Friday, March 30, 2007

Quiz on History of Slavery

This week's Friday Brain-teaser from Xrefer on Peter Scott's Library Blog is about the history of slavery. This month marked the 200th anniversary of the passing of a law in the UK Parliament that banned the transatlantic slave trade.

Xrefer is a major provider of online reference resources.

Earlier Library Boy material on slavery:
  • UK Bicentennial of Abolition of the Slave Trade - But Canada Was First! (March 20, 2007): "The year 2007 marks the 200th anniversary of the British legislation that banned the transatlantic trade in slaves. The Abolition of the Slave Trade Act was passed in the Westminster Parliament on 25 March 1807 (...) What is not well known, even in Canada, is that one of the first moves towards the abolition of the slave trade took place right here. The colony of Upper Canada, now the province of Ontario, was the pioneer in this movement. In 1793, colonial Governor John Graves Simcoe, the founder of York (later to become Toronto), passed An Act to prevent the further introduction of slaves, and to limit the Term of Contracts for servitude within this Province (...) The law freed slaves aged 25 and over and made it illegal to bring slaves into Upper Canada, which became a safe haven for runaway slaves. Simcoe’s law also made Upper Canada the first jurisdiction in the British Empire to move toward the abolition of slavery."
  • More on Bicentennial of the Abolition of the Slave Trade (March 26, 2007): "The OpenDemocracy website has an interesting commentary on the history of the abolition struggle and on the repercussions of the transatlantic slave trade. It is entitled Slaves and slavery, 1807-2007: the past in the present, by Marika Sherwood, researcher at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:53 pm 0 comments links to this post

More on YouTube as Legal Information Tool

This is a follow-up to the January 14, 2007 Library Boy post entitled YouTube as a Legal Information Tool.

That post discussed, among other things, the use of the Internet and of YouTube video streaming by the lawyers representing an individual detained by U.S. authorities at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. The lawyers produced a video entitled Guantanamo Unclassified to argue that their client Adel Hamad was innocent of any terrorism-related connections.

This Wednesday, Slate.com published an article entitled The YouTube Defense - Human rights go viral that analyzes the impact and potential of non-traditional means such as web 2.0 technologies as legal tools:

"This doesn't mean that every Gitmo detainee will soon have his own Web campaign—not all of them have a story as compelling as Hamad's or advocates as new-media savvy. After all, lawyers are trained to litigate, not stream video. But even that is changing. Harvard Law School recently revamped its curriculum, identifying creative 'problem solving' as a core skill for young lawyers. Last semester, I sat in on a class that was taught partially in the online world of Second Life where, hokey or not, students practiced the art of public advocacy".

"YouTube and its ilk mean that today anyone can tell human rights stories. And as Hamad's video shows, if the stories are told with enough brio and skill, the public will pay attention, and the government may be more likely to respond. Critics pooh-pooh the importance of all of this by pointing to the fact that civil rights advocates have traditionally had a friend in the press. But they're missing the point: YouTube goes where the mainstream media can't or won't go. It's visceral. It's story first, message second. And it gives advocates instant access to an audience in a way that press releases and op-eds never can".

The Slate article also describes an online video created by a former Marine who paid two friends $800 to waterboard him in his basement. Waterboarding is a torture technique ("coercive interrogation") used by United States personnel:

"It's got some of the qualities of gross-out TV. And yet nothing I've read about waterboarding has stayed with me like that video".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:20 pm 0 comments links to this post

Annual Report of the Canadian Human Rights Commission

The Canadian Human Rights Commission published its 2006 Annual Report earlier this week.

Among the highlights for the past year are:
  • Dispute Resolution: The Dispute Resolution Branch continues to develop less formal approaches to resolving disputes. Forty percent of those who agreed to try to resolve their disputes without filing a complaint were able to reach a settlement in this way.
  • Combatting Hate on the Internet: Since 2002, the Commission has dealt with 55 allegations of hate messages on the Internet. In 2006, the Commission participated in all hearings before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal dealing with complaints of this nature.
  • Preventing Discrimination: The Commission signed several agreements with major employers, all aimed at preventing discrimination in the workplace. In total, these agreements affect 34,000 employees. In addition, the Commission established an Employer Advisory Council to provide a forum for raising, discussing and acting on issues related to preventing discrimination in workplaces and service centres across the country. The Commission also hosted a Discrimination Prevention Forum, focusing on accommodation issues affecting persons with disabilities.
  • Employment Equity: The Commission is streamlining its employment equity audit process for greater efficiency and effectiveness. It is also preparing for the five-year review being conducted by a Parliamentary Committee into the effectiveness of the Employment Equity Act.
  • Promoting Human Rights: Internationally, the Commission participated in meetings of the Ad Hoc Committee established to negotiate the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was adopted by the Plenary of the United Nations General Assembly in December 2006. The Commission also released an important new publication on how to ensure that built environments are accessible to everyone.
  • Aboriginal Peoples: Throughout 2006, the Commission continued to engage in dialogue with First Nations leaders and government officials to encourage implementation of the Commission’s recommendations regarding the repeal of section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Section 67 denies First Nations people access to the same human rights complaint redress system available to other people in Canada. The Government of Canada introduced legislation to repeal section 67 in December 2006.
  • Research on Emerging Human Rights Issues: During 2006, the Commission produced several reports delving into emerging issues, such as the field of national security and human rights, issues involved when employees return to work after an extended leave, and an examination of environmental sensitivities as they relate to human rights.

This week, the Commission also released its Report on Plans and Priorities for the 2007-2008 fiscal year.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:06 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

6 Year Old Hacks Into UK Parliament Computers

British MP Anne Milton agreed to leave her parliamentary office computer unattended for 60 seconds as part of a test of House of Commons IT security by the BBC's Inside Out TV program.

It took a 6 year old schoolgirl named Brianagh just 15 seconds to install keylogging software without being noticed.

Keylogging applications record all the keystrokes made on a machine and can therefore be used to steal passwords, financial data and personal information.

And no, the little girl is not some freaky precocious genius.

"Top fraud expert, Neil Munroe from Equifax, admits that keyloggers are fast becoming the weapon of choice for a new breed of high-tech gangsters. 'There's been a 5,000% increase in fraudsters getting information off you in this type of way. It's certainly the area they're focussing on'."

"Getting into the House of Commons now involves X-rays, body searches and a gauntlet of policemen with guns. But sneaking Brianagh's keylogger past all this security was child's play."

"Computer security consultant Tobias Scmitt believes the House of Commons may need to rethink some of its security procedures. 'They're concentrating too much on guns and bombs and not thinking about small, James Bond-type, spying devices that are now accessible to everyone', he says."

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

Obituary for Charter Litigation Pioneer Brian Morgan

There was a lengthy bio/obituary of Canadian lawyer Brian Morgan in today's Globe and Mail.

Morgan was a Rhodes Scholar, a law clerk for Mr. Justice Brian Dickson, who later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, and a partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt in Toronto.

He also argued the first case heard by the Supreme Court after the passing of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Law Society of Upper Canada v. Skapinker, [1984] 1 S.C.R. 357.

He died early last week in Toronto from a brain tumour at age 56.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:34 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Multitasking Not Good For You

OK. I'm typing this, while listening to Internet radio, chatting with Viviane on the phone (she's Mrs. Library Boy) and chomping on a sandwich (getting crumbs and sauce all over the keyboard).

Maybe, multitasking is not such a great idea.

