Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dealing With Patron Interruptions

I found this helpful article Law Librarians' Self-Help Guide: Dealing with Patron Interruptions in the May/June 2010 issue of legal publisher West's newsletter Law Librarians in the New Millennium.
"When you work in a law library, other people's emergencies can quickly become yours. The ability to drop what you're doing, help a person in need, and return to your activity is paramount in our profession. I originally put these tips together as sort of a personal pep talk when my plate was full and I felt like each patron interruption was pushing it over the edges. The following tips might help you deal with frequent interruptions by patrons, too."
Tips include:
  • Smile
  • Breathe
  • Pause and repeat the patron's needs
  • Use some type of intake form
  • Practice patience
  • Turn off your e-mail notifications and handheld devices
  • Write yourself a quick note
  • Give yourself permission to prioritize
  • Seek balance
  • Alter your perspective: "It is sometimes easy to become irritated and frustrated with frequent interruptions. If you view each interruption as an annoyance detrimental to your immediate productivity and overall work performance, then it will be. Instead, try to view each interruption as an opportunity to perhaps learn something new or potentially help someone. By altering your perspective to focus on the positive outcomes of each interruption, both short- and long-term, you can lower your stress levels and provide a better experience and environment for everyone involved."

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

State of Digitization of United Nations Documents

Damn.

This text from Slaw.ca would have been nice to have a little while ago when I needed to find some obscure United Nations report.

It is called The State of Digitization of United Nations Documents by Lyonette “Lyo” Louis-Jacques, Foreign and International Law Librarian and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School D’Angelo Law Library:
"Almost two decades have passed since the United Nations began digitizing its documents. The UN started the Official Document System (ODS) as a pilot project in 1992, and officially launched it in 1993. Since then, there has been an explosion of UN documents and publications available in electronic format from a variety of sources, for free and via subscription. I recently checked the current status of UN documentation online, and here’s what I found. And what I expected to find, and didn’t. And some worrisome developments."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:49 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Statistics Canada Report on Police-Reported Dating Violence

Statistics Canada today released a report on Police-reported dating violence:

"In 2008, nearly 23,000 incidents of "dating violence" were reported to police. These incidents accounted for more than one-quarter (28%) of police-reported violent incidents perpetrated by intimate partners. Dating violence represented 7% of total violent crimes in Canada in 2008."

"Between 2004 and 2008, rates of police-reported dating violence increased steadily for both women (+40%) and men (+47%) ..."

"Overall, women accounted for 8 in 10 dating violence victims known to police in 2008. The majority of incidents of dating violence occurred once the relationship had ended. About 57% of incidents coming to the attention of police were committed by a former partner."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:01 pm 0 comments links to this post

Statistics Canada Report on Where Youth Commit Crime

Statistics Canada today released a report on Where and when youth commit police-reported crimes:

"Police-reported data from 2008 indicate that, overall, private residences were the most common sites for youth crime, more than for commercial establishments and outdoor public spaces."

"Nearly one-third (32%) of young people aged 12 to 17 accused of an offence were involved in incidents that occurred at a private residence, which includes homes and surrounding property and structures."

"Commercial establishments, including stores, office buildings and gas stations, accounted for 23% of youth crime sites, as did outdoor public spaces such as streets, parks and parking lots. About 13% of crime occurred on school property (...)"

"The location of youth crime varied with the type of offence. For example, non-violent youth crime, especially property-related offences such as minor theft, possession of stolen goods, fraud and shoplifting, took place in commercial establishment more often than other offences."

"However, youth violent crime and youth drug offences were more likely than other types of crime to occur on school property. About 23% of police-reported youth violent crime and 31% of youth drug offences took place on school property."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:58 pm 0 comments links to this post

Elena Kagan U.S. Supreme Court Nomination Hearings

Confirmation hearings of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan began Monday before the Senate judiciary committee in Washington.

The Law Library of Congress has prepared an amazing page of background material on Kagan and the confirmation process.

The site Resourceshelf links to further material.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:31 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, June 28, 2010

openDemocracy Drug Policy Forum

This is a follow-up to yesterday's post entitled World Drug Report 2010. The post described the most recent annual report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The British website openDemocracy has a regular summary of news and developments in drug policy and criminal justice reform.

This week's issue refers to the UNODC report as well as to many other developments. Some of the topics covered include:
  • International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
  • Sentencing Reform for drug offences in England and Wales
  • Viva Rio launches "Drugs and culture: new perspectives" (from Brazil)
  • The Global State of Harm Reduction 2010: Key Issues for Broadening the Response

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:36 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, June 27, 2010

World Drug Report 2010

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recently released its 2010 annual report [press release]:

"The Report shows that drug use is shifting towards new drugs and new markets. Drug crop cultivation is declining in Afghanistan (for opium) and the Andean countries (coca), and drug use has stabilized in the developed world. However, there are signs of an increase in drug use in developing countries and growing abuse of amphetamine-type stimulants and prescription drugs around the world (...)"

"Globally, the number of people using amphetamine-type stimulants - estimated at around 30-40 million - is soon likely to exceed the number of opiate and cocaine users combined. There is also evidence of increasing abuse of prescription drugs (...)"

