Monday, October 31, 2011

Honour Killing Trial Judge Says No Tweeting in Court

According to the Law Times, Superior Court of Ontario Justice Robert Maranger has ruled that reporters won't be able to liveblog / tweet about what happens in a Kingston courthouse during the murder trial of Mohammad Shafia, Tooba Mohammad Yahya, and their son Hamed.

Police allege that they murdered four female relatives, including three daughters, in what is being described as an "honour killing".

As the Law Times article explains:
"According to s. 136 of the Ontario Courts of Justice Act, journalists can’t use electronic devices to record or videotape information inside the court. They can take handwritten notes."

"The act also provides for exceptions to those rules if a judge sees fit in certain circumstances. The act doesn’t mention social media web sites, however."

"In most instances, it falls on the individual judge to decide whether or not journalists can use BlackBerrys and social media to provide live updates from the court."

"Such issues have surfaced a few times over the last several years."

"In 2009, Ottawa Citizen journalist Glen McGregor tweeted live from the trial of former Ottawa mayor Larry O’Brien. McGregor provided daily play-by-play coverage as allegations of influence peddling unfolded before the courts. The court eventually found O’Brien not guilty."
McGregor spoke at a panel I organized in May 2010 at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries on the impact of new social networking technologies on trial procedure and juror behaviour.

Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:17 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Bill on Family Homes on Reserves

The Library of Parliament recently published a legislative summary of Bill S-2: Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act:

"The bill was first introduced as Bill C-47 during the 2nd Session of the 39th Parliament. Bill C-47 died on the Order Paper when Parliament was dissolved on 7 September 2008. It was reintroduced as Bill C-8 during the 2nd Session of the 40th Parliament, but it died on the Order Paper once again when Parliament was prorogued on 30 December 2009. It was introduced a third time as Bill S-4 during the 3rd Session of the 40th Parliament, and was considered by the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights in May and June 2010. Bill S-4 was passed by the Senate on 6 July 2010, and was introduced in the House of Commons on 22 September 2010 by then Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, the Honourable John Duncan. Bill S-4, however, died on the Order Paper when Parliament was dissolved on 26 March 2011."

"Bill S-2 addresses issues relating to family real property on reserves by providing that a First Nation has the power to enact laws relating to 'the use, occupation and possession of family homes on its reserves and the division of the value of any interests or rights held by spouses or common-law partners in or to structures and lands on its reserves' (clause 7(1)). The federal provisional rules in the bill will apply until a First Nation has such laws in force. The rules will apply to a First Nation under the First Nations Land Management Act in specific circumstances. First Nations that have the power to manage their reserve lands under a self-government agreement may opt to have the federal rules apply to them (...)"

"When married couples divorce, the division of matrimonial property, both real (e.g., land and houses) and personal is determined in accordance with provincial laws, as a result of subsection 92(13) of the Constitution Act, 1867. However, as a result of subsection 91(24) of that Act, which specifies that the Parliament of Canada has exclusive legislative authority with respect to 'Indians and Lands reserved for the Indians,' provincial laws do not apply to the division of real property on reserve lands. In Derrickson v. Derrickson, the Supreme Court of Canada stated that courts cannot rely on provincial law to order the division of matrimonial real property on reserves."

"The historical absence of provisions in the federal Indian Act or elsewhere governing the division of matrimonial real property on reserves has resulted in what is often referred to as a legislative gap. Consequently, people residing on reserves have not been able to use the Canadian legal system to resolve matters concerning the division of real property after the breakdown of conjugal relationships."

"Numerous domestic and international reports have referred to the matter, including reports from the United Nations. All have recommended that Canada take steps to resolve the issue."

It is possible to follow the progress of the bill on the LEGISinfo website.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary on Federal Law–Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 3

The Library of Parliament recently prepared a legislative summary of Bill S-3: Federal Law–Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 3:
"This is the third harmonization bill to be tabled by the Government in conjunction with the harmonization initiative that was begun by the Department of Justice Canada following the coming into force of the Civil Code of Québec in 1994. The two previous harmonization statutes(Federal Law – Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 1 and Federal Law – Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 2) came into force in 2001 and 2004 respectively."

