Thursday, September 30, 2010

European Court of Human Rights Factsheets

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) based in Strasbourg has published a series of Factsheets that deal with various themes such as the situation of the Roma, the rights of homosexuals, prison conditions and environmental rights. They include both decided cases and pending applications before the Court.

The full list of Factsheets:

The ECHR hears complaints from individuals living in any of the member states of the Council of Europe about violations of the European Convention of Human Rights. The Council of Europe is one of the continent's oldest political organizations, founded in 1949. It groups together 47 countries, and it has granted observer status to five other countries (the Holy See, United States, Canada, Japan and Mexico).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:13 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This Week is Right to Know Week in Canada and Abroad

This week is Right to Know Week which is meant to educate citizens about their right to access government information.

The website outlines access to information laws in Canada's various jurisdictions and lists activities being held this week across Canada.

The Out of the Jungle blog highlights the website of the Freedom of Information Advocates Network that shows Right to Know activities and resources from around the world.

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

Canadian Human Rights Commission Website Has New Section on UN Disabled Convention

The Canadian Human Rights Commission website has a new section on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:
"The United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities acknowledges that equality, dignity, autonomy, independence, accessibility and inclusion are the keys to ensuring that people with disabilities are able to fully realize equal citizenship in the world (...)"
"Canada ratified the Convention in 2009. Work is now underway on its implementation. The Commission, as part of the international network of National Human Rights Institutions, is committed to promoting implementation of the Convention in Canada and abroad. Article 33 of the Convention, which deals with national monitoring of implementation, is of particular interest to the Commission. That article requires states to designate an independent monitoring mechanism taking into consideration the UN standards for the establishment of national human rights institutions."
"As part of its effort to promote greater understanding and knowledge about the Convention, the Commission has established this web page, which will be updated regularly as new information becomes available."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:29 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

LLRX. com Article on Sniffer Dogs

The legal research site LLRX.com has published a new feature article on Canine Detection Evidence:
"Detection or sniffer dogs are used to ferret out illicit and dangerous substances, such as accelerants, explosives, illegal drugs, environmental hazards and other contraband. While these service dogs' abilities are highly touted, the use of an animal's olfactory sense in ascertaining the cause of a fire or locating drugs raises Fourth Amendment, evidentiary and due process issues."

"This article surveys select studies, standards and resources about canine scent detection evidence"
The Supreme Court of Canada heard a case in 2008 relating to the use of sniffer dogs to find drugs in an Ontario high school, R. v. A.M., [2008] 1 S.C.R. 569, 2008 SCC 19.

In its authorities section, the ruling cites a number of additional Canadian, American and Australian sources on the reliability of evidence gathered using sniffer dogs as well as on the issue of when the use of sniffer dogs can be considered a reasonable search.

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

Monday, September 27, 2010

CanLII Now Provides Tables of Content for B.C, Ontario and Quebec Legislation

According to an announcement published last Friday on CanLII (Canadian Legal Information Institute):
"Statutes and regulations from British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec have been republished with automatically generated tables of contents and HTML anchors to parts' headings, sections and subsections."

"The tables of content that were already available at the federal level were also improved for better readability (...)"

"This feature will be implemented to other legislative databases in the coming months."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:42 pm 0 comments links to this post

New Alberta Rules of Court In Force November 1, 2010

New Alberta Rules of Court will be coming into force on November 1st:
"The goal of the multi-year Rules Project, led by the Alberta Law Reform Institute, is to maximize the Rules' clarity, usability and effectiveness and to contribute to a fair, accessible, timely and cost effective civil justice system. The Rules govern actions in the Alberta courts and have not been significantly revised since 1968."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:38 pm 0 comments links to this post

Lawyer's Weekly Profile of the Vancouver Community Court

The most recent issue of The Lawyers Weekly has a profile of Vancouver's Downtown Community Court.

The court has a problem-solving focus and brings together actors from the justice system, health and social services, community organizations, and area residents to reduce crime in Vancouver’s downtown area by tackling the problems faced by many offenders, such as alcoholism, drug addiction, mental illness, homelessness and poverty.

The article refers to an interim evaluation report submitted to the B.C.’s attorney general in late August. That report can be found on the Criminal justice Reform website of the British Columbia government.

There will be a final report in the spring of 2012 that will examine changes in offenders’ behaviour and re-offending rates.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:26 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Research Library Special Issue on Proving Value in Libraries

Research Library Issues, a publication of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), recently published a Special Issue on Value in Libraries: Assessing Organizational Performance.

From the introductory article, "Library Value May Be Proven, If Not Self-Evident":
"The caretakers of libraries have gathered data on library performance for decades and have used this information to understand how to improve services and programs they provide to their users. The ability to measure the quality of library services is extremely important as libraries are faced with the need to make informed decisions about the best way to meet the needs of the users of those services. This ability has become even more important as libraries make transformative changes during times of fiscal constraint and increased competition."

"ARL has built a program of assessment over the past 20 years and continuously looks for ways to strengthen this capacity for member libraries. This issue of RLI highlights ways in which assessment tools have helped libraries improve their services and programs. These improvements are the result of library leadership and their staff using data to make decisions that would have the most impact. This issue also captures some of the newer initiatives focused on demonstrating the value of library services."
Table of contents:
  • Library Value May Be Proven, If Not Self-Evident
  • A Decade of Assessment at a Research-Extensive University Library Using LibQUAL+®
  • LibQUAL+® and the “Library as Place” at the University of Glasgow
  • Service Quality Assessment with LibQUAL+® in Challenging Times: LibQUAL+® at Cranfield University
  • ARL Profiles: Qualitative Descriptions of Research Libraries in the Early 21st Century
  • The ARL Library Scorecard Pilot: Using the Balanced Scorecard in Research Libraries
  • Lib-Value: Measuring Value and Return on Investment of Academic Libraries
  • The Value of Electronic Resources: Measuring the Impact of Networked Electronic Services (MINES for Libraries®) at the Ontario Council of University Libraries
LibQUAL+® is an online suite of survey and quantitative and qualitative data evaluation tools that libraries can use to track users' opinions of service quality. The Justice Canada and Supreme Court of Canada libraries have used LibQUAL+® in the past.

