Monday, April 30, 2007

First Woman Supreme Court Justice Bertha Wilson Dies

The Court and the Canadian legal world have lost a giant.

Supreme Court news release:


OTTAWA, April 30, 2007 – The Supreme Court of Canada issued the following press release today:

The Honourable Bertha Wilson, formerly a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, passed away in Ottawa on April 28, 2007 after a prolonged illness. Justice Wilson attended the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and graduated with an M.A. in 1944. She continued her education at the Training College for Teachers in Aberdeen, obtaining her diploma in 1945. She married the Reverend John Wilson in December 1945 and they emigrated to Canada in 1949. In 1955, Bertha Wilson enrolled at Dalhousie University to study law, and in 1957 she completed her LL.B. and was called to the bar of Nova Scotia. In 1959 she was called to the bar of Ontario. She practised law in Toronto with Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt for 17 years.

Bertha Wilson broke ground in 1975 as the first woman appointed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario, and again in 1982 when she became the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. She retired from the Court in 1991.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, on behalf of the members of the Supreme Court of Canada, lamented Justice Wilson’s passing, “Bertha Wilson was known for her generosity of spirit and originality of thought. She was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada the same year the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was enacted. As a member of this Court, she was a pioneer in Charter jurisprudence and made an outstanding contribution to the administration of justice. She will be sorely missed by all who were privileged to know her.”

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Wellington and Kent Streets, Ottawa.
More:
  • Finally, a woman on Canada's Supreme Court (CBC Archives, 1982): "When Bertha Wilson applied to law school, in 1954, she was told to go home and take up crocheting. And when she applied to a law firm after graduation, the partners debated whether women were suited to practise law. Nearly three decades later, Wilson has earned a place on the Supreme Court of Canada."
  • Judging Bertha Wilson: Law as Large as Life (University of Toronto Press website): "Madame Justice Bertha Wilson, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada, is an enormously influential and controversial figure in Canadian legal and political history. This engaging, authorized, intellectual biography draws on interviews conducted under the auspices of the Osgoode Society for Legal History, held in Scotland and Canada with Madame Justice Wilson, as well as with her friends, relatives, and colleagues. The biography traces Wilson's story from her birth in Scotland in 1923 to the present. Wilson's contributions to the areas of human rights law and equality jurisprudence are many and well-known. Lesser known are her early days in Scotland and her work as a minister's wife or her post-judicial work on gender equality for the Canadian Bar Association and her contributions to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:53 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, April 29, 2007

LLRX.com Gets A New Look

The legal information current awareness site LLRX.com has an entirely redesigned look.

The most recently added material includes:
  • Reference from Coast to Coast: Stalking and Finding the Full-Text Article: "Jan Bissett and Margi Heinen discuss a successful strategy for locating hard to find articles using a range of sources, including directories, online catalogs, specialized databases, commercial websites, and academic document delivery services."
  • Gadgets, Gadgets, Gadgets! : "Computers in Libraries 2007 once again hosted Barbara Fullerton, Sabrina Pacifici and Aaron Schmidt's popular round-robin of the latest and greatest gadgets, from simple and practical to sophisticated and cutting edge, with recommendations in everyone's price range."
  • Legal Protection of Cultural Property: A Selective Resource Guide: "Louise Tsang's updated guide focuses on important information print and electronic sources specific to the protection of cultural property in wartime, international trade in cultural property, and the laws applicable to the illicit traffic of art and antiquities".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:29 pm 0 comments links to this post

New Edition of Current Cites

Current Cites is an current awareness service in library and information science that offers a monthly annotated bibliography of documents (articles, books, etc.).

The April issue is now available and offers a mix of items on topics ranging from web site design and the Google book digitization project to the popularity of Wikipedia and trends in the pricing of serials.

As usual, an in-depth selection.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:23 pm 0 comments links to this post

New Library Career Book Published

This is a follow-up to the March 11, 2007 Library Boy post entitled New Library Career Books.

The book mentioned in that post, A Day in the Life: Career Options in Library and Information Science, is finally out.
"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".

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

Friday, April 27, 2007

New Library of Parliament Legislative Summary on Senate Appointments

The Parliamentary Information and Research Service of the Library of Parliament has published a legislative summary on Bill C-43: Senate Appointment Consultations Act:

"As its title suggests, the bill establishes a mechanism for consulting electors in a province with respect to their preferences for the appointment of senators to represent the province".

"Bill C-43 is the second legislative initiative introduced by the government during the 39th Parliament with respect to the Senate. On 30 May 2006, the Honourable Marjory LeBreton, Leader of the Government in the Senate, introduced Bill S-4, An Act to Amend the Constitution Act, 1867 (Senate Tenure), in the Senate. This bill proposes that the term of new Senate appointees be eight years, which would be renewable. The subject matter of the bill was referred to a Special Senate Committee on Senate Reform on 28 June 2006. After hearing witnesses, the Committee tabled its report on Bill S-4 on 26 October 2006. The bill received second reading in the Senate on 20 February 2007 and was referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs (...)"

"Bill C-43 sets out the procedure for 'electing' Senate nominees, and, as such, constitutes a mini Canada Elections Act. It includes, directly or by reference, several substantive provisions of the Canada Elections Act. Indeed, clause 2(2) provides that words and expressions used in Bill C-43 'have the same meaning as in the Canada Elections Act unless a contrary intention appears'."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:36 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, April 26, 2007

World Intellectual Property Day

Today is World Intellectual Property Day. The World Intellectual Property Organization even has an online gallery.

For a Canadian angle, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office has put together some material on the importance of intellectual property.

Thomson Scientific is marking the day with issues of its publication World IP Today on patent output from the G8 countries in the last decade and global technology innovations over the same period.

For a more critical account of what World Intellectual Property Day represents, one can also read the thoughts of University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist who concludes:

"(...) World Intellectual Property Day has become little more than a lobbyist day with creators, users, and the facts once again getting lost in the process".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:04 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Transportation Act Amendments

The Parliamentary Information and Research Service of the Library of Parliament has just released its legislative summary of Bill C-11, an Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and the Railway Safety Act:

"Bill C-11 proposes to add a new provision in Part III of the CTA [Transportation Act] that permits the Minister to enter into an agreement with a provincial authority to authorize the latter to regulate the construction, operation and safety of a federally regulated railway as well as the rates and conditions of service in the same manner and to the same extent as it may regulate a railway within its jurisdiction; this provision was not included in Bill C-44"

"(...) The House Committee [House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities] amendment that has generated the most controversy is one related to the authorities of the Canadian Transportation Agency (“the Agency”) in clause 7. The House Committee voted to accept an amendment that gives the Agency additional authorities to mediate or arbitrate disputes relating to any railway matter under Part III or Part IV of the Act, or to the application of rates or charges levied by the railways, if requested to do so by all parties to the dispute, even if the matter is outside of the Agency’s jurisdiction. This particular amendment has provoked a negative reaction from some rail shippers".