And maybe everything HR gurus have been trying to feed you about those chatting/texting/IM'ing/YouTube watching/"born with the Internet" dudes and dudettes from the "Millennial Generation" who can do everything all at the same time and who are about to invade your workplace is so much rabbit poop:
"An interesting post this morning from Merlin Mann on his 43 Folders blog about recent research on multitasking. This includes yesterday's New York Times article which cites several studies including one looking at Microsoft workers and the effects of interrupts on their work." [from the Library Laws Are Meant to Be Broken blog]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:15 pm 0 comments links to this post

Who Was The First Blogger?

CNET News.com asks the question: Blogs turn 10--who's the father?:

"It may not be one of the Internet's grandest accomplishments, but with the number of active bloggers hovering somewhere around 100 million, according to one estimate, there are some serious bragging rights to be claimed by the first person who provably laid fingers to keyboard in the traditional bloggy way".
There appear to be quite a number of credible candidates for the title of Blogger Numero Uno.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:55 pm 0 comments links to this post

International Association of Penal Law Blog

Since early March, the International Association of Penal Law Blog has been providing:

"a forum for expert debate and thought-provoking commentary on contemporary issues of comparative criminal justice, international criminal law, international humanitarian law, international criminal tribunals, human rights and counterterrorism law & policy".

(...)

"We count among our experts Bloggers the former U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues, a former Under Secretary General of the United Nations and Chief Prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, former U.S Department of State legal advisors, participants from the negotiation of the ICC treaty, defense attorneys from international tribunals, and former military officers with operational and advisory experience in counterterrorism and post-conflict states."

It is the official blog of the American National Section of the AIDP (L’Association Internationale de Droit Penal/The International Association of Penal Law). The AIDP was founded in Paris in 1924. Since 1950, the Association has been a U.N. accredited NGO.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:45 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, March 26, 2007

Blawg Review 100

Many of us probably know about the Carnival of the Infosciences, which describes itself as "a weekly weblog post that endeavors to showcase the best posts in the blogosphere about topics related to the wide world of Library and Information Science".

It seems I missed another blog carnival, Blawg Review, "the blog carnival for everyone interested in law".

Last week, Blawg Review celebrated issue #100:

"One thing you might notice about Blawg Review that is a bit different from other blog carnivals is that we put the emphasis on the hosts. Here, the hosts are responsible for selecting the best law blog posts from the previous week, including only what the host considers the best blog posts from several contributors each week. Regular contributors often recommend posts by other bloggers that would be good to include in the next week's presentation. Think of Blawg Review as a 'peer-reviewed' blog carnival" (...)

"For this centenary presentation, we've selected some interesting law blog posts of the past few weeks, and organized them according to the order in which these bloggers hosted Blawg Review".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:50 pm 2 comments links to this post

International Blog Conference This Week

ResourceShelf points today to a list of online material from this week's International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media in Boulder, Colorado.

It looks like an incredibly wide-ranging scholarly conference on everything blog-related.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:40 pm 0 comments links to this post

More on Bicentennial of the Abolition of the Slave Trade

This is a follow-up to the March 20, 2007 post entitled UK Bicentennial of Abolition of the Slave Trade - But Canada Was First!

The OpenDemocracy website has an interesting commentary on the history of the abolition struggle and on the repercussions of the transatlantic slave trade.

It is entitled Slaves and slavery, 1807-2007: the past in the present, by Marika Sherwood, researcher at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:32 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Library Movers and Shakers

I somehow missed this earlier this week.

Library Journal has just published its annual list of 50 Movers and Shakers in the library world:

"They're not just embracing new technology, they own it. They create it. And they use it to develop and deliver myriad services to library users and nonusers, to meet their customers online, and to bring up to snuff even those who aren't yet comfortable with our high-speed world".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:38 am 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, March 22, 2007

BC Courthouse Library Society Knowledgebase

The British Columbia Courthouse Library Society has launched a new feature called the A-Z Knowledgebase.

It is a "knowledgebase of handy references and hard to find answers to questions our users have asked".

There is an A-Z list of subjects, a search box, an RSS feed to stay up to date about new additions as well as links to online documents.

A lot of the content is specific to British Columbia legal questions, but many questions are of a general pan-Canadian nature.

The Knowledgebase is an interesting example of how reference staff can capture and make available useful research information.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:19 pm 0 comments links to this post

50th Anniversary of the Treaty of Rome

This weekend, the European Union celebrates in Berlin the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome which created the European Economic Community (EEC). The EEC has since morphed into the European Union.

The EU has created a website to mark the occasion. The site contains background information and statistics on the European Union, a calendar of events marking the anniversary, and a collection of publications and other material highlighting the many achievements and challenges facing the EU.

The Open Democracy site has a number of interesting features discussing what the 50th anniversary means:
  • The European Union at fifty: a second life : "This, then, is the test for the European Union leaders in Berlin. The challenge they face is threefold: to come to a balanced assessment of the successes and failures of the EU's fifty-year journey, to honestly examine what works and what doesn't in the present-day union, and to look ahead with a clear understanding that the issues the union will face in the next half-century will be very different from those in the last. If they manage all of that, they will deserve their champagne."
  • European unity: reality and myth: "The EU mythology of the pères fondateurs has the great men of Europe staring out across the war-wasted cities and farms of our continent, saying 'war - never again!', and committing themselves to European unity. And - voila! - the deed was done. A look at the documents and memoirs of the period paints a more complex picture, one which shows that the project was (as today) never an easy one. Why, for example, did these architects of a united Europe take twelve years after the cessation of hostilities in Europe in May 1945 to arrive at Rome? The question suggests another: was it indeed the second world war which gave birth to the European project, or was it rather the cold war?"
  • The European Union in 2057: "Different voices suggest that the whole idea of searching for grand unifying themes is a mistake. According to these voices what is required is for the union to demonstrate policies that work to benefit people in their everyday life, enhance job security and protect against social change. The existing institutions should be allowed to get on with their jobs, as they are, without further navel-gazing. Those policies that do not work at a union level should be restored to the national and local level so that people do not feel so disconnected from remote and bureaucratic processes in Brussels. "Policy relevance" is the catchphrase. In 2057, when people come to celebrate the union's centenary, they may look at this cacophony with bemusement. With hindsight it is always possible to spot trends and processes that were not so obvious at the time. What might these be?"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:03 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Blogging Policies for Law Firms and Lawyers

PracticeLink, a publication of the Canadian Bar Association, has posted an article entitled Blogging Policies and Best Practices for Lawyers and Law Firms by Edward Poll.

It proposes a number of suggestions and ideas for defining policies relating to the purpose of a blog, the technology used, the management of time spent on the blog, and professional responsibility.

It also offers links to the blogging policies from corporations such as IBM, Yahoo!, Sun Microsystems and others.

"Blogs may represent a new form of communication for lawyers, but the glamour of the technology should not obscure what we’re trying to accomplish with them. Ultimately, blogs should be regarded and managed just as any other professional activity that a lawyer undertakes".

"Just as you have policies in your practice for how you prepare an engagement letter or develop a fee schedule, so too should you have policies, such as suggested here, for how you blog. Doing so will keep your blog in its proper place, as another tool that can help you secure clients and be of valuable service to them".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:09 pm 0 comments links to this post

Researching the European Union

The most recent issue of the UK-based information industry newsletter FreePint has an article by London librarian Adrian Janes on Finding Facts: The European Union after 50 Years:

"The European Union (EU) marks its 50th anniversary in March 2007. In this time it has grown from six to 27 Member States, gradually expanded the range of its activities and become a highly complex organisation. This article attempts to sketch some of the background to the EU's development, point out the functions of some of the key institutions and above all indicate useful sources of information".

