Upcoming Library and Information Studies Training Seminars
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Legal research news from an Ottawa law librarian
"Although most of these prints, drawings, and photographs depict legal figures prominent in the Common Law, a significant number portray jurists and legal educators associated with the Canon and Civil Law traditions. The collection is particularly strong in images of eighteenth and nineteenth century British and American lawyers, ranging from such well known historical figures as William Blackstone, Jeremy Bentham, John Marshall, and Joseph Story to many lesser known jurists and legal educators. The collection also contains images of many graduates of Harvard College and the Harvard Law School. Librarian Eldon R. James and Dean Roscoe Pound began the collection in the first quarter of the twentieth century as an adjunct to the School's 'basic collection' of paintings and sculpture. It has continued to grow significantly over the years, and today constitutes a major resource for images of lawyers and jurists that have shaped our Western legal heritage".Lovers of legal portraits with a less respectful tone might also be interested in the works of 19th-century French artist/caricaturist Honoré Daumier whom I mentioned in my August 14, 2005 post entitled Honoré Daumier Lithograph Collections and Corrupt Lawyers:
"The collection of portrait images is the most heavily used portion of the Library's visual materials. Researchers and publishers almost daily request reproductions from this collection to illustrate scholarly articles, monographs, textbooks, Web sites, and television programs. Although the most frequent request is for reproductions of the likenesses of individuals important in the history of the law, the collection has also been consulted for iconographic images (e.g., scales of justice, blindfolded justice) and for scenes depicting judicial activity (e.g., courtrooms, assizes). Researchers in fields other than legal history may also benefit; many of the images will interest students of social history, costume, art history, and heraldry. Students of art may also find it useful as the collection covers many centuries and styles of portraiture".
"The Librarians' Index to the Internet features 2 items this week about 19th century French artist Honoré Daumier, who gained notoriety for his often acerbic caricatures of the monarchy, politicians, and the French middle class. He is especially well-known for his Les gens de justice collection attacking the corrupt practices of lawyers of his time".
"The bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade (2007), in the British West Indies is being recognized in Jamaica and other regions. In acknowledgment of this year as an important historical event, the National Library of Jamaica has compiled a select bibliography of materials available on this subject in its collections. The National Library of Jamaica holds a number of materials on the slave trade, dating as far back as 1671 and publications from each century thereafter".The bibliography includes sections on books and abolitionist pamphlets; periodical articles; newspaper references; illustrations; manuscripts; prints; and audio-visual materials.
"The slave trade has been the subject of extensive scholarship; confronting issues such as the number of Africans transported to the Americas and the social, economic and political effects of the trade. These studies are available in a variety of formats such as manuscripts, books, newspaper articles and CD-ROMs. In addition to analytical studies of the slave trade, there are also descriptive materials including narratives by those directly involved such as freed persons, slave traders and observers".
This week, the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies released its Small Arms Survey 2007.
The Survey is supported by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and receives contributions from the governments of Belgium, Canada, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
The survey covers issues such as firearms production, international small arms transfers, international transfer control initiatives, the impact of urbanization on armed violence, and the economics of small arms.
According to this year's report:
"Security guards stand at the entrance to the Quebec Court of Appeal in Montreal. Lawyers have criticized the court for its strict security measures."On December 13, 2006, I posted about the problems in the main Montreal courthouse - Newspaper Series on Threats to Montreal Crown Prosecutors: "The Montreal daily La Presse has a series of articles today about the security (or lack of security) for Crown prosecutors in Montreal and elsewhere in the province of Quebec (...) The intimidation tactics include being photographed inside the Courthouse by criminal gang members and their supporters, being followed in parking lots, and bomb threats."
"Lawyers, including Crowns, are asking why they have to undo their belt buckles, raise their pants’ legs, and otherwise submit to strict new security measures before pleading at the Quebec Court of Appeal in Montreal – even if they are courtroom regulars who are well known to security staff."
"Meanwhile, at the bustling Palais de Justice across the street, combative family law litigants and people accused of serious crimes face no security checks whatsoever when they show up for their trials."
"That irony sparked comment in Calgary following a panel discussion Aug. 13 at the Canadian Bar Association’s conference which highlighted abysmal security in courtrooms across Canada, including at all of Quebec’s 42 trial courthouses. Montreal’s Palais de Justice, home to 93 courtrooms and the second largest courthouse in North America (after Chicago), does not even have a metal detector to screen the 6,000 people who flock through its five doors each working day. "
"The debate over the Criminal Code’s polygamy provisions is almost as old as the provisions themselves. Now, British Columbia’s Attorney General says he is considering a reference to the B.C. Court of Appeal to determine the provisions’ constitutionality. Regardless of the outcome there, experts say the matter will soon wind up in the Supreme Court of Canada. In this, our Polygamy Primer, The Court reviews the history of Canada’s polygamy ban, describes the events leading up to this month’s announcement, identifies the major players, and briefly considers some of the Charter issues that are likely to dominate the court battle".