"In 1993, in anticipation of the coming into force on 1 January 1994 of the Civil Code of Québec (CCQ), which would replace the Civil Code of Lower Canada (CCLC), the federal Department of Justice created the Civil Code Section to review federal statutes to ensure that they properly reflect both legal traditions, the civil law system in Quebec and the common law system in the rest of Canada (...)"

"Since 1867, the Parliament of Canada has enacted more than 300 statutes that are designed, in whole or in part, to regulate matters of private law. It has done so primarily under Parliament’s exclusive jurisdiction over matters that, had it not been for the division of powers in the Constitution Act, 1867, would have fallen under the provinces’ jurisdiction over property and civil rights. Examples of these matters are marriage and divorce, bankruptcy and insolvency, bills of exchange and promissory notes, interest on money, admiralty law, patents of invention, and copyright. To the same end, though less directly, Parliament has enacted statutes that primarily regulate questions of public law but also include provisions that rest on concepts or regulate relationships governed by private law."

"All these statutes do not create an independent legal system. Because these Acts derogate from or add to the jus commune of each province, they are supplemented by the relevant provincial law, which is used to interpret them and to apply them. There is, therefore, a complementary relationship between federal legislation and the jus commune of the provinces."

"In Quebec, the civil law – the jus commune governing private law – supplements federal legislation in the same way as the common law does in the other provinces. In this way, the jus commune is said to make up for 'the incompleteness of the federal legislation' and to have a 'suppletive role'."

"Harmonization aims to ensure that the existing provisions of federal laws are brought into line with the existing civil law. It also addresses the question of pre-Confederation law and the need to rewrite the French versions of federal statutes in order to reflect the common law."

It is possible to follow the progress of the bill on the LEGISinfo website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:00 pm 0 comments links to this post

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Federal Omnibus Crime Bill

At the beginning of October, the Library of Parliament published a legislative summary of Bill C-10, the federal government's ommibus crime bill that groups together nine separate bills that didn't make it through the last session of Parliament:

"Part 1 of Bill C-10 creates a new Act, the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, to introduce a specific cause of action for victims of terrorism, allowing them to sue for loss or damage as a result of actions punishable under the Criminal Code. This part also amends the State Immunity Act to lift state immunity where a state has supported terrorist activities (state immunity being the general rule that prevents other states from being sued in Canada’s domestic courts). However, only states included in a list to be established by the Governor in Council may have their immunity lifted and be sued."

"Part 2 of Bill C-10 amends the Criminal Code to impose new mandatory minimum sentences for certain sexual offences committed against young people as well as to increase existing mandatory penalties. It creates the offences of making sexually explicit material available to a child and of agreeing or arranging to commit a sexual offence against a child. The bill also expands the list of specified conditions that may be added to prohibition and recognizance orders. These conditions would include prohibitions concerning contact with a person under the age of 16 and use of the Internet or other digital network; the list of enumerated offences that may give rise to such orders and prohibitions would also be expanded."

"This part also amends the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) to provide for mandatory minimum sentences of imprisonment for certain drug crimes. Currently, there are no mandatory minimum penalties under the CDSA. The bill contains an exception that would allow courts not to impose a mandatory sentence if an offender successfully completes a Drug Treatment Court program or a treatment program which, as set out in section 720(2) of the Criminal Code, is approved by a province and is under the supervision of a court."

"Finally, Part 2 amends the Criminal Code to restrict the availability of conditional sentences for certain offences. It would eliminate the reference in the conditional sentencing part of the Criminal Code to serious personal injury offences. It would also restrict the availability of conditional sentences for all offences for which the maximum term of imprisonment is 14 years or life and for specified offences, prosecuted by way of indictment, for which the maximum term of imprisonment is 10 years."