Earlier Library Boy posts about European legal information sources include:

  • EU Law Blog (March 6, 2006): "Anonymously written, it is a 'web log about European Union law for students, academics, practitioners and anyone else who may be interested in it' ."
  • European Union URLs Changed (May 22, 2006): "Since earlier this month, European Union institutional websites have a new '.eu' domain name. This means that sites whose addresses used to end with '.eu.int' now have an '.eu' ending instead. Many EU sites have also been renamed, sometimes in major ways."
  • Another European Union Blog (June 24, 2006): "A relatively new blog called ECJBlog now covers news from the European Court of Justice. The blog is based in the Netherlands. The Court examines the legality of measures taken by European Union institutions and ensures the uniform interpretation and application of EU law."
  • Government Accountability Resources (August 28, 2006) - the before last paragraph reads: "The European Union also has a European Court of Auditors which is on a par with the other institutions of the Union: the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Communities. The Court ensures the reliability of the EU accounts and the legality of the transactions underlying the EU budget."
  • Updated European Union Law Research Guide (October 2, 2006): "LLRX.com has updated the document entitled 'European Union Law: An Integrated Guide to Electronic and Print Research' by Marylin Johnson Raisch, the Librarian for International and Foreign Law at the John Wolff International and Comparative Law Library of the Georgetown Law Center."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:58 pm 0 comments links to this post

Follow-Up On Irrelevance of Law Reviews

This is a follow-up to yesterday's post entitled Are Law Reviews Irrelevant?.

Excerpt from the post:

"Summarizing a recent discussion at Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law about the dwindling influence of legal scholarship on the courts, Mr. Liptak [New York Times] says nearly all the judges in attendance agreed the articles had minimal impact on jurisprudence. And he quotes one judge as saying of his law-review articles, 'As far as I can tell, the only person to have read any of them was the person who edited them'."
Ann Althouse, law professor in Madison, Wisconsin, has commented on the issue on her blog Althouse and attracted a large number of comments from readers.

Some of the judges from the conference referred to above supposedly "pleaded with the law professors to write about actual cases and doctrines, in quick, plain and accessible articles".

Althouse's comments:

"And on the theory that I've got some judge and law clerk readers, let me put in my request that they write their damned opinions in a quick, plain and accessible style. Because I'm getting pretty weary of their obfuscatory, evasive, rambling scribblings myself. Unfortunately, I don't have the option of just not reading. Their work is imposed on us. Talk about an obligation to say something useful and well!"

"As for those professors, how much should we worry about their disinclination to stoop to the level of quick, plain accessibility for the purpose of talking to judges? Do you really think these characters who opted out of the practice of law should have more influence over the law that affects real life? Maybe you should be glad they've cocooned themselves within an academic discussion that harms no one".

"Do you feel sorry for the law review editors who work so hard on what the professors write? The editors still get their editing experience. They get their lustrous credential to put on that résumé that will land them the judicial clerkships where they will get more experience working on judicial opinions -- those lengthy, obfuscatory judicial opinions that fail to cite law review articles".
Ouch!!!

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:40 pm 0 comments links to this post

New International Law Research Guides

GlobaLex, the online legal collection at the New York University School of Law, has added new research guides to its list:
  • A Brief Guide to Select Databases for Spanish-Speaking Jurisdictions caught my attention since I have been trying to learn Spanish since last May: "This brief article aspires to present evaluations that guide the time-pressed researcher, so that she may focus upon those sources that provide access to materials of the greatest value, and avoid sources of lesser value. It is my hope that the novice librarian working in Foreign, Comparative, and International Legal Research (FCIL Research) will gather some critical entry points into accessing and evaluating some of the major databases providing access to Spanish-language legal materials from this article. While space has prevented a thorough analysis of each and every online source, the databases analyzed below are educational examples; some by virtue of their accomplishments, and some by virtue of what they lack." The document covers Lexis, Westlaw, and non-commercial databases and portals.
  • International Human Rights Research Guide: this document covers the system of United Nations human rights documentation, international organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, university websites and law journals.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:24 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

UK Bicentennial of Abolition of the Slave Trade - But Canada Was First!

The year 2007 marks the 200th anniversary of the British legislation that banned the transatlantic trade in slaves. The Abolition of the Slave Trade Act was passed in the Westminster Parliament on 25 March 1807.

Slavery itself was fully abolished throughout the British Empire in 1834.

A number of websites have been created to mark this important commemoration:
  • The National Archives of the United Kingdom have created a portal on the Abolition of Slavery
  • The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, Awards for All, and 24 Hour Museum have joined in partnership to announce their support of the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade with the launch of the website Abolition200. It contains a searchable database of events from all over the British Isles and highlights funding opportunities for groups that wish to apply for National Lottery money to help fund their commemorative events and activities.
  • The British Library has brought together many of its numerous resources and created Slavery, the Slave Trade and its Abolition
What is not well known, even in Canada, is that one of the first moves towards the abolition of the slave trade took place right here.

The colony of Upper Canada, now the province of Ontario, was the pioneer in this movement. In 1793, colonial Governor John Graves Simcoe, the founder of York (later to become Toronto), passed An Act to prevent the further introduction of slaves, and to limit the Term of Contracts for servitude within this Province (ECO - Early Canadiana Online archives - there is a Wikipedia version if the ECO link doesn't work for you). The law freed slaves aged 25 and over and made it illegal to bring slaves into Upper Canada, which became a safe haven for runaway slaves. Simcoe’s law also made Upper Canada the first jurisdiction in the British Empire to move toward the abolition of slavery. Slavery formally ended in Canada in 1834 as it did in all British territories but it had been in sharp decline since Simcoe's legislation was passed.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:58 pm 2 comments links to this post

Are Law Reviews Irrelevant?

The Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog commented yesterday on a piece by the New York Times legal correspondent Adam Liptak who argues that the influence of law reviews is on a sharp decline [one has to register online to read the Times piece]:

"Meanwhile, the law-review articles have become less readable and less relevant, as the best legal writers and legal minds have reserved their analyses for blogs or for supporting briefs they file in cases that interest them. Summarizing a recent discussion at Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law about the dwindling influence of legal scholarship on the courts, Mr. Liptak says nearly all the judges in attendance agreed the articles had minimal impact on jurisprudence. And he quotes one judge as saying of his law-review articles, 'As far as I can tell, the only person to have read any of them was the person who edited them'."

Earlier this month, I posted an item entitled What Are Supreme Court Justices Reading?. It referred to an article by Simon Fodden in The Court (Osgoode Hall Law School blog) that analyzed the "Authors Cited" sections of Supreme Court of Canada judgments for 2006. If Fodden's analysis is a representative picture of judicial life here in Canada, it may not be too much of a stretch to say that law reviews may also be declining in relevance on this side of the 49th parallel.

Among Fodden's findings:

  • 206 separate works were cited, but only 47 (23%) were from academic or professional journals
  • "Of the 47 journal articles cited, over half (26) were a decade old or older, 15 were published within the last five years, and the remainder fell in between. The articles came from 30 journals, of which two-thirds were Canadian and one-third foreign (essentially American)".
  • "The most frequently cited Canadian law journal was the Canadian Bar Review (9 times), followed by the McGill Law Journal (5 times); 9 of the articles cited from these journals were a decade or more old".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:46 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, March 19, 2007

Your Identity Is Worth $18 To Online Crooks

The most recent Internet threat report from computer security firm Symantec states that "the current Internet threat environment is characterized by an increase in data theft, data leakage, and the creation of targeted, malicious code for the purpose of stealing confidential information that can be used for financial gain". Symantec is the company that makes and sells the Norton Anti-Virus program.