"The World Drug Report 2010 exposes a serious lack of drug treatment facilities around the world. 'While rich people in rich countries can afford treatment, poor people and/or poor countries are facing the greatest health consequences', warned the head of UNODC. The Report estimates that, in 2008, only around one fifth of problem drug users worldwide had received treatment in the previous year, which means that around 20 million drug dependent people did not receive treatment (...)"

"The World Drug Report 2010 contains a chapter on the destabilizing influence of drug trafficking on transit countries, focusing in particular on the case of cocaine. It shows how underdevelopment and weak governance attract crime, while crime deepens instability. It shows how the wealth, violence and power of drug trafficking can undermine the security, even the sovereignty, of States. The threat to security posed by drug trafficking has been on the agenda of the Security Council several times during the past year."

"While drug-related violence in Mexico receives considerable attention, the northern triangle of Central America, consisting of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, is even more seriously affected, with murder rates much higher than in Mexico. The Report says that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has emerged as a major departure point for cocaine trafficked to Europe: between 2006 and 2008, over half of all detected maritime shipments of cocaine to Europe came from that country."

"The Report highlights the unstable situation in West Africa, which has become a hub for cocaine trafficking. It notes that 'traffickers have been able to co-opt top figures in some authoritarian societies', citing the recent case of Guinea-Bissau."

The Office produces many other publications in areas such as alternate development, corruption, human trafficking by organized crime, demand reduction strategies, drug testing, etc.

It also offers an online Legislation/Legal Library with the full text of laws and regulations promulgated by many States.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:05 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, June 25, 2010

New Brunswick Public Legal Education Via Twitter

The Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick (PLEIS-NB) is making its materials available to the public via two (2) Twitter feeds, one in English and one in French:
"PLEIS-NB has made use of the Q&A approach commonly found in our publications. The separate English and French Twitter feeds will feature questions such as 'Can a parent with custody move to another province?' and 'What will happen to my property if I die without a will?'. A link contained in message will bring the reader to the PLEIS-NB publication or resource that can provide the answer. Additional updates will include information on new publications and resources, legal issues in the news, and PLEIS-NB events."
[Source: Slaw.ca]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:07 pm 0 comments links to this post

2009 Annual Report of Courthouse Libraries BC Available

Courthouse Libraries BC, the non-profit organization that provides legal information services to the legal community and the public of British Columbia, has just published its annual report for 2009:
"2009 saw Courthouse Libraries BC successfully launch two major initiatives — both online— that are positively shaping the organization’s role as a leader in British Columbia’s legal, library, and public user communities for the decade ahead. "

"In April, we launched Clicklaw (www.clicklaw.bc.ca), a portal website designed for the general public. Clicklaw was developed in collaboration with 24 BC organizations that produce public legal education and information. The resulting cohesive, content-rich resource has proven to be an instant success (...)"

In November, we launched a completely redeveloped Courthouse Libraries website ..., our flagship online destination for the legal community (...)

"With the earlier launch of Clicklaw for the general public, we were able to focus the new Courthouse Libraries website more explicitly on the needs of practicing lawyers. The website now includes an array of new features built with the practitioner in mind, including comprehensive search tools, information feeds organized by practice area, user accounts, and online ordering capabilities."
[Source: The Stream]

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

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the month of June 2010 is now available on the Court website.

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

But, once the material goes into the general collection, after about a month, the works do become available for inter-library 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 5:48 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Webinar Series

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is offering 5 Webinars from September 2010 to April 2011 as part of its new continuing education program.

The first 3 sessions will be:
  • Tues. September 14, 2010 -The Elevator Speech: Justifying and Promoting our Libraries
  • Wed. October 27, 2010 - Internet Privacy and Access
  • Thurs. January 6, 2011 - Cost-saving Measures in the Library

Per webinar cost for CALL members is $ 40 + $5.20 HST ($67.80 for non-members) . There is a series offer for CALL members for $197.75 (including sales tax) - $310.75 for non-members.

CALL has a special offer right now for non-members: Sign up for the Webinar Series before June 30, 2010 for $300 (includes Webinar Series PLUS CALL/ACBD membership to the end of 2010).

Registration information can be obtained by e-mailing the CALL National Office at office AT callacbd.ca

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

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ottawa Citizen Feature on Drug Treatment Courts

The Ottawa Citizen recently ran a series on the capital's crack cocaine problems.

An article that ran on Saturday, June 19, 2010 as part of the series examined the city's Drug Treatment Court that works to divert small-time drug offenders away from jail and into addiction treatment programs:

"Offenders in Drug Treatment Court are always facing jail for the petty theft that feeds their habit. After a rigorous assessment, they are accepted into the program and begin treatment with Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services. First they are required to plead guilty to any charges they face"

"Addicts in the program set to work on reducing their drug dependency and perhaps achieving one of two goals:"

"1. Clean living for six months: If they stay drug-free and take all required treatment and counselling, they’ll walk away with a graduation certificate, one day’s probation and, with any luck, a promising future."

"2. Clean living for three months: Leave with a year’s probation. (Since staying away from drugs will be a condition of probation, this can be a trap for those likely to relapse.)"

"There are six Drug Treatment Courts in Canada — Ottawa, Winnipeg, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Regina. Each is more or less modelled on the first in North America which opened in Miami in 1989."

Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:
  • 7th Annual Justicia Awards for Legal Reporting (August 14, 2006): "The Awards are sponsored by the Law Commission of Canada, the Canadian Bar Association and the Department of Justice Canada and are given for 'outstanding journalism that fosters public awareness and understanding of any aspect of the Canadian justice system and the roles played by institutions and participants in the legal system'. Enjeux (Radio-Canada TV) won an Award for its March 2006 program 'Tribunal des Toxicomanes' that dealt with Vancouver's groundbreaking Drug Treatment Court. "
  • Tenth Annual Justicia Awards for Excellence in Journalism (September 24, 2009): "The winners in the broadcast category: Global TV Calgary (reporter Mia Sosiak, photographers George Glen and Bruce Aalhus, and editor Joe McDaid) for a November 2008 series 'Court of Hope' on Calgary’s Drug Treatment Court (...)"
  • Public Safety Canada Research Summary on Effectiveness of Drug Treatment Courts (May 20, 2010): "Public Safety Canada looked at 96 existing studies to evaluate them: 'This study highlights the issue that there are very few methodically-sound studies on which one can assess the effectiveness of drug courts at reducing recidivism (...) Although reductions of 4 to 8% in recidivism were found, these findings must be tempered by the generally poor methodologies used in evaluations of drug treatment courts and the quality of treatment'. "
  • Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (May 31, 2010): "Bill S-10 seeks to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) to provide for minimum penalties for serious drug offences, such as dealing drugs for organized crime purposes or when a weapon or violence is involved (...) The bill contains an exception that allows courts not to impose a mandatory sentence if an offender successfully completes a Drug Treatment Court (DTC) program or a treatment program, under subsection 720(2) of the Criminal Code, that is approved by a province and under the supervision of a court (...) The DTC program involves a mix of judicial supervision, social services support, incentives for refraining from drug use, and sanctions for failure to comply with the orders of the court."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:58 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lawyers Weekly Article on Expansion of Administrative Tribunals' Charter Powers

The most issue of The Lawyers Weekly features an article on the Supreme Court of Canada's June 11, 2010 R. v. Conway ruling. (The ruling can be found on the LexUM website).

The ruling greatly simplified the procedure for determining whether administrative boards or tribunals are to be considered courts of competent jurisdiction with the power to grant remedies under s. 24(1) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms:
"Justice Rosalie Abella’s June 11 ruling in R. v. Conway is a must-read for administrative law practitioners because its effect may be to extend Charter powers to a significant, but as yet unknown, number of administrative boards and tribunals which currently claim they don’t (or have been held by courts not to) have jurisdiction to resolve constitutional issues, including granting Charter remedies (...)"

"Toronto’s Marlys Edwardh told The Lawyers Weekly the decision will enable people to use the Charter to obtain remedies from administrative boards and tribunals that are not expressly barred by the relevant statutory schemes."

"It will 'open up Charter relief in many kinds of administrative tribunals which have not had it, or not exercised it,' predicted Edwardh, counsel for Paul Conway, the appellant who unsuccessfully sought Charter remedies from the Ontario Review Board."

"Whatever its future fallout, Conway certainly is a clear and succinct primer on the past 25 years of intense judicial debate at the Supreme Court about the scope of Charter jurisdiction of administrative boards and tribunals."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:19 pm 0 comments links to this post

Parliamentary Budget Officer Predicts Stiff Price Tag Because of Tougher Sentencing Laws

Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page today released a report that estimates the additional costs of the federal government's Truth in Sentencing Act.

The Act amended the Criminal Code to limit the credit prisoners receive for any time spent in pre-sentencing custody ("credit for time served").

According to Page, the Act will mean that:
  • Inmates will spend more time in custody
  • Many convicts will have to be transferred to federal prisons
  • Many people who might have been directly released into community supervision will instead be sent to correctional facilities
And that will require building new federal and provincial prisons, and adding new services.

Page estimates that the annual costs of correctional services would more than double by 2015-16, from $4.4 billion to $9.5 billion. As well, he concludes that responsibility for funding the majority of those costs would shift from the federal government to the provinces.

Background:

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Monday, June 21, 2010

EDUCAUSE Review on Cloud Computing

The May/June 2010 issue of EDUCAUSE Review features two (2) articles on cloud computing:
  • Cloud Computing and the Power to Choose: "[...] called cloud services, many of these — such as Wikipedia, Hotmail, and YouTube — were available before the phrase cloud service was even coined. What is new is the delivery of these services on an industrial scale through what might be called IT 'factories' (...) From the individual user's point of view, the only thing that matters is the power of choice: the opportunity to choose among cheap (or free) competing services that are user-friendly, accessible from any location, and within higher education, potentially more reliable than campus services. Colleges and universities around the world are thus discussing, planning for, and using cloud computing and cloud services. The rate of adoption varies from country to country, but the need for awareness and preparation is universal. This article will examine cloud issues — both opportunities and risks — by looking at examples from four countries: Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom."
  • Looking at Clouds from All Sides Now: "On February 9 and 10, 2010, thanks to support from IBM, Pearson, and SunGard Higher Education, fifty leaders from colleges, universities, corporations, professional associations, and state networks met in Tempe, Arizona, to discuss cloud computing and the impending shift in the mix of where infrastructure, applications, and services are sourced. This group identified a set of actions that colleges and universities could take to prepare for what these leaders concluded was a promising, risky, and inevitable shift. "
The Pew Internet and American Life Project also recently published a report on The future of cloud computing.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:16 pm 0 comments links to this post

June 2010 Issue of Governance and Recordkeeping Around the World

The Governance and Recordkeeping Around the World newsletter, published by Library and Archives Canada, "highlights issues pertaining to government and recordkeeping practices in the public and private sector".