"Part 3 amends the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to increase the accountability of federal offenders and tighten the rules governing conditional release, while promoting the interests and the role of victims in the correctional process."

"This part and the schedule to the bill amend the Criminal Records Act to substitute the term 'record suspension' for the term 'pardon.' These amendments extend the ineligibility periods for applications for a record suspension to five years for all summary conviction offences and to 10 years for all indictable offences. They make individuals convicted of sexual offences against minors (with certain exceptions) and those who have been convicted of more than three indictable offences with sentences of two or more years’ imprisonment, ineligible for a record suspension."

"Finally, Part 3 also amends the International Transfer of Offenders Act to ensure that the purpose of the Act specifically refers to public safety, to add new factors to be considered by the Minister of Public Safety in deciding whether to approve the transfer of a Canadian offender back to Canada, and to make the Minister’s consideration of all listed factors discretionary rather than mandatory."

"Part 4 amends the Youth Criminal Justice Act in a number of ways, including to emphasize the importance of protecting society and to facilitate the detention of young persons who reoffend or who pose a threat to public safety."

"Part 5 amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to attempt to preclude situations in which foreign nationals might be exploited or become victims of human trafficking in this country. These amendments give immigration officers discretion to refuse to authorize a foreign national to work in Canada if, in their opinion, the foreign national is at risk of being a victim of exploitation or abuse."

It is possible to follow the progress of the bill in Parliament on the LEGISinfo website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:46 pm 0 comments links to this post

Canadian Library Association National Salary Survey 2011

The Canadian Library Association (CLA) has published its 2011 national salary survey.

The price is$59.95 + GST. CLA Members can purchase the survey for $53.95 + GST.

Among the highlights:
  • Survey conducted from February 16 to April 16, 2011.
  • Received 1667 complete response (out of 2083 initial responses); retention rate of approximately 80%
  • MEDIAN INCOME of respondents employed full-time was $67,000 per year, ranging widely across the country from $38,675 among the lowest paid 10% to $110,000 among the highest paid 10%.
    • Full-time respondents with a Master of Library and Information Science (or equivalent) degree (n=1012) earned a median salary of $ 71,696 per year.
    • Full-time respondents with a Library Technician Diploma/Certificate (or equivalent) (n=275) earned a median of $48,412.
  • PROVINCES AND TERRITORIES: Respondents from throughout Canada participated in the survey, with 32.0% from Ontario (n=534); 21.5% from British Columbia (n=358); 15.5% from Quebec (n=258); 11.8% from Alberta (n=196); 5.9% from Manitoba (n=99); 5.3% from Nova Scotia (n=88); 2.3% from Saskatchewan (n=39); 1.9% from New Brunswick (n=31); 1.9% from Newfoundland and Labrador (n=31); 0.8% from Yukon (n=14); 0.6% from Prince Edward Island (n=10); 0.3% from the Northwest Territories (n=5); and 0.2% from Nunavut (n= 4).
  • EMPLOYERS of respondents were primarily academic libraries (30.6%; n=510); public libraries (22.4%; n=373); government (22%; n=367); and schools (7.8%; n=130).
  • PRIMARY AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY: nearly one quarter of the respondents were in Administration and Management (24.7% ; n=412), followed by 16.1% in Reference and Research (n=269); 13.6% having general responsibilities (n=226); 7.1% in Cataloguing/Metadata (n=118); 6.6% in Instruction, Training, User Instruction, Information Literacy (n=110); 4.7% in Children’s Services (n=78); 4.9% in Collections Development/Management (n=81).
    • A full 11.2% (n=187) wrote in responses, providing combinations of areas listed (e.g. Cataloguing & Web content management), indicating that their duties lie in “all” of the areas, or indicating new areas that were technology-based (e.g. social media).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:38 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Book on the McLachlin Court's First Decade