The scariest finding is that complete identities, in the United States at least, including personal banking and credit card info, date of birth and government social security data, can be purchased for between US $14 - $18. Stolen identities are openly traded on Internet chat rooms.

Among the other findings:
  • There were more than 6 million distinct bot-infected computers worldwide during the second half of 2006, representing a 29 percent increase from the previous period. However, the number of command-and-control servers used to relay commands to these bots decreased by 25 percent, indicating that bot network owners are consolidating their networks and increasing the size of their existing networks
  • Trojans constituted 45 percent of the top 50 malicious code samples, representing a 23 percent increase over the first six months of 2006
  • Underground Economy Servers are being used by criminals and criminal organizations to sell stolen information, including government-issued identity numbers, credit cards, bank cards and personal identification numbers (PINs), user accounts, and e-mail address lists
  • For the first time, Symantec identified the countries with the highest amount of malicious activity originating from their networks. The United States had the highest proportion of overall malicious activity, with 31 percent.

More from the March 19th Ottawa Citizen front page article entitled You're worth $18 on identity market: Stolen banking, credit and personal information sells online for paltry sums.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:37 pm 0 comments links to this post

UNESCO Survey: Ethical Implications of Emerging Technologies

Mary Rundle, fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law, and Chris Conley , a doctoral candidate at Harvard Law School, have prepared a discussion paper for UNESCO that deals with the ethical aspects of new information and communications technologies.

The study looks at the semantic web, digital identity management, biometrics, RFID, sensors, mesh networking and grid computing and other emerging technologies.

"The quickening speed of technological evolution leaves little time to decision-makers, legislators and other major stakeholders to anticipate and absorb changes before being challenged to adapt to the next wave of transformation. Lacking the time for lengthy reflection, the international community is often faced with immediate policy choices that carry serious moral and ethical consequences: Increase public infrastructure or permit preferential use by investors? Allow the market to oblige people to participate in digital systems or subsidize more traditional lifestyles? Let technology develop as it will or attempt to programme machines to safeguard human rights?"

(...)

"The report further aims at alerting UNESCO’s Member States and partners to the increasing power and presence of emerging technologies and draws attention to their potential to affect the exercise of basic human rights. Perhaps as its most salient deduction, the study signals that these days all decision makers, developers, the corporate scholar and users are entrusted with a
profound responsibility with respect to technological developments and their impact on the future orientation of knowledge societies".
The paper was produced under the auspices of the Geneva Net Dialogue, an international association whose mission is "to lend its support to the operation of human rights in the information society by improving ties between the technology community, the policymaking community, and civil society at the international level".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:32 pm 0 comments links to this post

U.S. Judiciary To Make Court Proceeding Recordings Available Online

The legal news site JURIST is reporting that the Judicial Conference of the United States has approved a pilot program to make free audio recordings of court proceedings available online.

The Conference is the policy-making body for the U.S. federal judiciary, which includes Supreme Court justices, court of appeals judges, and district court judges.

According to an Associated Press wire story referred to by the JURIST item:

"At present, recording devices and cameras are prohibited in all federal courtrooms. However, in some high-profile cases the Supreme Court releases audio recordings of oral arguments. Some federal trial courts, such as the one in Philadelphia, sell daily audio recordings of hearings".

"The pilot program, set to launch in the next few months, would put those recordings on the court's electronic records database for download".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:11 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Basex Report On Dealing With Information Overload

The Basex research company has just published a paper entitled Information Overload: We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us that deals with how the flood of data and information from more and more sources (e-mail, databases, RSS feeds, etc.) is affecting the nerves and productivity of knowledge workers. Download is free with registration online.

"The problem of information overload is multi-faceted. It covers e-mail overload, interruptions, new technologies that compete for our attention, and improved and ubiquitous connectivity (...)"

"Defining the problem from the foregoing isn't that simple either. It's not just a case of too much e-mail, too many interruptions, too many projects, or too many instant messaging sessions. It's how these things all mesh together - sometimes like an orchestra without a conductor".

"In other words (...) the likelihood of being able to complete a task (what many call 'work') without interruption is nearly nil".
The report analyzes the human, technological and organizational factors that lead to overload, and the cost to organizations. It also provides an overview of the experience of a number of large companies and suggests strategies for mitigating and avoiding "infomania".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:50 pm 0 comments links to this post

New Library of Parliament Legislative Summary on Age of Sexual Consent

The Parliamentary Information and Research Service of the Library of Parliament has just published a new legislative summary concerning Bill C-22: An Act to amend the Criminal Code(age of protection):

"The bill amends the Criminal Code to raise the age, from 14 to 16 years, at which a person can consent to non-exploitative sexual activity. The existing age of consent of 18 years for exploitative sexual activity will be maintained. This applies to sexual activity involving prostitution, pornography, or where there is a relationship of trust, authority, dependency or any other situation that is otherwise exploitative of a young person".

"Bill C-22 creates an exception with respect to an accused who engages in sexual activity with a 14- or 15-year-old youth and who is less than five years older than the youth. It also creates an exception for transitional purposes for an accused who is married to a youth, or who is the common-law partner of a youth and is expecting a child with the youth and the sexual activity was not otherwise prohibited before the day the Act comes into force. The bill maintains an existing “close in age” exception that exists for 12- or 13-year-olds who engage in sexual activity with a peer who is less than two years older, provided the relationship is not exploitative".

"The stated reason behind the introduction of Bill C-22 is to better protect youth against sexual exploitation by adult predators. The former Minister of Justice has said that adults who prey upon young people are the targets of the bill, not consenting teenagers".
It is possible to track the progress of Bill C-22 on LEGISinfo, the parliamentary legislative research site. LEGISinfo includes RSS feeds.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:14 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, March 16, 2007

Celebrate St.Patrick's Day By Reading Up On Ancient Irish Law

The Vincent G. Rinn Law Library blog at DePaul University College of Law (Chicago) has an item about the old Brehon Laws of Ireland.

"These ancient Irish laws have come to be called The Brehon Laws from the Irish term 'Brehon' which was applied to the official lawgiver. They were transmitted orally and with extreme accuracy from generation to generation by a special class of professional jurists called Brithem (judge in early Gaelic). These laws are of great antiquity and may antedate the coming of the Celts to Ireland. St. Patrick is credited with codifying these laws in the 5th Century".
Something to read while imbibing vast quantities of green beer!

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:22 pm 0 comments links to this post

Suggestions for Law Review Editing

I picked up this reference on the Law Librarian Blog:

Concurring Opinions blogger Dan Solove wrote a few days ago about his pet peeves concerning how law review submissions are edited. His grievances are about American journals. But are Canadian journals free from some of these practices?

In his post entitled Law Review Editing: Some Suggestions for Reform, Solove stated:

"My sense is that many law review editors have no idea just how widely professors view some of their editing practices as silly and bothersome. Perhaps by airing them out here will lead to meaningful reform. Here are two of the silliest rules and practices of law review editing:

1. Parentheticals
One of the most obnoxious rules is the requirement that nearly all cites need to have a parenthetical containting descriptive text.

(...)

2. Footnotes for Every Proposition
Another irksome practice is when law review editors want footnotes for nearly every proposition in the article. For example:

The earth revolves around the sun.

