Sunday, May 31, 2009

Resources on Obama's First US Supreme Court Pick

The Law Library of Congress in Washington has put together a list of resources on Sonia Sotomayor, Barack Obama's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

The list is broken down into:
  • articles/books by Sotomayor
  • her U.S. Senate confirmation hearings at the lower levels of the U.S. federal bench (1992 and 1998)
  • links to her jugdments
  • profiles and analyses from other websites

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:39 pm 0 comments links to this post

Are Listservs Still A Valid Communications Tool?

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries still uses a listserv as a communications tool between members.

So, a recent article in the AALL Spectrum, a monthly publication of the American Association of Law Libraries, caught my attention.

It is entitled Where Do Listservs Fit in a Social Media World? by Greg Lambert (library and records manager for King & Spalding LLP in Houston).

Lambert provides a brief summary of what librarians he consulted like and dislike about the e-mail-based listserv technology and then looks at possible social networking alternatives such as Ning and Twitter.

He sums up:
"Although I maintain that listservs are inefficient, they are also extremely easy, convenient, and pretty useful, despite the downsides listed above. As long as we have e-mail, we’ll have listservs. That said, their heyday has come and gone. Social media tools and Web 2.0 resources are becoming the communication tools of choice and will eventually push listservs to the background (...)"

"So, is it time to retire listservs? Have they gone the way of Gopher and Wide Area Information Server (WAIS)? Perhaps not that far underground, but they have become more cumbersome, especially as our lives become burdened with productivity. After all, it’s not a bad idea to streamline and organize our contacts, peers, and fellow professionals—a functionality that listservs lack. The new social media forums, on the other hand, can help us do just that while still allowing us to benefit from the information our community has to offer."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:27 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, May 29, 2009

New Issue of News and Views on Civil Justice Reform

Issue no. 12 of News & Views on Civil Justice Reform has just been published by the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

Content includes:
  • "The End of Lawyers? excerpts from Chapter 7 ‘Access to Justice’" by Richard Susskind
  • "This is not the end of lawyers…" by Jordan Furlong
  • "Public legal education and information in a Changing Legal Services Spectrum" by Rick Craig
  • "Resourcing Access to Justice: Legal Expenses Insurance" by Kenning Marchant, D Jur
  • and more

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:06 pm 0 comments links to this post

Irish Law Reform Commission Report on Good Samaritans

The Law Reform Commission of Ireland this week issued a Report on the Civil Liability of 'Good Samaritans' and Volunteers.

The Commission wrote the report in response to a request by the Attorney General to consider the civil liability of: (a) those who intervene to assist and help an injured person ("Good Samaritans") and (b) voluntary rescuers and other volunteers.

The report's main recommendation takes the form of a draft Civil Liability (Good Samaritans and Volunteers) Bill. The proposed law would provide for a full defence against a civil liability claim for Good Samaritans and voluntary rescuers, unless there is gross negligence, that is, negligence of a very high level and that involves a high degree of risk or likelihood of injury. This gross negligence test is in line with similar laws in place in many countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

In addition, the Commission also recommended against imposing any general legal duty to intervene to rescue people in danger over and above what already exists in the law (for example, the duty of employers to provide first aid assistance to employees under safety and health at work legislation).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:57 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Supreme Court of Canada Library: New Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of May 1st to 15th, 2009 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 12:48 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

CALL 2009 Conference Plenary With JURIST's Bernard Hibbitts

The 2009 conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries welcomed University of Pittsburgh law professor Bernard Hibbitts as its plenary guest speaker yesterday. The conference, which ended earlier today, took place in Halifax.

Hibbitts is perhaps best known as the founder of the legal news and commentary site JURIST.

For Hibbitts, it was a bit of a homecoming. A native of Halifax, he was educated at Dalhousie Law School, the University of Toronto, Harvard Law School, and Oxford University.

His presentation was about "The Technology of Law".

He provided a fascinating overview of JURIST's evolution since 1996 from a simple webpage to a fully staffed, student volunteer-run web news service, with expert editors and outside commentators.

