Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy 15th Birthday World Wide Web!

On 30 April 1993, the European nuclear research lab CERN put the web in the public domain, meaning that the protocols of the World Wide Web would be non-proprietary and could be used by anyone free of charge.

To mark the occasion, the BBC talked with web luminaries about their vision for the future.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:00 pm 0 comments links to this post

Ontario Attorney General on Major Justice Reforms

In the May 2, 2008 issue of The Lawyers Weekly, Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley provides a number of ideas on how he may proceed with reforms to the province's civil and criminal justice systems.

Last November, former Ontario Associate Chief Justice Coulter Osborne handed in his preliminary report on how to make the province’s civil justice system fairer and more accessible.
Bentley told The Laywyer's Weekly he is working on some of Osborne's recommendations, such as the suggestion to "increase the Small Claims Court’s monetary jurisdiction from $10,000 to $15,000, with a further increase to $25,000 within two years...", and limiting discovery.

He also explained his eagerness to reform the overburdened criminal justice system of the province.

However, the president of the Ontario Bar Association, Greg Goulin, is quoted as saying that the government has not been talking of the one thing both the civil and criminal justice systems badly need: money.

Earlier Library Boy posts about justice reforms include:
  • Review of Ontario Civil Justice System (July 19, 2006): "The Ontario government announced a few weeks ago it is looking into ways to reform the civil justice system of the province to make it more accessible and affordable. Former Associate Chief Justice of Ontario Coulter Osborne has been asked to study a range of issues, including the growing number of unrepresented litigants as well as ways to decrease delays and costs."
  • Canadian Civil Justice Reform Database (August 11, 2007): "The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice at the University of Alberta has created what it calls a knowledgebase of civil justice reforms in Canada: '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'."
  • Ontario Civil Justice Reform Project Report Published (November 24, 2007): "Mr. Osborne carried out province-wide consultations, researched civil justice studies and reforms in other jurisdictions, and reviewed over 60 written submissions from legal associations, lawyers, members of the judiciary and the public. The summary report contains 81 recommendations touching on 18 areas of procedural and substantive law, including unrepresented litigants, small claims, trial management, appeals, technology, courtroom civility and proportionality."
  • Ontario Launches Review of Complex Criminal Cases (Febrruary 25, 2008): "Patrick LeSage, former chief justice of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, and Michael Code, a University of Toronto law professor, have been assigned by the Ontario government to lead a review of large and complex criminal case procedures."
  • Government May Consider Radical Reforms To Fix Broken Criminal Trial System (April 8, 2008): "At a recent University of Ottawa conference, University of Toronto law professor Michael Code warned that 'unprofessional conduct' by defence and Crown attorneys in large criminal cases has governments contemplating far-reaching reforms to make the trial process more efficient (...) some of the changes being debated behind the scenes include: '(...) expanding the power of judges to vigorously manage the seemingly endless pretrial motions; restricting the timing, procedure and form of disclosure; expanding legal aid officials’ ability to oversee and restrain the legal aid budgets of long criminal trials, and restructuring the legal aid tariff to economically reward brevity and efficiency and deter inefficiency; and adding jury alternates to ensure that long, arduous trials don’t end in mistrials because jury members have dropped out'."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 11:52 am 0 comments links to this post

Podcast on Polygamy and the Law

The most recent episode of the Lawyer2Lawyer Podcast features a discussion between co-host Robert Ambrogi, family-law attorney Betsy Branch and social critic Wendy Kaminer about the implications of the recent raid of a Texas polygamist ranch by U.S. authorities.

The podcast participants "explore DNA testing, civil liberties, the question of child abuse vs. religion, a sect’s legal rights and the fate of the children."

The legal controversy over polygamy has also been brewing here in Canada:
  • Polygamy in Canada - Can It Be Banned? (CBC News In Depth): "So in Canada, having more than one spouse can get you in trouble, right? Well, not on the face of it. There hasn't been a prosecution for polygamy in Canada for more than 60 years. Nor are statistics kept on how many Canadians live in polygamous marriages, a broad category that covers both men and women with multiple spouses (...) Yet the situation among members of the breakaway Mormon sect in Bountiful, B.C., is what concerns legal scholars and authorities most at the moment. There are those who say governments need to act, to lay charges against men in Bountiful who have openly engaged in polygamy. The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in that B.C. town has strong ties to the polygamous sect in Eldorado, Texas, where hundreds of children are alleged to have been abused and women as young as 14 alleged to be married to much older men. "
  • Legal Background to the Controversy on Polygamy in Canada (Library Boy post, August 3, 2007): "There have recently been a number of studies on the legal aspects of the polygamy debate in Canada. In 2005 Status of Women Canada, a government agency that promotes gender equality, commissioned four research reports on the topic of polygamy..."
  • Update on Polygamy Controversy (Library Boy post, August 24, 2008): "The Osgoode Hall Law School blog The Court has just published a good summary of the issues for Canada: 'A Polygamy Primer'."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 11:27 am 1 comments links to this post

United Nations Creates Online Audiovisual Library of International Law

The UN Office of Legal Affairs Codification Division has launched a pilot project of the Audiovisual Library of International Law.

According to the introduction:

"This new on-line version of the Audiovisual Library of International Law is designed as a teaching and research tool in international law and consists of three main components: (i) historic archives containing material relating to select historical developments in the field of international law within the framework or under the auspices of the United Nations; (ii) a permanent collection of scholarly lectures by internationally recognized experts in international law; and (iii) a research library containing links to primary and secondary sources of international law. "

The initiative is still very much a pilot project. The site mentions that the launch of the online AV Library will be in October 2008.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:38 am 0 comments links to this post

Association of Canadian Court Administrators 2008 Conference

The program for the 2008 conference of the Association of Canadian Court Administrators is available online.

The conference is being held August 24-27, 2008 in St.John's, Newfoundland.

According to the conference program, the meeting will cover issues such as:
  • Role of the Judiciary in Court Administration
  • Demographics of Change and the Impact on Courts
  • Performance Measurement in Courts
  • Security of Judicial Information
  • Making and Managing the Verbatim Record
  • Working with the Media
  • Court Security
  • Disaster Recovery
  • International Models of Court Governance

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:27 am 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Newest Blawg Review Issue on Labour and Employment Law

The most recent Blawg Review (a regular compendium of law-related material in the blogosphere) was put together by labour and employment lawyer Michael Fitzgibbon, a partner in the Toronto office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (where I worked between 2003 and 2005).

In his presentation, Fitzgibbon writes:


"That's really the 'theme' of this review. I want to bring to your attention some of the labour and employment blawgs and other blawgs that periodically write about labour and employment issues, while, at the same time, offering a somewhat Canadian flavour..."
The themes covered include:
  • Blogging as an Occupational Hazard?
  • Cell Phone Regulation and Work
  • Micromanaging Employee Expenditures
  • Employment Releases
  • Accommodation of Mental Disorders and Learning Disabilities
  • Drug Testing in Canada
  • Genetic Discrimination
  • Workplace Investigations
  • Negligent Hiring and Retention
  • and much, much more.

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

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ontario Aboriginal Judge To Head Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The Canadian government announced today that Justice Harry LaForme of the Ontario Court of Appeal will head the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that is to examine the legacy of decades of abuse of aboriginal children in residential schools [biographical background information on Justice LaForme].