A footnote must be added:
The earth revolves around the sun. [Footnote 1]
Footnote 1. See Nicolaus Copernicus, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (1543)"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:12 pm 2 comments links to this post

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Statistics Canada Report on Young Offenders

Yesterday, Statistics Canada released its report on Youth custody and community services for 2004/2005.

The study looked at the number of youths between the ages of 12 and 17 who were admitted into custody or community probation under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Five jurisdictions are excluded from the report: Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, the Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.
"Admissions of young people aged 12 to 17 to remand, as well as sentenced custody and probation, fell for the second consecutive year following the enactment of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) on April 1, 2003".

"This decline in admissions coincides with decreases in both the youth crime rate and the youth incarceration rate" (...)

"Since the introduction of the YCJA, the number of admissions to youth custody and community correctional services has declined 33%. Admissions to probation have declined 54%, sentenced custody admissions are down 50%, and remand declined by 22%. On the other hand, admissions to the community portion of a custody and supervision order have increased 12%, while admissions to deferred custody were up 27%".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:00 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Supreme Court of Canada Statistics: 1996-2006

The Supreme Court of Canada has just released a Special Edition of its Bulletin of Proceedings containing a statistical overview of activities for the period 1996-2006.

It is broken down into the following sections:
  • Cases Filed: "The total of 513 cases filed in the year 2006 is approximately 15% lower than the annual average number of cases filed over the last decade".
  • Applications for Leave Submitted: "number of leave applications submitted to panels of the Court for decision, the number of leave applications granted and the percentage granted of the total submitted... In 2006, there were 506 leave applications filed with the Court and 477 submitted to panels of the Court for decision. The total number of leave applications submitted to the Court for decision in 2006 is 17% lower than the number submitted in 2005. The average time lapse between the filing of a leave application and the judgment of the Court is 8% lower".
  • Appeals Heard: "In 2006, the Court heard 80 appeals over 56 hearing days. The number of appeals heard was 12% lower than the average number of appeals heard over the previous ten years".
  • Appeal Judgments: "The Court released 79 judgments in 2006. Of these, 4 were pronounced from the bench ('oral judgments'), with no written reasons to follow. In 80% of the judgments, all judges agreed in the result of the appeal".
  • Average Time Lapses: "in 2006, the time between the filing of a complete application for leave to appeal and the Court’s decision on whether leave should be granted or denied was 3.4 months. In 2006, appeals were heard, on average, 7.7 months after leave was granted or the notice of appeal as of right was filed. In 2006, the Court rendered judgment, on average, 5.9 months after the hearing of an appeal. This figure includes oral judgments. The average time lapse between the hearing of the appeal and the delivery of reasons (including cases where judgment was reserved and where judgment was rendered with reasons to follow) was 6.2 months, consistent with the time lapse in 2005".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:52 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, March 12, 2007

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles for February 2007

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of February 1st to 28th, 2007 is now available on the Court website.

The web page explains: "The Supreme Court of Canada Library does not lend materials from this list, which is provided for information only."

But, once the material goes into the general collection, after about a month, the works do become available for inter-library loans to authorized libraries.

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

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:02 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, March 11, 2007

New Library Career Books

In late April, publisher Libraries Unlimited will bring out a new book entitled A Day in the Life: Career Options in Library and Information Science (Shontz, Priscilla K. and Richard A. Murray, editors).

From the description:

"Many people, not just those new to the field of Library and Information Science, are curious about their career options. The editors of liscareer.com have assembled 95 authors, each of whom describes a 'typical' workday or work routine, sharing joys, sorrows, and annoyances in refreshingly candid fashion. In the process, they offer those interested in finding a similar job exposure to useful skills and advice across a wide variety of traditional and nontraditional jobs. In addition to public, academic, school, and special libraries, consortia, associations, LIS programs, vendors, publishing, consulting, and other non-library fields are also covered. This is a perfect guide for library and information science students, prospective information professionals, new librarians-or anyone considering a career change".
Also, author Rachel Gordon, who maintains the LISjobs.com site, is working on an upcoming book on alternative careers for librarians and she has posted an online survey looking for people's experiences in non-traditional fields:

"I'm interested in hearing from a broad variety of people, including: those who have embarked on a new career after working for some time in libraries, those who earned an MLS but never worked in a traditional library setting, those who pursue alternative opportunities as a supplement to a traditional library career, those who work in a traditional setting but do nontraditional work, and those who do library work in nontraditional settings. Basically, if you think you might have/had some sort of nontraditional career, I'd love to hear from you -- thanks!"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:52 pm 0 comments links to this post

Identity Theft: Guided Tour of Hacker Chat Room

Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, co-authors of the book Freakonomics, also maintain a blog.

There, they have a recent post about identity theft that points to a number of articles and studies on the topic, including a New York Times Magazine column of theirs in this weekend's issue that offers a "guided tour of a hacker chat room where credit-card numbers, passwords, and PIN’s are bought and sold".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:42 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, March 10, 2007

More on New Canadian Legal Info Institute Beta Site

This is an update to the March 7, 2007 post entitled Canadian Legal Info Institute - New Beta Site Offers RSS Feeds.

A very detailed explanation of changes is available on the CanLII website.

It covers:
  • Improvements to the search tool
  • Increase and reorganization of the content published on CanLII
  • Improvements to documents and hypertext (such as PDF)
  • New resources for librarians and advanced users (RSS feeds)
  • Other (such as the uniformization of CanLII citation)

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:09 pm 0 comments links to this post

Updated Library of Parliament Report on Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Gun Crimes

The Parliamentary Information and Research Service of the Library of Parliament recently published an update to its legislative summary entitled Bill C-10: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (Offences Involving Firearms):

"Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences involving firearms), was introduced and received first reading in the House of Commons on 4 May 2006, followed by second reading and referral to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on 13 June 2006. Its primary objectives were to increase mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment for individuals who commit serious or repeat firearm offences, and to create the new offences of breaking and entering to steal a firearm and robbery to steal a firearm".

"Bill C-10 was significantly amended by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, which reported the bill back to the House of Commons on 21 February 2007. All mandatory minimum penalties were removed, leaving the two new offences accompanied only by maximum penalties of life imprisonment. A few other, less substantive provisions remained intact, resulting in an amended bill with 9 clauses, compared to the original 31".

The document includes sections on:
  • History of Minimum Sentences for Firearm Offences
  • Constitutionality of Mandatory Minimum Sentences
  • Effect of Mandatory Minimum Sentences on Gun Crime:
    1. Canada
    2. United States
    3. Effect of Imprisonment Generally
    4. Incidental Effects of Mandatory Minimum Sentences
  • Description and Analysis

Earlier Library Boy posts on the subject include:

  • Library of Parliament Mini-Review of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing (March 22, 2006): "The document states that studies show that a direct cause and effect relationship between mandatory minimums and a decline in crime rates can not be drawn; as well, given the many factors that can explain crime trends, studies on the effects of such sentences are considered difficult to interpret... And since the accused has no incentive to plead guilty, some fear that mandatory minimums can lead to costly trials."
  • Tougher Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Gun Crimes (May 4, 2006): "Today, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Vic Toews introduced bills to increase mandatory minimum penalties for gun crimes and to restrict conditional sentences for violent offenders."
  • Reverse Onus for Gun Crimes (November 26, 2006): "The federal government's proposed new gun crimes legislation would put the burden on serious gun crimes suspects seeking bail to show cause why they should not stay in custody... On January 2, the Globe and Mail, in an article entitled 'Targeting gun offences presents legal quagmire', quoted various legal experts as saying it is a 'total crap shoot' whether reverse onus would survive a constitutional challenge under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:56 pm 0 comments links to this post

Best of the Web Booklets - Internet Resources for Law

Intute, a network of UK universities that recommends high quality Internet websites, recently released several new Best of the Web booklets.