Also significant were House Committee amendments regarding:
"(...) The Minister of Transport’s requirement to report on the state of transportation in Canada (clause 11). The House Committee amendment requires the Minister to table a brief overview on the state of transportation in Canada on an annual basis and to expand the report into a comprehensive review every five years".

"(...) Guidelines respecting the information parties to a transportation merger must provide to the Minister of Transport (clause 13). As a result of a House Committee amendment, the Minister is obliged to issue and publish guidelines, which will be elaborated in consultation with the Competition Bureau, respecting information the parties to the proposed merger will be required to provide regarding the public interest impact of the transaction".

"(...) The assumption of the Air Travel Complaints Commissioner’s role and duties by the Agency (clause 25). An amendment by the House Committee requires the Agency, as part of its annual report, to provide information on the number and nature of air travel complaints filed".

"Regulations respecting the advertising of airfares for travel within, or originating in, Canada (clause 27). The House Committee amended the provision to oblige the Agency to make such regulations rather than allow the Agency discretion in the matter".

"Provisions relating to railway noise (clause 29). The House Committee made a number of amendments the bill in order to hold railway companies to a stricter standard with respect to the impacts of railway operations on adjacent communities than the one proposed in the first reading version of this bill".

The bill is now in front of a Senate committee.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:39 pm 0 comments links to this post

School Safety Resources

This is an update to the April 19, 2007 Library Boy post entitled U.S. Campus Security Database and RCMP Emergency Plan for Canadian School Shootings.

The Vincent G. Rinn Law Library at DePaul University in Chicago has compiled a list of FBI Resources on School and Campus Safety Issues.

SafeCanada.ca, a federal government program, has brought together resources from national and provincial organizations.

As well, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation website has a special section on school shootings that offers material on the history of school violence, expert opinion on prevention of school massacres and links to external documents such as the State of Colorado study of the Columbine massacre and a report by the United States Secret Service on the prevention of school shootings.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:24 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Wrongful Convictions: Public Inquiry Called Into Actions of Ontario Pathologist

The chief coroner of Ontario revealed last week that Dr. Charles Smith, a former leading Ontario child pathologist, made mistakes in 20 cases involving the deaths of children. The announcement cast doubt on 13 criminal convictions.

The Toronto Star has compiled a list of cases left under a cloud.

As a result of the chief coroner's report, Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant announced yesterday that he is launching a public inquiry with powers of subpoena for people and documents. Cabinet will name a senior judge tomorrow to lead the inquiry.

More on the case of Dr. Charles Smith:
Earlier Library Boy posts on the subject of wrongful convictions include:

  • The Innocence Project - Wrongful Conviction Website (November 23, 2005): "The New York-based Innocence Project is a not-for-profit legal clinic run out of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law that takes on cases of wrongfully convicted individuals whose innocence has been conclusively proven thanks to forensic DNA testing (...) In Canada, there is the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC) ... AIDWYC, either directly or through the work of member lawyers, has been involved in bringing to light many wrongful convictions in Canada, including those of Guy Paul Morin, David Milgaard, Clayton Johnson, Peter Frumusa and Gregory Parsons. "
  • Wrongful Conviction Resources on the Web (December 19, 2005): "The LLRX.com website has just published a bibliography entitled Wrongful Conviction and Innocence Resources on the Internet. It is divided into sections on current awareness, 'innocence projects' (groups and research projects that help investigate cases of wrongful conviction), government commissions, case profiles and case databases, reports on wrongful conviction published by the government, academics, various organizations and the media in the United States, courses, conferences and organizations."
  • James Driskell Wrongful Conviction Report (February 16, 2007): "This week, the Manitoba Attorney General has released the report of the judicial commission of inquiry in the James Driskell case (...) Driskell was wrongfully convicted in 1991 of murder. That verdict was overturned in 2005 by the federal government, which launched a commission of inquiry into how this miscarriage of justice could have happened. Driskell spent 13 years in jail. The commission report concluded that police and Crown lawyers failed to disclose crucial evidence that could have prevented Driskell's wrongful conviction. The jury was also 'seriously misled' on issues including the reliability of a key Crown witness."
  • Wrongful Convictions Database at University of Texas Law Library (April 12, 2007) : "The Tarlton Law Library at the University of Texas has created an Actual Innocence awareness database that covers the area of wrongful criminal convictions in the United States."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:09 pm 2 comments links to this post

Sunday, April 22, 2007

European Union Terminological Database Goes Public

IATE, the Inter-Active Terminology for Europe, is the terminology/translation database system used by the institutions of the European Union since 2004.

IATE incorporates many legacy databases, including the well-known multilingual EURODICAUTOM, the European Commission's terminology system dating back to the early 1970s.

Participating institutions in IATE include the European Commission, the EU Parliament, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Communities, the Court of Auditors, and various other specialized institutions (such as the European Central Bank).

Its 1,4 million multilingual entries are now available to the public. It is possible to restrict searches to the legal field by selecting "LAW" as a "domain" in the Optional criteria section of the search page. IATE contains material in 24 languages from Bulgarian to Swedish.

[Source: The Précisément.org site run by Paris-based law librarian Emmanuel Barthe]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:52 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, April 20, 2007

More Water Law Resources

This is an update to my 2 posts this week on water law:

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has a number of public databases on the topic.

  • The Waterlex Legal Database "carries the full text of treaties and agreements, bi-lateral and multi-lateral, concluded by sovereign countries in regard to the development and management of rivers and lakes, and/or of groundwater resources, which form an international boundary line or which are bisected by such boundary line. Country and river/lake/basin/aquifer coverage does not purport to be exhaustive. WATERLEX covers a timespan from 1909 to-date."
  • Water Law and Standards is a joint project of the FAO and the World Health Organization. It includes a water standards database and a legislation database on the legal frameworks governing water resources in selected countries of the world. This legislation database covers "whether there is a basic water law in the country; what kinds of water it covers; who owns water; who is authorized to use water and how; whether and how pollution is controlled; and the nature of the government's administrative structure for water resources management."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:49 pm 0 comments links to this post

More Law Journals Adding Blog Companions

Blawg's Blog reports this week on Law Journals Embracing Weblogs:

"A number of law journals are now leveraging weblog technology to present information and commentary online. Some are offering online weblog 'digests' which supplement the traditional printed journal, while others are solely online".