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

New OCLC Research Podcast on How Libraries License e-Content

In the 14th part of its "What's keeping you awake at night?" podcast series, OCLC talks to Dorothea Salo about how libraries license e-content.

Salo is the Research Services Librarian and Adjunct Faculty at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Salo "asserts that the current system is broken and must change. She further urges collective action by libraries and library consortia to change how licensing currently happens. Listen to the interview to hear exactly what she would like to see change, and when."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:46 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, September 23, 2010

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration Study on Social Media Use in Government

The National Archives and Records Administration released a new study this week entitled Federal Web 2.0 Use and Record Value.

From the press release:

"The report explores how [American] Federal agencies are using web 2.0 tools to create and share information. Tools examined include internal and external blogs, wikis, social networking, and other collaborative web-based technologies."

"Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero, a blogger and Tweeter himself, stressed the importance of such virtual outreach: 'Social media and other web 2.0 tools are key aspects in furthering transparency and open government and through this study NARA provides a foundation for understanding and addressing the records management challenges these tools present'."

"Six Federal agencies were assessed on their use of and policies regarding web 2.0 tools. Representatives from an additional 19 Federal agencies participated in a focus group session."

Last week, I wrote a post entitled Social Media and Public Sector Policy Dilemmas that referred to a study for the Institute of Public Administration of Canada that examined the "many of the impediments to the use and spread of social media (blogs, wikis, Facebook-style tools) in the public/government sector".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:27 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

More on McGill Guide to Legal Citation

This is a follow-up to the August 23, 2010 post entitled Changes to McGill Guide to Legal Citation.

Today on Slaw.ca, John Davis of Osgoode Hall Law School dives into the debate about the changes to what is often considered the Canadian "Bible" of legal citation:

"What peeves me most is that the Guide still seems to assume that the printed page is the most important (if not the only) place where sources, electronic or otherwise, will be cited. It’s not. We’ve had the web and practical hyperlinking for twenty years now, for heaven’s sake. (Isn’t heaven where all the clouds are?) Editors and authors should be thinking 'web' as much as 'print' by now."

"People who know me understand that I live my life surrounded by bound printed pages. I love the things. I have thousands of them, and I’m still buying more. Occasionally, I still even download something (copyright permitting, of course) and have the printouts bound. When I’m reading microfilm (which I do a lot), I still tend to use a pen, a notebook, and cursive script. But more and more of what I now write, even just research notes for myself, I write first and foremost for the web (...)"

"The simple fact is that, for most practical purposes, the hyperlink is now the better way to cite. Who can seriously dispute that? How often do those of us staring at a convenient link to Wexis or Hein now go to the library stacks instead to read that article from the McGill Law Journal–or should I have written 'McGill L J'?"
In the first paragraph of his article, Davis links to 4 earlier Slaw.ca articles on the new 7th edition of the McGill Guide, 3 of which I had missed.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:29 pm 0 comments links to this post

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act

This summer, the Library of Parliament published a Legislative Summary of Bill S-11: The Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act:
"The bill provides for the development of federal regulations governing the provision of drinking water, water quality standards and the disposal of waste water in First Nations communities. Importantly, the bill also establishes that federal regulations developed in this regard may incorporate, by reference, provincial regulations governing drinking water and waste water in First Nations communities."

"The delivery of safe drinking water to on-reserve First Nations communities is critical to the health and safety of the communities' residents. Access to safe, clean, potable water is also closely tied to the economic viability of individual communities. For more than a decade, research has indicated that many First Nations communities lack adequate access to safe drinking water. A 2001-2002 assessment found that the quality of almost three quarters of drinking water systems in First Nations communities were at significant risk. In recent years, with the intention of addressing on-reserve water quality issues the federal government has implemented a number of initiatives, including plans to bring forward water standards legislation to fill the existing regulatory gap governing the provision of drinking water on reserves. Progress reports suggest that, since 2006, there has been a steady reduction in the number of high-risk community water systems and priority communities."

"In Canada, water and waste water operations and systems are generally the responsibility of provincial and territorial governments. Over the years, the different jurisdictions have developed comprehensive regulatory regimes for the 'protection of source water, water quality standards, and the oversight of water treatment plants and water delivery services.' However, because section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867 grants to the federal government exclusive jurisdiction over 'Indians and lands reserved for the Indians,' provincial regulatory water standards do not apply to on-reserve First Nations communities. To date, there has been no federal legislative framework governing drinking water and waste water in First Nations communities beyond what is set out in federal policies, administrative guidelines, and funding arrangements."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:21 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900)

A colleague drew my attention to an item in the most recent issue of Cornell Law Library's current awareness bulletin InSite.

The item is Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900):
"[A] collection of key primary documents from five countries—the United States, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy—that trace the development of copyright from the invention of the printing press through the dawn of the 20th century. The documents were selected for inclusion by a scholar from each represented country with the assistance of an editorial board. The collection is a powerful research tool, organizing primary documents into a timeline conducive to browsing. Visitors to the site have many options for browsing the documents: by place, language, institution, legislation, case law, and keyword. The website also provides a simple keyword search. Each document is accompanied by extensive descriptive metadata providing context. One of the greatest strengths of this collection is the commentary written by the documents’ selectors that accompanies many of the documents. Translations are available for documents in languages other than English."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:19 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, September 20, 2010

WIPO Lex Intellectual Property Law Search Engine

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) today launched WIPO Lex, an online IP reference resource which provides up-to-date information on national IP laws and treaties of the members of WIPO, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations.

It currently features the complete IP legal texts for over 60 countries with substantial coverage for a further 100 legal systems.