The Commission's official work of hearing testimony from former students and surviving school staff is to start in June and last 5 years. Its job will be to establish an official historical record of what was done to Native children in the residential school system.

The Commission is part of the negotiated Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement reached between legal counsel for former students, legal counsel for the Churches, the Assembly of First Nations, other Aboriginal organizations and the Government of Canada.

The Canadian government has already paid out more than $1 billion to people who could prove they attended the once-mandatory schools where Native youngsters were sent to be forcibly 'Christianized'.

In recent years, many former students have testified about extensive physical, emotional and sexual abuse at the hands of church officials from various denominations who ran the schools on behalf of the federal government.

Background material on the legacy of residential schools:
  • Where Are The Children (Legacy of Hope Foundation in partnership with the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, Library Archives Canada, and Canadian Heritage’s On-line Partnership Program): " The website makes accessible photographs and documents related to residential schools, which will inspire a lasting legacy of awareness, healing, and reconciliation. The website allows the many Survivors of residential schools access to historical photographs and documents.
  • Native Residential Schools in Canada: A Selective Bibliography (Library and Archives Canada):"The type of materials listed in this bibliography include books, scholarly articles, school histories, personal accounts, theses, videos, and Internet resources. Please note that we would also like to acknowledge the incredible amount of coverage on the topic of residential schools by Native newspapers and periodicals, many of which are available at the National Library and some of which are listed herein.The scope of the bibliography, particularly more recent publications, suggests the vast impact that residential schools have had on the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. Themes of the bibliography range from the injustices of abuses and enforced hardship to reconciliation and restitution."
  • Residential Schools (Aboriginal Canada Portal): this section of the portal offers a selection of high quality web links about the residential schools issue. The portal is a partnership between Government departments and the Aboriginal community.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:23 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, April 25, 2008

Proposed Breach Notification Law Falls Short; U.S. Way Ahead of Canada

Today's issue of The Ottawa Citizen reports that proposed Canadian legislation about when customers must be notified of the loss of personal information by firms and institutions will allow the data holders a wide margin of discretion.

The article, entitled Feds to leave disclosure of data security breaches to businesses: legislative plan, is based on a draft bill obtained by the CanWest News Service of which The Citizen is a member:

" 'In the event of a data breach where an organization determines there is a high risk of significant harm to individuals resulting from the breach, the organization is required to notify affected individuals as soon as is reasonably possible after detection of a breach,' the proposal states."

"The document confirms there will no financial penalties if companies break the rules. Comments from invited participants are due Friday (...)"

"Consumer groups say the behind-the-scenes talks, dominated by representatives from the banking, telecommunications, and retail sectors, 'have gone off the rails'."

" 'You could defend yourself, 'I never disclosed the information because we determined ourselves that there was not a high risk of significant harm. It was just a moderate risk of significant harm,' said John Lawford, staff lawyer at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre."
Last May, the Standing Committee of the House of Commons on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics completed the statutory review of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). The Committee did not recommend a mandatory breach notification law. Rather, it supported "requiring organizations to notify the Privacy Commissioner of certain defined security breaches, so that her office has an opportunity to assist in the determination of whether affected individuals should be notified, and if so, in what manner. This second stage of the process would be discretionary, in that the Privacy Commissioner would determine on a case by case basis whether or not to recommend notification." [see Recommendations 23-25]

Last fall, Industry Canada announced that it was seeking public input on a number of specific potential amendments to PIPEDA, including what to do about data security breaches. The draft proposal is a result of those consultations.

As a comparison, the legal requirements south of the border impose much more onerous obligations on companies and institutions.

The Congressional Research Service in the United States has compiled a document entitled Information Security and Data Breach Notification Safeguards :

"The following report describes information security and data breach notification requirements included in the Privacy Act, the Federal Information Security Management Act, Office of Management and Budget Guidance, the Veterans Affairs Information Security Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (...) "

"During the 110th Congress, three data security bills — S. 239 (Feinstein), S. 495 (Leahy), and S. 1178 (Inouye) — were reported favorably out of Senate committees. Those bills include information security and data breach notification requirements. Other data security bills were also introduced, including S. 806 (Pryor), S. 1202 (Sessions), S. 1260 (Carper), S. 1558 (Coleman), H.R. 516 (Davis), H.R. 836 (Smith), H.R. 958 (Rush), H.R. 1307 (Wilson), H.R. 1685 (Price), and H.R. 2124 (Davis)."
Also, at least 39 states and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation requiring notification of security breaches involving personal information.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:49 pm 0 comments links to this post

Law and Politics Book Review Special Issue on Legal Fiction

You may want to add some of the novels on this list to your summer reading.

The Law and Politics Book Review has published a special issue devoted to legal fiction. The issue includes 22 reviews of American, British, and European novels from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, ranging from Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang to Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities, with a little dose of Albert Camus thrown into the mix.

The Law and Politics Book Review is sponsored by the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association.

[Source: Law Librarian Blog]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:20 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, April 24, 2008

New Issue of AALL Research Instruction and Patron Services Newsletter

The Spring 2008 newsletter of the Research Instruction and Patron Services Special Interest Section of AALL (American Association of Law Libraries) is available online.

2 articles caught my attention:
  • Webbed Features: RIPS Repartee Webinar Series Begins (pp.2-3): "On November 15th the RIPS-SIS presented its first webinar titled 'Technical Issues & Practical Matters: A Law Librarian Q & A on Legal Technology.' (...) Ms. Reach [Catherine Sanders Reach,director of the American Bar Association’s Legal TechnologyResource Center] provided her audience with an update on recent developments in technology related to legal research and practice...: Trends in technology usage in law firms; Social networks and their impact on the legal profession; Web-based presentation software; Advances in courtroom video, and; Web 2.0 initiatives"
  • Creating Multimedia Research and Software Tutorials with Screencasting Software (pp. 4-5): "Although the HTML tutorials remained popular with our legal writing faculty even in early 2007, Georgetown’s reference librarians had by that time concluded that the old tutorials were too 'low-tech' and too text-driven to appeal to students who have grown up using multimedia learning and entertainment tools. During the spring and summer of 2007, we therefore set out to create new tutorials that incorporate a lot more graphics, scored review questions, interactive demonstrations of online research tools, and even a few animations and sound effects."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:16 pm 0 comments links to this post

Australian Law Reform Commission Journal Issue Devoted to Animal Law

The most recent issue of Reform, devoted to animals and the law, is now online. Reform is a publication of the Australian Law Reform Commission.

"At the Sydney meeting of the Australasian Law Reform Agencies Conference in April 2006, over 100 institutional law reformers from 32 law reform agencies in 25 Commonwealth countries endeavoured to identify the ‘over the horizon issues’ that would occupy them in the coming decades. These issues included: the environment and sustainability (especially global warming and water resources); the telecommunications revolution and the new media; changing demographics, such as the ageing population base in developed countries, and the worldwide scourge of HIV-AIDS; the challenges of ensuring national and international security without departing from human rights protections; and, finally, animal welfare and animal rights—described by speakers as perhaps 'the next great social justice movement'. "

"This issue of Reform is devoted to exploring the parameters of this emerging consciousness about the need to treat non-human animals with dignity and respect. Previous issues of Reform routinely feature a range of distinguished scholars, thinkers and practitioners. However, we are most deeply honoured to be able to open this issue with a piece from John M. Coetzee, Nobel Laureate in Literature and author of Lives of Animals (1999) and Elizabeth Costello (2003)."
Earlier issues of the journal going back to 1995 are available on the Commission website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 11:58 am 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Resource Guide on Reliability of Fingerprint Evidence

The legal research website LLRX.com recently added a new resource guide on Fingerprint Evidence Challenges that presents material on the topic of the reliability of fingerprint evidence:
"Recent legal scholarship, forensic studies and Frye/Daubert hearings are adding to our understanding of the nature and limits of this commonly used identification method. The new picture that is emerging will impact the administration of justice and sound a tocsin as we move into the era of biometrics.

