Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ontario Chief Justice Calls for More Judicial Mediation in Civil Cases

The most recent edition of The Lawyers Weekly reports that Chief Justice Warren Winkler of Ontario wants judges of the province to conduct more mediations in civil cases as a routine matter:
"Chief Justice Warren Winkler argues the time is ripe to 'plan seriously' to make judicial mediation more routinely available to civil litigants (not just on an ad hoc basis) by integrating it into Ontario’s regular court services and renovating court facilities to provide the necessary meeting rooms and access to technology."

"If civil courts don’t offer more judicial mediation — a quicker and cheaper way of resolving disputes than trials — the justice system will become less accessible and less relevant to most Canadians, he predicts."

"However the chief justice stresses also that court-based mediation should 'supplement, not diminish,' judges’ core purpose of deciding cases."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:27 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, August 30, 2010

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Bill C-36 on Consumer Product Safety

The Library of Parliament recently released a Legislative Summary of Bill C-36: An Act respecting the safety of consumer products:

"Bill C-36, An Act respecting the safety of consumer products (short title: the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act or CCPSA) was introduced in the House of Commons by the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, on 9 June 2010. Bill C-36 is very similar to Bill C-52, An Act respecting the safety of consumer products, which was introduced in the House of Commons during the 2nd Session of the 39th Parliament, and Bill C-6, An Act respecting the safety of consumer products, which was introduced in the House of Commons during the 2nd Session of the 40th Parliament. Bill C-52 had received second reading in the House of Commons and had been referred to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health when it died on the Order Paper as a result of the dissolution of the 39th Parliament. Bill C-6 also died on the Order Paper when the 2nd Session of the 40th Parliament was prorogued. At prorogation, the House of Commons had yet to consider amendments made to Bill C-6 by the Senate."

"Bill C-36 is designed to repeal and replace Part I of the Hazardous Products Act, creating a new system to regulate consumer products that pose, or might reasonably be expected to pose, a danger to human health and safety. The bill:

  • prohibits the sale, manufacture, import and advertisement of certain listed products and provides for testing and evaluation of consumer products;
  • makes it mandatory for manufacturers, importers, and sellers of consumer products to report dangerous incidents associated with these products to the Minister of Health;
  • obliges manufacturers, importers and sellers of consumer products to report product or labelling defects that result, or might reasonably be expected to result, in death or serious adverse effects on health, including serious injury, to the Minister of Health;
  • requires manufacturers, importers and sellers of consumer products to report recalls of consumer products initiated by governments and government institutions in Canada or elsewhere to the Minister of Health;
  • provides for the inspection and seizure of consumer products for the purpose of verifying compliance or non-compliance with the bill's provisions;
  • empowers the federal government to institute interim and permanent recalls of products that pose, or might reasonably be expected to pose, a danger to human health or safety; and
  • establishes both criminal and administrative penalties for those who violate the CCPSA or orders made under it."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:15 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Beta Version of World Treaty Index

The University of Michigan is hosting the beta (test) version of the World Treaty Index.

The original print index was published by ABC-Clio in 1974. There is a second edition by William S. Hein & Co.

From the Help file:

"Once fully complete, the World Treaty Index will feature every known international agreement in the 20th Century. This includes tens of thousands agreements entered into by hundreds of countries and international organizations. We offer a variety of methods to access the underlying data. Currently, this website only contains treaties signed between 1945 and 1999. Remaining treaties are being added according to the following timeline:

  • Agreements signed before 1945 - October
  • Treaties signed in 1998 and 1999 - November
  • Multilateral party identifiers - December"
[Source: Yale Law Library - Foreign and International Blog]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:39 pm 1 comments links to this post

Friday, August 27, 2010

DRAGNET - New Federated Search Engine from New York Law School

New York Law School’s Mendik Library has developed DRAGNET, a search engine that simultaneously searches in more than 80 legal web sites and databases.