"The common thread I have seen in these online efforts is a desire for a more timely forum to comment on new developments in the journal's area of coverage".
I had mentioned quite a few of these law journal blog supplements in previous Library Boy posts, for example The Yale Journal Pocket Part, but Blawg's Blog lists many more.

Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:

  • Yale Law Journal "Pocket Part" (November 8, 2005): "(...) the site provides a forum for discussion and up-to-date additional information on articles. An interesting concept that one hopes many other law journals will emulate."
  • Blogs Have Impact on Law Reviews (March 1, 2006): "Kevin O'Keefe at LexBlog has posted a piece entitled 'Law blogs impacting law reviews : Wall Street Journal'. It discusses how many scholars dissatisfied with the constraints of traditional law reviews have started contributing 'relevant and timely commentary' to Internet sites and blogs. O'Keefe adds that law reviews are also offering original content on the Internet and cites the example of Harvard and Yale that now offer original web-based, or blog-like, supplements to their print publications."
  • Yale Law Journal on the Future of Legal Scholarship (September 8, 2006): "The September 2006 issue of the Pocket Part, the online companion to the Yale Law Journal, features a series of papers about the future of legal scholarship. The papers discuss the challenges that the Internet and public blogs can pose to scholarly debate..."
  • More and More Original Legal Scholarship Going Online (February 12, 2007): "The Virginia Law Review has created an online companion publication called In Brief: '(I)t joined the law journals at Yale, Harvard, Penn, and Michigan in a growing trend among the country’s leading law reviews to publish original scholarship on the Internet. ... [Editor-in-Chief Jim] Zucker (...) believes that past and current Law Review managing boards possessed a uniform sense that the future of legal scholarship is online. Among other advantages, these boards recognized that online companions can truncate the publication process, which may take as much as a year from the point of an article’s submission to its publication'."
  • Another Law Review Adds Online Companion (April 11, 2007): "Environmental Law, a law review published by the Lewis & Clark Law School in Oregon, has introduced a blog-like online companion entitled Environmental Law Online."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:35 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, April 19, 2007

U.S. Campus Security Database and RCMP Emergency Plan for Canadian School Shootings

The U. S. Department of Education Office of Post-Secondary Education (OPE) has created a database known as the Campus Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool:

"The data are drawn from the OPE Campus Security Statistics Website database to which crime statistics are submitted annually, via a Web-based data collection, by all postsecondary institutions that receive Title IV funding (i.e., those that participate in federal student aid programs) as required by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act".

(...)

"The statistics found on this website represent alleged criminal offenses reported to campus security authorities and/or local police agencies. Therefore, the data collected do not necessarily reflect prosecutions or convictions for crime. Because some statistics are provided by non-police authorities, the data are not directly comparable to data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting System which only collects statistics from police authorities. The site contains a glossary that provides definitions for the various crime and geographic categories presented in the reports".
On a related note, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police held a press conference today to unveil their emergency response plan for school shootings.

Under the plan called SAFE (School Action For Emergencies), the federal police force will map every elementary and secondary school in the RCMP areas of jurisdiction. It will then do the same for all Canadian colleges and universities.

"The officials said the basic plan is to get as much information about every school as they possibly can and then put it in every police cruiser — either in printed form in a binder, or as a CD for the car's laptop computer".

"The Mounties have already started to visit schools to obtain floor plans, electrical plans and other blueprints that show how fire alarms, water sprinklers and public-address systems work".

"They are taking photographs of areas such as parking lots, cafeterias, and stairwells".

"They are also using aerial-survey photos taken from different angles to plot out possible entry routes, exits, observation points, perimeters and checkpoints".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:33 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Canadian Water Law Resources

This is a follow-up to yesterday's post entitled International Water Law Research Guide that described Research Guide on Transboundary Freshwater Treaties and Other Resources, a new research guide on the GlobaLex website at the New York University School of Law.

Water has been in the news recently here in Canada. It has been revealed that closed-door trilateral talks are taking place between Canadian, American and Mexican lobbies to discuss the bulk export or mass diversion of Canadian groundwater to the ever more thirsty US. [Vancouver Sun, April 13, 2007, "Gulp! Canada's water on the table in talks with parched U.S., Mexico -To draft 'blueprint' on economic integration"]

In that context, here are a few Canadian resources on the topic of "water law":
  • Water FAQs (Resource Library for the Environment and the Law, Canadian Environmental Law Association): "The Resource Library for the Environment and the Law and the Canadian Environmental Law Association provide here fourteen series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), relating to water. Intended to foster a better understanding of the context of regulatory changes pertaining to water, these FAQs provide a range of perspectives and internet links to useful information. Additional fact sheets are provided to address aspects of water quality and quantity that go beyond the challenges that the events in Walkerton created". [Walkerton was one of the worst cases of water contamination in Canada]
  • Water Policy and Legislation (Environment Canada): this site covers federal, provincial and international laws and agreements on water management
  • Bulk Water Removals, Water Exports and the NAFTA (Library of Parliament, Jan. 2002): "Canada is the largest single owner of fresh water resources in the world. This vast abundance of water has prompted some to advocate its export to water-poor regions, primarily the southwestern region of the United States. The debate over whether to export water from Canada has continued over the past three decades. Although the federal government’s policy officially opposing large-scale exports has been in place since 1987, public fears nevertheless continue. These fears have been heightened by concerns of critics over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its predecessor, the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which were not in place when the debate over water exports began. Clashes continue over whether surface and ground water in its natural state (for example, in lakes and rivers) is subject to NAFTA obligations. Some argue that this is the case. At the same time, however, the governments of Canada, the United States and Mexico have expressly stated that the NAFTA does not apply to water in its natural state. Critics of the status quo have called on the federal government to take action to deal with what they perceive to be a serious threat to our water resources. They contend that, not only should there be federal legislation placing an outright ban on large-scale water exports, but that there should also be an explicit amendment to the NAFTA exempting water in its natural state from the obligations of the treaty, although the U.S. might not agree to this."
  • An Act to amend the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act, S.C. 2001, c. 40: "The bill would provide for a clearer Act and more effective implementation of the 1909 Treaty relating to Boundary Waters and Questions arising along the Boundary between Canada and the United States (commonly referred to as the Boundary Waters Treaty) by: a) prohibiting the bulk removal of boundary waters from the water basins in which they are located; b) requiring persons to obtain licences from the Minister of Foreign Affairs for water-related projects in boundary or transboundary waters that would affect the natural level or flow of waters on the United States side of the border; and c) providing clear sanctions and penalties for violation. The prohibition on boundary water removals would apply principally to the Great Lakes but would also affect other boundary waters, such as part of the St. Lawrence River, the St. Croix and Upper St. John Rivers, and the Lake of the Woods. The amendments (...) are part of a larger three-pronged strategy announced by the federal government on 10 February 1999 to prohibit bulk water removals, including those for export, from all Canadian water basins. The provinces have primary responsibility for the management of water resources; however, the Boundary Waters Treaty gives the federal government clear jurisdiction over boundary waters to the extent stipulated in the Treaty. Pursuant to section 132 of the Constitution Act, 1867, only the federal government has the authority to fulfil the Treaty’s obligations with respect to boundary waters."
  • Freshwater Water Management in Canada: IV Groundwater (Library of Parliament, Feb. 2006)): "Unlike the provincial legislative assemblies, the Parliament of Canada has passed few acts dealing with groundwater, largely because of the federal government’s limited role in this domain. Provincial laws and regulations address quantitative and qualitative aspects of groundwater extraction, environmental assessments, and land use and development. At the federal level, only a small number of regulations in the mining, oil and fisheries sectors refer to groundwater. Groundwater is also mentioned in certain laws implementing international agreements, mainly to withdraw it from their application (...) Among non-legislative parliamentary action on groundwater is the report tabled in 2005 by the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, entitled Water in the West: Under Pressure (...) With respect to groundwater, the Committee recommended that the federal government 'take the necessary steps to ensure that all of Canada’s major aquifers are mapped by 2010. This data should be made available in the national groundwater database and supported by a summary document assessing the risks to groundwater quality and quantity'."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:14 pm 0 comments links to this post