This article is a collection of select resources published on the web concerning the reliability and admissibility of fingerprint evidence. Links to guides, standards and related materials are listed to provide some background on the processes and application of this identification technique."

[Note: Frye/Daubert refers to U.S. federal court rules for the admissibility of expert scientific evidence ]

While the case law examples are taken from U.S. jurisprudence, the journal articles and forensic science sources cited are of interest to people outside the United States.

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

Beijing Olympics: Corporate Sponsors Risk Black Eye

The international NGO Human Rights Watch recently published a report on the upcoming Beijing Summer Olympics that states that the "corporate sponsors of the Olympics risk lasting damage to their brands if they do not live up to their professed standards of corporate social responsibility by speaking out about the deteriorating human rights situation in China."

The report targets the 12 highest-level corporate benefactors of the Beijing Games, known as the TOP sponsors ("The Olympic Partner"): Atos Origin, Coca-Cola, General Electric (GE), Manulife (parent company of John Hancock), Johnson & Johnson, Kodak, Lenovo, McDonald’s, Omega (Swatch Group), Panasonic (Matsushita), Samsung, and Visa.

Earlier Library Boy posts about the Olympic Games include:
  • International Sports Law Guide (February 17, 2006): "Written by a librarian at Georgetown University, this new International Sports Law guide published on the GlobaLex website looks at key institutions governing international sports and provides information and links to federations governing individual sports at an international level, bodies associated with the Olympic Games and the Court of Arbitration for Sport."
  • New Internet Research Guide for Olympic Studies (April 2, 2008): "Intute, a British university consortium that offers free online service access to evaluated web resources for education and research, has just published a new subject booklet entitled 'Internet resources for Olympic studies'. The booklet describes resources relating to associations, the history of the Olympic Games, past and future Games, athletes, sports research, event management, and legal issues (arbitration of sports disputes, disability sports, gender equity and doping)."
  • China Crackdown on Human Rights Intensifying Before 2008 Olympics (April 7, 2008): "The human rights organization Amnesty International recently published a report documenting the intensifying campaign of repression by Chinese authorities before the opening of the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing later this year."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:31 pm 0 comments links to this post

Blog Coverage of Leg@l.IT Conference

Patrick Cormier did a good job of covering the recent Leg@l.IT Conference that took place Monday in Montreal. It is a major conference about the impacts of information technologies on the practice of law.

Cormier's posts can be found on Slaw.ca:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 11:45 am 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stats and Policy Recommendations for Earth Day in Canada

Today, April 22, marks Earth Day.

This morning, Statistics Canada released Human Activity and the Environment: Annual Statistics 2007 and 2008 that includes a feature article on climate change (we are not doing well on this front in Canada) as well as a comprehensive set of data on topics such as natural resources, ecosystems, and environmental practices.

Another interesting document is Tomorrow Today: How Canada can make a world of difference, a recent report to federal politicians on the biggest threats to this country's environment.

The document was compiled by 11 of the country's largest environmental organizations: Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, David Suzuki Foundation, Ecojustice, Environmental Defence, Equiterre, Greenpeace, Nature Canada, Pembina Institute, Pollution Probe, Sierra Club Canada and World Wildlife Fund.

The groups' recommendations centre on climate change, energy use, food production, toxic substances, water, forests and oceans. According to the report, Canada ranks near the bottom of all OECD countries on some two dozen environmental measurements.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:25 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ottawa Citizen on Handling Terrorism Cases

This is related to 2 recent Library Boy posts on the topic of how to prosecute terrorism cases: European Parliament Roundtable on Updating Terrorism Laws (yesterday, April 20, 2008), and today's post entitled Special Case Management Challenges in U.S. Terrorism Cases.

The Saturday edition of The Ottawa Citizen carried an article entitled Difficult balance tips Canada's terror trials - 'Toronto 18' case shows risks of post-9/11 prosecution.

The Citizen article takes a look at the difficulties that authorities face in trying to prevent terrorist acts and in gathering evidence that will stand up in court. The main difficulty arises when police swoop in to arrest suspects before they strike. Some accusations may well be premature or even unfounded.

This is in the context of the dropping of all charges against many of the members of the so-called "Toronto 18", a group of Moslem men from the Toronto area arrested in 2006 on suspicions of planning a series of terror attacks against government targets and officials.

However, criminal charges against 11 of the 18 are still proceeding. The trial has not yet started and much of the legal manoeuvres have happened under the cover of a publication ban. It is expected that the Crown will present evidence that members of the group allegedly wanted to purchase 3 tons of the type of fertilizer used to make huge car bombs.

The article does a good job of cutting through a lot of the recent hysteria surrounding the case: there have been observers who have commented that the case is "falling apart" and that Canada is showing that it will never be capable of tackling terrorism cases of any complexity. Others have taken the position that this is just an example of persecution against innocent individuals, more loud-mouthed than dangerous, and that there has never been a real threat of terrorism in Canada (despite the 1985 Air India bombing conspiracy organized in Canada that killed more than 300 people, most of them Canadians).

The main points raised by the article:

  • "Charges are routinely stayed in criminal cases, especially when inchoate crimes are alleged such as aiding and abetting ..., attempting to ... conspiracy to ... and the like. Most common are gang- and drug-related conspiracies."
  • "Several parties had a hand in raising expectations around the case. Following the June 2006 arrests, authorities held a major press conference (...) The lurid hype surrounding the case, including the storming of Parliament and beheading of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, came not from the RCMP, Canadian Security Intelligence Service or prosecutors but from unnamed media sources and defence lawyers."
  • "Homegrown terror cells, unlike professional terror groups with extensive tradecraft and experience, do not typically have the same operational discipline and well-defined boundaries, making it difficult to sort out the real players from the hangers-on and the bystanders."
  • "Police and CSIS relied on information from at least two informants who had infiltrated the group, which is often very difficult to judge and very difficult to corroborate..."
  • "A Federal Court judge, or judges, signed off on the 18 arrest warrants. The standard for arrest -- reasonable grounds to believe the person committed an offence -- is far lower than the standard for a successful prosecution."
  • "Sometimes, however, 'when the rubber hits the road and the Crown starts to present its case, it's not uncommon to start staying charges ... because you really don't have the horses for (all) of them,' says Mr. Paciocco. [David Paciocco, University of Ottawa law professor]. Regardless, however, 'when you're talking about depriving individuals of their liberty and you ultimately end up conceding that you don't have enough evidence to even run a credible case against them and you held them for a long period of time, that's a clear admission of failure. It's not a statement that the system is working'."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:17 pm 0 comments links to this post

Federal Libraries Forum Next Week in Ottawa

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) will be hosting a Federal Libraries Forum next Monday in Ottawa (April 28 from 1 p.m. to 4:15 p.m, 395 Wellington St.)