Canadian legal publisher Irwin Law has published a new book on the con­stitutional and administrative law decisions by the Supreme Court of Canada in the first decade of Beverley McLachlin's leadership as Chief Justice of Canada:
"It includes contributions in both English and French from leading scholars who examine the Court’s legacy in areas such as federalism, Aboriginal rights, Charter rights such as equality and freedom of association, criminal law, and public international law. The book provides authoritative insight into the many important judgments that helped to define or redefine the Canadian legal landscape in the first decade of the 21st century as well as glimpse into what Canadians might expect from our highest Court in the years ahead."
It is edited by Adam Dodek (Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, University of Ottawa) and David A. Wright (Associate Chair, Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario).

The introduction and table of contents are available for free on the Social Science Research Network website.

[Source: Slaw.ca]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:02 pm 0 comments links to this post

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of the Improving Trade Within Canada Act

The Library of Parliament recently published a legislative summary of Bill C-14: An Act to amend the Agreement on Internal Trade Implementation Act and the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act:
"Bill C-14, An Act to amend the Agreement on Internal Trade Implementation Act and the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act (short title: Improving Trade Within Canada Act), was introduced in the House of Commons on 6 October 2011 by the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)."

"The bill modifies the Agreement on Internal Trade Implementation Act and the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act. In particular, the bill provides for the enforceability of orders made under the dispute-resolution process of the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), specifically in relation to government-to-government disputes. The bill also changes the terminology in the Agreement on Internal Trade Implementation Act to make it consistent with the terminology in the AIT and to clarify the effect of any orders made under the Act. As well, the bill repeals a section of the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act regarding proceedings initiated under the Agreement on Internal Trade. A similar bill, C-57, was introduced in the 3rd Session of the 40th Parliament."
It is possible to follow the progress of the bill in the Canadian Parliament via the LEGISinfo website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:54 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Statistics Canada Report Shows Decline in Homicides

The Statistics Canada publication Juristat has just published an article on Homicide in Canada, 2010 that shows a marked downward trend.

Among the highlights:
  • In 2010, police reported 554 homicides in Canada, 56 fewer than the year before
  • The homicide rate fell to 1.62 for every 100,000 population, its lowest level since 1966
  • Police in several of the nation's largest census metropolitan areas reported substantially fewer homicides in 2010. The homicide rate in Vancouver, with 25 fewer killings, fell 42% to its lowest level since data in metropolitan areas became available in 1981
  • Thunder Bay recorded the highest homicide rate for the second year in a row. The next highest rates were in Saskatoon and Regina
  • Police reported 170 homicides with a firearm in 2010, down from 180 the year before. This is consistent with a general decline in firearm-related homicides seen over the past three decades
  • In 2010, 94 homicides were considered by police to be gang related, down from 124 in 2009 and the second annual decline. Gang-related homicides reached a record high of 138 in 2008. Despite these recent declines, the rate of gang-related homicide has generally been increasing in all provinces since collection of this information began in 1991. The only exception is in Quebec
  • In recent years, the number of intimate partner homicides, including spousal homicides, has been relatively stable

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:03 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Law Reform Commission of Ireland Consultation Paper on Sexual Offences and Intellectual Disability

Yesterday, the Law Reform Commission of Ireland released its Consultation Paper on Sexual Offences and Capacity to Consent.

In the Consultation Paper, the Commission makes 15 provisional recommendations for reform, including the repeal and replacement of the existing law on sexual offences involving persons with intellectual disability.

The Commission argues that section 5 of Ireland's Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993 (a) fails to protect people with intellectual disability from unwanted sexual contact generally and (b) fails to empower people with intellectual disability to realise their right to sexual expression (it does not clearly provide for situations of consensual sex between two persons with intellectual disability).