WIPO is a specialized agency of the United Nations established in 1967.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:33 pm 0 comments links to this post

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Act to Amend the Copyright Act

The Library of Parliament recently published a Legislative Summary of Bill C-32: An Act to amend the Copyright Act:
"The bill adds new rights and exceptions to the Copyright Act.2 As noted in the bill's summary, the objectives of Bill C-32 are to:
  • update the rights and protections of copyright owners to better address the challenges and opportunities of the Internet, so as to be in line with international standards;
  • clarify Internet service providers' liability and make the enabling of online copyright infringement itself an infringement of copyright;
  • permit businesses, educators and libraries to make greater use of copyright material in digital form;
  • allow educators and students to make greater use of copyright material;
  • permit certain uses of copyright material by consumers;
  • give photographers the same rights as other creators;
  • ensure that [the Copyright Act] remains technologically neutral; and
  • mandates a review of [the Copyright Act] by Parliament every five years."
"Whether the bill will achieve these objectives is a subject of debate amongst the various stakeholders affected by copyright reform, including authors, artists, musicians, record labels, book publishers, collective societies, libraries, museums, school associations, software developers, retailers, and consumers."
Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic of copyright reform:

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

How Ethical Is Metadata Mining?

Metadata is data embedded in electronic documents 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.

The most recent issue of The Lawyers Weekly examines many of the ethical ins and outs of metadata mining:

"Want to know what opposing counsel was really thinking prior to sending you a document? Mine that document for metadata using techniques like these:

  • Activate the Track Changes feature to read insertions, deletions and comments
  • Check headers and footers (Does the last page in a discovery read 'Page 3 of 7'? Does the date of creation not mesh with other information you’ve been given?)
  • Search for 'white text' (text in a white font set on a white background)
  • In Microsoft Excel, look for hidden columns and rows and floating notes
  • In PowerPoint, look for speaker’s notes
  • Check a document’s properties for things like document creation date, author, software used to create the document, and other details
  • Look for extra fields in e-discovery production documents
  • Download a free metadata extractor from the Internet and use it to open files"

"You won’t always find useful metadata in documents you receive, but enough lawyers remain ignorant of both metadata and the consequences of disclosing it that it’s worth your while to try the techniques in the list above (...)

"Metadata mining can be tricky, since certain jurisdictions forbid mining. But all Canadian lawyers have to guide them are a few weak paragraphs on best practices in the Information To Supplement The Code Of Professional Conduct: Guidelines For Practising Ethically With New Information Technologies, published by the Canadian Bar Association."

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'. "
  • Lawyers' Ethical Responsibilities Relating to Metadata (June 2, 2010): "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 ..."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:27 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Law Commission of Ontario Report on Family Law Justice System

The Law Commission of Ontario has released its report called Voices from a Broken Family Justice System: Sharing Consultations Results.

Because of technical difficulties on the Commission website, the cooperative law blog Slaw.ca has made the material available.

The report is based on in-depth interviews with social workers, lawyers, judges, counsellors and individuals involved with the family law system.

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

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Amendments to Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act

The Library of Parliament recently published a legislative summary of Bill C-29: An Act to amend the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

PIPEDA is the Canada's privacy legislation covering the private sector:
"PIPEDA applies primarily to the collection, use or disclosure of personal information in the course of commercial activities by a private sector organization. It regulates all such activity not only at the federal level and in the territories, but also in every province, unless that province has passed its own legislation requiring the private sector to provide comparable protection, referred to as substantially similar legislation (...)"

"Bill C-29 adds several new definitions to PIPEDA. It preserves the existing definition of personal information as 'information about an identifiable individual,' but removes the wording excluding the names and coordinates of employees, and creates a new definition for business contact information (clauses 2(1) and 2(3)). It also specifies that PIPEDA's provisions on personal information do not apply to business contact information (clause 4)."

"In addition, the bill expands the coverage of PIPEDA to the personal information of applicants for employment with federal businesses, works and undertakings, instead of just employees (clause 3)."


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

Friday, September 17, 2010

British Columbia White Paper on Limitation Act Reform

The government of British Columbia has published a White Paper aimed at reforming the province's Limitation Act.

The Act defines deadlines people must respect to sue one another in the civil justice system.

The provincial government says it is time to rewrite the law for a number of reasons:
  • It is out of step with similar statutes of other provinces
  • The Uniform Law Conference of Canada put forward a model limitations statute as a suggested framework to develop a harmonized (consistent) approach to limitations law across the country
  • Independent law reform bodies in B.C. have recommended reform in 1990 and again in 2002
Among the major recommendations in the White paper:
  • moving from a variety of basic limitation periods to a single two-year basic limitation period for all civil claims
  • eliminating the special six-year ultimate limitation period for negligence claims against doctors, hospitals and hospital employees. All lawsuits will be governed by a single ultimate limitation period of either 10 or 15 years
Consultations end November 15, 2010.

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

Social Media and Public Sector Policy Dilemmas

Toby Fyfe and Paul Crookall wrote a report earlier this year entitled Social Media and Public Sector Policy Dilemmas. It was written for the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC), an organization whose role is to promote excellence in public service.

The report is based on consultations with stakeholders from across Canada and discusses many of the impediments to the use and spread of social media (blogs, wikis, Facebook-style tools) in the public/government sector:
"This research paper examines the thoughts and attitudes of public servants from three levels of government, academics, consultants, and members of think tanks on the legislative, policy and operational implications that arise when new social media tools are used in public sector organizations."

"Questions were asked regarding the efficacy of existing policy and legislative frameworks in areas such as information management, privacy, security and official languages. What is adequate when it comes to government use of social media tools such as wikis, blogs, social networking sites, and Twitter? Are policy objectives that were formulated forty years ago still relevant? How can organizations and public servants mitigate risk?"

"Questions were also asked about the role of social media in addressing the challenges of government modernization and the transformation of hierarchical organizational cultures to ones that are collaborative and open."