On the agenda:
  • News and Updates from LAC and the Federal Libraries Consortium
  • FL Consortium Annual Report
  • Federal E-Library Project
  • Procurement and Licensing of Electronic Resources Working Group
  • Federal Libraries 2.0 Reengineering Stories with reports from Merle McConnell, Science Library Network, Health Canada and from Marg Ahearn, NRCan Library, Natural Resources Canada
  • Rethinking Resource Sharing Policies: Paula Kelsall, LAC
  • Roundtable on Electronic Resources and Libraries 2008: Katherine Miller-Gatenby, and Deane Zeeman, LAC / BAC; Lisa Béchard, Health Canada
All federal library staff are welcome to attend. Please RSVP by Friday, April 25, 2008 to Carole Julien (carole.julien@lac-bac.gc.ca or 819-934-7427) if you plan to attend in person or by teleconference.

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

Special Case Management Challenges in U.S. Terrorism Cases

The Federal Judicial Center in the United States has put together a series of case studies of high-profile terrorism trials that posed significant case management challenges:

"Cases related to terrorism often pose unusual and challenging case-management issues for the courts. Evidence or arguments may be classified; witnesses or the jury may require special security measures; attorneys contacts with their clients may be diminished; other challenges may present themselves. "

"The purpose of this Federal Judicial Center resource is to assemble methods federal judges have employed to meet these challenges so that judges facing the challenges can learn from their colleagues experiences. "

"This Case Studies document includes background factual information about these high-profile cases as well as descriptions of the judges challenges and solutions. The challenges and solutions are summarized in a separate Problems and Solutions document. The information presented is based on a review of case files and news media accounts and on interviews with the judges."

The Center conducts education programs for the judicial branch of the American government.

[Source: Docuticker]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:17 pm 1 comments links to this post

Whispering Campaign Against Fair Use/Dealing in Copyright

On his Patry Copyright Blog, William Patry, Senior Copyright Counsel, Google Inc. and author of Patry on Copyright argues that there is an ongoing whispering campaign against the concept of fair use:

"There is a counter-reformation movement afoot in the world of copyright. The purpose of the movement is to chill the willingness of countries to enact fair use or liberal fair dealing provisions designed to genuinely further innovation and creativity, rather than, as is currently the case, merely to give lip service to those concepts as the scope of copyright is expanded to were-rabbit size."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:50 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Canadian Association of Special Libraries Bulletin Is Back

Special Issues, the bulletin of the Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services (CASLIS) is back after a brief hiatus with vol. 18 no. 1 (2008).

This issue contains articles on:
  • The 2008 CASLIS Ottawa Seminar series
  • A profile of Margaret Haines (University Librarian at Carleton University in Ottawa), the "Evidence-Based Practice Cheerleader"
  • Information Management and the Library Profession in the Federal Government
  • IFLA and Special Libraries
  • Conference Spotlight—Canadian Library Association 2008 Annual Conference & Trade Show
  • Networking for Introverts
  • Libraries and the Net: What the next generation of on-line applications signifies for librarianship
  • News from CASLIS chapters

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:40 pm 0 comments links to this post

European Parliament Roundtable on Updating Terrorism Laws

European Union parliamentarians met earlier this month for a roundtable that discussed how to update terrorism legislation. Much of the discussion appears to have revolved around the tension between freedom of expression and the desire to clamp down on incitement or "provocation" to terrorism:
"The most contentious issue was the definition of 'public provocation'. The Commission proposes adding three new crimes aimed at covering 'traditional' and modern terrorist methods - recruiting terrorists, training for acts of terrorism and 'public provocation' to commit terrorist offences."
At the meeting, held in Brussels, the Director of Europol, Max-Peter Ratzel, said that in 2007 there were 583 failed, foiled or executed terrorist attacks, most connected to separatist groups in Spain and France. 1,044 people were arrested in Europe in connection with terrorism in 2007.

Europol is the European Union Police Office that works to encourage co-operation between law enforcement agencies in the Member States in preventing and combating terrorism, unlawful drug trafficking and international organised crime.

Documents from the roundtable are available on the European Parliament website under the heading Round table with National Parliaments on the revision of Framework decision 2002/475/JHA "Combating terrorism" (April 7, 2008).


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:09 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, April 18, 2008

Osgoode Hall Law School 11th Annual Conference on Supreme Court Constitutional Decisions

The Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto held its 11th annual Constitutional Cases Conference today.

The country's top constitutional law scholars and practitioners came together to offer analysis of the Supreme Court of Canada’s constitutional decisions in 2007.

Topics included:
  • The most significant 2007 Supreme Court of Canada constitutional decisions and their implications
  • The constitutionalization of collective bargaining and the B.C. Health Services case
  • Charkaoui, fundamental justice and national security
  • The constitutional dimensions of access to justice
In anticipation of today's conference, there were 2 interesting newspaper articles that looked at recent trends in the Supreme Court's rulings:
  • Top court takes more time on fewer decisions - Increasingly divided Supreme Court is being 'more pragmatic,' court analyst says (Globe and Mail, April 18, 2008): "The court has also embraced a fiscally cautious approach to just about every Charter of Rights case that could end up costing public money, according to an analysis by Patrick Monahan, dean of York University's Osgoode Hall Law School. 'Pragmatic is a good way of describing them,' Mr. Monahan said in an interview. 'They are looking at consequences' (...) The court turned away from creating complicated 'balancing tests' that lower-court judges must use to determine whether a law or procedure breaches the Charter. In their place, Mr. Monahan said, it is establishing more clearly-defined, 'categorical' rules that state the ingredients that will constitute a breach."
  • High court 'rebalancing' Charter views (Toronto Star, April 18, 2008): "With its judges more sharply divided and the majority often siding with police in 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada may be going through a transformation, one that could see it becoming more 'cautious' in Charter cases, says the author [Patrick Monahan, dean of Osgoode Hall Law School] of an annual report on the court's performance (...) In the 12 cases decided by the court in 2007 that involved the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, those claiming their Charter rights were breached were successful in just three cases.In five cases involving freedom of expression, it was a complete shutout for Charter claimants. In each of the five cases, claimants alleged that government or police had violated their right to freedom of expression. Every time, they lost."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:19 pm 0 comments links to this post

Supreme Court of Canada: New Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of April 1st to 15th, 2008 is 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 loan to authorized libraries.

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

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:16 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wall-To-Wall Harry Potter Copyright Trial Coverage

J.K. Rowling, author of the übersuccessful Harry Potter book series, has been in a New York courtroom recently.

It is all part of a strange copyright infringement lawsuit against a librarian who wants to publish a Harry Potter "Lexicon" (in other words, a guide to Potterhead trivia).

Rowling claims that the lexicon copies big chunks of material from her series while adding little new information.

Hooboy.

Many dimensions to this one: copyright law, lowly librarian being attacked by Hollywood megacorporation (Warner Brothers), wildly popular kiddie author with gigantic following, artistic integrity, literary specialists as expert witnesses. And lots of tears for the cameras!

You gotta love it!

For those who can't get enough legal "Pottermania", the Wall Street Journal Law Blog provided full and interactive coverage and commentary of the story.