New International Court of Justice Website

The International Court of Justice in The Hague, the main judicial organ of the United Nations system, launched the new version of its website this week.

The new version provides access to the Court's entire jurisprudence going back to the origins of the institution in 1946. The full text of decisions as well as the principal documents from the written and oral proceedings are available.

For current awareness purposes, there is a website section with pending cases and it is possible to subscribe to an e-mail notification service for all press releases.

For more information on the Court, see:

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Law Library of Congress GLIN Database Added to WorldLII

The World Legal Information Institute, or WorldLII, has just added the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) to its collection of 779 free databases from 86 countries.

"This database contains abstracted laws, regulations, judicial decisions and other materials. The data is provided by the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) which is operated by the Law Library of Congress".

"GLIN is a public database of laws, regulations, judicial decisions, and other complementary legal sources contributed by governmental agencies and international organizations. These GLIN members contribute the official full texts of published documents to the database in their original language. Each document is accompanied by a summary in English and subject terms selected from the multilingual index to GLIN. All summaries are available to the public, and public access to full texts is also available in participating jurisdictions".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:35 pm 0 comments links to this post

International Water Law Research Guide

A new research guide has been published on the GlobaLex website at the Hauser Global Law School Program at the New York University School of Law.

Entitled Research Guide on Transboundary Freshwater Treaties and Other Resources, the document provides information about major global and regional treaties, databases of international, regional and bilateral agreements, non-treaty instruments, NGOs and intergovernmental organizations, international water commissions such as the Canada-US International Joint Commission as well as sources of caselaw.

"Approximately 260 of the world’s river basins, with a majority of the world’s freshwater flow, cross or create international political boundaries. 145 countries, with close to half of the world’s population, are located in international river basins. Although conflicts over water resources date back thousands of years, in spite of, or perhaps because of, the essential role water plays in sustaining human civilization, the nations have found a way to cooperate in sharing and managing water resources. In addition to global conventions and rules governing the use of water resources, hundreds of regional treaties and agreements exist between and among nations, covering a wide range of issues, from border security and navigation to hydro-electric power and water quality and water quantity. Many treaties contain mechanisms for conflict resolution and many establish international commissions for water resource management".

"In addition to surface water contained in lakes and rivers, the vast majority of the earth’s freshwater consists of groundwater held in underground aquifers. Although a 'hidden resource', groundwater serves the basic needs of more than half the world’s population and may be the only source of water in arid and semi-arid countries. A far smaller number of international agreements that address the use and sharing of groundwater resources are in place; international principles are still being developed".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:26 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, April 16, 2007

Dilbert Cartoon On Trade-mark Names

Have a look at yesterday's Dilbert on trade-mark searching.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:31 pm 0 comments links to this post

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles for March 2007

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of March 1-31, 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 5:27 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Australian Blawg Directory

The LexBlog Blog mentioned a new compilation of Australian law blogs:

"David Jacobson has put together a list of Australian law blogs. David says they're mostly IP related and published by a range of practitioners, academics and students. No large Australian law firms yet".
On Library Boy, I have mentioned other blawg directories and blawg-finding tools:
  • Another List of Law Library Blogs (June 2, 2005): "Bonnie Shucha of the University of Wisconsin Law Library has compiled a list of 'law library blogs': 'Only professional blogs targeted toward the legal community appear on this list. This includes blogs affiliated with a law library, blogs written by individual law librarians, and blogs of law librarian associations. This list does not include personal blogs or blogs on librarians'hip'."
  • UK and Irish Law Blogs (May 21, 2006): "The British site Infolaw has listed UK-based law blogs by category. Infolaw has also posted a list of UK newsfeeds, whether from blogs or legal and/or government news sites. And a site called Irish Legal Fiction has made available a small collection of Irish legal information sites and blogs."
  • Blawg-Finding Tools (November 22, 2006): "(T)he 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". [in this post, I also refer to directories of Canadian, UK, francophone, and international blawgs]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:55 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Top Ten Charter Cases

Last week, there was a symposium organized by the Law Society of Upper Canada in Toronto to mark the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

For the occasion, as noted in the Osgoode Hall blog The Court, a panel of 10 top Supreme Court watchers came up with a list of the 10 most important Charter cases.

The most important case according to the experts is R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 103:

"The Supreme Court of Canada held (7-0) that a reverse onus clause in the Narcotic Control Act, which required an accused to rebut a presumption of possession for purposes of trafficking, violated s.11(d)'s presumption of innocence and was not justifiable as a reasonable limit under s.1 of the Charter".

"Without question, Oakes has been the most frequently cited and most dominant decision in the first 25 years of Charter history. Though the Court would have developed a standard under s.1 to test the reasonableness of the legislature's objective and the means adopted in any event, Oakes is a much more than a test of reasonable limits. It is iconic and a symbol of the Charter's goal of maintaining balance between the rights of individuals and the demands of democratic society, and equilibrium between the institutional roles of the legislatures and the courts".

(...)

"By setting a strict standard of justification under s.1, Oakes had a strong influence on the Court?s conception of rights; to avoid a s.1 analysis, the Court has, in some instances, placed definitional limits on the scope of the Charter guarantees. By providing a blueprint on the question of "reasonable limits", Oakes has also had a powerful influence on governments, particularly in the area of legislative drafting" [from The Court].