"In the digital age information is used by citizens and companies as a resource that can provide economic and social value, increasing a country’s innovative capacity and competitiveness. The discussions centred on the implications of new social media for the management of information by governments."

"This report is part of a larger project designed to support a community of practice in this important area that will be sharing information, devising shared solutions and continuing a collaborative exploration of public sector policy, legislative, and governance issues in the areas of privacy, information management, official languages and security. Phase 1 included five roundtable discussions held in Albany, NY, Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton and Victoria. It also included the exploration, through three case studies, of how similar issues are being tackled in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. This outcome report summarizes the findings, provides an 'as-is report' of the roundtable discussions, and concludes with the case studies."
Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:
  • Government of Canada: The Web 2.0 Genie Is Finally Out of the Bottle (June 6, 2008): "Government can appear to be slow when it comes to the IT cutting edge: IT departments are often wary of anything that is 'open source' and are known as 'Microsoft shops'; the open and collaborative (therefore uncontrollable) nature of wikis, blogs and other Web 2.0 applications may not make them attractive to higher ups worried about security, privacy and embarrassing info leaks; and who has the time? Well, it looks like there are many librarians and others in government service who have been waiting for this moment or who have decided to just 'do it!' and forge ahead."
  • Canadian Government Launches Internal Wiki (October 29, 2008): "As reported on the front page of today's Ottawa Citizen, the federal government has launched its own internal version of Wikipedia to which all federal public servants will be able to contribute ..."
  • Government 2.0 Best Practices Wiki (January 7, 2009): "There is information about RSS, Twitter, wiki, YouTube, Second Life, Facebook and social bookmarking projects from government bodies in Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand and the UK."
  • Web 2.0 Technologies Help Ontario Government Librarians Stay Relevant (October 8, 2009): "An Itbusiness.ca article explains how librarians at the Ontario Legislative Assembly and the Fire Marshall's Office are using Web 2.0 or social networking media such as Twitter and RSS to make sure their services remain relevant ..."
  • Library of Parliament Series on Social Media (April 17, 2010)

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:23 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 September 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 6:20 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

U.S. Judiciary Approves Pilot Project for Cameras in District Courts

The Judicial Conference of the United States, the policy-making agency for federal judiciary in the United States, has approved a pilot project to evaluate the effect of cameras in federal district courtrooms and the public release of digital video recordings of some civil proceedings:
"Courts that participate in the pilot will, if necessary, amend their local rules (providing adequate public notice and opportunity to comment) to provide an exception for judges participating in the pilot project. Participation in the pilot will be at the trial judge’s discretion."

"Under the pilot, participating courts will record proceedings. Recordings by other entities or persons will not be allowed. Recording of members of a jury will not be permitted, and parties in a trial must consent to participating in the pilot."
Earlier Library Boy postings on media access to the courts in Canada or abroad include:
  • Report on TV Cameras in Ontario Courtrooms (August 24, 2006): "A report released today by Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant recommends that cameras be allowed in some courts in the province. This would include TV cameras. The list of Courts would cover the Ontario Court of Appeal and lower courts where no witnesses would be examined (...) The full text of the report includes a useful bibliography on the issue of media and the court system."
  • UK Courts to Accept TV Cameras (November 14, 2006): "The British media is reporting that civil and criminal trials in the UK may soon be televised. According to the Nov. 13, 2006 Reuters article Courtroom TV could be a step nearer, '(P)roposals that could lead to television cameras being installed in courts could soon be set out by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, head of the judiciary. A five-week pilot was started in Nov 2004 in the Court of Appeal in the Royal Courts of Justice in London and the consultation process was completed in the summer of 2005'."
  • Report on Televising U.S. Supreme Court and Other Federal Court Proceedings (November 29, 2006): "The Federation of American Scientists has made available on its website a report by the Congressional Research Service entitled Televising Supreme Court and Other Federal Court Proceedings: Legislation and Issues (...) 'This report also discusses the arguments that have been presented by proponents and opponents of electronic media coverage of federal court proceedings, including the possible effect on judicial proceedings, separation of powers concerns, the purported educational value of such coverage, and possible security and privacy concerns. Finally, the report discuses the various options Congress may address as it considers legislation, including which courts should be covered, whether media coverage should be authorized or required, possible security and privacy safeguards, and the type of media coverage that would be permitted'."
  • Maryland Appeals Court to Webcast (December 1, 2006): "The Maryland Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state, will provide live webcasts of its proceedings, 'hoping to be ready in time to broadcast arguments set for Dec. 4 in a high-profile case involving gay marriage,' according to an Associated Press agency story reprinted in the Houston Chronicle on Nov. 27, 2006. Maryland will thus join other U.S. states. The newspaper story explains that '(A)bout half of the appellate state courts (...) allow coverage of hearings on the Web or on cable channels'."
  • U.S. Judiciary To Make Court Proceeding Recordings Available Online (March 19, 2007): "The legal news site JURIST is reporting that the Judicial Conference of the United States has approved a pilot program to make free audio recordings of court proceedings available online."
  • Webcasting of Ontario Court Proceedings To Start Soon (May 27, 2007): "At the end of last week, the Ontario Attorney General's office announced it was going forward with certain recommendations of the Panel on Justice and the Media, including the live streaming of some proceedings of the Court of Appeal for Ontario..."
  • UK Considering TV Cameras in New Supreme Court (October 23, 2007): "According to the Times Online, the United Kingdom's new Supreme Court will allow cameras to broadcast hearings. The new high court is set to open in 2009. It is being created under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005."
  • Manitoba Provincial Courts To Start Broadcasting Soon? (October 24, 2007): "The Winnipeg Free Press is reporting that Manitoba's chief provincial court judge wants to allow live broadcasts of court decisions."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:05 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September 2010 Issue of Governance and Recordkeeping Around the World

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

The September 2010 issue has just been published on the LAC website.