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

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Free Access to Databases This Week (And Forever!)

This week is National Library Week for our American friends.

Many commercial database vendors and aggregators are marking the occasion by providing temporary free access to many of their products.

For example:

  • Greenwood Publishing is providing free access to database products as diverse as Praeger Security International Online, Reader's Advisor Online and ARBAOnline (thousand of reviews of reference works). You have to register first.
  • Gale is allowing free access to a long list of popular and academic collections like Literature Criticism Online, Science Resource Center, Sources in U.S. History Online: Slavery in America, and the Gale Virtual Reference Library (more than 1,700 e-books from major scientific and humanities publishers)
Now, here is an easy trick to have year-round free access to many high-quality database collections outside the legal field: get a local public library card.

Here, in Ottawa, the public library system provides members remote access via their library card number to dozens of databases across a whole range of interest areas.

[Source: WisBlawg - University of Wisconsin]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:40 pm 0 comments links to this post

New Library of Parliament Publication on Canadian Involvement in European Institutions

The Library of Parliament has just posted a new publication on its website entitled International Organizations in Europe (Canadian Involvement).

Canada is involved in more than a dozen European organizations, ranging from the Arctic Council to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the Council of Europe:
"Europe has the most extensive political architecture of any region in the world. After World War II, several international organizations (IOs) were set up to reduce long-standing tensions among European countries, facilitate economic reconstruction and development, improve cooperation in a broad range of policy areas, and ensure the security of European sub regions. Since the late 1980s, existing organizations have grown substantially in membership and scope, and additional ones have been created, while Soviet Bloc IOs have disappeared. This has occurred in a period of profound change, characterized by the end of the Cold War and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union, economic globalization, growing awareness of the increasingly global nature of environmental, economic, social and cultural issues, and an unprecedented growth in the number of democracies in the world (...) "

"This paper provides an overview of the sometimes confusing political architecture of Europe. To do so, it will briefly describe Europe’s major international organizations, including their parliamentary assemblies, and Canada’s involvement in them. The paper focuses on three types of IOs: organizations of European governance; transatlantic security organizations; and other, primarily European, organizations with non European membership."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:31 pm 0 comments links to this post

New Library of Parliament Publication on Canada's Arctic Claims

The Parliamentary Information and Research Service of the Library of Parliament has just posted a new publication on its website. It is entitled Controversial Canadian Claims over Arctic Waters and Maritime Zones:

"Canada asserts several claims over Arctic lands and waters. By and large, Canada’s claims and assertions are regarded as well-founded by other states. Canada can thus benefit from recognition of title and jurisdiction in relation to those claims. However, for some claims, other states have expressed opposition to Canada’s claims (...)"

"This paper focuses ... on controversial claims over Arctic waters that affect Canadian interests. Three controversies are examined, two of them ongoing and the last one potential: the status of the Northwest Passage; the maritime delimitation in the Beaufort Sea; and the extent to which claims over an extended continental shelf by the various Arctic states may generate future controversies."
Other recent Library of Parliament publications on issues of Arctic sovereignty include:
  • Canadian Arctic Sovereignty (26 January 2006): "The Arctic region has featured prominently in debates about Canadian sovereignty. There has been a renewed focus on the Arctic due to the effects of climate change in the region, notably the melting of the polar ice caps. At the same time, there are continuing strategic issues relating to potential incursions into Canadian Arctic territory at various levels – airspace, surface (terrestrial and maritime), and sub-surface (by nuclear submarines). Canada’s ability to detect and monitor such territorial incursions and to enforce sovereign claims over its Arctic territory in such cases has been questioned."
  • Canada's Legal Claims Over Arctic Territory and Waters (6 December, 2007): "The international legal principles and the type of power that states can claim in relation to land and waters differ. While states may claim sovereignty over land, generally their powers over adjacent waters and sea beds are described in terms of possession of rights and jurisdiction. Bordering waters are classified according to the law of the sea, with the extent of rights and jurisdiction of the coastal state varying according to the type of maritime zone involved. Consequently, this paper will deal first with legal principles and claims dealing with the territorial dimension of the Canadian Arctic – i.e., the mass of islands north of Canada’s landmass – before turning to the Arctic waters as such."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:18 pm 0 comments links to this post

New Guide on International Environmental Legal Research

GlobaLex, the online research collection at the New York University Law School, has just published an updated version of its Basic Guide to International Environmental Legal Research:

"International environmental law is an ever-changing, constantly expanding, and intriguing topic for international legal research. When decisions and collaborations occur between nations across international boundaries and treaties or agreements are made to cooperate for environmental concerns, disputes inevitably transpire because of trade implications for the respective nations, safety concerns and cleanliness of environmental resources among shared borders, or problems with enforcement mechanisms for liability under agreements or treaty provisions relating to the environment. The vastness of this area of international law includes the environmental sub-issues of population, biodiversity, global climate change, ozone depletion, preserving the Antarctic regions, movement of toxic and hazardous substances, land or vessel-based pollution, dumping, conservation of marine living resources, trans-boundary air and water pollution, desertification, and nuclear damage, among others. To begin research in international environmental law, a researcher should have a basic understanding of international law and authority: for example, knowledge of treaty research and an awareness of the types of international agreements and their effect in nations of the world as result of reservations, understandings, or declarations. As noted in this research guide, the number of international environmental treaties is manageable by sub-topic, so identification of the appropriate sub-topic or category of international environmental law is essential to narrowly tailor research and avoid getting bogged down in the wealth of information. Like many areas of international law, regulation and implementation of the treaty terms are at the national level. Thus, some knowledge and research of foreign laws in the countries of focus for a research problem is necessary for thorough research and analysis. This guide will provide an overview of the key terms, general starting points by sub-topic of international environmental law and correlating treaties and agreements, a summary of the essential websites and secondary sources for international environmental legal research, and an approach for researching the primary law of foreign jurisdictions for this topic. Finally, an overview of the prominent international organizations and correlating documentation produced for international environmental law and blogs for current awareness in this field will be provided for a comprehensive overview."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:08 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

More Library Video Tutorials on YouTube

This is a follow-up to the Library Boy post of April 9, 2008 entitled HeinOnline YouTube Tutorials.

The British Columbia Courthouse Library Society (BCCLS) recently launched a series of 6 video tutorials on various legal research topics.

The videos can be watched on the BCCLS website using Flash or on YouTube.

Topics include:
  • How to trace legislation back in time
  • How to note up legislation using WestlaweCARSWELL’s LawSource platform
  • How to research the intent behind a piece of legislation
  • How to use O'Brien's Encyclopedia of Forms

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:40 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, April 14, 2008

UN Refugee Agency Team Up With Google Maps

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has been working with Google to allow Internet users to locate refugee camps and discover the impact of the humanitarian crises through satellite maps, photos, videos and eyewitness accounts:

"The first use of this geospatial tool focuses on refugees and displaced people located in remote areas of Chad, Iraq, Colombia and Sudan's volatile Darfur region. Sit in front of your computer and, with a few clicks, see, hear and develop an emotional understanding of what it is like to be a refugee."

More background is provided in the article UN uses Google to pinpoint refugee crises published April 8, 2008 in the British newspaper The Guardian.