But his main focus was about how the legal field is falling short of taking advantage of the promise of new information technologies.

There is a lot of IT in law and in legal teaching but he would describe little of it as innovative.

As examples, he referred to things such as :
  • the addiction to Powerpoint in the classroom, which does not carry us much farther than older overheads
  • student laptops, which are ubiquitous but little more than a newer dictation-taking tool
  • academic articles online, which, even when posted to digital repositories, seldom exploit the potential of hyperlinking, or online commenting
  • even the big databases (Lexis and Westlaw) are really legacy collections accessed now via the Net.
Hibbitts distinguished between 2 approaches to the use of technology in legal education. He calls the first the functional or how-to approach, which essentially teaches students how to be better consumers of the tools.

He prefers what he calls the conceptual approach to the study of the technology of law. At the University of Pittsburgh, he explained he has tried to follow this approach through classes on "Neteracy for Lawyers" that aim at developing the skills and the mentality to think and work effectively in cyberspace.

This involves teaching new ways of reading, writing and thinking in multiple online formats. This includes composing for the Net, the use of linking and the fostering of non-linear thinking, design and interface issues, the use of tagging, the emphasis on collaboration and sharing, etc.

JURIST, in fact, has become what he called "a lab to test a whole new student skill set", in a real-time, real-world environment: a news service about international and U.S. legal issues as they occur. Students are learning how to research legal stories as they develop on the Net, critically evaluate legitimacy and credibility of sources, repurpose, make use of linking to enhance the telling of the story, and write in a style appropriate for the shorter scanning reading style of the Web.

And they are covering and breaking top stories.

Overall, he explained that student reporters seem to him to have developed into more "innovative, globalist, flexible, and collaborative" thinkers.

He made a comparison between environments such as JURIST and the pioneering 19th century academic law reviews edited by law students. The student-run law review had a tremendous impact on the development of 20th century legal teaching and thinking, as the medium "galvanized students around an enterprise that teaches essential skills".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:57 pm 0 comments links to this post

CALL 2009 Conference - Research Projects by Members

On Monday, I attended a session at the 2009 conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) entitled "Research Matters: Recent Research by CALL / ACBD Members".

Every year, the CALL Committee to Promote Research provides financial assistance to members who want to conduct research in areas of interest to law librarians.

At this year's session, 2 CALL members presented the results of their research projects.

The first was from Kirsten Wurmann of the Legal Resource Centre in Edmonton who presented the results of her study on the role and impact of librarians in the history and development of public legal education practice in Canada. Her paper is entitled The Role and Impact of Librarians in the History and Development of Public Legal Education (PLE) in Canada.

The second presenter was Nancy McCormack, Head of the Law Library at Queen's University in Kingston, who conducted a survey on job satisfaction in Canadian law libraries.

According to McCormack, Canadian law librarians had never been surveyed before on this topic.

A Survey Monkey survey was sent out electronically over various listservs in Sept. 2008.

199 responses were received (response rate of 23,4%). 58% were from professional librarians, 42% from other law library workers.

Responses were received from all kinds of law libraries, with a predominance of responses from private firm libraries (52,3% of responses). 48,2% of respondents were from Ontario, 14,6% from Alberta, 14,6% from BC, 11,6% from Quebec.

The most satisfying aspects of law library work were found to be: challenge (72,4%), followed by autonomy (71,4), patron interaction (57,3) and relationships with colleagues (53,8).

The 2 biggest sources of dissatisfaction were the physical environment (39,2%) and salary (34,2%).

Overall, the most satisfied of all were academic law library workers (92,3%), followed closely by courthouse librarians (91,7%). Only 80,6% of government librarians expressed overall satisfaction.

In terms of age groups, 77,3% of the under 30s were satisfied. After age 30, satisfaction levels rose significantly. A plausible explanation is that newer, younger professionals are still finding their way and moving around

Under 30s were also the least satisfied of all age groups when it came to salary, with 50% mentioning salary as one of the least satisfying aspects of librarianship. This falls dramatically for all older age cohorts.