The list includes Internet Resources for Law:

"In these pages you will find a selection of some of the most useful websites for students, lecturers and researchers involved in this subject. The selection is by no means exhaustive, but it should give you a flavour of the range of resources available on the Internet for education and research".
The Law booklet is divided into sections for:

  • Legal information gateways
  • Educational materials
  • Organisations
  • United Kingdom law
  • European Union law
  • Other jurisdictions
  • International law
  • Law by subject area

Intute is also a great current awareness source for Internet resources in arts, humanities, health, science and technology, engineering and the social sciences.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:36 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Statistics Canada Report on Legal Aid

The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (part of Statistics Canada) today released its annual overview of legal aid services entitled Legal Aid in Canada: Resource and Caseload Statistics 2005/2006.

Last year, legal aid services surveyed spent close to $673 million.

The survey reports that:

"In most jurisdictions, the majority of legal aid applications were for criminal matters. This includes more than 70% of applications in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Yukon. In contrast, the majority of applications
in Ontario (75%) and Quebec (55%) were for civil matters. Given that these two provinces account for the majority of applications, overall we see that more than half (59%) of legal aid applications were for civil matters in 2005/2006".
The survey is divided into sections on the organization of legal aid services, sources of revenues, expenditures, an overview of applications for assistance, and the participation of lawyers in the provision of legal aid.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:44 pm 0 comments links to this post

More on Updated Justice Canada Legislative Website

This is an update to the February 27, 2007 post entitled New Department of Justice Legislative Website about the revamped federal government site for consolidated Acts and regulations.

NCALL, the National Capital Association of Law Libraries in Ottawa, recently organized a lunchtime session with legislative editors from Justice Canada who were able to provide some additional detail:
  • the biggest difference to users is in the way the search engine works: statutes and regulations are broken down into sections. When a user searches for all the words "boat permit" in simple search, the system returns results where "boat" and "permit" are found in the same section. Prior to the changes, the system would also have returned results where the words could be found in different sections, sometimes wide apart from one another
  • the Income Tax Act is expected to be added this summer. It has long been absent from the Justice Laws site.
  • Justice Canada is also planning on adding a PDF version of statutes and regulations for side-by-side English/French viewing of legislative materials

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:17 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Canadian Legal Info Institute - New Beta Site Offers RSS Feeds

The Canadian Legal Information Institute, or CanLII, has a new beta version of its website.

Among the changes proposed are an expansion of coverage beyond legislation and court/tribunal decisions. For example, the federal page includes many useful external links (federal Hansard, parliamentary bills, Canada Gazette, court hearing lists, access to the Supreme Court library catalogue).

The change that will no doubt create the most excitement, however, is the creation of a long list of RSS feeds. Users can subscribe to feeds from courts and tribunals from all over the country to be notified of either recent decisions or recently modified decisions (corrections recently made to the text of any decision published in a given database).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:58 pm 0 comments links to this post

What Are Supreme Court Justices Reading?

Simon Fodden wrote an article today in The Court (Osgoode Hall Law School) that analyzes the "Authors Cited" sections of Supreme Court of Canada judgments for 2006.

Entitled What is the Supreme Court Reading?, the article, according to Fodden, "reveals a meagre and mundane stock of stimulation, heavy on textbooks and light on theory".

Ouch!

Fodden adds: "I assume that the great bulk of references in decisions originate in parties' factums and do not represent independent research by the judges".

Blame the lawyers.

On a more serious note, Fodden does provide an interesting breakdown:

  • 206 separate works were cited, but only 47 (23%) were from academic or professional journals
  • "The works most frequently cited are those dealing with statutory interpretation. Elmer Driedger's book on the Construction of Statutes was cited 14 time in one version or another, and Pierre-André Côté's writings on the interpretation of statutes were cited 5 times."
  • "After that, things drop off rapidly: 2 authors are cited 4 times each, 3 are cited 3 times each, 43 are cited twice each, and the remaining 123 cited only once - a perfect illustration of the 'long tail' in statistics".
  • "Of the 47 journal articles cited, over half (26) were a decade old or older, 15 were published within the last five years, and the remainder fell in between. The articles came from 30 journals, of which two-thirds were Canadian and one-third foreign (essentially American)".
  • "The most frequently cited Canadian law journal was the Canadian Bar Review (9 times), followed by the McGill Law Journal (5 times); 9 of the articles cited from these journals were a decade or more old".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:28 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

JURIST 10th Anniversary Conference

JURIST, the legal news and commentary website based out of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, is celebrating its 10th anniversary by holding a conference called Law as a Seamless WebSite on March 29th.

It is attracting some very high profile panelists, including terrorism suspect defence lawyers, UN war crimes prosecutors, top legal affairs correspondents and many prominent law profs:
"The rights of Guantanamo detainees. The trial and execution of Saddam Hussein. The constitutionality of NSA surveillance. Immigration reform".

"These are some of the legal issues that shape public policy debate and define our world. They are the stories that eventually will form history. But even as they unfold, they are being reported in new ways that bear little resemblance to legal reporting as it was practiced just a decade ago. Technology and the Internet have ushered in a new era of information accessibility and immediacy for millions of people around the world, presenting both new opportunities and challenges for understanding the legal issues that affect our lives".

"JURIST ... has been one of the key architects of this new legal reporting, changing how legal news is presented and understood every day".

"In celebration of JURIST’s 10th anniversary, the University of Pittsburgh School of Law joins JURIST in presenting a provocative conference exploring issues at the intersections of law, war, rights and social justice that have figured prominently in JURIST’s coverage in recent years, while also taking an insightful look at how the media have been reporting legal news and how the Internet and technology are changing the conversation".
I am sure JURIST will be posting the presentations from the conference.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:16 pm 0 comments links to this post

Highest Impact Law Journal: Harvard Finally Beats Yale

According to Thomson Scientific Journal Citation Reports, the Harvard Law Review has overtaken the Yale Law Journal as the law journal with the highest "impact factor", a common measure of publication influence in the field known as bibliometrics.

Impact factor is measured using "the number of all current citations to source items published in a journal over the previous two years and dividing by the number of articles published in the journal during the same period—in other words, a ratio between citations and recent citable items published".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:04 pm 0 comments links to this post

Seniors and Crime Victimization

Statistics Canada released a study today entitled Seniors as victims of crime. Data comes from police reports and from self-reported victimization data from the agency's General Social Survey.

