Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Statistics Canada Article on Shelters for Abused Women

The Statistics Canada publication Juristat yesterday published an article on Shelters for abused women in Canada, 2014.

On April 16, 2014, the national statistical agency took a "snapshot" of the 627 shelters for abused women operating across Canada.

On that day,  there were 7,969 women and children residing in these facilities. Almost three-quarters of these women (73%) were there primarily because of abuse, representing a rate of 22 per 100,000 women aged 15 and older in Canada.

Women and children residing in shelter facilities on the snapshot date were staying at transition homes (37%), second-stage housing (23%), emergency shelters (21%) and women's emergency centres (13%). The remaining 6% were staying at other types of facilities, such as family resource centres.

Emotional abuse, reported by 66% of women residents, and physical abuse, experienced by half of residents, were the most common reasons women sought shelter. This finding held true for most provinces and territories.

Of the women reporting abuse as their primary reason for seeking shelter on the snapshot date, 69% identified a current intimate partner as their abuser, while 17% reported their abuser was a former intimate partner.

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Monday, July 06, 2015

June 2015 Issue of Connected Bulletin on Courts and Social Media

The June 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:
  • Law clerk in trouble over Facebook comments about trooper's death
  • Advice: don’t Google how to rob a bank
  • Illinois law would give executors easier access to Facebook, digital accounts
  • Texas judge named “Tweeter Laureate”
  • Social media tip of the month—become a resource on Facebook
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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Friday, July 03, 2015

English Law Commission Consultation on New Sentencing Code

This is a follow-up to the Library Boy post of January 26, 2015 entitled English Law Commission Launches Project to Codify Sentencing Procedure.

On July 1, 2015, the law Commission of England launched its first consultation in its project to come up with a new sentencing code for England and Wales:
"The law on sentencing affects all criminal cases, and is applied in hundreds of thousands of trials and at thousands of appeals each year. But it lacks coherence and clarity: it is spread across many statutes, and frequent updates are brought into force at different times by different statutory instruments and have a variety of transitional arrangements."

"Our aim in this project is to introduce a single sentencing statute that will act as the first and only port of call for sentencing tribunals. It will set out the relevant provisions in a clear and logical way, and ensure that all updates to sentencing procedure can be found in a single place. It is not the aim of this project to interfere with mandatory minimum sentences or with sentencing tariffs in general. Those will remain entirely untouched, but the process by which they come to be imposed will be streamlined and much improved."

"This first paper is about the process of transition to the Code. While a seemingly technical issue, it is in fact vital to the success of the Code: we think that to maximise its impact the new Code should apply to everyone being sentenced after its implementation. We want to avoid judges being forced to continue to use the complex existing procedural regimes for months if not years to come. In this paper, we explain why sweeping away the vast bulk of the historic sentencing procedure will cause no unfairness to the defendant, nor will it involve any breach of human rights obligations, as long as certain basic safeguards are observed."
The consultation paper is available on the Law Commission website.

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July 2015 Issue of In Session: Canadian Association of Law Libraries' e-Newsletter

The July 2015 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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Thursday, July 02, 2015

Canadian Forum on Civil Justice June 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:
  • a report on the research project Paralegals, the Cost of Justice and Access to Justice: A Case Study of Residential Tenancy Disputes in Ottawa
  • news about a panel at this year’s Annual Law and Society Association Meetings in Seattle on the relationship between everyday legal problems and the cost of justice in Canada
  • the International Legal Aid Group Conference in Edinburgh
  • plus various announcements

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LawNow Special Report: Self Represented-Litigants