[Source: Business and Human Rights Resource Centre]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:10 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, April 13, 2008

McGill University Wiki on Global Health Issues

The McGill University Library in Montreal (my alma mater!) has created a Global Health Resource Guide using wiki software as a way of sharing resources.

The wiki is open to McGill community members and to others. Non-McGill members who want to contribute can contact the editorial committee that includes librarians specializing in law, government information, agriculture (Macdonald Campus) and life sciences.

Many of the resources will be of interest to legal researchers, for instance in the Suggested Texts, the Legal Sources and the Government Documents sections of the wiki.

[Source: Free Government Information]

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

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Profiles of Courtroom Sketch Artists

Ironic Sans, a professional photography blog, posted an item back in March entitled The Other Art of Courtroom Sketch Artists that features profiles of 7 courtroom sketch artists:
"The general public sees their artwork on the news, online, and in print. These artists see the trials for us, and often their artwork is our only glimpse into the proceedings."

"I found myself wondering who these artists are. Is courtroom sketching a full time job? Are these people fine artists or commercial artists? And what kind of artwork do they do outside the courtroom? I decided to contact a range of courtroom sketch artists and see what I could find out."
[Source: the blog Canuckflack, a site that covers public relations, marketing, and government communications]

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

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Law Library Fan Justice Michel Bastarache Retires from Supreme Court of Canada

As most legal observers in Canada know by now, Justice Michel Bastarache announced yesterday that he will be retiring from the Supreme Court of Canada at the end of the spring 2008 court session.

OK, so everyone says he is a brilliant jurist, one observer even saying that Bastarache is to judging what Wayne Gretzy is to Canadian hockey.

But few people know that the man, the former dean of law at the University of Moncton, is a strong believer in the role of law libraries.

He has sat on the Library Committee at the Supreme Court of Canada and is said to have taken an active interest in collection development issues, in particular, the balance between common and civil law materials.

People are already speculating about who may be selected by the Prime Minister to replace Bastarache, as indicated in Kirk Makin's article Judge's surprise retirement leaves 'serious void' in the Globe and Mail:
"Those mentioned most often yesterday to replace Judge Bastarache were New Brunswick Chief Justice Ernest Drapeau, and Mr. Justice Thomas Cromwell of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal (former executive legal officer to then-chief justice Antonio Lamer of the Supreme Court of Canada). "

"Based on interviews with eight senior lawyers and academics yesterday, other early favourites include:
  • Nova Scotia: Chief Justice Michael MacDonald and Mr. Justice Jamie Saunders.
  • New Brunswick: Mr. Justice Joseph Robertson of the Court of Appeal, an expert in administrative law
  • Newfoundland: Madam Justice Gale Welsh, of the Court of Appeal, whose appointment would not just give the province its first Supreme Court judge, but would lead to the Supreme Court for the first time having a majority of women; Mr. Justice Leo Barry, of the provincial Supreme Court (trial division), one of the few judges in the province appointed by a Conservative government. "

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:25 pm 1 comments links to this post

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Free Video Interviews on International Human Rights Law

I picked this item up on the BarclayBlog from the Syracuse University College of Law in upstate New York.

Queen's University of Belfast has an International Law Video Library that offers "video holdings of interviews with leading commentators and practitioners in the field of international human rights."

There are interviews on:

  • Regional Human Rights Systems
  • International Criminal Law
  • National Human Rights Institutions
  • Women's Rights
  • Genocide
  • The Slavery Project

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:26 am 0 comments links to this post

HeinOnline YouTube Tutorials

HeinOnline, the well-known distributor of digital legal research content, has launched its own YouTube video channel to promote its online tutorials.

Yes, now you have a valid excuse at work for surfing YouTube: "No, boss, I am not looking for that AC/DC concert video from 2005, I am watching a training demo on how to find law journals! Honest!"

HeinOnline also offers its research tips and tutorials on its blog.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:14 am 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Government May Consider Radical Reforms To Fix Broken Criminal Trial System

At a recent University of Ottawa conference, University of Toronto law professor Michael Code warned that "unprofessional conduct" by defence and Crown attorneys in large criminal cases has governments contemplating far-reaching reforms to make the trial process more efficient.

Code's remarks are reported in the article Lawyers told to take responsibility to prevent radical criminal reforms in the April 11, 2008 issue of The Lawyers Weekly.

Code explained that some of the changes being debated behind the scenes include:
"(...) expanding the power of judges to vigorously manage the seemingly endless pretrial motions; restricting the timing, procedure and form of disclosure; expanding legal aid officials’ ability to oversee and restrain the legal aid budgets of long criminal trials, and restructuring the legal aid tariff to economically reward brevity and efficiency and deter inefficiency; and adding jury alternates to ensure that long, arduous trials don’t end in mistrials because jury members have dropped out."
Code, along with Patrick LeSage, the former chief justice of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, has been appointed by the Ontario government to lead a review of large and complex criminal case procedures (see the Library Boy post of February 25, 2008 entitled Ontario Launches Review of Complex Criminal Cases).

Also speaking at the University of Ottawa was Michael Moldaver, an Ontario Court of Appeal judge, who almost accused his fellow magistrates of having lost control:
"The Bench shares the blame to the extent that judges give up control of their courtrooms to the litigants, fail to bring a quick halt to frivolous motions, or fail to reign in counsel 'who go on endlessly,' said Justice Moldaver."

"He noted criminal trials 'are almost unrecognizable' from when he practiced 30 years ago. Murder cases that would have been tried in five to seven days, now take five to seven weeks, or months. By contrast he pointed to the recent U.S. trial and conviction of former press baron, Conrad Black. 'If this man had been charged in Canada... I guarantee you we would still be at the production stage here,' he observed."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:16 pm 0 comments links to this post

2006 Annual Report of the Canada Firearms Centre

The Commissioner of Firearms today released the 2006 Annual Report of the Canada Firearms Centre, the federal agency in charge of administering Canada's national gun registry.

The Centre has been a service of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police since May 2006. Prior to that date, it had been a stand-alone agency. The transfer was intended by the government to bring about a more effective alignment of gun control measures with inter-agency law-enforcement efforts to combat gun crime.

Among the highlights for 2006:
  • as of December 31, 2006, there were 7,102,466 registered firearms in Canada;
  • approximately 176,000 individuals were subject to firearms-prohibition court orders;
  • the Canadian Firearms Registry Online, a database available to police agencies to respond to emergencies and to assist in investigations, received 6,432 queries per day in 2006, for a total of 2,347,680 firearms-related queries from police about things such as the serial number or registration certificate number of a firearm, or the name and address of an individual and the number and type of guns that person owned

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:44 pm 0 comments links to this post

University of Ottawa Privacy and Online Identity Research Project Comes To An End

"On the Identity Trail", a multi-year research project at the University of Ottawa Law Faculty into issues surrounding privacy protection and online identity has come to an end after 4 very fruitful years:

"The ID Trail generated 177 student research assistant contracts including 119 for LL.B. students, 32 for LL.M. students, 17 for doctoral students, and another 9 for post-doctoral students. Five of these research assistants have obtained clerkships at the Supreme Court of Canada (...)"