The June 2010 issue has just been published on the Library and Archives Canada website.

It includes:
  • news items from Canada and around the world
  • announcements of upcoming events (meetings, workshops)
  • project and product news in areas such as digitization, archives, e-discovery, open source, access to information and databases
  • selected papers and readings

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Canadian Bar Association Journal Profiles Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Reconstituted Debates of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada

The Library of Parliament has created a new website dedicated to the reconstituted debates of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada.

In the very first years after Confederation was born in 1867, the only account of parliamentary debates was to be found in newspaper reports, which were saved in scrapbooks by librarians of Parliament.

The Library of Parliament has now published the reconstituted the House and Senate Debates 1867-1872 in both English and French. Additional years will be included as work on them is completed.

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

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Latest Annual Report of the Manitoba Law Reform Commission

I just found out that the Manitoba Law Reform Commission has released its latest annual report:
"The Commission released two final reports in 2009-2010, dealing with the appointment of members to administrative agencies, boards and commissions and with waivers of liability for sporting and recreational activities. The Commission also released a draft report for consultation on the limitation of actions, and is finalizing this report in light of the comments received. Work is also underway on a number of other topics, including the parol evidence rule, specific performance in relation to real property, The Tortfeasors and Contributory Negligence Act and the division of pensions on marital breakdown. The Commission continues to be concerned about the lack of implementation of several of our previous reports, however, and continues to urge the Government of Manitoba to take action on these recommendations."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:01 pm 0 comments links to this post

2009 Annual Report to Parliament on the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act

Earlier this month, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada published her annual report to Parliament on the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), the country's private sector privacy law.

The report looks at privacy complaint investigations in the last year, emerging technology issues and the Commissioner’s efforts to encourage the development of international privacy standards.

The Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, defines 2009 as a "watershed year":

"We saw an exponential growth in investigations dealing with new technologies – and it seems clear that technology issues will dominate our work in the years ahead."

"Our investigation into a wide-ranging complaint against Facebook made waves around the world. And that was just the most high-profile example of our 2009 work to address the privacy risks stemming from new technologies, the Internet and our increasingly online world (...)"

"Canada cannot function in isolation. The international picture is increasingly critical to protecting privacy here in Canada."

"In today’s wired world, my national mandate to protect the personal information of Canadians demands a global approach. Protecting privacy can no longer be done on a country-by-country basis – the international data flows are too great; the technologies are evolving too rapidly; and the jurisdictional challenges are too daunting"

"Internet privacy challenges are international and therefore require global thinking and global solutions."

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

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of the Transboundary Waters Protection Act

The Library of Parliament recently published a Legislative Summary of Bill C-26: Transboundary Waters Protection Act:
"Bill C-26 strengthens existing protections by bringing the waters that fall under federal jurisdiction under a more comprehensive prohibition against bulk water removals: Transboundary waters (waters that are defined in the bill as waters that flow across the international boundary between Canada and the United States) are now included, in addition to boundary waters, which are those waters that run along the boundary. According to the departmental news release accompanying the bill, 'Rivers and streams that cross international borders will now receive the same protection already in place for waters, such as the Great Lakes, that straddle them' (...)"

"The bill also gives the federal government new powers of inspection and enforcement and introduces stiff new penalties for violations. These provisions are generally consistent with amendments that were made in 2009 to nine environmental statutes, pursuant to the Environmental Enforcement Act (...)"

"As was the case with Bill C-6, An Act to amend the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act (1st Session, 37th Parliament), Bill C-26 is controversial, and opposed by those who object to any move to allow Canadian water to be sold or otherwise transferred out of Canada. In an article which appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on 14 May 2010, the day after Bill C-26 was introduced in the House, Joe Cressy of the Polaris Institute, a research and advocacy organization campaigning against bottled water, was quoted as saying, 'Canada will continue to export water in bulk, just in small individual containers instead of giant containers ' . The bill is a first step but it doesn't go far enough.' The article noted that the group argues that a loophole is found in the definition of 'bulk removal' as covering amounts exceeding 50,000 L per day, and the exemption for bottled water and beverages."

"In a news release dated 17 May 2010, the Council of Canadians expressed its concerns about Bill C-26. Council of Canadians National Chairperson Maude Barlow stated, 'Canada needs a comprehensive national water policy that bans all water exports, excludes water from NAFTA [North America Free Trade Agreement] and recognizes water as a public trust in order to truly address competing commercial and public interests'. "

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:45 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Quebec Bar Association Redesigns Its Website

The Quebec Bar Association has revamped its website.

The Association conducted a survey of the general population and opted for clearer language and for a simplified presentation of information, both for lawyers and the general public.

The website also has a virtual tour guide Isabelle who appears on different pages to help the public understand the services the Bar has to offer. As part of its outreach efforts, the Bar is also active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and co-produces a TV series Le Droit de savoir with the educational broadcaster Télé-Québec.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:59 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

British Columbia Reverses Policy on Access to Court Records

The Vancouver Sun reported yesterday that the government of British Columbia has gone back on its decision to charge members of the public for access to criminal and traffic court records:

"The government began imposing a $6 fee on searches beginning Jan. 4. Additional charges applied if the searcher wanted to look at particular documents. "

"Defence lawyers complained about the added burden on them and their clients, while reporters argued that the fees impeded their ability to keep tabs on the courts. The government countered that it needed the revenue to recover the cost of placing documents online."