In the most recent issue of LawNow, a publication of the Centre For Public Legal Education Alberta, there is a “Special Report” on self-represented litigants.
It includes 3 articles:
  • What Self–Represented Litigants (Actually) Want by Sarah Burton, a lawyer with the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre in Calgary: “Countless reports, working groups, and studies have asked this question, and reached diverse and creative conclusions. However, these papers often share one critical failing: none of them actually ask SRLs what they think. Enter the Self-Represented Litigants Project (Dr. Julie Macfarlane, “The National Self-Represented Litigants Project: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of Self-Represented Litigants“, May 2013) Dr. Macfarlane’s insightful Report has a premise that is as ground-breaking as it is simple – if we want to know what SRLs want and need, we should ask them.”
  • Small Claims Court: A Venue Made for Self-Represented Litigants by Peter Bowal, Professor of Law at the Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary, and Jacqueline Bowal, student at the University of Calgary: “Obtaining financial compensation from other individuals or companies is always a challenge, even when liability for it is clear. The obstacles to recovering compensation are considerable: including launching, winning and then collecting from a lawsuit. It is an expensive, technical and time-consuming process and (because it is a human process) the outcome is never certain. For these reasons, voluntary, non-litigation alternatives to recovering compensation, such as negotiation, mediation and arbitration, are much touted. However, litigation provides one major advantage, which is to force the other side to deal with the issue. The other good news about litigation is that there is a consumer, or layperson, form of litigation, generally known as small claims procedure, where technicality, expense and time for the parties is reduced. This article describes that procedure in Alberta. The other provinces and territories have very similar procedures.”
  • The Vexatious Litigant by Trevor Todd, past President of the Trial Lawyers Association of BC, and Judith Milliken, QC, an estate litigation, wills, and trusts lawyer with Stewart Aulinger, Vancouver: “We learned first-hand about vexatious litigants in 1982 after winning a successful civil claim. Thereafter, the defendant appealed— alleging the trial judge had been bribed. The defendant went on to sue several parties including the Attorney General and many downtown Vancouver law firms. Ultimately, the court granted an order prohibiting him from commencing any further court proceedings except with leave of the court. Such orders have been made against litigants ranging from the Church of Scientology, to incarcerated malcontents, to defendants in foreclosure proceedings. In appropriate circumstances, our courts are indeed willing to intervene to prevent abuse of the court process.”
This issue of LawNow also has a number of featured articles about the Supreme Court of Canada as well as its regular columns on different areas of law.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Canadian Resources Added to Law Library of Congress Indigenous Law Portal

Earlier this month, the Law Library of Congress in Washington announced that it has added Canadian aboriginal law resources to its Indigenous Law Portal:
"This new segment of the portal expands our coverage for the first time beyond the United States."

"The Canadian portion of the Indigenous Law Portal is divided into three regions: Eastern, Western, and Northern Canada. These regions closely follow the recently updated K Class – Law Classification. In addition to the regions, you can browse the legal information by province or alphabetically."
Tim Knight, Associate Librarian and Head of Technical Services at the Osgoode Hall Law School Library in Toronto, provided some background on the Indigenous Law Portal in a post published on Slaw.ca in August 2014.

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.

[Source: Slaw.ca]

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

American Law Librarian Cited in Recent US Supreme Court Decision

John Cannan, research and instructional services librarian at Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law in Philadelphia, made the history books on June 25.

The United States Supreme Court opinion King v. Burwell cites Cannan's Law Library Journal article, "A Legislative History of the Affordable Care Act: How Legislative Procedure Shapes Legislative History," 105 Law Library Journal 131 (2013).  The Law Library Journal is a publication of the American Association of Law Libraries.

Cannan's article is cited on p.14 of the judgment.


King v. Burwell upholds a key provision of the Affordable Care Act that provides tax subsidies for the purchase of health insurance in all 50 American states.

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2015 Canadian Library Association Conference Presentations Available

The presentations from the recent 2015 conference of the Canadian Library Association in Ottawa are now available online:
Whether you were unable to be with us in Ottawa or you want to access some of the resources made available by the conference presenters… this is the place for you!

In this special post-conference section, you will find various items related to the 2015 CLA National Conference. A number of our speakers have provided copies from their sessions that include things such as Microsoft PowerPoint Shows, handouts, resource lists, etc. These files are for reference only.
The conference took place June 3-5, 2015.



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Thursday, June 25, 2015

English Law Commission Report on Public Nuisance and Outraging Public Decency

The Law Commission of England today published its report on Simplification of Criminal Law: Public Nuisance and Outraging Public Decency.

It follows a consultation paper published in 2010.

Public nuisance is a common law offence involving environmental danger or loss of amenity or offensive public behaviour.

The related common law offence of outraging public decency involves actions in public places that outrage generally accepted standards of decency, in the presence of at least two people.

At present public nuisance requires negligence on the part of the defendant, while outraging public decency does not require any mental fault at all.
The report recommends that both offences should be replaced by statutory offences. The new offences would be similar to the old, except that the fault element would be redefined:
  • in public nuisance, it should be a requirement of the offence that the defendant intended to cause, or was reckless about causing, a nuisance to the public;
  • in outraging public decency, it should be a requirement of the offence that the defendant knew that he or she was or might be in a public place and that the act or display was of such a nature as to cause outrage to ordinary people.  There should be no requirement that two people were actually present.