Overall, McCormack explained that law library workers generally do well in terms of career satisfaction when compared to other librarian types. However, compared to other types of librarians, law librarians seemed more dissatisfied when it comes to advancement opportunities.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:30 am 2 comments links to this post

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

CALL 2009 Awards

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) handed out its awards yesterday during a luncheon at its annual conference in Halifax.

The event took place at Pier 21 on the Halifax waterfront. Pier 21, now a museum devoted to the history of immigration in Canada, was the terminal where immigrants arriving by sea landed between 1928 and 1971.

  • the Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing was handed to the cooperative legal blog Slaw.ca. Simon Fodden, the founder, accepted the award. It was particularly poignant, as Fodden explained that, some 60 years earlier, he had passed through the very building where we were all sitting when he arrived as an immigrant to Canada
  • the research grant for 2009 was awarded to Mary Hemmings (University of Calgary) for her project "Legal Visual Semiotics: Eighteenth Century Satirical Prints as Primary Sources." This grant will allow Mary to travel to England to conduct research for an upcoming book chapter in Treatise on Legal Visual Semiotics
  • the Denis Marshall Memorial Award For Excellence in Law Librarianship went to Peta Bates of the Law Society of Saskatchewan

There are many other grants and awards distributed by CALL.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:59 am 0 comments links to this post

Monday, May 25, 2009

CALL 2009 Conference - New Vendor Products

I attended yesterday afternoon's vendor demo session at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) in Halifax. Here are some off the highlights:

a) LexisNexis Quicklaw:
  • parallel citations now appear on the face of every Canadian case
  • new content menus are being offered, called Quicklaw Full Service, Full Service International Version and Quicklaw Library. Quicklaw Full Service comes with the regular Quicklaw Canadian content plus the new Canada Digest service, the Halsbury's Laws of Canada encyclopedia and the new Canada Quantums. The International Version has all that plus foreign law content. Quicklaw Library includes the Full Service plus about 40 electronic versions of Butterworth treatises
  • pricing for the menu offerings will be on a flat rate (per lawyer) basis, with pricing to be finalized by late summer

b) Canada Law Book:

  • the company has introduced various interface enhancements to its various Spectrum database products such as the ability to print/e-mail/save an entire hit list, PDFs of cases from a hit list, case summaries only, note ups from selected cases, etc.

c) WestlaweCarswell:

  • it is now operating under the new name of Westlaw Canada
  • the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest encyclopedia is now in its 4th edition, with 104 titles updated as of May 2009. By the end of 2010, all 220 titles will have been updated. CED content is being "rechunked" into larger pieces for readibility (entire sections will fit onto a document instead of each individual paragraph being a separate document). As well, CED documents will all contain electronic links to Canadian Abridgment digests on point
  • KeyCite (noting up) enhancements include pinpoint linking inside the content of citing caselaw
  • the Carswell eReference library is a new offering that includes the electronic edition of many well-known loose-leafs, included in the price of the print subscription to the same volumes

d) CanLII:

  • in the last year, CanLII has launched a new legislative publishing system that allows for comparing versions of statutes at different points in time
  • users can also note-up entire statutes of sections of statutes

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

Sunday, May 24, 2009

CALL 2009 Conference Committee Reports

The 2009 conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) in Halifax got off to a start today.

Here is a brief overview of the committee meetings I was able to attend.

a) Courthouse and Law Society Libraries Special Interest Group (SIG):


Last year, the SIG published a list of instructional materials compiled by members. This includes tutorials, research guides, handouts etc. Trainers can see what other librarians have developed and used.