Highlights:
  • Seniors were three times less likely than non-seniors to experience a victimization in the 12 months preceding the survey (10% versus 31%)
  • Seniors were far less likely than their younger counterparts to experience an assault, a sexual assault or a robbery. The violent victimization rate reported by seniors was almost four times lower than for 55 to 64 year olds (12 versus 45 incidents per 1,000 population), and almost 20 times lower than for 15 to 24 year olds (226 incidents per 1,000 population)
  • Senior males were more likely than senior females to be victims of violent crime. In 2005, overall rates of police-reported violent crime were 1.5 times higher among senior men than senior women (200 versus 131 per 100,000 population)
  • In 2005, police-reported data found that nearly 5 in 10 senior victims were victimized by a family member compared to 4 in 10 for non-senior victims. The most common perpetrators of family violence against seniors were adult children (35%) and current or previous spouses (31%)
  • Although seniors may be perceived as being more frail and vulnerable than their younger counterparts, they were no more likely to sustain injuries. Over two-thirds (68%) of violent incidents involving seniors did not result in any physical injuries, a figure that was comparable to the proportion of incidents involving non-senior victims
  • Seniors experienced theft of personal property (such as money, credit cards, jewellery, purse, wallet or clothing) at a rate that was far lower than other age groups. The senior rate was less than half that of 55 to 64 year olds (22 versus 51 incidents per 1,000 population), and almost eight times lower than the rate for 15 to 24 year olds (165)
  • Households with only senior residents were nearly three times less likely than all Canadian households to experience a break and enter, a property theft, a motor vehicle theft or vandalism (87 compared to 248 incidents per 1,000 population)
  • Seniors’ feelings of personal safety have improved over the last five years. In 2004, 92% of older persons reported feeling satisfied with their overall level of safety from crime compared to 89% reported in 1999
Earlier Library Boy posts about crime victim studies include:
  • Canadians' Use of Crime Prevention Measures (November 27, 2006): "Last week, the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics released its study on Canadians' Use of Crime Prevention Measures that seeks to 'examine the various crime prevention measures employed by Canadians to protect themselves and their property from crime'."
  • First Ever Canadian Study On Workplace Victimization Published (February 16, 2007): "Nearly one-fifth of all incidents of violent victimization, including physical assault, sexual assault and robbery, occurred in the victim's workplace in 2004. This represents over 356,000 violent workplace incidents in Canada’s ten provinces (...) Physical assaults made up a higher proportion of all violent incidents in the workplace, representing 71% of all incidents of workplace violence. This compares to 57% of violent non-workplace incidents (...) Violent workplace incidents involving male victims were more likely than those involving female victims to come to the attention of the police (57% versus 20%)."
  • Statistics Canada Report on Impacts and Consequences of Criminal Victimization (March 1, 2007): "This analysis shows that not only do victims incur physical, emotional and financial costs as a direct result of their victimization, but that their perceptions of their neighbourhoods and personal safety and their opinions concerning the police system are affected by their prior victimization experience. The analysis highlights the fact that regardless of crime experiences, women tend to express more fear related to crime than men and when women are victims of crime the impact on their emotions, their use of precautionary measures and their sense of security seems to be greater relative to men."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:52 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, March 05, 2007

Feminist Legal Theory Resources

Since this week marks International Women's Day, I thought it would be appropriate to draw attention to some feminist legal resources out there on the Web and in Blogland.

There are some notable blawgs devoted to feminist legal approachs:

  • Feminist Law Professors: "The overarching goal of this blog is to build a stronger feminist law prof community across scholarly subject areas. Toward this end the blog: 1. Lists law professors (by law school) who self-identify as feminists, and provides links to their professional or personal web pages (or wherever is preferred by the listee) - see blogroll in the righthand column. 2. Announces CFPs and conferences likely to be of interest to feminist law profs. 3. Highlights the publication of books and articles authored by feminist law profs, or that feminist law profs may find of interest. This blog is an effort to build a stronger community of feminist law professors across geography, law schools, and scholarly subject areas. Every feminist law professor is a unique individual, and nothing about her life, views or work should be presumed from her presence in the blogroll, other than that she considers herself a feminist."
  • IntLawGrrls is of very recent vintage. It soft launched in February of this year and was officially inaugurated March 3rd, Girl's Day in Japan: "IntLawGrrls joins a world where cultures, ideas, and markets commingle, where humanity reveals both its best promise and its worst underside. It is a world where women act, as prime ministers or ministers of state (Angela Merkel and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Condoleezza Rice and Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, to name a very few), as lawmakers (Nancy Pelosi), as judges (Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Beverley McLachlin, Rosalyn Higgins and Françoise Tulkens), and as advocates, in international organizations (Louise Arbour and Margaret Chan) and in society at large (Shirin Ebadi and Wangari Muta Maathai, Rigoberta Menchú and Aung San Suu Kyi). It is our hope through IntLawGrrls to strengthen our voices as we continue to teach and work in international law, policy, practice."

To find material about what North American law professors and law faculties are doing in the area of feminism and the law, try some new search tools:

  • Cornell Law Library Legal Research Engine: this is a custom search engine for authoritative legal research guides from approximately twenty academic and government websites in the United States. Try queries such as "feminist legal theory", "feminist legal studies", "women and the law" or "gender and the law"
  • Canadian Law School Websites: over the weekend, I created a custom search engine that searches the websites of Canadian law schools. Try the same queries as in the previous item - "feminist legal theory", "feminist legal studies", "women and the law" or "gender and the law"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:06 pm 0 comments links to this post

Evolution of Faculty Publications and Changing Role of Law Librarians

Jan Ryan Novak of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Library and Leslie A. Pardo of the John J. Ross-William C. Blakley Law Library, Arizona State University, have co-authored an article entitled The Evolving Nature of Faculty Publications published on the Social Science Research Network:

"Technology increasingly drives the evolving nature of the library's role in managing faculty publications. Libraries not only create physical archives of faculty scholarship, but take on the active role of facilitating immediate access to content. Trends in legal scholarship, including new formats such as blogs and podcasts and the open access initiatives, compel libraries to develop creative solutions such as enhanced bibliographies, searchable databases, and digital repositories to manage access, preserve, and disseminate faculty writings".

(...)

"Digital publishing and the Open Access Movement are rapidly impacting, and decreasing, the role of traditional, print journal literature as the predominant expression of faculty scholarship. Librarians’ roles as archivists, preservers, mediators, and promoters of access to faculty scholarship are as essential for electronic media as they have traditionally been in the print environment. Moreover, librarians need to embrace the roles of aggregating, distributing, and disseminating formerly performed almost exclusively by publishers. At the very least, librarians should be organizing all the access points to all manifestations of their institution’s faculty’s scholarship. Librarians can contribute expertise and skills to the management of their institutions’ participation in the SSRN or bepress initiatives. It is critically important for librarians to assume leadership roles and maintain responsibility for institutional repositories if they are to remain relevant during this next phase of the technological revolution".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:47 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, March 04, 2007

New Customized Search Tools for Canadian Legal Material

I have been playing around with Google Coop, which allows anyone to create a custom search engine that will search only sites or subsites specified.

I have come up with 2 search tools for Canadian legal material. Both are fully bilingual:
  • Canadian Law School Websites: this searches the websites of all Canadian law schools in all provinces. For example, try searches for 'feminist legal theory' or 'anniversaire "Charte canadienne des droits" ' .
  • Legal Research / Recherche juridique: this searches through the legal research guides and tutorials of Canadian law schools and their libraries. For example, try searches for 'animal law' or 'histoire "droit québécois" '. This one may take some more customization but it seems to work relatively well.

Comments and suggestions for refinement are welcome.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:42 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Legal Times Blog for US News

The US legal news publication Legal Times recently launched The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times.

From the initial post on February 20, 2007:

"Here at Legal Times, we like to think that we've got a decent little franchise that sits at heart of the power structure in Washington, which is another way of saying that we have our own kiosk at the crossroads of the world. That's not a bad place to be".

"And while Washington is frequently carpet-bombed by every journalistic organization out there, print, broadcast, and otherwise, there consistently exists an opportunity for more, particularly where law, business, and politics intersect. It is through some ever-changing permutation of those factors that everything gets done here. And there aren't that many of us who bother to keep score of those actions the way it needs to be kept".