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Statistics Canada Article on Drug-Related Offences

The Statistics Canada publication Juristat today published an article on Drug-related offences in Canada, 2013.

Highlights from the article:
  • Since peaking in 1991, the police-reported crime rate has decreased by half (-50%), while the police-reported rate of drug offences has increased 52% over the same period. Police reported about 109,000 Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) offences in 2013, representing approximately 5% of all incidents reported by police.
  • Two-thirds (67%) of all police-reported drug offences in 2013 involved cannabis. In particular, cannabis possession accounted for more than half (54%) of all police-reported drug crime.
  • British Columbia recorded the highest provincial rate of drug crime in 2013. This has been the case each year since 1982, with the exception of 2012, when Saskatchewan had the highest provincial rate.
  • About one-quarter (26%) of all police-reported drug crime is cleared by departmental discretion (i.e., a warning or referral to a community-based program rather than a charge), a considerably higher proportion than crime in general (8%).
  • The rate of persons accused of police-reported drug offences was highest for the 18 to 24-year-old age group (1,176 per 100,000 population), followed by youth (ages 12 to 17) (741 per 100,000).
  • In about half of all completed adult criminal and youth court cases that involved offences related to cannabis, the cannabis charge was the only violation. Cases involving drugs other than cannabis had a single charge in about one-quarter of cases.
  • In adult criminal court, completed cases that include charges related to drugs take longer to complete than non-drug-related cases, with cases involving cannabis requiring the shortest median case length among drug-related case (105 days).
  • Cases that included charges related to cannabis completed in adult criminal court were more commonly stayed or withdrawn (55%) than cases involving other types of drugs (38%).
  • Of drug-related cases in completed in adult criminal court that resulted in findings of guilt, about one in three involved a sentence of custody. Cases related to drug supply involved custody about twice as frequently as cases related to drug possession, though custody was less often imposed in cases involving cannabis.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

US National Center for State Courts Report on Trends in State Courts 2015

The National Center for State Courts based in the state of Virginia has just published a report on Trends in State Courts 2015.

Trends in State Courts is an annual publication dedicated to making courts aware of key trends in court operations and society.

Many of the articles cover issues related to technology such as developing an online benchbook, using online portals to help self-represented litigants, and archiving court records via the cloud.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

If You Need Inspiration for Your Social Media Policy


Many organizations, including libraries and library associations, have been using social media to communicate with users and clients.

They often feel the need to develop a "social media policy" but are not sure where to start.

Stephen Abram, executive director of the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries, has linked to two sources that can help:
  • the Social Media Policy Database on the Social Media Governance website: it lists hundreds of links to social media policies from corporations, governments and non-profit organizations from North America, Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand
  • David Lee King, Digital Services Director at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library and author of Face2Face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Tools to Create Great Customer Connections, has gone through that long list and distilled a short compendium of useful ideas : "Remember – if you are thinking about creating some social media guidelines for your organization, you don’t have to start from scratch. Find some good examples, pull some points off those, and then tweak and expand as needed."
[Stephen Abram's blog Stephen's Lighthouse]

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Statistics Canada Report on Trends in Reporting Criminal Victimization to Police

Statistics Canada today published a report on Trends in reporting criminal victimization to police, 1999 to 2009.

Among the main highlights:
"Reporting criminal victimization to police was generally highest for incidents of break and enter, or theft of a motor vehicle or parts, while police were rarely made aware of spousal violence incidents and sexual assaults, according to data from the 2009 General Social Survey (GSS) on Victimization."

"About one in three self-reported victimization incidents came to the attention of police in 2009. Break and enter (54%), as well as theft of motor vehicles or parts (50%) had the highest rates of reporting to police. The proportion of incidents reported to the police climbs to 90%, when considering only completed thefts of a motor vehicle, that is excluding attempts and thefts of motor vehicle parts."

"Police, however, were seldom called for sexual assaults committed by someone other than a spouse, making it the offence with the highest level of underreporting. Almost 90% of sexual assaults by a non-spousal perpetrator were never reported to police. Underreporting was most pronounced for unwanted sexual touching, with 93% of incidents going unreported."

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

University of Toronto Law Faculty Report on Detention of Migrants With Mental Health Issues

Last week, the University of Toronto Faculty of Law's International Human Rights Program released a report entitled We Have No Rights: Arbitrary Imprisonment and Cruel Treatment of Migrants with Mental Health Issues in Canada.