Highlights from member news:

  • the Alberta Law Libraries underwent a major reorganization, consolidating 11 law society libraries and close to 40 government libraries for the judiciary, the Crown, and legal information centres into a new unified structure with a common mandate, reporting structure, branding strategy, etc. Important note: they are still hiring new librarians!
  • the Law Society of Saskatchewan library system countered rumours of cutbacks with a survey (325 responses) that concluded that lawyers like the library services and want them to be preserved. A system that appeared to be threatened has now been stabilized
  • the Nova Scotia Barristers Society library system published an electronic annotated version for new rules of civil procedure, deidentified (anonymized) more than 1000 decisions published on the free open portal CanLII, and has continued its travelling librarian training program (a librarian visits law firms across the province to provide legal research training)
  • the Supreme Court of Canada library has had its new collection development policy approved. It will entail major changes (reductions) to the collection of US reference material in print (in particular state codes)
  • the Courts Administration Service (Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada) has reviewed its collection development policy: it has almost completed the unification of the policies of its different regions.

b) Vendor Liaison Committee business meeting:

  • the Committee published an annual publisher price trend report, provided tips on cost containment and launched a survey to measure the impact of the recession on law library budgets. The survey will be re-run at the end of the summer because early responses indicate that many people feel it is still too early to gauge what possible impacts may exist
  • the focus for the next year will be usage reports (statistiscal tracking). The emphasis will be the development of consistent, standardized methods for collecting usage stats from different vendors

c) Committee to Promote Research

  • this committee exists to promote research projects by law librarians
  • it has updated its databank of past research projects by CALL members and will be updating the list of issues requiring research (which looks quite out of date - CD-ROMs are mentioned) and the research-related resources page
  • for the 2010 conference in Windsor, Ontario, possible ideas include the impact of research reports by law commissions; open access research repositories (bePress, SSRN, etc.); research being done in LIS faculties; the research experiences of academic librarians facing tenure

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:51 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Law Library Mentorship Reception at CALL 2009 Conference

The Education Committee of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) today held its Kick-Off Reception for its Mentorship Program.

The event was held at the 2009 annual CALL conference in Halifax that I am attending until next Wednesday.

The goal of the program is "to facilitate the creation, development and maintenance of mutually satisfactory mentoring relationships between new CALL members, or those CALL members pursuing new professional development opportunities, and their experienced colleagues".

The program's webpage has a description of the program, the eligibility criteria and the candidate screening process, as well as links to application forms for mentors and mentees, a mentorship resources wiki, and a discussion forum (for members).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:05 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, May 22, 2009

CALL 2009 Conference in Halifax

I am off to the 2009 conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries in Halifax.

I will try to report on the sessions while I am there.

Cheers.

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

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Federal Access to Information Database Revived by Ottawa Law Prof

University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist is trying to revive the CAIRS database that allowed researchers to track freedom of information requests made to Canadian federal government departments under the Access to Information Act.

The database was discontinued by the Conservative government.

As he reports in his blog, Prof. Geist is launching CAIRS.Info, a resource that will provide the same information that was contained in the original database and will be updated:
"The files include the wording of the original access to information request, date, department, file number and general information about whether the requester was with the media, business, academic or other. Once users have identified an access request that is of interest, they can ask the relevant government department for a copy of all disclosed records. Most departments will allow for an 'informal' request under which the records are disclosed at no cost (though the requester forfeits rights of appeal). Alternatively, a formal request for all records can be submitted to the department (a $5 fee is needed)."
Earlier Library Boy posts about CAIRS include:
  • Access to Information Database Updated to June 2005 (August 7, 2005): "Prof. Alasdair Roberts from Syracuse University has updated his Canadian access to information request database (...) According to Roberts, a former Queen's University scholar who has maintained the database since early 2002, this will be the last update. The page will not be maintained after August 31."
  • New Access to Information Database (April 15, 2006): "David McKie, an award-winning member of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's investigative reporting unit, has set up an access to information / freedom of information website that 'allows you to search a database of requests for information filed with departments and agencies of the Canadian government under Canada's Access to Information Act' (...) This website takes over from where Syracuse University professor Alasdair Roberts left off in August 2005."
  • Media Reports Government Wants to Can Access to Information Database (May 3, 2008): "The Toronto Star is reporting that the federal government is putting an end to the Coordination of Access to Information Requests System (CAIRS), an internal database of every request filed to all federal departments and agencies under the Access to Information Act (ATIA) ... CAIRS was seen by lawyers, reporters, and government watchdog groups as a very useful resource. They could mine the information in the database, approach government departments and request copies of already released documents."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:48 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Globe & Mail Download Decade Series

The Globe and Mail has been publishing a fascinating series called the Download Decade that tries to tackle the economic, social, legal, cultural consequences of the technologies that have allowed end users to download, rip, mash up and share digital music.