Earlier Library Boy posts that refer to the Oakes case include:
  • Richard Goldstone Visits the Supreme Court (February 3, 2006): "This last Wednesday, Richard Goldstone, former justice of the post-apartheid Constitutional Court of South Africa, was an honoured guest at an in-house conference organized for staff of the Supreme Court of Canada. The Constitutional Court is South Africa's highest court on constitutional matters. Before being appointed to the Constitutional Court, during the period of transition from apartheid to multiracial democracy, Goldstone headed a commission of inquiry into violence that proved conclusively the involvement of the police and secret services in a campaign of murder aimed at aborting the nascent peace process between the white minority government and the African National Congress (...) Goldstone's most interesting comments about the new Constitution were related to its very extensive Bill of Rights which includes a limitation clause that is eerily close to s. 1 of the Canadian Constitution's Charter of Rights and Freedoms and whose formulation closely resembles Canada's Oakes Test. Apparently the Canadian Charter, among other constitutional documents, was one of the influences on South African efforts to develop a democratic constitution in the post-apartheid era."
  • Legacy of R. v. Oakes - Proportionality Analysis under the Canadian Charter's Section 1 (November 20, 2006): "R. v. Oakes is widely regarded as one of the most important judgments interpreting Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In addition to laying down its famous proportionality test to assess the reasonableness of limits on Charter rights, it clarified the Supreme Court of Canada's Court's interpretive methodology for Charter cases, perhaps most centrally that rights are of presumptive importance, and limitations the exception that are only acceptable if governments meet a demanding test of justification. The citation of Oakes by courts in Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Fiji, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Namibia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Vanuatu and Zimbabwe has made Oakes one of the central models for rights-based constitutional adjudication."
  • Supreme Court of Canada and Charter Equality Decisions (April 7, 2007): "The Parliamentary Research and Information Service of the Library of Parliament has released a new analysis entitled 'Charter Equality Rights: Interpretation of Section 15 in Supreme Court of Canada Decisions': (...) The Table of Contents of the document: (...) Section 1 A. The Oakes Test; B. The Flexible Approach; C. Separation of Powers; D. Additional Considerations"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:58 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Wrongful Convictions Database at University of Texas Law Library

The Tarlton Law Library at the University of Texas has created an Actual Innocence awareness database that covers the area of wrongful criminal convictions in the United States.

"It encompasses the categories of popular media (such as newspaper articles and segments which aired on television news magazines), journal articles, books, reports, legislation and websites. The materials are classified into what are considered the primary causes of wrongful conviction: forensics/DNA; eyewitness identification; false confessions; jailhouse informants; police and/or prosecutorial misconduct; and ineffective representation. There is also a 'general' category for those items which defy further categorization".
People can subscribe to an RSS feed to automatically receive updates.

[Source: LexLibris, the University of Minnesota Law Library Blawg]

Earlier Library Boy posts about wrongful conviction include:

  • The Innocence Project - Wrongful Conviction Website (November 23, 2005): "The New York-based Innocence Project is a not-for-profit legal clinic run out of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law that takes on cases of wrongfully convicted individuals whose innocence has been conclusively proven thanks to forensic DNA testing (...) In Canada, there is the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC) ... AIDWYC, either directly or through the work of member lawyers, has been involved in bringing to light many wrongful convictions in Canada, including those of Guy Paul Morin, David Milgaard, Clayton Johnson, Peter Frumusa and Gregory Parsons. "
  • Wrongful Conviction Resources on the Web (December 19, 2005): "The LLRX.com website has just published a bibliography entitled Wrongful Conviction and Innocence Resources on the Internet. It is divided into sections on current awareness, 'innocence projects' (groups and research projects that help investigate cases of wrongful conviction), government commissions, case profiles and case databases, reports on wrongful conviction published by the government, academics, various organizations and the media in the United States, courses, conferences and organizations."
  • James Driskell Wrongful Conviction Report (February 16, 2007): "This week, the Manitoba Attorney General has released the report of the judicial commission of inquiry in the James Driskell case (...) Driskell was wrongfully convicted in 1991 of murder. That verdict was overturned in 2005 by the federal government, which launched a commission of inquiry into how this miscarriage of justice could have happened. Driskell spent 13 years in jail. The commission report concluded that police and Crown lawyers failed to disclose crucial evidence that could have prevented Driskell's wrongful conviction. The jury was also 'seriously misled' on issues including the reliability of a key Crown witness."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:38 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Another Law Review Adds Online Companion

Environmental Law, a law review published by the Lewis & Clark Law School in Oregon, has introduced a blog-like online companion entitled Environmental Law Online.

The supplement provides access to the articles of the journal, as well as to case reviews of 9th Circuit court decisions and to comments.

According to BoleyBlogs! , the legal research blog of the Lewis & Clark Law School Boley Law Library:

"Environmental Law Online joins a growing list of elite law reviews with online companions, including The Yale Law Journal’s Pocket Part, Harvard Law Review’s The Forum, Michigan Law Review’s First Impressions, Northwestern University Law Review’s Colloquy, Texas Law Review’s See Also, Virginia Law Review’s In Brief, and University of Pennsylvania Law Review’s PENNumbra".
Earlier Library Boy posts on the subject include:
  • Yale Law Journal "Pocket Part" (November 8, 2005): "(...) the site provides a forum for discussion and up-to-date additional information on articles. An interesting concept that one hopes many other law journals will emulate."
  • Blogs Have Impact on Law Reviews (March 1, 2006): "Kevin O'Keefe at LexBlog has posted a piece entitled 'Law blogs impacting law reviews : Wall Street Journal'. It discusses how many scholars dissatisfied with the constraints of traditional law reviews have started contributing 'relevant and timely commentary' to Internet sites and blogs. O'Keefe adds that law reviews are also offering original content on the Internet and cites the example of Harvard and Yale that now offer original web-based, or blog-like, supplements to their print publications."
  • Yale Law Journal on the Future of Legal Scholarship (September 8, 2006): "The September 2006 issue of the Pocket Part, the online companion to the Yale Law Journal, features a series of papers about the future of legal scholarship. The papers discuss the challenges that the Internet and public blogs can pose to scholarly debate..."
  • More and More Original Legal Scholarship Going Online (February 12, 2007): "The Virginia Law Review has created an online companion publication called In Brief: '(I)t joined the law journals at Yale, Harvard, Penn, and Michigan in a growing trend among the country’s leading law reviews to publish original scholarship on the Internet. ... [Editor-in-Chief Jim] Zucker (...) believes that past and current Law Review managing boards possessed a uniform sense that the future of legal scholarship is online. Among other advantages, these boards recognized that online companions can truncate the publication process, which may take as much as a year from the point of an article’s submission to its publication'."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:55 pm 0 comments links to this post

Human Rights IT Tools to Map Darfur Genocide

The magazine Scientific American reports that Google and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum have launched an online mapping project to provide evidence of atrocities in the Darfur region of Sudan. Many human rights groups have called the mass killings at the hands of Sudan government-sponsored militia a form of "genocide".