"On 28 April 1996, 35 people were killed and 18 others were wounded at Port Arthur in Tasmania by an assailant using a semi-automatic rifle. In response, The Australasian Police Ministers’ Council convened a special meeting on 10 May 1996 and agreed to a national plan for the regulation of firearms—the Nationwide Agreement on Firearms. This agreement banned self-loading rifles and self-loading and pump-action shotguns, introduced a nationwide registration of firearms along with limitations to firearm ownership, and led to the Australian firearms buyback scheme."For a comparative perspective, here are some earlier Library Boy posts on the topic of firearms legislation and gun control:
"This brief is a guide to some of the literature, statistics and information on firearm ownership, firearm offences, firearm controls and government policies since the Port Arthur massacre in 1996".
"In relation to disputes involving Aboriginal peoples, there appear to be three emerging modes of alternative resolution processes. One mode involves Western-based paradigms such as negotiation, conciliation, arbitration and mediation. A second mode involves Indigenous paradigms, which call for the rejuvenation and reclamation of ways in which disputes may be resolved according to the culture and custom of the Indigenous party involved. Due to the diversity and distinctiveness of Aboriginal peoples across the continent, Indigenous methods of dispute resolution are not easily summarized into categories. Rather, they are reflective of the Indigenous teachings from which they come and therefore may be different from one Aboriginal nation to another. A third mode is a combination of the two paradigms".
"All three modes, however, share similar challenges. Whether using an Indigenous paradigm, a Western one or a combination of the two, issues of power, cultural differences, language barriers and the effects and impacts of colonialism need to be addressed. This paper examines several of these common challenges. It examines differing worldviews in relation to dispute settlement and conceptualizes the Indigenous paradigms and Western paradigms based upon these worldview differences. By so doing, this paper will not only add to the literature that distinguishes between Indigenous paradigms of dispute resolution and the "indigenization" of Western paradigms, it will also inform ADR theorists and practitioners. In particular, it will inform them of ways in which Indigenous and Western ADR paradigms may work cooperatively together while simultaneously protecting and respecting worldview and cultural differences".
"Human rights and equality have become the leading legal issues in the Canadian workplace. Anti-discrimination clauses in collective agreements, human rights statutes and even the Charter of Rights and Freedoms are regularly litigated in labour and employment law cases. As our society becomes more diverse and more rights-oriented, and as our employment relationships become more transitional, workplace glass ceilings have become more visible and human rights talk has become more evident".Earlier Library Boy posts about the 25th anniversary of the Charter include:
"The workplace, in Canada and elsewhere, is not only a primary source of human rights violations but it is also one of the most obvious social institutions through which to challenge these discriminatory practices through laws and campaigns. Many of the path-breaking human rights and equality rulings in Canada over the past twenty-five years – on disability, race, gender, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, older workers, and family status issues – have arisen out of the workplace. All of these human rights issues, and more, have been at the centre of developments in modern Canadian labour law and industrial relations".
"In this Report the Committee examines how human rights principles can be applied to ensure that older people in hospitals and care homes are treated with greater dignity and respect (...) The Committee heard that, while some older people receive excellent care, there are concerns about poor treatment, neglect, abuse, discrimination and ill-considered discharge. It considers that an entire culture change is needed. It also recommends legislative changes and a role for the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights (...) In the Committee's view there is a significant distinction between a 'duty to provide' under care standards legislation and a 'right to receive' under human rights legislation. It recommends that the Government and other public bodies should champion understanding of how human rights principles can help transform health and social care services (...)" [from the Summary]2) The Science and Technology Committee of the House of Lords has released its report on personal Internet security:
"Where a decade ago the public perception of the e-criminal was of a lonely hacker searching for attention, today's 'bad guys' belong to organised crime groups, are highly skilful, specialised, and focused on profit. They want to stay invisible, and so far they have largely succeeded. While the incidence and cost of e-crime are known to be huge, no accurate data exist (...) The Government have insisted in evidence to this inquiry that the responsibility for personal Internet security ultimately rests with the individual. This is no longer realistic, and compounds the perception that the Internet is a lawless 'wild west'. It is clear to us that many organisations with a stake in the Internet could do more to promote personal Internet security: the manufacturers of hardware and software; retailers; Internet Service Providers; businesses, such as banks, that operate online; the police and the criminal justice system. We believe as a general principle that well-targeted incentives are more likely to yield results in such a dynamic industry than formal regulation. However, if incentives are to be effective, they may in some cases need to be backed up by the possibility of direct regulation. Also, there are some areas, such as policing, where direct Government action is needed. So Government leadership across the board is required. Our recommendations urge the Government, through a flexible mix of incentives, regulation, and direct investment, to galvanise the key stakeholders".