The series content is appearing in numerous formats: paper, on the Web, on iTunes, on YouTube, in torrents, and on a wiki.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:59 pm 0 comments links to this post

2007 Annual Report on Use of Electronic Surveillance in Canada

The most recent issue of the Canadian government's Weekly Checklist features the 2007 annual report on electronic surveillance from Public Safety Canada.

The report outlines the use of electronic surveillance of private communications by law enforcement agencies to assist in criminal investigations.

Under the Criminal Code, agencies must obtain judicial authorization before conducting the surveillance.

The government is required to prepare and present to Parliament an annual report on the use of electronic surveillance.

The 2007 Annual Report covers a five-year period from 2003 to 2007. The Report includes new statistics for the period from January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2007, and updates the figures for the years 2003 to 2006.

Statistics are provided for things such as the number of applications made for authorizations and for renewals of authorizations, the period for which authorizations and renewals were granted, a description of the methods of interception, the offences specified in authorizations (e.g. possession of a narcotic for the purpose of trafficking, smuggling/attempt to smuggle goods into Canada, laundering proceeds of excise offences, forgery of passport, weapons trafficking, murder, fraud, countefeiting, participating in activities of a criminal organization, etc.), the number of arrests as a result of an interception under an authorization.

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 1:52 pm 0 comments links to this post

Criticism of the Annual Report of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner

This is a follow-up to the Library Boy post of May 13, 2009 entitled 2008-2009 Annual Report of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner that deals with reports of wrongdoings in the Canadian federal public sector.

The group FAIR (Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform), an organization that seeks to protect whistleblowers, didn't quite like the report and has published a criticism in The Hill Times, a newsweekly that covers the goings on of Parliament Hill in Ottawa [reprinted on the FAIR website]:

"When it comes to protecting whistleblowers, it’s worth noting that in surveys of public service employees, more than 1 in 5 report having been harassed, mainly by their bosses. After the UK implemented its whistleblower law, over 150 cases of alleged reprisal were referred to a tribunal during the first three years. The Canadian tribunal has never sat: in her first two years our Commissioner has not found a single case of reprisal against any public servant."

"The Commissioner appears unfazed by the perception that her office may not be serving any useful purpose. She says that it is far too soon to judge and that she needs at least three years of operation before any conclusions can be drawn. Yet her approach has already failed."
Ouch! As they say in Quebec: "Il va y avoir du sport!". Some vigourous debate can be expected.

The article is written by David Hutton, FAIR executive director, and David Kilgour, former federal secretary of state and a member of the FAIR Advisory Board.

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

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

European Union Court Website Revamped

The CURIA website (Court of Justice of the European Communities) recently underwent a redesign.

The contents of the caselaw database include summaries or judgments, Opinions of the Court, Advocates General's Opinions and orders of the Community Courts, delivered since 17 June 1997 and published in the Reports of Cases before the Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance or in the European Court Reports - Reports of European Community Staff Cases.

There is also a library and documentation section to the website with links to bibliographies, a database of member state caselaw relating to European Union legislation, the Reflets current awareness bulletin, and an overview of court systems of each of the 27 members of the Union (in French).

The Court, which sits in Luxemburg, constitutes the judicial authority of the European Union and its role is to ensure the application and uniform interpretation of Community law.

[Source: Précisément.org - Un blog pour l'information juridique]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:36 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, May 16, 2009

U.S. State Whistleblower Laws

This is a follow-up to the May 13, 2009 Library Boy post entitled 2008-2009 Annual Report of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.

South of the our borders, it appears that many American state legislatures have been beefing up their laws aimed at protecting public servants who disclose incidents of fraud and government abuse.