According to the report, many refugee claimants and asylum seekers with mental health issues are locked up in detention in Canada. The government argues that these migrants can get better health care in jail, but that idea is challenged in the report.

According to the press release:
"There is nothing in the law, for example, that defines which detainees can or should be transferred to jails. And once they are in jail, it's not at all clear which authority retains responsibility over them—the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) or provincial correctional officials. Because Canada has no mandated legal limit on the length of time an immigration detainee can be held, some are left languishing behind bars for months and years with no clear end in sight. This situation leaves them with fewer rights than convicted criminals. It also puts Canada in a very special position, as one of the only standard-setting countries that does not impose either a legally mandated limit on migrant detention or a soft limit that's been determined by the courts (...)"

"The upswing in migrant detention is something relatively new for Canada, whose reputation up until about a decade ago was one of welcome and compassion for refugee claimants and asylum seekers arriving at its borders. 'Canada was seen as one of the better countries up until very recently,' says Stephanie J. Silverman, PhD, a course coordinator at the U of T Centre for Ethics who has studied and written extensively about detention in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada. 'Release was always preferable to detention. It really was kept as a last resort, which is how it must be if you're going to follow international law and human rights standards'. "

"Things started to change, she says, with an increased emphasis on law and order. Canada adopted changes to its Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, accompanied by a new list of new regulations. Irregular arrivals from certain countries could be subject to mandatory detention, and authority over the CBSA had already been transferred from Citizenship and Immigration to Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Border agents became first and foremost officers of law enforcement tasked with keeping perceived danger out, rather than facilitating the entry of newcomers into Canada (...)"

"According to Silverman's research, the CBSA claims it releases about three quarters of detainees after 48 hours and that 90-95 per cent of asylum applicants are released into the community. Nonetheless, according to the IHRP report, in 2013 the CBSA detained more than 7300 migrants. Thirty per cent were held in jails, many mixed in among the criminal population. They wear prison-issued jumpsuits. They can be subject to lockdowns and periods of solitary confinement. Many don't speak English and have no easy access to interpreters or legal counsel. "

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

International Journal of Legal Education Wins British Legal Journal of the Year Award

The Law Teacher: The International Journal of Legal Education has won the 2015 Legal Journals Award given out by the British and Irish Association of Law Libraries (BIALL):
"The winning title was commended for providing an important, foundational service to the teaching of the law as discipline, successfully mixing theory and practice. Judges praised the accessibility of its content, encouraging readers to spend time with the articles. Notably, as teachers of information literacy ourselves, the potential of the title to add significant value to the work of the individual legal information professional was remarked upon by the panel (...)"
The Award was presented on June 12th in Brighton during the BIALL Annual Conference. BIALL is a sister association of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

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 May 15-31, 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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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Role of Canada’s Museums and Archives in Reconciliation in Wake of Indian Residential School Abuses

This is a follow-up to the Library Boy post of June 3, 2015 entitled Library and Information Community-Related Recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools .

Earlier this month, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its findings after its years-long investigation into the many abuses against Aboriginal children at Church-run Indian Residential Schools in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The ActiveHistory.ca website yesterday published an article by Krista McCracken, Archives Supervisor at Algoma University’s Shingwauk Residential School and Wishart A. Library.

It is called The Role of Canada’s Museums and Archives in Reconciliation:
"The report features 94 recommendations to facilitate reconciliation and address the legacy of residential schools, including a set of recommendations relating specifically to museums and archives. Given the challenging past relationship between the TRC and archival institutions these recommendations are perhaps not surprising."

"The TRC went to court in 2012 and 2013 to gain access to archival records relating to residential schools held by Library and Archives Canada. The Commission’s recommendations go beyond the issue of access.  It also includes calls to action relating to best practices, commemorative projects, public education, and compliance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples."

"In terms of public education and commemorative projects the Commission urges the federal government to work with Aboriginal peoples and the Canadian Museums Association to establish funding for commemoration projects for the 150th anniversary of Canada relating to reconciliation. It also calls for Library and Archives Canada to commit additional resources to education and programming on residential schools."

"The executive summary pointedly notes that museums and archives 'have interpreted the past in ways that have excluded or marginalized Aboriginal peoples’ cultural perspectives and historical experience….as history that had formerly been silenced was revealed, it became evident that Canada’s museums had told only part of the story.'(p. 303)"

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