"Using high-resolution imagery [from Google Earth], users can zoom into Darfur to view more than 1,600 damaged or destroyed villages, providing what the Holocaust Museum says is evidence of the genocide".
The BBC News service reports today in an article entitled Google Earth turns spotlight on Darfur that the project promoters hope people will put pressure on their governments to stop the violence that has killed 200,000 people and chased millions from their homes:

"Each information screen has a link for people to follow for advice on what they can do to help - including writing letters to politicians".

"And with some 200 million people using Google Earth over the past two years, the scheme's potential reach is huge".

"The museum's Genocide Prevention Mapping Initiative - which aims to halt violence before it becomes genocide - could be extended to other conflicts in the future".
Earlier Library Boy posts about the use of computer tools for human rights include:
  • Helping Citizens in Repressive Societies Get Around Censorship (Feberuary 13, 2006): "The blog Slaw has an item today about Psiphon, a tool developed by the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab to help people circumvent government Internet restrictions in repressive countries."
  • Computer Geeks Track Human Rights Abuses (February 14, 2006): "Wired News has printed some fascinating articles about the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) that builds computer databases and conducts statistical analysis on the data collected to build objective evidence of human rights abuses. HRDAG works with international human rights investigations."
  • Information Standards for Human Rights Violations Classification and Reporting (July 20, 2006): "HURIDOCS focuses on providing training for information and human rights workers who require techniques for the collection, organization and classification, preservation, and management of human rights abuse information.Tools include training materials for indexing and thesaurus building, standardized formats for the exchange of bibliographic information and metadata about human rights, proposed methodologies for monitoring and reporting abuses (standard ways of describing events, victims, acts, identities of perpetrators), etc."
  • Tools to Monitor Human Rights (July 25, 2006): "Human Rights Tools was set up by former workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (...) The site is aimed at professionals monitoring human rights and offers resources and training manuals for investigating political, social and humanitarian conditions in countries, documenting the human rights situation, using international law, planning, finding jobs and training opportunities in the human rights field..."
  • New International Human Rights Search Engine (December 19, 2006): "A new human rights topical search engine called HuriSearch was launched in early December as a joint project of FAST, a major enterprise search solutions company, and the Swiss-based HURIDOCS organization, which brings together monitoring and fact-finding practitioners, documentalists and librarians - to develop information management tools for human rights groups."

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

Upcoming Live Webcast on Screencasting

The Association of College and Research Libraries is offering a live webcast on April 26 on Getting Started with Screencasting.

The presenter will be Courtney Greene, Instruction & Online Learning Librarian at DePaul University in Chicago. Fees apply. Registration is online.

"This two hour session will explore screencasting—delivering screen captures via RSS—and its potential applications in the academic library. Participants will be provided with examples of screencasts, information on various software applications used to create screencasts, and tips for choosing content, preparing, recording and delivering a screencast".

Earlier Library Boy posts on screencasting:
  • Free Online Seminar on Screencasting (October 29, 2006): "The SirsiDynix Institute is holding a free web seminar on screencasting on November 8, 2006. Screencasting is 'a movie of your computer screen that records everything displayed on the screen as you demonstrate a procedure, along with your voice, if you wish. The recording is saved to a file for later playback'."
  • Screencasting To Create Online Library Tutorials (December 9, 2006): "On her Information Wants To Be Free blog, Meredith Farkas posted thoughts about screencasting, a technique that allows people to easily create online Flash tutorials. 'What’s so cool about it is the fact that instead of reading a list of instructions on how to use a database or some other tool, a screencast concretely shows the librarian going into the database and executing searches (...) Screencasts are all about video, but often also include audio, captions and even interactive components. You can show a user how to do a search and then have them execute a similar search before the screencast will advance'..."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:10 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Old Bailey Proceedings Digitized

Two professors in England have digitized the Proceedings of the Old Bailey, the digest of more than 100,000 trials that took place in the famous London criminal courts between 1674 and 1834.

The website includes a publishing history of the Proceedings, a list of notable trials that reveal a lot of the context of policing and community life at the time, historical background about crime, punishment and gender roles in early modern England, a bibliography (with sections on the publishing history of the Old Bailey Proceedings, advertising, the literature of crime, criminal biographies, last dying speeches, newspaper history, British novels about crime, etc.), etc.

There is additional background about the project in the April 2007 issue of the Smithsonian Magazine in an article entitled Digitizing the Hanging Court.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:42 pm 1 comments links to this post

World Bank Database on Access to Information Laws

The freedom of information website freedominfo.org published an item last month about a soon to be launched World Bank database that "will summarize national laws on asset disclosure, conflict of interest, freedom of information, and immunity provisions".

The Bank is also working on a system to grade systems by developing:

"(i) an inventory of the relevant primary legislation; (ii) a standardized summary of key elements of that legislative framework; and (iii) a detailed set of indices of the quality of the legislative framework governing that institution, as well as detailed scoring of all `good practice' criteria upon which those indices are based, to allow users to construct indices consistent with their own priors regarding appropriate weighting of the underlying 'good practice' criteria".
[Source: beSpacific.com]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:30 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, April 09, 2007

Canadians Support Judicial Elections

A new poll by Strategic Counsel for CTV News and The Globe and Mail reveals that 63 per cent of Canadians support the election of judges.

The survey comes as Canada celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

There was a significant difference between Quebec and other regions of Canada when it comes to how respondents feel about Charter protection for freedom of religion.

56 per cent of the Quebec respondents feel that freedom of religion can lead to abuses by groups seeking to promote values incompatible with majority values. In the rest of the country, people feeling that way were 29 per cent.