The NGO Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility has put together a comparison of so-called whistleblower protection statutes at the U.S. state level.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:02 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Judiciary of England and Wales Preliminary Report on Civil Litigation Costs

Lord Justice Jackson has just released a preliminary report for the Judiciary of England and Wales on the costs of civil litigation.

This is in preparation for a consultation that will lead to a final report in December 2009.

According to the terms of reference of this Civil Litigation Costs Review, Lord Justice Jackson will:
  • Establish how present costs rules operate and how they impact on the behaviour of both parties and lawyers.
  • Establish the effect case management procedures have on costs and consider whether changes in process and/or procedure could bring about more proportionate costs.
  • Have regard to previous and current research into costs and funding issues; for example any further Government research into Conditional Fee Agreements - ‘No win, No fee’, following the scoping study.
  • Seek the views of judges, practitioners, Government, court users and other interested parties through both informal consultation and a series of public seminars.
  • Compare the costs regime for England and Wales with those operating in other jurisdictions.
Earlier Library Boy posts on the costs of justice in the Canadian context include:
  • Canadian Civil Justice Reform Database (Library Boy, 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. 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'."
  • Ontario Civil Justice Reform Project Report Published (November 24, 2007): "In June 2006, the government had asked the Honourable Coulter Osborne, a former Associate Chief Justice of Ontario, to propose recommendations to make the province's civil justice system more accessible and affordable (...) 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."
  • Canadian Judicial Council Report on Improving Access to Justice (June 27, 2008): "The report, which focuses on the civil and family justice systems, identifies five areas in which significant reforms aimed at addressing the cost of litigation have been undertaken in recent years in various Canadian jurisdictions ..."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:22 pm 0 comments links to this post

Review of 10 Free Sites for U.S. Case Law

On April 1st, 2009, I published a post entitled Free & Low Cost U.S. Legal Research Guide.

On the same topic, Robert J. Ambrogi has written an analysis of 10 Internet sites that provide free access to American case law. It appears on Law.com's Legal Technology website.

They are:
  • Fastcase and Casemaker
  • FindACase
  • PreCYdent
  • The Public Library of Law
  • AltLaw
  • Justia
  • FindLaw
  • Public.Resource.Org
  • LexisONE
  • Legal Information Institute
[Source: Law Librarian Blog]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:12 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

2008-2009 Annual Report of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner

The Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner recently published its second Annual Report.

The Office is responsible for implementingThe Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act which has been in force since April 2007.

The Act provides a mechanism for disclosing information about wrongdoings committed in the Canadian federal public sector and for protecting the persons who make disclosures.

This report:
  • looks at the challenges faced by small agencies, boards and commissions, as well as those faced by Crown corporations;
  • provides an overview of four serious cases that were brought to the attention of the Commissioner;
  • includes a section on the fears of public servants to come forward, an overview of the Office's prevention initiatives and liaison activities, as well as a report on a symposium held in September 2008

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

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More Supreme Court of Canada Rulings Available Free Online

All the Supreme Court decisions which were published in the Supreme Court Reports dating back to 1948 are now available on the SCC Judgments website.

Before that date, coverage is partial, but all published judgments since 1876 from cases which were appealed to the Supreme Court from the British Columbia Court of Appeal have been added to the database.

Appeals from the Ontario Court of Appeal, also dating back to 1876, had been added to the SCC database last year.

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

Monday, May 11, 2009

Canadian Association of Law Libraries List of Research Guides

The Courthouse and Law Society Libraries Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries has put together a list of research guides and handouts created by members from across Canada.

As the introduction states:
"Libraries retain copyright in the materials they submit for this compilation, and permission must be requested of the submitting library for any re-use or adaptation of the instructional materials."
The SIG has a web page on the CALL website.

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

Research Guide on the Darfur Crisis

The New York University law school has added a new research guide to its GlobaLex collection.

It is entitled The Crisis in Darfur: Researching the Legal Issues and was written by Amy Burchfield of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Library:

"[...]the International Criminal Court’s investigation of the situation in Darfur, and subsequent arrest warrant for Sudanese President Oman Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, is a clear indication that the international community is responding to the crisis in Darfur."

