcerated parent.  The list of international documents reviewed is not exhaustive, and includes major United Nations and European acts addressing mainly the well-being of children and women in prison."

"Most of the countries surveyed in Part III impose specific age limits for a child’s admission into and length of stay in prison.  However, some use different or additional markers (such as a breastfeeding period or an assessment of the best interests of the child) for making such determinations.  In addition, many of the countries surveyed permit children to actually live with the parent in jail, whether or not in special facilities, whereas a few put eligible children in prison child care facilities with the parent having regular access to the child.  Finally, some surveyed countries, in addition to admitting children to prison to live with an incarcerated parent, utilize alternatives to custodial sentences, including deferment of a custodial sentence and home confinement, when dealing with a person who has a young child."

"Most of jurisdictions surveyed require that prisons that admit children meet certain standards.  These range from making available basic necessities including additional food, special diets, and access to medical care, to having child care services and special residential units available for incarcerated mothers with children.  However, some jurisdictions do not provide extensive services for children residing in prison."
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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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Law Commission of Ontario Call for Research Papers

The Law Commission of Ontario has sent out a call for research papers on the topic of “take-up rates” in class action proceedings as a measure of access to justice. Take-up rates refer to the proportion of eligible claimants who present a claim for compensation in a class action lawsuit:
"In the context of access to justice, the CPA [Ontario's Class Proceedings Act, 1992] was intended to mitigate the social, psychological and economic circumstances that can frustrate a person’s access to the courts for consideration of a claim. It was premised on the notion that as a class seeking redress for mass harm, there is better leverage to level the litigation playing field when prosecuting a large corporate entity. However, it can be argued that the objective of access to justice is met only if sufficient members of the class actually benefit from the damages identified in a settlement or award.

The LCO will fund research on take-up rates, which will inform the development of options for reform."

(...)

"The objective of this Call for Research Proposals is to obtain expert input on the topic of 'take-up rates' in class proceedings as a measure of access to justice, as described in the scoping document. The resulting research will help to paint a clear picture of the extent to which class procedure has enabled meaningful access to justice in Ontario. Such research in turn will allow the LCO to make reasoned, evidence-based and practical recommendations for reform."

"Researchers are encouraged to employ relevant quantitative or qualitative research that they have already undertaken or, as long as it can be completed within the time frames set out below, to undertake original quantitative or qualitative research that will contribute to their analysis."
The scoping document referred to above is on the Law Commission website. Research proposals must be received by midnight on October 17, 2014.

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Most Recent Issue of LawNow: Looking at Criminal Law

The most recent issue of LawNow is available online.

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

The main section contains a number of features articles on the recent evolution of criminal law in Canada.

There is also a special report on the law of contests and sweepstakes.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Live Tweet Chat on the CBA Legal Futures Initiative

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is organizing a live "tweet chat" on Thursday, September 25 with Fred Headon, Past-President of the Canadian Bar Association and Chair of the CBA Legal Futures Initiative.

The live chat on Twitter will take place from 12 to 1PM EST and the topic will be "Does the CBA Futures Report provide opportunities for law librarians? "

The CALL website has details on how interested law librarians (and others) can join the chat.

People can read more about the CBA Legal Futures Initiative on the CBA Futures website. The Initiative recently published a report on the changing legal marketplace, the value that lawyers will bring to the future of legal services in Canada, and the opportunities that arise from lawyers choosing to adapt to change.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of August 16-31 2014 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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