"On the Identity Trail has also resulted in two books, three special issues of academic journals, 54 journal articles, 43 book chapters, 9 articles in trade/professional journals, 20 conference proceedings, 217 invited contributions/papers read, and 89 ID Trail blog pieces. Additionally, three major international conferences, 5 international workshops, and 5 pan-Canadian educational forums were organized, including a day-long workshop with researchers from the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and other invited European scholars, as well as a second two-day workshop in Italy with researchers from Bologna and the Netherlands."
All of the project's research is available online.

Earlier Library Boy posts about the Identity Trail project include:
  • Access to Information Manual for Citizens (February 1, 2006): "A team of researchers from the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic has released a Canadian Access to Information Manual for all 14 Canadian jurisdictions (federal, provincial and territorial) (...) The Manual is an initiative of 'On the Identity Trail', a multidisciplinary research project led by University of Ottawa law professor Ian Kerr and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council's 'Initiatives on the New Economy' program."
  • Videos on "Reasonable Expectation of Privacy" (May 28, 2007): "The ID Trail Project, which looks at issues about online privacy, has created 2 films relating to what is known as reasonable expectations of privacy (...) Among those interviewed are well-known Canadian lawyer Clayton Ruby, Andrew Clement of the University of Toronto, David Sobel of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Pippa Lawson of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:30 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, April 07, 2008

Two Major Canadian Digitization Projects Merge

Today, I received a press release on the Federal libraries community discussion list about the recent merger of the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions (CIHM) and the AlouetteCanada initiative under the name Canadiana.org.

CIHM (working for the past few years as Canadiana.org) is the creator of Early Canadiana Online, a digital library providing access to more than 2 and a half million pages of Canada's printed heritage from the time of the first European settlers up to the early 20th Century.

AlouetteCanada was launched by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries about 2 years ago and is an effort to digitize the collections of books and other documents held by Canadian academic research libraries.

According to the press release:
"Canadiana.org's Executive Director Magdalene Albert says, 'For 30 years, the former CIHM has been one of the leading services of its kind in the world. The expertise of its staff in researching, locating, cataloguing and digitizing Canada’s published heritage for preservation as well as discovery and use by Canadians is widely recognized'. New Co-Director Brian Bell states, 'The merger with AlouetteCanada brings with it the commitment to creating, disseminating, preserving and sustaining the Canadian memory knowledge base in digital form for the benefit of all Canadians'."

"Canadiana.org will act in concert with the Canadian Digital Information Strategy presently being developed by Library and Archives Canada."
Earlier Library Boy posts about Canadian digitization projects include:
  • Digitization of Early Canadian Government Documents Continues (November 21, 2005): "The non-profit organization Canadiana.org has just received another grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage's Canadian Culture Online program to help it complete its Canada in the Making digitization project (...) Canadiana.org will be able to add a further 250,000 pages ... These will include selected Acts, Debates and Sessional papers from the Colonial period to Confederation, and from 1867 to 1900" [the description page for this project has moved]
  • CALL 2007 Pre-Conference: Managing Digital Collections (May 5, 2007): "The 2007 conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries begins this weekend in Ottawa and continues until Wednesday, May 9, 2007. Today, there was a pre-conference session on Creating and Managing a Digital Collection Project: From policy to technical requirements."
  • Preservation of Web-Based Government Documents in Canada (May 29, 2007): "The Canadian Association of Research Libraries recently released an April 2007 update of a report by Andrew Hubbertz entitled Collection and Preservation of Web-Based Provincial/Territorial Government Publications (...) The update provides a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction description of the current state of affairs relating to the collection and preservation of web-based government information in Canada."
  • Canadian Digital Information Strategy Issued for Comments (October 31, 2007): "Over the past 2 years, LAC [Library and Archives Canada] consulted with over 200 organizations: publishing and media producers, creators, rights bodies, academics, provincial and federal officials, and heritage institutions. The strategy being proposed is based on the following vision: 'Canada's digital information assets are created, managed and preserved to ensure that a significant Canadian digital presence and record is available to present and future generations, and that Canada's position in a global digital information economy is enhanced' (...) The draft strategy document highlights a number of current digitization projects in Canada and contains an extensive bibliography on international strategies, preservation, and digitization."
  • Responses to Draft Canadian Digital Information Strategy (February 16, 2008): "Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has issued the Canadian Digital Information Strategy in draft form for comment. Comments are due by Nov 23, 2007 (...) Responses from individuals and organizations have now been posted on the Library and Archives Canada website."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:45 pm 0 comments links to this post

Leg@l.IT Legal Technology Conference in Montreal Later This Month

The Young Bar Association of Montreal, the Canadian Bar Association and the Montreal Bar are organizing Leg@l.IT 2008 on April 21, 2008 at the Centre Mont-Royal in downtown Montreal.

It is a major conference about the impacts of information technologies on the practice of law.

The conference will deal with a range of issues including:
  • online privacy
  • transborder legal issues
  • collaborative technologies for lawyers and clients
  • cybercrime
  • e-discovery
  • blogs for lawyers
  • electronic contracts and consumer protection
Dominic Jaar, one of the contributors to Slaw.ca, the cooperative Canadian weblog on legal research to which I occasionally contribute, is the director of the organizing committee of Leg@l.IT 2008.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:19 pm 0 comments links to this post

China Crackdown on Human Rights Intensifying Before 2008 Olympics

The human rights organization Amnesty International recently published a report documenting the intensifying campaign of repression by Chinese authorities before the opening of the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing later this year.

According to the report, entitled "The Olympics countdown – crackdown on activists threatens Olympics legacy":

"It is increasingly clear that much of the current wave of repression is occurring not in spite of the Olympics, but actually because of the Olympics. Peaceful human rights activists, and others who have publicly criticised official government policy, have been targeted in the official pre-Olympics ‘clean up’, in an apparent attempt to portray a ‘stable’ or ‘harmonious’ image to the world by August 2008. Recent official assertions of a terrorist’ plot to attack the Olympic Games have given prominence to potential security threats to the Olympics, but a failure to back up such assertions with concrete evidence increases suspicions that the authorities are overstating such threats in an attempt to justify the current crackdown."

"Several peaceful activists, including those profiled in this series of reports, remain imprisoned or held under tight police surveillance. Despite some high profile releases, many more have been detained over the last six months for doing nothing more than petitioning the authorities to address their grievances or drawing international attention to ongoing human rights violations. Several of those detained have reportedly been subjected to beatings and other forms of torture or other ill-treatment. Those who have linked China’s human rights responsibilities to its hosting of the Olympics have been among the most harshly treated."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:24 pm 0 comments links to this post

Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals Available For Free in April

Database provider OVID is providing free access to the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals during the month of April:

"Each month, Ovid provides you with the opportunity to 'test drive' a sampling of our content, tools and services - FREE of charge - through our Resource of the Month program."
The Index is a multilingual bibliographic index to articles and book reviews from more than 500 legal journals published worldwide. Material covered is in languages such as English, French, Spanish and many others.

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

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Canadian Government Databases Available Via the Internet

I had totally overlooked this back in January.

The January 28, 2008 Supplement to the Weekly Checklist contained the 4th edition of the Canadian federal government databases accessible through the Internet:
"This current edition lists 488 databases publicly accessible on Government of Canada Web sites. Some of these databases require user registration."