Earlier Library Boy posts about the anniversary of the Charter include:
  • Library and Archives Canada Exhibit for 25th Anniversary of the Charter (November 7, 2006): "Library and Archives Canada has put together an online exhibition Building a Just Society: A Retrospective of Canadian Rights and Freedoms for which it has 'invited a number of individual Canadians to contribute their personal thoughts and thought-provoking commentary on this vital section of our Constitution'."
  • Conference on 25th Anniversary of the Charter of Rights (January 2, 2007): "The McGill Institute for the Study of Canada is hosting a conference from February 14 to 16 entitled The Charter @ 25. 'Our goal is to assemble a broad cross-section of people who can offer unique insights into the changes that have been effected by the Charter and offer a glimpse into the future. The Institute’s approach is unique such that the conference is not designed as a mere celebration of the anniversary of the Charter but rather as a ‘cerebration’, a reflection on the past, an analysis of the present and an anticipation of future developments'."
  • Survey on Canadian Attitudes Regarding Charter of Rights (February 8, 2007): "In conjunction with the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada's conference marking the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Montreal-based Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) asked polling firm SES Research to do a detailed survey of the attitudes of Canadians towards the Charter. Among the more interesting findings: 'Much has been made of equating Charter values to Canadian values, but we found that the Charter is by no means central to Canadian identity (...) (F)ewer than 6 Canadians out of 10 gave the Charter a thumbs-up, while 4 out of 10 gave it a thumbs-down or couldn’t be sure'."
  • Charter 25th Anniversary Conferences (February 21, 2007): "As I have already mentioned, McGill University organized a conference last week on the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Osgoode Hall Law School site The Court has listed some of the media coverage for the conference (...) There are other conferences this year to mark the 25th anniversary of the Charter (the post lists them)"
  • Articles on 25th Anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (April 6, 2007): "There are a number of articles in the most recent issue of Canadian Lawyer about the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Conservative columnist Ezra Levant launches an attack on what he considers the negative consequence of the constitutional document: the rise of an unelected and unaccountable 'jurocracy' (...) Jim Middlemiss, in an article entitled 'Charter Angst', writes that we've seen nothing yet (...) Jennifer McPhee writes about how the Charter has changed employment and labour law in 'The Charter and the workplace' and outlines the areas to watch in upcoming years: mandatory retirement, labour relations in aboriginal government, and privacy in the workplace. "

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:19 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Supreme Court of Canada and Charter Equality Decisions

The Parliamentary Research and Information Service of the Library of Parliament has released a new analysis entitled Charter Equality Rights: Interpretation of Section 15 in Supreme Court of Canada Decisions:

"This paper contains a summary review of a number of principles relevant to analysis of section 15 and section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ... , as determined by the Supreme Court of Canada ... , followed by a chart setting out basic elements of the Court’s decisions in which the equality rights provision has been raised".
The Table of Contents of the document:
  • Introduction
  • Subsection 15(1)
    • A. The Andrews Decision
    • B. The Turpin and Swain Decisions
    • C. The 1995 Trilogy
    • D. The Law Decision: A Second Leading Case
    • E. Some Post-Law Observations
    • F. Additional Guiding Principles
  • Subsection 15(2)
  • Section 1
    • A. The Oakes Test
    • B. The Flexible Approach
    • C. Separation of Powers
    • D. Additional Considerations
  • Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Supreme Court of Canada Decisions

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:22 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, April 06, 2007

Articles on 25th Anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

There are a number of articles in the most recent issue of Canadian Lawyer about the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms:

Conservative columnist Ezra Levant launches an attack on what he considers the negative consequence of the constitutional document: the rise of an unelected and unaccountable "jurocracy". In a comment entitled 'Jurocracy' skews Charter’s intent, he quotes a number of prominent constitutional players who had a hand in writing the Charter, many of whom are apparently surprised at the direction things have taken:

"Why haven’t these men been quoted in the media bacchanalia of Charter celebrations? Because they’re sticks in the mud whose views are contrary to Charter groupthink. The fact that these were the men who actually gave birth to the Charter is a quaint footnote. And that’s the whole point: their vision of the Charter is hopelessly outdated. If they didn’t have the politically correct pedigree of actually being the fathers of the document, no doubt they would be labeled as Charter-haters, or even bigots".
Jim Middlemiss, in an article entitled Charter Angst, writes that we've seen nothing yet:

"Basics like right to counsel, free speech, and right not to be discriminated against on enumerated grounds such as sex, have been decided. The next wave of Charter litigation will prove to be much more painful, as it will pit more Charter rights against each other. While the courts have said there is no hierarchy of Charter rights, judges will slowly be forced to place them in some sort of ranking order and the warring factions will likely become the proponents of s. 15 equality rights versus the adherents of s. 2(a), freedom of conscience and religion and enthusiasts of multiculturalism (...) Section 28 deals with equality of men and women, while s. 27 deals with enhancing the multicultural heritage of Canada. Many such cultures do not carry a Western viewpoint towards equality of sexes, setting a clash of values that goes to the heart of Western-based democratic philosophy".
Jennifer McPhee writes about how the Charter has changed employment and labour law in The Charter and the workplace and outlines the areas to watch in upcoming years: mandatory retirement, labour relations in aboriginal government, and privacy in the workplace.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:09 pm 0 comments links to this post

2007-2008 Reports on Plans and Priorities for Federal Government

The federal government filed its departmental Report on Plans and Priorities for the new fiscal year in late March.

Reports on Plans and Priorities (RPPs) are part of the federal government's "estimates process" under which it tables requests to Parliament for authority to spend public funds.

The RPPs are individual expenditure plans for each department and agency (excluding Crown corporations). They provide detail on an organization's main priorities by strategic outcome(s), program activity(ies) and expected results, including links to related resource requirements.

The RPP for the Supreme Court of Canada was filed at the same time.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:52 pm 0 comments links to this post

Upcoming Legal Research Conferences

My boss e-mailed this to all of us at work so I thought I would pass these announcements along for those who have not yet received the information.

  • Back to the Future of Legal Research will be held at Chicago-Kent College of Law on Friday, May 18, 2007. The one-day conference will include new survey data and a number of panels and presentations that will focus on how best to teach legal research and how to deal with some of the challenges posed by digital legal materials.

    Questions? Contact Keith Ann Stiverson by email or telephone:

    Keith Ann Stiverson
    Director of the Library
    Chicago-Kent College of Law
    565 West Adams St.
    Chicago IL 60661
    (312) 906-5610
    kstivers@kentlaw.edu
  • Teaching the Teachers: Effective Instruction in Legal Research will be held October 18-20, 2007, at the Tarlton Law Library, Jamail Center for Legal Research at The University of Texas. It will focus on the best methods and practices for teaching legal research to today's generation of law students. Conference faculty represents excellence in teaching and communication and come from the judiciary, the practicing bar, and the legal academy. The conference responds to and will further the National Conference of Bar Examiners' initiative to develop a stand-alone component of the bar exam focusing on legal research methods and skills.

    Questions? Contact Roy M. Mersky by email or telephone:

    Roy M. Mersky, Director of the Library
    The Jamail Center for Legal Research
    Tarlton Law Library
    The University of Texas at Austin School of Law
    727 East Dean Keeton Street
    Austin, TX 78705
    (512) 471-7735
    rmersky@mail.law.utexas.edu

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:42 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

George Orwell's London Apartment Under 24-Hour Surveillance

This is a follow-up to the November 2, 2006 Library Boy post UK Fast Becoming Surveillance Society Says Info Commissioner that referred to a British study showing that the UK is sleep-walking its way to becoming a society under total computer and camera surveillance:

"This is due to the increasing accumulation of credit card, cell phone and loyalty card information, the monitoring of workers' computer activities, and the spread of closed circuit television surveillance".