The Commission’s main provisional recommendations in the Consultation Paper are:
  • Section 5 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993 should be repealed and replaced;
  • the same functional approach to capacity (that is, an assessment of capacity to consent based on understanding the decision and its consequences at the time the decision is being made) must be taken in respect of assessing capacity to marry in the civil law and capacity to consent to sexual relations in the criminal law;
  • consistently with the functional test of capacity, a person lacks capacity to consent to sexual relations if he or she is unable: (a) to understand the information relevant to engaging in the sexual act, and its consequences; (b) to retain that information; (c) to use or weigh up that information as part of the process of deciding to engage in the sexual act; or (d) to communicate his or her decision;
  • a defence of reasonable mistake should apply, as with sexual offences against children, but this defence should not be available to persons in positions of trust or authority;
  • there should be a strict liability offence for sexual acts committed by a person who is in a position of trust or authority with another person who has an intellectual disability;
  • any replacement of section 5 of the 1993 Act should cover all forms of sexual assault and sexual acts which exploit a person’s vulnerability;
  • guidelines should be developed for those working in the criminal justice process to identify current obstacles and examine methods by which the participation in court proceedings of adults with intellectual disability could be enhanced
The report also takes a comparative approach, examining other jurisdictions such as England and Wales, Scotland, Canada, and New Zealand.

The consultation ends on 31 December 2011.

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

European Court of Human Rights Adds New Thematic Factsheets

This is a follow-up to the Library Boy post of October 11, 2011 entitled New European Court of Human Rights Factsheet on Death Penalty Abolition.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg has published a series of Factsheets that describe important jurisprudence of the institution on a number of subjects.

The ECHR has recently added additional Factsheets on the protection of personal data and on detention conditions and treatment of prisoners.

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 has 47 member countries.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Seeks Nominations for Award for Excellence in Law Librarianship

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is seeking nominations for the Denis Marshall Memorial Award for Excellence in Law Librarianship:
"This award is an honour bestowed upon a current member of CALL/ACBD who has provided outstanding service to the Association AND/OR enhanced the profession of law librarianship in the recent past. The specific contributions may reflect the qualities engendered by Denis Marshall:

  • a continued commitment to excellence in law librarianship;
  • a strong service ethic;
  • a commitment to continuous learning;
  • a significant contribution to the scholarship of the library profession;
  • mentoring and encouraging those who seek a profession in law librarianship;
  • the pursuit of innovation and/or innovative solutions;
  • and/or a contribution to leadership in the law library profession."
Nominations must be received by October 30th (details on the website).

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Canadian Research Libraries Sponsoring Open Access Week

Members of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) are holding many different activities to mark Open Access Week, from October 24th to 30th.

According to CARL's website, open access refers to the " free availability of scholarly journal publications over the Internet".

Earlier Library Boy posts on open access scholarly publishing include:
  • Law Library Directors: Law Reviews Should Stop Print, Go Fully Digital (February 24, 2009): "Today, the Law Library Blog reprints the Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship, written by the directors of some of the major academic law libraries in the United States. In the document, they call for the abandonment of print versions of law journals and the adoption of 'stable, open, digital formats' for the dissemination of legal scholarship. They also call on law libraries to stop acquiring print versions of law journals ..."
  • Live Webcast Friday of Duke Conference on Open Access Law Journals (October 20, 2010): "Duke University in North Carolina is hosting a workshop this Friday, October 22 on Implementing the Durham Statement: Best Practices for Open Access Law Journals ..."
  • Newest Issue of Law Library Journal (February 14, 2011): "The most recent issue of Law Library Journal is available on the website of the American Association of Law Libraries. Among the highlights: The Durham Statement Two Years Later: Access in the Law School Journal Environment: 'The Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship, drafted by a group of academic law library directors, was promulgated in February 2009. It calls for two things: (1) open access publication of law school–published journals; and (2) an end to print publication of law journals, coupled with a commitment to keeping the electronic versions available in 'stable, open, digital formats.' The two years since the Statement was issued have seen increased publication of law journals in openly available electronic formats, but little movement toward all-electronic publication. This article discusses the issues raised by the Durham Statement, the current state of law journal publishing, and directions forward'."
  • Law Library Journal Spring 2011 Issue (May 24, 2011): "The Spring 2011 issue of Law Library Journal is out. It is a publication of the American Association of Law Libraries. Among the articles I found interesting are: A Response to The Durham Statement Two Years Later (Margaret A. Leary): 'This response to The Durham Statement Two Years Later, published in the Winter 2011 issue of Law Library Journal, addresses that article’s call for an end to print publication of law journals and its failure to sufficiently consider the national and international actors and developments that will determine the future of digital libraries'."
  • Calgary Statement on Free Access to Legal Information (June 29, 2011): "The Council of Canadian Academic Law Library Directors has released the Calgary Statement on Free Access to Legal Information adopted in mid-May. The Statement promotes the principles of open access in scholarly publishing at Canadian academic institutions and of free access to legal information in society."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:50 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Eagle-i Internet Portal for Law Replaces Intute: Law