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

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

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bastarache Commission Expert Studies on Judicial Nominations

As most people interested in Canadian legal news probably know, the Honourable Michel Bastarache, former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, is leading a provincial commission of inquiry into allegations of political interference in judicial nominations in Quebec.

The website of the Commission has posted a number of expert studies on how judges are selected in a number of jurisdictions, including:
  • Parametres of Politics in Judicial Appointments, by Roderick A. Macdonald F.R. Scott Professor of Constitutional and Public Law Faculty of Law, McGill University: "The concept of judicial independence is usually held to embrace four elements: neutral appointment, security of tenure, financial independence, and administrative autonomy (...) This paper assumes that judges will, at the end of the day, be selected through an appointments rather than an electoral process ... The specific issue to be discussed is whether an executive appointments process is compatible with the principle of neutral appointment. The paper begins by identifying what the principle of 'neutral appointment' means. This involves exploring whether human decision-making – whether by judges themselves, by any type of judicial selection (or vetting) committee or by the executive – can be purged of subjectivity. It argues for the impossibility of 'objective' cipher-like human decision-making, be this by judges or selection committees. The paper then explores the types of criteria that have been advanced as necessary for identifying who is qualified to be named a judge. It illustrates that these are often incommensurable, and even when agreed upon, they are ranked differently by different people, and differentially applied to potential candidates for judicial office. It follows that there is rarely, if ever, an objectively 'best candidate' for appointment. The last sections of the paper attempt to illustrate the difference between an appointments process that expressly acknowledges the influence of subjective considerations in decision-making, and seeks to make these transparent, and a process that hides this subjectivity from public scrutiny. In so doing, a distinction is drawn between 'political considerations' of the type that may legitimately enter into the appointments calculus, and 'Political considerations' that must be extirpated from the appointments process. The paper concludes with a series of recommendations relating to the manner in which the final steps in the judicial selection process in Quebec – appointment by the executive branch of government – may be designed so as to achieve as neutral an appointments process as possible and a concomitant enhanced public confidence in the independence of the judiciary. "
  • Selecting Trial Court Judges: A Comparison of Contemporary Practices, by Peter McCormick, professor, Department of Political Science, University of Lethbridge: "This comparative report presents the systems for appointing judges in the Canadian provinces and in selected comparator jurisdictions, seeking to identify the implicit purposes of recent reforms and to set out the issues and choices that are involved. It advances a conceptual framework for analyzing the choices to be made in this area, and concludes with a set of recommendations as to the optimal method of selecting judges today (...) Recent decades have seen a considerable evolution in many comparable jurisdictions of the methods of judicial selection, although it is important to remember that in different countries the judicial selection process is designed to deal with specific problems and specific priorities, and this is relevant to how much we can learn from them and which parts of their process we can draw on. The specific systems that are examined, and the idea it is suggested we can draw from each, are:
    • Canadian federal judicial selection committees: designed from minimal constraints on executive choice, and demonstrating a vulnerability to partisan manipulation of the structures
    • U.S. state merit nomination committees: an emphasis more on bipartisanship than on non‐partisanship and recurring concerns about the extent of useful lay participation
    • South African judicial selection committees: a central focus on "transformation" from the apartheid past to a multi‐cultural and black dominated society, involving extensive use ofelected political representations in the committees
    • United Kingdom judicial appointment committees: committees that select rather than screen or nominate, with an unusual attention to independent selection processes for a strong lay membership
    • civilian systems of Europe: merit screening through a formal examination process as a way of selecting judges without executive discretion"

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

Sunday, September 12, 2010

U.S. Conference of Court Public Information Officers Report on Social Media and the Courts

The Conference of Court Public Information Officers (CCPIO), an American organization, recently released a report on New Media and the Courts: the Current Status and a Look at the Future:
"The Conference of Court Public Information Officers report on new media and the courts finds that more than one-third of state court judges and magistrates responding to a survey use social media profile sites like Facebook, while less than 10 percent of courts as institutions use social media for public outreach and communication. After a year of study and online collaboration, the report reveals a judicial branch that clearly recognizes the importance of understanding new media but is proceeding cautiously with concerns about effects on ethics, court proceedings and the ability to support public understanding of the courts. "

"The report predicts that in the coming years, courts will re-examine state codes of conduct for judges and judicial employees, model jury instructions, rules on cameras in the courtroom and other areas. It makes other predictions and also recommends further research and specific steps for the judicial community to continue to respond productively to new media."
The study looked at social networking tools, microblogging (Twitter), smart phones, blogs, RSS feeds, social bookmarking sites, video sharing and wikis.

For the survey included in the study, 16,000 individuals in the court community were invited to fill out an online questionnaire between June 16 and 25, 2010. Federal judges were not included in the distribution. About 810 respondents completed the entire survey while another 789 submitted partially completed surveys.