"This edition contains 334 entries from the previous edition that have been reviewed and verified as well as 154 databases that have appeared since the previous edition."
The Weekly Checklist includes a listing of book and serial titles which have been released during the previous week by the Parliament of Canada, federal departments, and Statistics Canada.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:52 pm 0 comments links to this post

Finding Reports of the Defunct Law Commission of Canada

The most recent Supplement to the Government of Canada's Weekly Checklist (dated April 7, 2008) lists many research reports of the Law Commission of Canada.

The Weekly Checklist includes a listing of book and serial titles which have been released during the previous week by the Parliament of Canada, federal departments, and Statistics Canada.

Funding for the Commission was terminated by the federal government in the fall of 2006.

Library and Archives Canada has also preserved and stored the documents and reports of the Commission.

Sources for finding the reports of other law commissions include:
  • The British Columbia Law Institute has created a searchable law reform database that indexes over 7000 law reform materials from common law jurisdictions around the world
  • The WorldLII Law Reform Project "aims to make searchable from one location all of the databases specialising in Law Reform available on any of the Legal Information Institutes (LIIs) that are part of WorldLII". The databases currently included are the law commissions of Australia, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Papua New Guinea and England
  • The World Law Reform Collection Jurisdiction and Subject Index from Manas Media is an index to law reform commission publications searchable by keywords, jurisdiction and date. This collection contains references to thousands of titles from 37 jurisdictions indexed by 6 major categories and 61 subcategories. Full text of most titles published after 1999 is available in PDF format to subscribing libraries. Earlier titles are on microfiche
For historical background, Justice Canada's International Cooperation Group published a study on law reform agencies a few years ago. The study comes with an extensive bibliography.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:44 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, April 04, 2008

Telecoms Fight Canadian Government Over E-Surveillance Costs

The University of Ottawa's Michael Geist draws attention to documents obtained by Canwest News Service reporters that reveal a behind-the-scenes tug-of-war between industry and the federal government over who should bear the costs of electronic surveillance.

According to the Calgary Herald article to which Prof. Geist links:


"The Harper government's plans to reintroduce legislation that would make it easier for law-enforcement agencies to monitor Internet and wireless communications have been held up by a dispute with industry over who should cover the costs, according to documents obtained by Canwest News Service (...) "

"Police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service can already seek the authority to wiretap private communications through the Criminal Code, CSIS Act and other laws. But the laws were written before the emergence of the Internet, mobile phones and handheld computers, and in many cases the industry hasn't developed the technology to intercept such communications. (...)"

"Tensions between industry and law enforcement have become so strained that some municipal police forces have refused to pay claims for compensation submitted by telecom companies, and some of the cases have ended up in court."

"The Supreme Court last week dismissed an appeal by Telus Mobility, which wanted to be compensated for digging up call records as part of two 2004 criminal investigations in Ontario."

The "lawful access" law, as it is better known, would have effectively forced companies to build intercept capabilities into their networks.

The Supreme Court of Canada decision mentioned is Tele‑Mobile Co. v. Ontario, 2008 SCC 12 :


"Amendments to the Criminal Code in 2004 introduced a new investigative tool for law enforcement agencies: a production order that would compel third parties to produce documents or data for use in criminal investigations. Two production orders required Telus to produce call data records. Telus applied for exemptions from the orders on the grounds that the burden of compliance would be unreasonable without compensation due to the cost of retrieving the archived data. The Ontario Court of Justice dismissed the application for exemptions. Telus appealed directly to the Supreme Court, pursuant to s. 40(1) of the Supreme Court Act, arguing that the broad wording in s. 487.012(4) of the Criminal Code permitting a judge to add terms and conditions, allowed for the inclusion of a condition of the production order directing payment of reasonable costs of compliance. "

"Held: The appeal should be dismissed."
The Osgoode Hall Law School blog The Court has 2 posts on the Tele‑Mobile case:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:44 pm 0 comments links to this post

Supreme Court of Canada: New Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of March 16th to 31st, 2008 is 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 loan to authorized libraries.

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

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:37 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, April 03, 2008

World Book and Copyright Day April 23

April 23, 2008 is World Book and Copyright Day, a yearly event organized by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing and the protection of intellectual property through copyright.

According to UNESCO:
"23 April: a symbolic date for world literature for on this date and in the same year of 1616, Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo."
In Canada, Canada Book Day is celebrated on that day.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:02 pm 2 comments links to this post

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

New Internet Research Guide for Olympic Studies

Intute, a British university consortium that offers free online service access to evaluated web resources for education and research, has just published a new subject booklet entitled Internet resources for Olympic studies.

The booklet describes resources relating to associations, the history of the Olympic Games, past and future Games, athletes, sports research, event management, and legal issues (arbitration of sports disputes, disability sports, gender equity and doping).

The complete list of subject booklets is available online.

The Intute database also contains many resources on sports law.

Earlier Library Boy posts that discuss sports and the law include:
  • From Lawyers' Wigs to Baseball Uniforms (March 9, 2006): "The Law Library Journal (American Association of Law Libraries) published 'Baseball and the Law: A Selected Annotated Bibliography, 1990–2004' in the spring of 2005."
  • World Cup 2006 in Germany - The Law on Doping in Sports (May 26, 2006): "The World Cup of Soccer, perhaps the world's greatest sporting extravaganza with the exception of the Summer Olympic Games, is taking place this June in Germany. And where there's international sports, there's the use of performance-enhancing drugs, or 'doping' (...) So what laws and regulations apply to sports and doping?"
  • New Law Library Journal Articles (September 6, 2006): "We have just received Law Library Journal vol. 98, no. 3 (Summer 2006) at the Supreme Court of Canada library. Among the articles that caught my attention: (...) Exploring the Court of Arbitration for Sport: 'The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), recognized as an emerging leader in international sports dispute resolution, was created specifically to address sports-related matters. Since its formation, the CAS has addressed a wide range of sports-related issues, including matters pertaining to the positive drug tests of athletes, the challenges to technical decisions of officials made during competition, and the eligibility of athletes to compete in the Olympic Games. Of significance, CAS awards have been recognized as developing a lex sportiva, that is, a set of guiding principles and rules in international sports law'. "

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:44 pm 0 comments links to this post

Cybercrime Legislation in Europe

The Council of Europe has published country profiles "prepared within the framework of the Council of Europe’s Project on Cybercrime in view of sharing information on cybercrime legislation and assessing the current state of implementation of the Convention on Cybercrime under national legislation. They do not necessarily reflect official positions of the countries covered or of the Council of Europe."

The Council of Europe is the continent's oldest political organization, founded in 1949. It groups together 47 countries, and it has granted observer status to five other countries (the Holy See, United States, Canada, Japan and Mexico). The Council of Europe is distinct from the European Union.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:31 pm 0 comments links to this post

March 2008 Issue of Global Legal Monitor

The March 2008 issue of the Global Legal Monitor is available on the site of the Law Library of Congress.

It is a publication that provides regular updates on legal developments from around the world.

The current issue covers topics ranging from abortion legislation in South Korea to the repression of women in Saudi Arabia.

The complete archive of the Global Legal Monitor is also available.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:20 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Libworld: Profiles of Library Blogs in Other Countries

The German site Infobib has a section called Libworld where "guest authors introduce the library and library related blogs of their particular country."

The most recent addition concerns the United States and was published yesterday.

Previous articles have dealt with the biblioblogosphere in countries as diverse as Spain, Iran, Malawi, Japan and New Zealand.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:37 pm 0 comments links to this post