DRAGNET stands for "Database retrieval access using Google’s new electronic technology" and uses Google’s free custom search option.

Being from New York, the search tool includes many US-based resources but it also includes many non-US sources such as the British and Irish Legal Information Institute, CanLII, the International Labour Organization, the OECD, etc.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:04 pm 1 comments links to this post

Law Commission UK Consultation Paper on Criminal Liability in Regulatory Contexts

The Law Commission in England has released a consultation paper on Criminal Liability in Regulatory Contexts.

From the press release:
"Criminal sanctions should only be used to tackle serious wrongdoing. The Commission argues it is out of proportion for regulators to rely wholly on the criminal law to punish and deter activities that are merely ‘risky’, in that they have the potential to lead to harm, unless the risk involved is a serious one."

"There has been a steep increase in the number of criminal offences created since the late 1980s to penalise risk-taking, and many more agencies have been set up with the power to make criminal laws of that kind. The areas regulated by these agencies cover a wide range of risk-posing activities, and involve millions of people and thousands of businesses."

(...)

"The Commission’s paper, Criminal Liability in Regulatory Contexts, proposes that:
  • regulatory authorities should make more use of cost-effective, efficient and fairer civil measures to govern standards of behaviour, such as ‘stop’ notices,enforcement undertakings and fixed penalties
  • a set of common principles should be established to help agencies consider when and how to use the criminal law to tackle serious wrongdoing, and
  • existing low-level criminal offences should be repealed where civil penalties could be as effective."

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

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More Principles for Designing Court Websites

This is an update to the Library Boy post of August 17, 2010 entitled Principles for Designing Court Websites.

A working group of the Canadian Centre for Court Technology has been drafting guidelines for the modernization of Canadian court web sites.

Patrick Cormier has been summarizing the proposals of the working group on Slaw.ca.

The two most recent slaw.ca posts on the issue are:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:15 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Harvard Law Librarian is Organist for Boston Red Sox

I couldn't resist linking to this article from Harvard Magazine:
"In 2003, while auditioning to become the Boston Red Sox organist, Josh Kantor was asked to play Motown, disco, Sinatra, the Beatles, and 'as many different things as you can think of that are 10 seconds or less that might energize a crowd'—all by ear. A savvy musician who plays seven instruments, including harmonica, upright bass, and guitar (he accompanied improv comedy groups at Brandeis, where he earned his B.A. in 1994), Kantor got the gig. But he kept his day job at the Harvard Law Library, where he’s now a reference and interlibrary loan assistant."

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

Monday, August 23, 2010

IFLA 2010 World Report on Access of Information and Freedom of Expression

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) has released its World Report 2010:
"The World Report series is a biennial report series that reports on the state of the world in terms of freedom of access to information, freedom of expresion and related issues (...) The 2010 Report has been designed as a customizable interactive electronic publication and can be accessed in different formats through the maps below:
  • The country-oriented map interface on the left allows users to produce a full or partial country report or comparative country reports, depending on choices on the following page.
  • The question-oriented interface on the right allows users to get information on a single question for all countries that have participated in the 2010 Report."
For each of the 122 countries in the report, the authors provide information on:
  • Numbers and facts about national libraries, public, university, school and government funded research libraries
  • Libraries and the Internet (availability of local content, use of filtering and blocking software, Open access)
  • Legal issues (copyright laws, freedom of information, privacy, intellectual freedom protections)
  • Social issues (HIV/Aids awareness, women’s literacy and freedom of access to information, the disabled and freedom of access to information, senior citizens and freedom of access to information, libraries and the provision of universal primary education, libraries and environmental sustainability)
  • Ethics and IFLA initiatives

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:15 pm 0 comments links to this post

Changes to McGill Guide to Legal Citation

Last Friday on slaw.ca, Ted Tjaden wrote about recent changes introduced in the 7th edition of the McGill Guide, or Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation as it is officially known, the Canadian Bible to legal citation:

"The biggest change to me in the new 7th edition of the McGill Guide is the aversion to periods (...). As such, we are now admonished to drop periods in almost all circumstances:"

  • "Former: Gould Estate v. Stoddart Publishing Co. (1998), 39 O.R. (3d) 545 (C.A.)
  • New 7th edition: Gould Estate v Stoddart Publishing Co (1998), 39 OR (3d) 545 (CA) [i.e., no periods after the "v" or after "Co" or for the abbreviations for the Ontario Reports Court of Appeal]"
(...)