"[British Columbia Attorney General] De Jong, however, agreed to take another look at the issue following a Times Colonist series in February that exposed how B.C. courts routinely deny access to information that should be readily available to the public. One of the key recommendations from the series was that government consider reducing or eliminating online search fees."

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Statistics Canada Reports Hate Crimes Up in Canada

Statistics Canada earlier today reported that police-reported hate crimes were up 35% in Canada from 2007:

"Police services in Canada reported 1,036 hate crimes in 2008, up 35% from 2007. Just over half (55%) were motivated by race or ethnicity, 26% by religion and 16% by sexual orientation."

"All three major categories of hate crime increased in 2008. The largest increase was among those motivated by sexual orientation, which more than doubled from 2007 to 2008. Hate crimes motivated by religion increased 53%, while those motivated by race or ethnicity increased to a lesser extent, up 15%."

"Violent crimes, mainly assaults and uttering threats, accounted for 42% of all hate crimes. Mischief offences such as vandalism to property accounted for 47%, while other non-violent offences comprised the remaining 11%."

Blacks were the most commonly targeted racial group. The Jewish faith was the most commonly targeted religion.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:18 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, June 13, 2010

WIPO Gold One-Stop Gateway to Intellectual Property Data

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) recently launched WIPO Gold.

WIPO Gold is a free portal on brands, designs, statistics, WIPO standards, IP classification systems, national laws and international treaties.

WIPO is a specialized agency of the United Nations.

[Source: CARL E-Lert]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:43 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, June 11, 2010

32 Questions About Bill C-32 on Copyright Reform

University of Ottawa law prof Michael Geist has compiled his series on 32 Questions and Answers on C-32's Digital Lock Provisions into a single PDF document.

It tackles some of the more controversial provisions of federal Bill C-32, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act, which was introduced last week in the House of Commons.

Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic of Bill C-32:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:23 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

More Analysis of Canada's Proposed Copyright Amendments

Last week, the federal government introduced Bill C-32, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act.

Reactions continue:
  • Grassroots Advocacy: Fix C-32 (Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic): "We've looked at Bill C-32, the Copyright Modernization Act, and concluded that it's a case of Jekyll and Hyde: it's not all bad, but it certainly isn't all good. CIPPIC is prepared to support the Bill provided that Parliament fixes its worst, most unbalanced aspects - such as those dealing with digital locks."
  • Copyright bill restricts user rights, research and innovation (Canadian Association of University Teachers): "(...) CAUT and many other participants emphasized that fair dealing — the right to reproduce copyrighted work without permission or payment in certain circumstances such as research, private study, criticism, review or news reporting – needed to be expanded and protected in the digital age (...) the bill prohibits the circumvention of digital encryption — any device or technology that prevents copying. This means material that is in a paper format and can be legally copied now under fair dealing, cannot be copied for any reason, including educational or research purposes, if it is in electronic format and digitally encrypted. "
  • CMEC Copyright Consortium Pleased with New Federal Copyright Legislation (Council of Ministers of Education): " Ministers of education across Canada responded positively to the tabling of new federal copyright legislation in Ottawa yesterday. The Copyright Consortium of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), supports the copyright legislation because it allows students and educators in elementary and secondary schools, colleges, and universities to have fair and reasonable access to publicly available Internet materials in their educational pursuits. "
  • Setting the Record Straight: 32 Questions and Answers on C-32's Digital Lock Provisions, Part One (Michael Geist, University of Ottawa, June 7, 2010): "The digital lock provisions have quickly emerged as the most contentious part of Bill C-32, the new copyright bill (...) The mounting public concern with the digital lock provisions (many supporters of the bill have expressed serious misgivings about the digital lock component) has led to many questions as well as attempts to characterize public concerns as myths. In effort to set the record straight, I have compiled 32 questions and answers about the digital lock provisions found in C-32. The result is quite lengthy, so I will divide the issues into five separate posts over the next five days: (1) general questions about the C-32 approach; (2) the exceptions in C-32; (3) the missing exceptions; (4) the consumer provisions; and (5) the business provisions. "
  • Setting the Record Straight: 32 Questions and Answers on C-32's Digital Lock Provisions, Part Two (Michael Geist, June 9, 2010)
Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic of Bill C-32:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:33 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Newspaper Association Fifth Annual Freedom of Information Audit

Last month, the Canadian Newspaper Association released its 2009-2010 national freedom of information audit.

The annual exercise tests how readily officials disclose information that should be publicly available on request.