"There are now 4.2 million closed circuit cameras in Britain and Britons are picked up 300 times a day on camera as they go about their regular private business".

Well, This is London, an online entertainment guide for the British capital, reports that "(T)he Big Brother nightmare of George Orwell's 1984 has become a reality - in the shadow of the author's former London home":

"On the wall outside his former residence - flat number 27B - where Orwell lived until his death in 1950, an historical plaque commemorates the anti-authoritarian author. And within 200 yards of the flat, there are 32 CCTV cameras, scanning every move".

"Orwell's view of the tree-filled gardens outside the flat is under 24-hour surveillance from two cameras perched on traffic lights".

"The flat's rear windows are constantly viewed from two more security cameras outside a conference centre in Canonbury Place".

"In a lane, just off the square, close to Orwell's favourite pub, the Compton Arms, a camera at the rear of a car dealership records every person entering or leaving the pub".

"Within a 200-yard radius of the flat, there are another 28 CCTV cameras, together with hundreds of private, remote-controlled security cameras used to scrutinise visitors to homes, shops and offices".

"The message is reminiscent of a 1949 poster to mark the launch of Orwell's 1984: 'Big Brother is Watching You'."

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

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Debate Continues on New Lawyers'/Students' Lack of Research Skills

Two blogs comment on the apparent lack of legal research skills of new lawyers and law students:

  • In the post entitled Information Illiteracy, Out of the Jungle (University of Buffalo) contributor Marie S. Newman writes about the "overall poor level of preparation for the practice of law" and points to various approaches developed to boost information literacy.
  • The post Study: New Lawyer Skills Are Lacking on LexLibris (University of Minnesota Law Library) refers to a Harvard Law School study that also reveals many shortcomings in research and evaluation skills.
Slaw.ca, the Canadian cooperative legal research blog, has carried a number of items in the past few months that show that the Canadian situation is not necessarily better:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:11 pm 0 comments links to this post

Digital Preservation of Ontario Government Documents

The Canadian cooperative blawg Slaw.ca posted an item today about the OZone partnership:
"A collaboration between the Ontario Legislative Library and the Ontario Council of University Libraries' Scholar's Portal has resulted in the Legislative Library’s Ontario government documents collection now being available through OZone. This collection is also accessible through the Legislative Library catalogue. The OZone partnership and database will help to ensure the digital preservation of these materials for the long term, create a permanent url for the documents, and housing multiple copies in these two locations will help keep the collection safe (LOCKSS)".

"The OZone database has about 300 files now, and it is expected to be fully populated with 13,000 files in the next few months. The collection contains Ontario government monographs; serials and other restricted access documents are not included. Ontario government documents will continue to be added to the OZone collection by the Legislative Library on a monthly basis".

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

Monday, April 02, 2007

Working Papers on ID Theft

CIPPIC, the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic at the University of Ottawa, has just released a series of Working Papers on ID Theft.

The papers include:


CIPPIC writes that "(A)dditional papers examining identity theft caselaw, law enforcement, and policy approaches, as well as a Bibliography on identity theft, will be forthcoming".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:02 pm 0 comments links to this post

New Library of Parliament Publication on Competition Law

The Parliamentary Information and Research Service of the Library of Parliament has just made available its legislative summary of Bill C-41: An Act to amend the Competition Act:

"Bill C-41, An Act to amend the Competition Act, was introduced in the House of Commons and received first reading on 7 December 2006. The bill amends the Competition Act by providing a new power to the Competition Tribunal to order a telecommunications service provider to pay an administrative monetary penalty (AMP) if it abuses its dominant position".

"The amount of the AMP imposed may be up to $15 million. The bill sets out four specific factors the Competition Tribunal shall take into account in determining the amount to impose in a specific case, but leaves it open to the Tribunal to consider 'any other relevant factor.' A telecommunications service provider that contravenes an order to pay an AMP under the new provision is not guilty of an offence".

It is possible to follow the progress of Bill C-41 on the LEGISinfo website. An RSS feed is available.

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

Sunday, April 01, 2007

U.S. Congressional Research Reports Harder To Obtain

For years, American open-government advocates have complained about the lack of direct access to reports prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the policy research arm of the U.S. Congress.

These reports are often very detailed overviews of a topic and the topics frequently touch upon international legal issues of interest to Canadian researchers.

Various non-governmental organizations, libraries and research groups have set up websites to archive CRS material and make it freely available to the general public.

Now, according to Secrecy News (Federation of American Scientists), it seems that CRS officials are trying to restrict access: from now on, CRS reports will not be distributed to "non-Congressionals" without prior approval from CRS officials.

Earlier Library Boy posts about the Congressional Research Service include:
  • Making It Easier to Locate CRS Reports (June 28, 2005): "A new website seeks to change that by bringing together nearly 8,000 reports from the Service. The reports are distributed now only to U.S. lawmakers. Created by the Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington-based civil liberties group, the OpenCRS is a searchable, consolidated archive of several large CRS collections, including those compiled by the Federation of American Scientists, the National Council on Science and the Environment, the Thurgood Marshall Law Library/University of Maryland School of Law, the Franklin Pierce Law Center, and the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, which are among the several non-profit groups that over the years have tried to collect and post as many of these very valuable reports on their Web sites."
  • Congressional and Parliamentary Research Reports (September 24, 2006): "Each year CRS produces almost 1,000 new products, and over 4,000 updated or revised reports, however only a small number of these are made available to the public on the Internet. Although CRS does maintain an intranet for CRS reports (CRS Web) this network is only accessible by members of Congress, Congressional committees, and CRS sister agencies (e.g. GAO). Members of the public requiring access to these reports have traditionally had to ask their Representative in Congress for paper copies to be mailed to them or have had to purchase them through a third party..."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:25 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday Silliness: Blog and Video from the "Middle Ages"

The Canadian legal blog Slaw.ca (to which I contribute) has a feature called The Friday Fillip, which contains odd or humorous items.

So why not Sunday Silliness? People could start a whole series of posts about Monday Madness, Tuesday Tastelessness, Wednesday Weirdness, Thursday Twistedness, or Saturday Strangeness.

Anyway. I have come across 2 funny "medieval" items:
  • Some people with a lot of time on their hands created a blog in Old 14th-century English as if it had been written by Geoffrey Chaucer: Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog
  • An ultra-popular Norwegian video on YouTube shows what a medieval helpdesk might have looked like when the "book" was first introduced

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:45 pm 0 comments links to this post