"The Inventory contains descriptions of reform initiatives from across the country, each described according to a standard format that includes information on the purpose, development, implementation, and evaluation of the reform".
"The initial focus of our research over the summer of 2007 is selected issues relating to the cost of access to justice: point-of-entry assistance, caseflow management, expert evidence, discovery, and proportionality".
"Over the coming months we will be working both to expand the collection itself and introduce new functionality to our search interface. To ensure the Inventory is current and comprehensive, we will rely on members of the civil justice community from across Canada to contribute information regarding reforms in their jurisdictions. Please visit our Take Part page for information on how you can contribute to this project".
"The Institute for Transnational Law is hosted by the School of Law at the University of Texas at Austin. This site is a resource for French, German, Austrian, and Israeli legal materials in the fields of constitutional, administrative, contract and tort law. The English translations of decisions from Germany include cases from the Reichsgericht, the Bundesverfassungsgericht, and the Bundesgerichtshof. Translations from French include decisions of the Conseil constitutionnel, the Conseil d'Etat and the Cour de cassation. Since it is very difficult to find any English translations of foreign court opinions or statutes even at subscription services, this is a valuable resource, although the material available is limited. According to the Institute for Transnational Law's website, their intention is to eventually 'build a comprehensive database of leading French and German cases, beginning with the areas of contract, tort, commercial, and constitutional law (mainly human rights) and making them available to foreign audiences who cannot access the originals.' The site does issue warnings that the collection is not complete and 'should not be relied upon for the basis of a legal opinion or course of action without careful review of current applicable authority.' Because the English translations are intended to emphasize readability rather than exactness, no absolute reliance on the translations should be considered."InSITE has a searchable database of past issues. One can also subscribe via RSS or via e-mail from the home page.
Human Trafficking: A Strategic Framework Could Help Enhance the Interagency Collaboration Needed to Effectively Combat Trafficking Crimes:
"The UN General Assembly passed a resolution in December 2006 recognizing that broad international cooperation is essential for combating trafficking, and UNODC launched the Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking in March 2007. In two of the three countries we visited, we found that host governments—which bear ultimate responsibility for combating trafficking within their borders—have passed national antitrafficking laws and enacted national action plans. However, organizations continue to face numerous challenges when collaborating to combat human trafficking, including varying levels of government commitment and capacity (...) "
"A GAO-convened panel of experts identified and discussed ways to address the factors that make it difficult to monitor and evaluate antitrafficking projects (...) To improve information on the nature and severity of human trafficking, panelists suggested several sampling methods that have been used to sample other hard-to-reach populations, including the homeless, hidden migrants, missing and exploited children, and domestic violence victims. One suggested method is sampling of 'hot spots'—an intensive search for victims in areas known to have high concentrations of victims or in areas to which many victims return.
"Federal [i.e U.S.] agencies have coordinated investigations and prosecutions of trafficking crimes across agencies on a case-by-case basis, but their approaches to expand the scope of efforts to combat trafficking could benefit from an overall strategic framework to help enhance and sustain interagency collaboration on trafficking in persons. Agencies have described their coordination as reactive, and coordination has occurred as determined by the needs of individual cases and the established relationships among law enforcement officials across agencies (...) These included developing coordinated proactive approaches to identify trafficking victims; intelligence gathering; analysis of trafficking patterns; and expanding outreach to non-law-enforcement agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and other law enforcement agencies. However, the current coordinating mechanisms do not address the interagency collaboration needed for this level of expanded effort, and individual agency plans only address individual agency goals linked to agency missions—none of which is linked to a common governmentwide outcome for investigations and prosecutions of trafficking crimes. Additionally, while no single agency can bring traffickers to justice, agencies have differing views on leadership of U.S. efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking and information sharing policies. Our previous work has shown that a strategic framework that, at a minimum, includes agencies working together toward a common outcome with mutually reinforcing strategies; agreed-on roles and responsibilities; and compatible polices, procedures, and other means to operate across agency boundaries can help enhance and sustain collaboration among federal agencies dealing with issues, such as trafficking in persons, that are national in scope and cross agency jurisdictions."Earlier Library Boy posts that deal with human trafficking are referred to in the June 27, 2007 item entitled Annual U.S. State Department Report on Human Trafficking.