According to the authors:
"Federal institutions received lower grades than their provincial and municipal counterparts, and time extensions are one of the factors in that. While the requests filed for this audit are deliberately straightforward, seeking records that should be easily found and released, auditors were nonetheless subjected to a disproportionate share of extensions at the federal level."
The authors write that some examples - good and bad - stood out in this year's audit:

Among the bad:
  • The Province of Prince Edward Island for refusing to release press briefing materials on H1N1 flu on the basis that they constituted advice to officials
  • The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for, once again, proving to be one of the least open federal institutions. The CBC prepared a fee estimate of $20,825 for contracts valued at less than $10,000 for goods and services, saying it has many business units and each one contracts with a large numbers of providers. Canada Post, another large crown corporation, said it could prepare the same information for $20. The CBC also assessed a fee estimate of $95 to provide the number of cells phones and Blackberries and the charges for two fiscal years
  • Indian and Northern Affairs Canada for its $5,701 fee estimate to provide the number of cellphones and the costs for two fiscal years.
Among the good:
  • The City of Charlottetown for responding to our requests even though it is not formally covered byaccess legislation in PEI
  • The federal department of Health for being the only federal institution to release a list of contracts in Excel format when asked
315 requests were sent to 11 federal departments and crown corporations, 39 municipalities, departments and ministries of 10 provinces and the Yukon and 10 universities. The same questions were asked of all levels of government to ensure consistency.

All three levels of government were asked to provide:

  • Their plans to respond to H1N1 or any widespread pandemic
  • The number of cell phones supplied to the institution’s employees, and the costs for the last two fiscal years
  • Receipts and reimbursements to a single key official for a specified business trip

Other requests included:

  • Federal institutions were also asked to provide an electronic list of their contracts valued under $10,000 for goods and services
  • Municipal governments were asked to list attendance records of councillors at council meetings, and provide a list of municipal land deals for the previous year
[Source: Slaw.ca]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:48 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, June 07, 2010

Public Safety Canada Report on Impact of Restorative Justice on Participants' Health

The most recent issue of the Weekly Checklist of Government of Canada Publications lists a late 2009 report from Public Safety Canada on Restorative Justice’s Impact on Participants’ Psychological and Physical Health.

Restorative justice programs involve the voluntary participation of the victim of the crime and the offender in discussions. Restorative justice requires wrongdoers to accept responsibility for their actions and to be actively involved in improving the situation. Wrongdoers must make reparation to victims, themselves and the community.

Examples of restorative justice programs include:
  • victim offender mediation;
  • family group conferencing;
  • sentencing circles;
  • consensus-based decision-making on the sentence; and
  • victim offender reconciliation panels.
From the abstract of the Public Safety Canada report:
"Research on restorative justice has cited many positive benefits for participants. For example, restorative justice processes are satisfying to both victims and offenders. However, despite references made to positive impacts on participants’ well-being, few studies specifically examine the impact of restorative justice processes on participants’ psychological health and physical health using specific health indicators. This study utilized a quasi-experimental, repeated-measures design to assess changes in psychological and physical health in 92 participants (50 victims and 42 offenders) who experienced a restorative justice process. Results indicated that the majority of participants did experience positive changes from pre-program to post-program. Future research directions and limitations are discussed."
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 6:11 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Research Documents on Ethics Prepared for the Oliphant (Brian Mulroney) Commission

The most recent issue of the Weekly Checklist of Government of Canada Publications lists Public Policy Issues and the Oliphant Commission, a series of independent studies of the ethical regimes governing former and current holders of high office in Canada.

The Oliphant Commission [see CBC backgrounder] recently published its report on former prime minister Brian Mulroney's business dealings with German-Canadian corporate lobbyist Karlheinz Schreiber.

Justice Jeffrey Oliphant was appointed by the federal government to look into revelations that Mulroney had accepted $225,000 in cash-stuffed envelopes from Schreiber in the early 1990s.

The three studies conducted for the Commission are:
  • Regulations on Post–Public Employment: A Comparative Analysis
  • Employment and Post-Employment Restrictions on Prime Ministers and Members of Parliament in Canada
  • Who Is Getting the Message? Communications at the Centre of Government
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 6:39 pm 0 comments links to this post

New Report on Future of the Library

The the Washington-based Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has released a new report called The Idea of Order: Transforming Research Collections for 21st Century Scholarship:
"The Idea of Order explores the transition from an analog to a digital environment for knowledge access, preservation, and reconstitution, and the implications of this transition for managing research collections. The volume comprises three reports. The first, 'Can a New Research Library be All-Digital?' by Lisa Spiro and Geneva Henry, explores the degree to which a new research library can eschew print. The second, 'On the Cost of Keeping a Book,' by Paul Courant and Matthew 'Buzzy' Nielsen, argues that from the perspective of long-term storage, digital surrogates offer a considerable cost savings over print-based libraries. The final report, 'Ghostlier Demarcations,' examines how well large text databases being created by Google Books and other mass-digitization efforts meet the needs of scholars, and the larger implications of these projects for research, teaching, and publishing."
[Source: Law Librarian Blog]

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

Canadian Library Association Reaction to New Copyright Bill

The Canadian Library Association has given a passing grade to proposed new copyright legislation, but feels that any progress is undone by government support for digital locks:
"In essence, the bill protects digital locks so they cannot be circumvented for legal uses. The government has, perhaps unwittingly, placed a barrier to the bill’s achievement of its objective to promote innovation and support culture, by prohibiting Canadians from exercising their legitimate, statutory rights to copy material for research, study and education. Fortunately, this can be corrected by simply allowing circumvention for legal purposes (...)"

"CLA is also mindful that in previous rounds of copyright reform, user rights became significantly eroded as the bill went through the committee review process. The library community will be vigilant and engaged in the process to ensure that the gains to Canadian users will not be undermined and derailed as the bill moves through its review."

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

Friday, June 04, 2010

LexisNexis Report on Best Practices in Government Libraries

LexisNexis has published a report called 2010 Best Practices for Government Libraries.