"The aim of this brief essay is to direct researchers to key online and print resources discussing the legal aspects of the Darfur crisis. Each section of this essay summarizes key issues and links to the important documents, reports, treaties, and resolutions impacting these issues. The 'examples of scholarship' subsections point researchers toward recent analysis and criticism. It is not the intent of this essay to produce a comprehensive bibliography."

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

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Supreme Court of Canada Library: New Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of April 16th to 30th, 2009 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 4:46 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, May 07, 2009

U.S. Supreme Court Nomination Resources

With U.S. Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter retiring, the speculation has begun as to which candidate President Obama will choose to take his place.

What is the nomination process followed in that Big Republic to the South of our borders? Here are a few resources to help Canadians figure it all out:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:56 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Nominations Open for 10th Annual Justicia Journalism Awards

Nominations are open for the 10th annual Justicia Awards for Excellence in Journalism.

The Awards, which are sponsored by the Canadian Bar Association and the Department of Justice Canada, celebrate outstanding journalism that fosters public awareness and understanding of the Canadian justice system.

Awards are given for French or English stories in two categories: print and broadcast media. They will be presented at a special ceremony in Ottawa in November 2009.

Winners receive a bronze statuette that is based on the Justicia statue that stands outside the Supreme Court building in Ottawa.

The deadline for nominations is June 12, 2009.

Last year, reporter Madeleine Roy and producer Mireille Ledoux were the winners in the broadcast category for their report "Justice pour Anas" on Radio-Canada's Emission Enquete in March 2008. The program examined the circumstances surrounding the 2005 shooting death of a 25-year-old Montrealer, Mohammed-Anas Bennis, at the hands of a police officer.

Don Butler of the Ottawa Citizen was the winner in the print category for his November 2007 stories which examined the persistence of public support for tough-on-crime policies advocated by elected officials.

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

CASLIS Librarian Mentoring Program

The Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services (CASLIS) has launched a new mentoring program and is now accepting applications.

CASLIS is a division of the Canadian Library Association.

The program will pair mentors or trusted advisors with new librarians or library technicians with the goal of providing professional development, growth, and support.

Earlier Library Boy posts about mentoring include:
  • Mentors and Mentees in Librarianship (May 24, 2007): "The most recent issue of the British information industry newsletter FreePint has an article by Australian business researcher Heather Carine on 'Mentors and Mentees: Structuring a Professional Relationship'."
  • Law Librarian Mentoring Program (March 11, 2009): "The Education Committee of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) has launched a mentoring program (...) The Kick-Off Reception for the program will take place at the CALL Conference in Halifax on Saturday, May 23, 2009."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:28 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Future of Forensic Sciences Symposium

The Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Ohio recently organized a symposium on the future of Forensic Science:
"On March 19, 2009, the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law presented the first national symposium following the 2/18/09 release of Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, the report of the Committee on Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Science Community (CINFSC). Convened by the National Academies National Research Council Committee on Science, Technology, and Law, at the direction of the U.S. Congress, the CINFSC reports serious deficiencies in the nation's forensic sciences system, and makes specific recommendations for reform and research."

"The Future of Forensic Sciences Symposium brought together scientists, scholars, and practitioners to discuss the CINFSC report's findings and recommendations, as well as share their views about how the forensic science disciplines can better advance the fundamental goals of the criminal justice system: to apprehend and punish those who commit crimes, while preventing the wrongful conviction of innocent persons."
There are links to video of the speakers.