Among the results:
  • Nearly half of judges (47.8 percent) disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement 'Judges can use social media profile sites, such as Facebook, in their professional lives without compromising professional conduct codes of ethics.'
  • Judges appear to be more comfortable with using these sites in their personal lives,with 34.3 percent disagreeing or strongly disagreeing with the statement 'Judges canuse social media profile sites, such as Facebook, in their personal lives without compromising professional conduct codes of ethics.'
  • More than half (56 percent) of judges report routine juror instructions that include some component about new media use during the trial.
  • A smaller proportion of judges than might be expected (9.8 percent) reported witnessing jurors using social media profile sites, microblogging sites, or smart phones, tablets or notebooks in the courtroom.
Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:
  • Impartiality of Juries Threatened by Web? (October 22, 2009): "Donald Findlay QC, one of Scotland's top criminal lawyers, has warned that the impartiality of the jury system is at risk due to jurors using internet search engines and has warned that the Government cannot continue with its 'ostrich-like' attitude to the problem (...) "
  • Should Twitter in the Courtroom Be Illegal? (November 11, 2009): "A U.S. federal court in the state of Georgia has ruled that Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure prohibits 'tweeting' from the courtroom ..."
  • More Jurors Get Into Trouble for Going on the Net (December 13, 2009): "Last week, a Maryland appeals court upended a first-degree murder conviction because a juror consulted Wikipedia for trial information. Earlier this year, the appeals judges erased a conviction for three counts of assault because a juror did cyberspace research and shared the findings with the rest of the jury. In a third recent trial, a juror's admission to using his laptop for off-limits information jeopardized an attempted-murder trial. On Friday, lawyers for Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon asked for a new trial in part because five of the jurors who convicted her of embezzlement Dec. 1 were communicating among themselves on Facebook during the deliberations period - and at least one of them received an outsider's online opinion of what the verdict should be. "
  • Should Judges Join Facebook? (January 12, 2010): "In yesterday's Montreal Gazette, an article about whether Canadian judges should be on the popular social networking site Facebook: 'Amid escalating debate in the U.S. about judicial antics online, the Canadian Judicial Council has turned its attention to whether there should be some ground rules for judges who want to join Facebook and other social networking sites (...) While there are no known cases of Canadian judges on Facebook, participation in the U.S. has reached a level that prompted the Florida judicial ethics committee to issue an edict last month that judges and lawyers should not be Facebook 'friends,' to avoid appearance of conflict in the event they end up in the same courtroom (...)' "
  • U.S. Federal Courts Tell Jurors Twitter, Facebook and Texting Verboten (February 9, 2010): "Wired Magazine is reporting that the Judicial Conference of the United States, the body that develops policy for federal courts in that country, has proposed new model jury instructions that explicitly ban the use of applications like Facebook and Twitter ..."
  • Social Media Use by Government and Courts (March 16, 2010): "a short and selective list of articles, resources and sites ... helpful in explaining the use of social media by courts" (US)

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:12 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Manitoba Law Reform Commission Report on the Parol Evidence Rule

The Manitoba Law Reform Commission recently put its report on The Parol Evidence Rule up on its website.

From the executive summary:
"The parol evidence rule has to do with a written contract and the extrinsic evidence related to the contract, which a party to the contract wishes to adduce in a trial concerning the contract. This report considers the parol evidence rule in connection with written contracts that are not governed by The Consumer Protection Act and in connection with consumer transactions that fall within the scope of The Consumer Protection Act."

"This report observes that the parol evidence rule has caused much difficulty within the law of contracts and notes that essentially two different versions of the rule exist: (1) the ‘traditional’ version holds that where a written contract appears to be a complete agreement, parol evidence may not be introduced and only if it is determined that the written agreement appears to be incomplete will evidence of prior communication be considered; (2) the ‘modern’ version of the rule holds that for the rule to apply it must first be determined that the parties intended to reduce their agreement into writing and all relevant evidence of prior communication is admissible to that determination. The traditional version of the rule has fomented criticism, been the subject of lists of exceptions and generated recommendations for its abolition, largely because this version of the rule can preclude relevant evidence concerning prior communication between the parties, and is more likely to result in a possible injustice."

"While both versions of the rule can be found in Canadian case law, recent lower court decisions indicate movement towards the modern version, and the Commission is hopeful that this approach will continue. This report considers possible legislative reform to prevent misunderstanding about the rule; however, the Commission concludes that any legislative action could be more confusing than clarifying. In regard to contracts not governed by The Consumer Protection Act, the Commission recommends no legislative action to abolish or to try to clarify the parol evidence rule."

"Various Canadian law reform agencies have recommended legislation abolishing the parol evidence rule in regard to consumer transactions. Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Manitoba and British Columbia have enacted some such provisions in their consumer protection legislation, although Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have provided more fully for the abolition of the parol evidence rule. The Commission recommends that section 58(8) of The Consumer Protection Act dealing with express warranties could be improved upon by expanding upon the abolition of the parol evidence rule and by making this section inviolate."


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:27 pm 0 comments links to this post

New GlobaLex Research Guide on Inter-American System of Human Rights: A Research Guide

GlobaLex, the electronic research collection maintained by the Hauser Global Law School Program at the New York University School of Law, has just published a new guide entitled The Inter-American System of Human Rights: A Research Guide:
"The objective of this guide is to provide the researcher with a brief understanding of the historical development of the Inter-American system of human rights and of its resulting complexity. It is not purported to comment extensively on the Inter-American case law; rather it discusses the most salient institutional features of the system and it then directs the reader to a variety of sources on the system’s law in action."

"The guide summarizes the events and debates that led to the adoption of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man by the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1948 and to the negotiation and subsequent entry into force of the American Convention on Human Rights in 1978. It then introduces the reader to a brief discussion of the content of less-known regional human rights treaties associated to the American Convention."

"In turn, the guide discusses the composition, competence as well as selected provisions of the rules of procedure of the two monitoring bodies of the Inter-American system of human rights: the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a principal organ of the OAS, whose headquarters are in Washington D.C., U.S.A., and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, created by the American Convention and whose headquarters are in San Jose, Costa Rica. The guide also offers a glimpse into the activities performed and the case law delivered by both the Commission and the Court in 2009 through a summary of their latest Annual Reports. Finally, in the spirit of the Globalex project, the guide directs the reader to additional sources of information."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:22 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Free Access to Law—Is it here to Stay? An Environmental Scan Report

Montreal-based legal informatics group LexUM, in collaboration with the Southern African Legal Information Institute and the Centre for Internet and Society, recently released a preliminary project report called Free Access to Law—Is it here to Stay? An Environmental Scan Report. The project is funded by the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa:
"The overall goal of this research is to respond to a need to study what free access to law initiatives do and how they do it. This will lead to an understanding of the effects FAL [free access to law] initiatives have on society and to an exploration of the factors determining their sustainability. The general hypothesis is that success leads to sustainability. That is, if the free access to law initiative is successful, it will have greater chances of securing funds and ensuring sustainability."
This report looks at the situation for the free open distribution of legal information in Eastern Africa (Kenya, Uganda), Asia (Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Philippines) and Canada.