"The other major changes of interest that caught my eye in the new 7th edition of the McGill Guide include:

  • Hyphenating looseleaf to loose-leaf (argh!)
  • The use of 'Delivered at' for delivery of papers at conferences – see Rule 6.13
  • The use of WL Can as an abbreviation for Westlaw Canada in citations to decisions from that database – see Rule 3.8.2
  • Example for citing a blog in Rule 6.16: Karen Montheith, “CIPO contemplating changes – Extensions of time in examinations”, (30 September 2009) online: Canadian Trademark Blog
  • A whole new chapter on citing foreign sources"

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

Denis Marshall Memorial Award for Excellence in Law Librarianship

October 15 is the deadline for nominations for the Denis Marshall Memorial Award for Excellence in Law Librarianship.

This award is an honour bestowed upon a current member of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries who has provided outstanding service to the Association AND/OR enhanced the profession of law librarianship in the recent past.

Details of the nomination process can be found on the CALL/ACBD website under Awards and Grants.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:56 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 August 1st to 15th, 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 5:55 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Webinar on the Elevator Speech

The Education Committee of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) will soon be holding the second session of the CALL Webinar Series.

Farida Karim will be presenting "The Elevator Speech: Justifying and Promoting our Libraries" on August 26th, 2010 from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM EDT.

The registration forms and details regarding the rest of the sessions can be found on the CALL website in the Professional Development section:
"Google organizes the world's information and makes it universally accessible and useful. Every touch point of your brand creates an impression on your customer. But what is it? How do you corral your brand? How do you express it? Effective brands are defined succinctly and competitively in a single sentence. Your statement needs to express what is different about you and why it matters. It should be short enough to write on the back of a business card and definitive enough to describe the brand's purpose. "

"Make your brand known! The goal of this webinar is to introduce information professionals to the concept of identifying your brand and learning how to consciously manage it. The workshop will help you respond – clearly, succinctly and with confidence – to any of the following:
  • What is my brand?
  • What is the impact of my brand on the business? What value do I generate?
  • I am the person who . . . .
  • What is my 45-second elevator pitch?"

This session will be one of five webinars offered from now to the end of March. It is possible for CALL members to register for all five sessions for $175 + $22.75 HST = $197.75 or per webinar for $ 40 + $5.20 HST = $45.40.

Non-members can also buy a series ticket for $275 + $35.75 HST = $310.75 or $ 60 + $7.80 HST = $67.80 per webinar.

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

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Survey on Conference Attendance

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is conducting a survey on CALL conference attendance.

From an e-mail sent out on the CALL-L listserv:
"If you have attended a CALL conference in the past 3 years, or if you have not and want to let us know why not, please take the survey today. Your answers will remain confidential and will be aggregated with others. Both members and non-members of CALL are encouraged to respond to the survey."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:26 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Virtual Chase Online Legal Research Site Now on Justia

The Virtual Chase , an online website for U.S. legal research founded by law librarian Genie Tyburski, is now powered by Justia.

Virtual Chase was launched in 1996 by Tyburski, a law librarian at Ballard Spahr LLP in Philadelphia. It was a popular destination for law librarians and legal researchers but was closed down a few years ago.