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

Monday, May 04, 2009

New Info Career Trends Issue On Being Pro-Active In A Down Economy

The May issue of Info Career Trends is available:
"Today’s theme, 'Being Proactive,' reflects that reality that in a down economy it’s more important than ever that we take steps to move ourselves and our careers forward — because nobody else is going to do it for us. This issue’s contributors talk about a number of ways they have been proactive in their careers, and how you can do the same."
Among the articles are:
  • The Imposter Syndrome: Or How I Learned to Get Over My Panic Attack, Love My Promotion, and Make My To-Do List:"Basically, imposter syndrome is the sense that you’ve been promoted beyond your abilities, that you’re in over your head, that through some combination of luck and others’ misperceptions, you’ve landed in a position for which your skills are wildly inadequate. It’s the career version of performance anxiety, aggravated by a dread that you might be 'found out' at any moment ... And that’s exactly what hit me when my boss gave me what he thought was terrific news about my promotion. His rationale was that he’d worked with me for 18 months, knew my strengths and weaknesses, and thought this was something I’d be good at. My reaction was that he’d completely overestimated my strengths, underestimated my weaknesses, and we were all about to find out in the most awful way possible… In essence, I was going to be 'found out.' Classic imposter syndrome."
  • Go the extra mile — it’s never crowded: "Getting your degree is a rewarding process, and you’ll get great satisfaction from receiving your diploma for a job well done. However, during these difficult economic times, many potential LIS students are asking themselves 'is it worth my time and money, when my family is already struggling?' While continuing education is an individual choice, people tend to pursue this noble profession for similar reasons. I have compiled a list of my classmates’ most frequently cited reasons for pursuing a professional degree in library science."
  • Promoting your professional development: The value of being proactive: "When I began my current position at the University of San Francisco in 2003, I knew that five years down the road I would need to apply for a promotion. This involved showing my professional development and service by creating a promotion binder that traced my career development — and seemed a daunting task to my new librarian’s eyes, because I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find enough professional opportunities with which to fill my binder. I’ve found, though, that the promotion process is a model for the art of being proactive about career development, both in thought and in deed. Being proactive requires an active, open, seeking attitude, as well as reliable, high-quality action. This combination is very powerful, and can help you get beyond the constraints of time, funding, geography, or your current job description — giving you a career path of which to be proud."
  • Recognizing opportunities to advance your career: "Navigating a career path is an inexact science. All of us face constraints as we seek to develop our professional skills, enhance our resumes, and climb the career ladder to positions of increasing responsibility. While I have been fortunate in the opportunities I’ve had over the course of my 20 year career in librarianship, I’ve also developed a few strategies that I believe have maximized my ability to grow professional options for myself – even in the face of typical obstacles such as geographical limitations, competing spousal careers, and parenthood."
  • Developing your leadership potential: "Library employees are more often finding themselves in a position where they must cultivate leadership skills, regardless of their place on the organizational chart. While employers may or may not furnish leadership training opportunities, it is wise for librarians to actively seek out opportunities for leadership development. The good news is that library associations are rising to the occasion and offering programs, academies, institutes, and workshops focusing on the development of library leadership skills. You can often also find opportunities to serve on committees (such as faculty governance in an academic setting), play an active role in the community (such as in a public library setting), and participate in other roles outside of the library (such in a special library setting)."
  • Ask forgiveness later: One new librarian’s guide to trying new things: "One of the biggest lessons I learned in my first year is that a large public university library is a big, bureaucratic place. This is not a criticism; it’s just the honest truth. There are countless state rules to obey, diverse constituencies to serve, and an amazingly large number of librarians and staff to manage. With so much going on at any given time, there’s no way that librarians can just wait for opportunities and projects to fall into their laps. The best way to spearhead new projects and gain leadership opportunities is simply to do something. One of my colleagues adopted the phrase 'ask for forgiveness rather than permission' as her own personal mantra, and I quickly learned that this message was right on target. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to pilot a new idea on your own, or with help from a few enthusiastic, equally subversive colleagues."
Rachel Singer Gordon, the editor of Info Career Trends, announced in an editor's note that the publication is going on an indefinite hiatus after this issue.

Readers can subscribe to the regular columns such as Rethinking Information Careers and Career Q&A. The columns will continue independently.

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

Sunday, May 03, 2009

United Nations Revamps Its Website

The website of the United Nations has undergone a major redesign.

Access to news, issues, documents, and databases has been greatly streamlined.

The International Law section is worth a visit.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:21 pm 0 comments links to this post