The Legal Information Institutes (LIIs) from different countries and continents are the most well-known examples of FAL initiatives and together form the Free Access to Law Movement. The goal of the LIIs is to maximize free access to public legal information such as legislation and case law from as many countries and international institutions as possible. CanLII, the Canadian Legal Information Institute, is a prominent member of the movement.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:28 pm 0 comments links to this post

Canadian Lawyer Magazine Profile of Former Supreme Justice John Major

The most recent issue of Canadian Lawyer magazine has a cover story about former Supreme Court of Canada Justice John Major.

Major, who departed from the Supreme Court in December 2005, led the judicial inquiry into the Air India bombing, with its final report released in June 2010.

In the early morning of June 23rd, 1985, Air India Flight 182 flying from Canada to New Delhi was blown apart by a bomb, killing all 329 passengers and crew on board.

The overwhelming majority of those murdered were Canadian citizens.

It is the largest loss of life in Canadian history from a single terrorist attack.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:46 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

British Columbia Proposes Massive Family Law Overhaul

The most recent issue of The Lawyers' Weekly reports that the government of British Columbia is proposing a very ambitious reform of family law in the province. According to the article, B.C. poised for a massive family law overhaul:
"Common law couples who split up will have the same rights to property and pension division as married couples do. Separated parents will enjoy 'guardianship' and 'parenting time' rather than custody or access. Parenting co-coordinators will be empowered to arbitrate the day-to-day disputes of high-conflict families. Misbehaving ex-spouses will be slapped with 'conduct orders,' fines and jail time. And 'posthumously-conceived' children will have the same rights to inherit as other children."

"Those are among the cutting-edge, and sometimes controversial, solutions to a host of thorny family law problems that British Columbia is proposing for its impending total overhaul of the Family Relations Act (FRA)."

"Following more than three years of intensive research and policy development, on July 19 the B.C. Ministry of the Attorney General unveiled a 'white paper' proposing a complete update of its 1978 statute ..."
The white paper is available on the government website.

The purpose of the white paper is to provide the public opportunity to comment on the proposed new family law. The consultation ends Oct. 8, 2010.

The review of the province's Family Relations Act began in 2006 with research into family law reform underway in other jurisdictions, as well as recommendations for reform made by family law experts. In 2007, the government published 14 discussion papers for consultation. In 2009, it published representative responses to the consultation documents.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:27 pm 0 comments links to this post

Stockholm Conference on Marketing Libraries in a Web 2.0 World

In early August, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), in collaboration with the Stockholm University Library, organized a pre-conference on library marketing.

Many of the pre-conference presentations have now been posted online.

The event was held a few days before the IFLA annual conference in Gothenburg, Sweden.

[Source: EchosDoc - Le portail des spécialistes I. et D.]

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

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Éducaloi Conference on Plain Language and the Law

Éducaloi, a non-profit organization that specializes in public legal education in Quebec, is organizing a conference in Montreal on October 21st and 22nd on the topic of plain language and the law:
"Lawyers, notaries, judges, commissioners, legislative drafters, linguists, journalists and communicators will mull over the many facets of legal plain language. Our challenge? To push forward our thinking and practices in this field!"

"We hope to win you over with a unique program and the quality of our speakers and panellists, who include several guests from the rest of Canada and abroad. Choose from 17 workshops covering a wide range of topics, including Plain Language and the Art of Drafting Judgments, Revisiting the Language of Contracts, Providing Legal Information Using Social Media and Head to Head: the Journalist and the Expert."
Related Library Boy posts that deal with plain language include:
  • Plain Language Resources for Law, Business, Government, and Life (August 9, 2005): "Clear language or plain language refers to jargon-free, understandable language. For the past 20 years or more, an international movement has been working to make the language used in law, health information, financial services, commerce and business more accessible. Plain language does NOT mean dumbed down or simplistic vocabulary."
  • Move Toward Plain Language in Canadian Court Decisions (November 7, 2005): "Saturday's Globe and Mail contains an article by Richard Blackwell entitled 'Doing the write thing: Judges used to put out decisions that were incomprehensible. Now they are sometimes even eloquent. The writing lessons didn't hurt'... As the article explains, the Supreme Court has been removing Latin words from its rulings and altering the format to make them easier to follow for people reading electronic versions on a website. The clear language push is also being promoted in Canada by such organizations as the National Judicial Institute and the Montreal-based Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, where new judges have their writing critiqued by English professors."
  • Plain Language Legal Writing (January 22, 2006): "The Canadian Bar Association's PracticeLink has just published its third in a series of articles on plain language in legal writing: Mastering Modern Legal Correspondence."
  • Myths About the Complexity of Legal Language (November 17, 2006): "The Social Science Research Network has published a forthcoming article on Some Myths about Legal Language by Professor Peter Tiersma of the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles (...) Excerpts from the final section of the full-text: (...) 'Thus, the main obstacle to writing the law in plain English is that, unless the law itself is vastly simplified, it will require the use of so many words that there will be nothing plain about it. Most advocates of plain English recognize this problem. Although they continue to agitate for plainer language in legal documents, including statutes, they realize that many parts of the law are too complex to allow them to be fully and comprehensibly explained to ordinary citizens. They therefore advocate that those legal areas in which citizens have particular interest, like criminal law, be officially summarized and explained'."
  • George Orwell and Plain Language in Law (June 25, 2007): "Judith D. Fischer, University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, has an article on the Social Science Research Network entitled Why George Orwell's Ideas About Language Still Matter for Lawyers. The article deals with the use of clear language in legal writing but also analyses the use of deceit in legal and political discourse in the United States ..."
  • British Parliamentary Publication on Use and Abuse of Official Language (December 7, 2009): "The Public Administration Committee of the British House of Commons recently published a report entitled Bad Language: The Use and Abuse of Official Language that deals with the damage done by unclear, inaccurate and confusing language in official documents (...)"
[Source: Slaw.ca]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:45 pm 1 comments links to this post

WorldLII Launches International Law Library

WorldLII (World Legal Information Institute) yesterday launched the International Law Library , a free online collection of decisions of International Courts and Tribunals, treaties and international agreements, and international law journals and law reform materials.