It gathers together contributions from dozens of librarians in U.S. government agencies and courts as well as from professional library association leaders.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:00 pm 0 comments links to this post

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of May 16th to 31st, 2010 is now available on the Court website.

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

But, once the material goes into the general collection, after about a month, the works do become available for inter-library 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 6:47 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Information on Canada's Proposed Copyright Modernization Act

The latest attempt at reforming Canada's copyright legislation has begun.

Yesterday, the federal government introduced Bill C-32, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act.

The feds have set up a Balanced Copyright website to promote their initiative.

University of Ottawa law prof Michael Geist provides links to some of the day after media coverage and has already written his own preliminary assessment.

Concordia University librarian Olivier Charbonneau has summarized the points he made in an interview on the CTV network on his blog Culture Libre.

Many business organizations reacted favourably to the proposed reforms, for example the Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright and the Canadian Association of Broadcasters.

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

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of First Nations Certainty of Land Title Act

The Library of Parliament has published a legislative summary of Bill C-24: First Nations Certainty of Land Title Act:
"The bill amends the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act (FNCIDA) to enable participating First Nations communities to request that the Government of Canada make regulations respecting the establishment and operation of a system for the registration of interests and rights in reserve lands that would replicate the provincial land title or registry system. The proposed legislation is optional. Its application is dependent on a First Nation having a private-sector proponent and a province willing to participate."

(...)

"Attracting private investment on First Nations lands has become an issue of increasing priority for federal, provincial and First Nations governments. Inefficiencies affecting land registry systems on reserves are widely considered to be disincentives to economic development and impede outside investment. Currently, most interests in reserve lands are registered in the federal Indian Lands Registry System (ILRS), not in the provincial land title system. The ILRS has been criticized as lacking the necessary rigour to protect third parties' legal interests in land. In addition, the transaction costs can be significantly higher as the parties must search a number of historical documents to ascertain effective title."

"Given the effect of these uncertainties on potential investors, First Nations are often unable to realize the full value and benefit of their lands. The economic consulting firm Fiscal Realities concluded that 'the cost of establishing a marketable property right on First Nation land is at least four times more expensive than establishing the same property right off First Nation lands.' Accordingly, the primary objective of the proposed legislation is to establish a First Nations land title system that can support private investment by enabling legal interests in the lands to be more easily 'defined, enforced and traded.' At the request of a First Nation, on-reserve commercial real estate developments could be registered in a system that replicates the more efficient, accessible and secure provincial land title systems, thereby helping to make the value of on-reserve land and properties comparable to that of equivalent properties off reserves."

"The Squamish First Nation in British Columbia is at the forefront of the proposed amendments to the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act. In an effort to realize the 'highest and best use' of its reserve lands, in particular with regard to proposed commercial condominium developments in West Vancouver, the Squamish have requested legislation enabling the establishment of a First Nations land title system."

You can track the bill on the LEGISinfo website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:08 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Lawyers' Ethical Responsibilities Relating to Metadata

We are all undergoing training at my place of work on the newest version of Microsoft Office. At a session today, talk got around to the the need to be careful about the "metadata" that is created whenever we create and change a document.

It so happens that the American Bar Association website has recently updated its list of professional ethics opinions from around the United States concerning the handling of metadata:
"(...) the term refers to the embedded stratum of data in electronics file that may include such information as who authored a document, when it was created, what software was used, any comments embedded within the content, and even a record of changes made to the document."

"While metadata is often harmless, it can potentially include sensitive, confidential, or privileged information. As such, it presents a serious concern for attorneys charged with maintaining confidentiality -- both their own and their clients. Professional responsibility committees at several bar associations around the country have weighed in on attorneys' ethical responsibilities regarding metadata, but there is no clear consensus on the major metadata issues. To help track current views on metadata and ethics, we've assembled the following chart."
Earlier posts from Library Boy on the topic include:
  • Metadata in Word Documents Can be a Legal Minefield (May 12, 2005): "Could it be that Law Society regulations prohibit lawyers from taking advantage of another lawyer's lack of sophistication or of another lawyer's error, where that error is to divulge privileged or confidential information via metadata? In other words, if a non-tech-savvy lawyer e-mails a contract, and if that contract contains hidden text or comments or track changes that give away his or her client's negotiating tactics or position, or the client's questions or comments, is there an obligation on the part of the recipient lawyer to avoid opening the document?"
  • Risks of Metadata Factsheet from Privacy Commisioner (July 31, 2006): "The ability to view other people’s comments and suggested changes to a document, using the Track Changes feature [in office productivity applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, or Corel WordPerfect] is central to collaborating with co-workers on a project. However, changes that are not accepted still remain with the document, even though they are not readily visible (they can be displayed by turning on the 'Show markup view') and could be inadvertently exposed to unauthorized individuals whenever the document is shared..."
  • Dealing with the "Meta Menace" (September 6, 2006): "Problems can arise if law firms send files to clients or opposing counsel that still contains markup. It may as well be hard copy full of sticky notes. Consequences may include a compromised bargaining position and violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Laws governing metadata are still in their infancy, but early precedents permit tech-savvy counsellors to freely read any metadata they find, much as they would a forgotten sticky"
  • U.S. Lawyers Allowed to Snoop on Hidden Metadata (November 6, 2006): "The American Bar Association (ABA) has ruled that lawyers are allowed to look at and use the hidden metadata that may have been inadvertently included in electronic legal documents they receive, even if sent to them by mistake by opposing counsel."
  • New Guidelines For Practicing Ethically With New Information Technologies (September 14, 2008): "The Canadian Bar Association has released Guidelines for Practicing Ethically with New Information Technologies: ... The Guidelines examine issues such as confidentiality, encryption, privilege, court rules on electronic storage, metadata, security of information, marketing practices, intellectual property issues regarding software, and participation by lawyers in online discussion fora."
  • Metadata - Lawyers' Ethical Duties (January 6, 2009): "LLRX.com has just published an article entitled 'Metadata - What Is It and What Are My Ethical Duties?' (...) 'The ethical implications of one lawyer examining the metadata in a file received from another lawyer have generated a lot of discussion. This article will cover the legal ethics opinions issued so far and give you tips on how to avoid exposing confidential information unintentionally via metadata'. "
(Source: Wisblawg - University of Wisconsin Law Library)