It is now back with a redesign and new content sections:
  • Legal Research: guides to U.S. federal and state law, and links to subject-specific guides
  • Community: links to law librarian blogs, Twitter feeds, the Law-Lib listserv, etc.
  • Law Libraries: a state-by-state finding tool

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

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Presentation on Digitizing the World's Laws at IFLA 2010 Conference

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) held its annual World Library and Information Congress last week in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The Aug. 12 conference session was about Law Libraries, Government Libraries and Government Information and Official Publications and included a presentation by Claire Germain of Cornell University on Digitizing the World’s Laws: Authentication and Preservation:
"Many countries now provide online access to statutes, codes, regulations, court decisions, and international agreements. The focus here is on official legal information coming from governments world-wide. To assess progress, in early 2010 I conducted an empirical survey of as many as possible of the 192 countries listed by the United Nations, mostly by going directly to the government websites of each country (...)"

"This first world snapshot shows much progress and the overall picture that emerges is very positive, showing world-wide evolution toward the availability of more information. However, because the digital medium is vulnerable to errors and tampering, it is of utmost importance to make digital legal information official and authentic. In addition, there are special concerns for the preservation of long term access to born digital content with no paper equivalent."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:11 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Canadian Library Association Statement on Proposed Copyright Reform

Earlier this month, the Canadian Library Association (CLA) published its analysis of Bill C-32, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act.

The document, entitled Protecting the Public Interest in the Digital World, has been forwarded to the federal Ministers of Industry and of Canadian Heritage:
"CLA applauds the addition of education, parody and satire in the fair dealing section of the Act. However the Government’s insistence on reintroducing unnecessarily proscriptive protections for digital locks undermines this improvement along with other new and existing user rights to the extent that they are seriously undermined. Legislation which does not include the right to bypass digital locks for non-infringing purposes is fundamentally flawed."

"CLA urges the government to address the copyright implications of the Internet and digital content with a balanced and thoughtful public policy-based approach that upholds and protects Canadian values and culture and user rights as reinforced by the Supreme Court of Canada. Technology and the content provision industries are rapidly evolving and legislative attempts to force existing business models on Canadians by placing constraints on their use of technology are both wrong and ultimately quixotic. The core principles in the WIPO Copyright treaties not already recognized in Canadian law do not require such a maximalist approach and can be incorporated without resorting to the type of barriers on the use of technology found in Bill C-32. "

"The Bill does not go far enough to amend existing library, archive and museum exceptions and limitations made redundant by the fundamental principle of user fair dealing rights as clearly outlined in the unanimous Supreme Court of Canada judgment in CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada, 2004 SCC 13 ...; instead it introduces significant constraints on the ability of individuals and libraries to exercise their rights in the digital environment."

"Canadians will not – and should not – accept digital locks and imposed contracts that interfere with their statutory rights under fair dealing for any format of content, nor limits on how long legally acquired content may be retained by users for research and private study. Bill C-32’s silence on the issue of imposed contracts overriding user legislated rights combined with the overarching protections given digital locks undermine the progressive sections of the legislation."
Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic of copyright reform:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:06 pm 0 comments links to this post

Principles for Designing Court Websites

Patrick Cormier has published an article on Slaw.ca on What Principles Should Guide the Design of Court Web Sites.

The article describes some of the results of a working group of the Canadian Centre for Court Technology that has been drafting guidelines for the modernization of Canadian court web sites:

"In this post I’d like to expose the principles we selected. Your comments and feedback are welcome:"

  • Principle #1: The Right Information for Specific Audiences
  • Principle #2: Empowerment
  • Principle #3: Timeliness
  • Principle #4: Notification
  • Principle #5: Content Organization & Search
  • Principle #6: Security
  • Principle #7: Bilinguism
  • Principle #8: Accessibility
  • Principle #9: Interactivity
  • Principle #10: Viability
  • Principle #11: Simplicity

"The first three principles are explained, below. The other principles will be explained in upcoming posts."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:59 pm 0 comments links to this post

Law Library Journal Article on Medico-Legal Research

The most recent issue of Law Library Journal features an article on Medico-Legal Research Using Evidence-Based Medicine by Caroline Young, librarian at Rutgers Law School, Newark, New Jersey:
"Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is the use of the current best evidence when making decisions about the care of individual patients. The best evidence comes from a thorough search of the medical literature for articles and other publications that cover medical research and that apply to a patient’s medical problem. In the medical community, EBM is considered the best way to practice medicine. In legal cases where medical evidence is utilized, finding the best medical evidence usually leads to the strongest arguments."