According to the brochure:
"The International Law Library on WorldLII is the most comprehensive free access international law research infrastructure on the Internet. It has 76 databases, containing nearly 100,000 searchable documents concerning international law, and is expanding rapidly. All databases may be searched simultaneously, or databases may be searched individually or in groupings. WorldLII uses AustLII’s Sino search engine. Databases from six other collaborating LIIs (BAILII, HKLII, NZLII, PacLII, SAFLII and GLIN) are included. "
AustLII is the Australasian Legal Information Institute. BAILII is the British and Irish Legal Information Institute. HKLII is the Hong Kong Legal Information Institute. NZLII is the New Zealand Legal Information Institute. PacLII is the Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute. SAFLII is the South Africa legal Information Institute and GLIN is the Global Legal Information Network, a public database of official texts of laws, regulations, judicial decisions, and other complementary legal sources contributed by governmental agencies and international organizations.

The Legal Information Institutes (LIIs) from different countries and continents together form the Free Access to Law Movement. The goal of the LIIs is to maximize free access to public legal information such as legislation and case law from as many countries and international institutions as possible.

CanLII, the Canadian Legal Information Institute, is a prominent member of the movement.

[Source: Int-Law - International Law Librarians List]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:31 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Economic Impact of Mass Digitization Projects on Copyright Holders

A new article in the Journal of the Copyright Society of the USA examines some of the commonly held assumptions about the economic impact of digitization projects such as the Google Book Project.

The article, Estimating the Economic Impact of Mass Digitization Projects on Copyright Holders: Evidence from the Google Book Search Litigation, is available on the Social Science Research Network.

Abstract:
"Google Book Search (GBS) has captured the attention of many commentators and government officials, but even as they vigorously debate its legality, few of them have marshaled new facts to estimate its likely effects on publishing and other information markets. This Article challenges the conventional wisdom propounded by the U.S. and German governments, as well as Microsoft and other competitors of Google, concerning the likely economic impact of mass book-digitization projects. Originally advanced by publishing industry lobbying groups, the prevailing account of mass book-digitization projects is that they will devastate authors and publishers, just as Napster and its heirs have supposedly devastated musicians and music labels. Using the impact of GBS on the revenues and operating incomes of U.S. publishers believing themselves to be the most-affected by it, this Article finds no evidence of a negative impact upon them. To the contrary, it provides some evidence of a positive impact, and proposes further empirical research to identify the mechanisms of digitization’s economic impact."

"The debate surrounding the GBS settlement is important to students, writers, researchers, and the general public, as it may decide whether a federal appellate court or even the U.S. Supreme Court allows the best research tool ever designed to survive. If the theory of Microsoft and some publishing trade associations is accepted, the courts may enjoin and destroy GBS, just as Napster was shut down a decade ago."

"The Article aims at a preliminary estimate of the economic impact of mass digitization projects, using GBS as a case in point. It finds little support for the much-discussed hypothesis of the Association of American Publishers and Google’s competitors that the mass digitization of major U.S. libraries will reduce the revenues and profits of the most-affected publishers. In fact, the revenues and profits of the publishers who believe themselves to be most aggrieved by GBS, as measured by their willingness to file suit against Google for copyright infringement, increased at a faster rate after the project began, as compared to before its commencement. The rate of growth by publishers most affected by GBS is greater than the growth of the overall U.S. economy or of retail sales. Thus, the very publishers that have sued Google have seen their revenues grow faster than retail sales or the U.S. economy as a whole (measured by gross domestic product). This finding parallels some of the research that has been done since the Napster case on the economic impact of peer-to-peer file sharing on sales of recorded music. Future studies may provide a more granular estimate of the economic impact of frequent downloads or displays of pages of particular books on the sales of such books."
Earlier Library Boy posts about the Google Books Settlement include:[Source: CARL E-Lert, Canadian Association of Research Libraries]

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

United Nations Report on Globalization of Crime

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime recently published a report on The Globalization of Crime A Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment.

The report examines a range of transnational criminal activities, including human trafficking, the heroin and cocaine trades, cybercrime, maritime piracy and trafficking in environmental resources, firearms and counterfeit goods.

From the introduction:
"The growth of global crime is a threat to the rule of law, without which there can be no sustainable world development. Transnational criminal markets crisscross the planet, conveying drugs, arms, trafficked women, toxic waste, stolen natural resources or protected animals’ parts. Hundreds of billions of dollars of dirty money flow through the world every year, distorting local economies, corrupting institutions and fuelling conflict. What people all over the world wish each other at the beginning of a new year, health, peace and prosperity, is what transnational organized crime markets destroy, bringing instead disease, violence and misery to exposed regions and vulnerable populations."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:19 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 16th to 31th, 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 6:17 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Website Redesign

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) has decided to undertake a redesign of its website.

Crosby Group Consulting has created a project blog to allow CALL members and other interested people to stay informed on the progress of the project.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:30 pm 1 comments links to this post

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Law Library Benchmarks 2010-11

Primary Research Group has just published its Law Library Benchmarks, 2010-11 Edition:
"This study (ISBN 1-57440-155-6) presents data from a survey of more than 50 law libraries in the United States and Canada. The study presents overall and per lawyer employed spending on content/materials, books, print reporters, online services and other legal information vehicles. It covers the trends in use of floor space, overall budgets and staffing, including hiring plans and the breakdown in total staff between librarians and other employees."

"The study also presents highly specific data on cost recovery by libraries though charge backs to patrons. Librarians sampled also describe the measures that that they have taken to reduce costs, and to better negotiate with suppliers. Other areas covered include: use of internet tools and resources, the library role in records management, market research and case research, among other areas."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:28 pm 0 comments links to this post