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:02 pm 0 comments links to this post

Law Commission of England Report on Administrative Redress: Public Bodies and the Citizen

The Law Commission of England published a report last week entitled Administrative Redress: Public Bodies and the Citizen.

The report examines when and how an individual should be able to obtain redress against
a public body that has acted wrongfully.

According to the press release:
"In examining court-based remedies, the Commission concludes that there are good arguments for reform but, given the level of opposition to its earlier proposals and the absence of available data on the costs of compensation paid by public bodies, work will not be taken forward on reviewing this area of the law. The report does, however, recommend that government should establish a process for collecting and publishing information on the cost of public compensation."

"The Commission is taking forward its review of the public sector ombudsmen, following a favourable response to its proposals. The scope of the review will be extended and include suggestions for:
  • improving citizens’ access to the public sector ombudsmen, and
  • increasing the powers of ombudsmen to refer points of law to the courts."
"The Commission will consult on its proposals for reform of public sector ombudsmen later in 2010 and expects to make final recommendations to government the following year."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:51 pm 0 comments links to this post

Law Library Benchmarks Survey

Primary Research Group is updating its study on Law Library Benchmarks and seeks participants from law libraries in the United States and Canada to complete a survey.
"University, corporate, law firm, government agency, int'l organization and other law libraries are eligible. Participants receive a free pdf copy [my enphasis] of the report when it is published. Your institution will be listed as a participant but the information that you provide is absolutely confidential; all data is amalgamated in a statistical package; no data is presented for individual institutions."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:45 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Ontario Civil Legal Needs Project Releases Report

Yesterday, the Ontario Civil Legal Needs Project released Listening to Ontarians, its report on the civil legal needs of low and middle-income Ontarians.

Civil legal issues include wrongful dismissal, family law issues, eviction from housing, powers of attorney, personal injury, eligibility for service, and consumer debt. Resolving these issues can involve the courts, administrative tribunals and regulatory bodies.

The Project had three research components: an extensive telephone survey of low and middle-income Ontarians, focus groups with front-line legal and social service providers and a mapping exercise to identify existing legal services.

According to the executive summary:
"Civil legal needs are a pervasive and invasive presence in the lives of many low and middle-income Ontarians. One in three low and middle-income Ontarians have had a non-criminal legal problem or issue in the past three years and one in ten has had multiple legal problems. Overall, almost four in ten people who had experienced a legal problem and sought assistance in the last three years reported that they were still working to resolve their most important problem. The disruption that results in the daily lives of Ontarians when their civil legal needs cannot be met is signifcant. Unmet needs often cascade into greater problems for individuals and their families."
Among the highlights of the report:
  • Almost 70 per cent of low and middle-income Ontarians who have experienced a civil legal problem in the last three years sought legal assistance from a lawyer whom they paid
  • Fully half of the low and middle-income Ontarians who had civil legal needs were able to access free help or to resolve their legal problems for less than $1,000 in legal service fees
  • The study reinforces the necessity of diferentiating the needs of low and middle-income earners. There are vulnerability issues among many low-income Ontarians that compound the disruption and challenge created by a civil legal need. The specifc legal issues are often diferent for the two groups. Middle-income Ontarians anticipate the need for legal assistance with wills, powers of attorney, or real estate issues. Low-income Ontarians are more likely to need legal help with disability-related issues, social assistance, personal injury or employment issues. More Ontarians in the lowest income group rely on non-legal
    sources of assistance for their problems, in particular friends and relatives
  • Legal service delivery traditionally assumes individual representation and direct legal support from a lawyer or paralegal in a traditional litigation model. The study reinforces the value in continuing to rethink how legal services are provided to clients. Breaking down legal services into their component parts – or “unbundling” legal services – could in some cases provide clients the option of choosing which parts of a legal issue they resolve on their own and which parts are appropriate for professional help
  • The study recognizes the important innovations which already have been developed: self-help centres allow self-represented litigants to access the justice system; the Lawyer Referral Service of the Law Society of Upper Canada; CLEOnet, a project of Community Legal Education Ontario that makes available an online collection of legal information and resources produced by community agencies and community legal clinics across Ontario
The Project is an initiative undertaken jointly by the Law Society of Upper Canada, Legal Aid Ontario, and Pro Bono Law Ontario. The project received additional support from the Law Foundation of Ontario.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:24 pm 0 comments links to this post