The GlobaLex collection at the New York University School of Law has just updated its guide entitled Intute: Law – the What? Why? How? Where? and Who?.

Intute: Law was "part of the UK’s national Internet service, providing access to the best of the web for law through an Internet resource catalogue of international scope and relevance, specialist site evaluation and interactive online training resources."

The service was discontinued in the summer of 2011 due to budget cutbacks by funding institutions.

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS)in London has developed the Eagle-i Internet Portal for Law as a successor service.

It has maintained the Intute: Law bibliographic records and continues to add new ones. It already has 4,500 records providing an evaluative description of law-related websites from 200 countries as well as non-governmental international bodies and organizations.

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

Supreme Court of Canada Library Updates Court Bibliography

The library of the Supreme Court of Canada recently updated its online bibliography about the court. New material from the period 2008-2011 has been added.

The bibliography contains articles, textbooks, earlier bibliographies, rules of practice and statistics about the Court.

Speeches by Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada as well as scholarly commentary about the court's rulings are not included.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

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 October 1-15, 2011 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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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Report on Carswell Loose-Leaf Policies

Recently on the listserv of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL), there have been many posts about changes to the way libraries could purchase loose-leaf content from Canadian publisher Carswell, a Thomson Reuters company.

The CALL Vendor-Liaison Committee and the Toronto Association of Law Libraries have produced a report on the issue.

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

Anniversary of the 1929 Persons Case

October 18th is Persons Day in Canada.

On this day in 1929, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, then Canada's highest appellate court, ruled that women were indeed "persons" under the law.

The Blogosaurus Lex blog (Legal Resource Centre of Alberta) has links to the text of the case as well as to websites with historical background material and analysis.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:49 pm 0 comments links to this post

2010-2011 Annual Report of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Graham Fraser, the federal Commissioner of Official Languages, has released his 2010-11 annual report.

In it, Fraser worries that official minority language communities (English-speaking communities in Quebec and French-speaking communities in the rest of Canada) may bear a disproportionate weight of impending federal government cost-cutting exercises.

Fraser calls on the federal government to modify Part VIII of the Official Languages Act in order to give the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat the power and authority to establish policies for the application of Part VII of the Act.

Part VII of the Act outlines federal institutions’ obligation to support the vitality of Canada’s official language communities and foster linguistic duality:

"The amendments made to the Act in 2005 served to specify the obligations of federal institutions under Part VII. However, Part VIII of the Act was not amended to give the Treasury Board the authority to develop policies for the advancement of English and French."

"The sections of the Act dealing with Canadian Heritage’s role as coordinator were not changed either. This constitutes a significant gap. Although Canadian Heritage’s coordinating role enabled it to develop a very useful guide for institutions in fulfilling their Part VII responsibilities, this tool may be viewed as not binding and does not provide the guidance of the policies and directives being developed by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat under Part VIII."

"This gap is also a serious hindrance to the good governance of the Act and explains why no policy dealing specifically with the implementation of Part VII was included in the 2010–2011 review of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s official languages policies."