"This blog then becomes another way for us to do that—albeit in the most accessible, easy-to-digest manner possible. A small addition built on the end of our kiosk. (Hopefully, not a substandard one.) Here, we hope to translate the smaller bits of information that comes across our transom in a given week into something interesting and entertaining (famous last words) on a daily basis. And if possible, perhaps break a little news, too (...)"

"Our other hope is that with these posts, you might get to know the people who make up this publication in a way that will never come through in print. We have an informed, intelligent, eclectic group of journalists who undoubtedly will have something to say that extends beyond the boundaries of our coverage".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:24 pm 0 comments links to this post

U.S. Annual Report on International Drug Trade and Money Laundering

Earlier this week, the U.S. State Department released its most recent International Narcotics Control Strategy Report:

"The 2007 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) is an annual report by the Department of State to Congress prepared in accordance with the Foreign Assistance Act. It describes the efforts of key countries to attack all aspects of the international drug trade in Calendar Year 2006. Volume I covers drug and chemical control activities. Volume II covers money laundering and financial crimes".
Also this week, the UK government released its report Financial challenge to crime and terrorism:

"The Government's anti-money laundering and terrorist finance strategy has been drawn up between law enforcement agencies; key policy departments and the private sector. It shows that the financial measures taken in recent years are already helping to deter, detect and disrupt crime and terrorism. To build on this progress, the strategy sets out the key priorities for increasing the financial challenge to crime and terrorism in the future, and announces new proposals that exemplify the Government's commitment to their delivery".
Earlier Library Boy posts on related topics include:
  • Government Releases Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Consultation Paper (July 10, 2005): "Just before the Canada Day weekend, the Finance Department released a consultation paper that outlines proposed changes to Canada’s anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regime. The current law is up for a mandatory 5-year review by the Canadian Parliament. Under the current legislation, financial institutions, insurers, real estate agents and casinos must report any suspicious financial transactions as well as ALL completed transactions over $10,000 CDN."
  • Criminal Intelligence Service 2006 Annual Report on Organized Crime (August 19, 2006): "The Service coordinates the criminal intelligence units of Canadian law enforcement agencies at the federal and provincial levels of government (...) Organized crime activities involve production and distribution of narcotics, firearms smuggling, vehicle theft, financial fraud, identity theft, counterfeiting, human trafficking and money laundering."
  • Canadian Senate Report on Money Laundering (October 4, 2006): "The Senate committee estimates that the amount of dirty money laundered each year in Canada far exceeds what the federal government anti-money-laundering authorities at the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC) of Canada have found. FINTRAC, which filed its 2005-06 annual report in Parliament today, estimates the dollar value of suspect transactions for the year was slightly over $5 billion. The Senate report feels the figure could be in the tens of billions of dollars."
  • RCMP Drug Situation Report 2005 (January 11, 2007): "In the past few years the problem of illicit synthetic drugs has evolved from a concern for Canadian law enforcement to a national priority. To accurately reflect the ever growing role that Ecstasy, methamphetamine and chemical precursors play in the Canadian illicit drug trade, a full section has been dedicated to each of these commodities. This year, a section on prosecution of the illicit drug trade cases was also added to examine the extent of charges related to drug incidents, as well as the results of court proceedings."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:58 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Customized Search Engine For U.S. Law School Websites

I just came across an item about Google tricks on WisBlawg, the University of Wisconsin Law Library legal research blog created and written by Bonnie Shucha.

John Doyle, who works at the Washington & Lee Law School Library has developed a custom search engine for Searching U.S. Law School Websites. It is based on the Google Custom Search Engine that allows you to search only the sites you specify.

Earlier Library Boy posts on customized searching:
  • New Search Engine for Library Blogs (October 29, 2006): "LisZen is a new customized search engine that searches the content of more than 500 library-related blogs."
  • Customized Search for Intergovernmental Organizations (November 16, 2006): "The people at Indiana University Libraries in Bloomington, Indiana have developed customized search tools for IGOs - intergovernmental organizations like the World Bank, the European Union and the UN."
  • Blawg-Finding Tools (November 22, 2006): "Well, the Law Dawg Blawg, created by law librarians at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, describes 'New Tools for Finding Blawgs' in a post from November 18, 2006.The post describes 2 finding aids: the refurbished blawg.com site (...) and the search engine BlawgSearch." The search engine on blawg.com is based on the Google custom search technology.
  • Customized Search For French Legal Material (December 15, 2006): "More and more libraries and individuals have been using tools such as Google Coop to build customized topical collections of searchable online material.The French blawg Doc en Vrac has a recent item about a number of searchable collections, including French-language blogs and legal material from France, Belgium, Switzerland and Quebec."
  • Customized Search Tool for Reference Sites (January 25, 2007): "Bill Drew of the Morrisville State College Library has created a custom search engine that aggregates content from more than 200 reference sites.The sites are those included in the 1999-2006 annual lists issued by the Best of Free Reference Web Sites Committee of the (...) American Library Association... "
  • New Legal Research Engine (February 2, 2006): "The Cornell University Law Library has launched its new Legal Research Engine that helps users find research guides on legal topics from authoritative sources. Authoritative as in Harvard Law, Georgetown, Cornell, Duke, New York University... the top U.S. sources anyway. It is based on the Google Custom Search Engine technology I have discussed in earlier Library Boy posts..."
  • Customized Search Engine for Canadian Government Documents (February 7, 2007): "David Sharp, the Government Publications Librarian at the Maps, Data and Government Information Centre at Carleton University in Ottawa, has recently developed a customized search tool for Canadian government documents... For now, it searches on the federal level, including select crown corporations, the provincial and territorial level; as well, it searches 80 municipal sites from across Canada."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:57 pm 0 comments links to this post

Statistics Canada Report on Impacts and Consequences of Criminal Victimization

Statistics Canada released a new report this morning entitled Impacts and Consequences of Victimization, GSS 2004.

GSS 2004 refers to the agency's 2004 General Social Survey on victimization.

"This analysis shows that not only do victims incur physical, emotional and financial costs as a direct result of their victimization, but that their perceptions of their neighbourhoods and personal safety and their opinions concerning the police system are affected by their prior victimization experience. The analysis highlights the fact that regardless of crime experiences, women tend to express more fear related to crime than men and when women are victims of crime the impact on their emotions, their use of precautionary measures and their sense of security seems to be greater relative to men".
According to the report, nearly three out of ten Canadians 15 years of age and older were victimized in some manner in the year leading up to the Survey. In close to one quarter of the incidents, the victim sought medical attention.

Earlier Library Boy posts about crime victim studies include:
  • Canadians' Use of Crime Prevention Measures (November 27, 2006): "Last week, the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics released its study on Canadians' Use of Crime Prevention Measures that seeks to 'examine the various crime prevention measures employed by Canadians to protect themselves and their property from crime'."
  • First Ever Canadian Study On Workplace Victimization Published (February 16, 2007): "Nearly one-fifth of all incidents of violent victimization, including physical assault, sexual assault and robbery, occurred in the victim's workplace in 2004. This represents over 356,000 violent workplace incidents in Canada’s ten provinces (...) Physical assaults made up a higher proportion of all violent incidents in the workplace, representing 71% of all incidents of workplace violence. This compares to 57% of violent non-workplace incidents (...) Violent workplace incidents involving male victims were more likely than those involving female victims to come to the attention of the police (57% versus 20%)."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:37 pm 0 comments links to this post