"There are many scenarios that could lead a legal researcher to do medical research. Examples include supporting plaintiffs’ attorneys or medical malpractice defense attorneys in a medical negligence case, supporting faculty doing cutting-edge research on health law issues, or supporting a legal clinic that fights for children with special needs. From a legal researcher’s perspective, medical literature is often needed for medical proof. Because the medical profession uses EBM to weigh the value of medical literature, legal professionals must apply the principles of EBM in order to apply the standards of proof to medical literature. The goal of EBM, to make decisions based on the best available medical evidence, parallels the goal of the legal system to make judicial decisions based upon the best evidence (...)'

"This article provides an introduction to locating and evaluating medical information in the context of EBM. Topics covered include defining EBM and its importance to medico-legal researchers, using bibliographic databases for medical information research, using the EBM method for doing medical research and evaluating information retrieved, and, finally, surveying reliable electronic and hard copy medical resources that lend themselves to the EBM research methodology."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:52 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, August 16, 2010

Supreme Court of Canada's Revised Interlibrary Loan Policy

The Supreme Court Library recently published its revised Interlibrary Loan Policy after it was approved by the Judges’ Library Advisory Committee and adopted by the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada on June 15th, 2010.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:18 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 July 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 7:16 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Statistics Canada Reports on Youth and Adult Courts

While I was away on vacation for the past three weeks, Statistics Canada released two reports on the Canadian court system:
  • Youth court statistics (2008/2009): "Youth courts in Canada processed 58,379 cases involving 191,054 charges in 2008/2009. This represents a slight decrease in the caseload from a year earlier. The youth court caseload has been relatively stable since 2004/2005.The number of cases processed in 2008/2009 was 23% lower than in 2002/2003, the year prior to enactment of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA)."
  • Adult criminal court statistics (2008/2009): "Adult criminal courts in Canada completed more than 390,000 cases in 2008/2009, involving nearly 1.2 million charges. The number of cases was virtually the same as a year earlier, but about 3% higher than in 2006/2007. Before then, criminal court caseloads had been declining for four years. The most frequently occurring cases were for impaired driving (11%), theft (10%), common assault (9%), failure to comply with a court order (9%) and breach of probation (8%). Combined, these five offences accounted for almost half of all cases disposed of in adult criminal courts across the country."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:34 pm 0 comments links to this post

In Custodia Legis: Law Library of Congress Launches Blog

The Law Library of Congress in Washington has a new blog: In Custodia Legis.

From the About page:
"In Custodia Legis is Latin for in the custody of the law. One role of the Law Library of Congress is to be a custodian of law and legislation. As part of this, our team of bloggers covers current legal trends, collecting for the largest law library in the world, a British perspective, a perspective from New Zealand, developments and enhancements in THOMAS [the Congressional legislative information service], and cultural intelligence and the law."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:24 pm 0 comments links to this post

Eleventh Annual Justicia Awards for Excellence in Journalism

Justice Canada has announced the names of the winners of the eleventh 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 in two categories, broadcast and print media:
  • Broadcast: Radio-Canada's Enquête investigative TV show for a February 2010 show "Délateurs en liberté" on the practice of paying informants.
  • Print: the Victoria Times Colonist for a series on access to information in the B.C. courts, published in February 2010
Winners receive a bronze statuette that is based on the Justicia statue that stands outside the Supreme Court building in Ottawa.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:15 pm 0 comments links to this post