"Because federal institutions are all interpreting their obligations under Part VII in different ways, the Commissioner believes that the time has come for the government to amend Part VIII of the Official Languages Act. This would give the Treasury Board the legal authority to monitor the implementation of Part VII through policies or directives and, if needed, through regulations, in collaboration with Canadian Heritage, whose role is to coordinate. This would greatly help federal institutions in implementing the Act because a comprehensive approach would be used, rather than a fragmented one." (p. 7)

The annual report also includes a report card on selected federal institutions’ compliance with the Act, a summary of citizen complaints and investigations, as well as findings from three audits of official language practices at Environment Canada, Service Canada and National Defence.

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

European Court of Human Rights Country Profiles

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has published factsheets for each of the 47 European countries that have ratified the European Convention on Human Rights.

Factsheets contain court statistics as well as noteworthy cases related to each country.

The European Court of Human Rights was set up in Strasbourg by the Council of Europe Member States in 1959 to deal with alleged violations of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:21 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, October 17, 2011

Launch of Juricaf International Francophone Supreme Court Caselaw Database

The Association des cours judiciaires francophones (AHJUCAF = Association of Francophone Courts) recently launched Juricaf, an international database containing more than 760,000 court rulings from dozens of French-speaking jurisdictions and from 9 international courts.

Updated daily, Juricaf includes the decisions from the Cour de cassation of Belgium, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Cour de cassation of France, the Swiss Federal Tribunal, African courts, as well as French translations of rulings from a number of other countries such as the Czech Republic, Romania and Vietnam.

Juricaf was designed in partnership with the Université Paris I and with the support of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, the international organization of French-speaking countries.

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

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Has New Website

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries has a new website.

Based on the open source Drupal content management system, the new site offers many new features such as blog space, news updates, RSS and updated content.

The Members Only section includes workspaces for CALL committees (eg Research Committee) and Special Interest Groups (eg Academic Law Libraries). The CALL Directory information has an updated look with the ability to create Member Profiles, including the ability to upload a personal photo and to display or hide contact information.

One interesting new feature available at no charge to Members and non-Members alike is the Job Posting site found under Jobs and Careers.

A webinar highlighting all the new features of the website will be offered shortly.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

British Columbia Law Institute Seeks Volunteers For Mental Capacity Committee

The British Columbia Law Institute is seeking volunteers to serve on its common-law capacity project committee. Interested people have until October 31, 2011 to apply.

"The British Columbia Law Institute is about to commence a large-scale project to study common-law tests of mental capacity. It is basic law that mental disability or illness does not, in and of itself, leave a person incapable under the law to carry out transactions, enter into relationships, or manage his or her affairs. The law’s focus is on the degree of mental disability or illness. If a person’s mental illness or disability exceeds in degree a legal threshold, then that person will be considered incapable in the eyes of the law. This legal threshold is commonly called a test of capacity. "

"There is no single, global test of capacity. Instead, the law has developed many different tests of capacity, each geared to specific types of transactions or relationships. Over the past 20 years, British Columbian and Canadian law has seen significant development of legislation relating to mental capacity, which has yielded modern and sophisticated rules on when a person is mentally competent to perform certain tasks or enter into certain transactions. But many areas of the law continue to rely on older common-law tests of capacity, which hold sway in contract law, wills-and-estates law, and family law, among other areas. This project’s goals are to study and illuminate selected common-law tests of capacity, to determine where the current law has shortcomings that require modernization or harmonization, and to recommend legislative reforms to address those shortcomings."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:45 am 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Phase 2 of Just A Click Away Public Legal Education Project

This is a follow-up to the Library Boy post of September 21, 2011 entitled Just a Click Away Conference Report on Public Legal Education.

Just A Click Away is a Canada-wide initiative on public legal education and information (PLEI). It organized a successful conference in Vancouver last February.

It has just announced that it has received funding for Phase 2 of its work with a focus on Supporting a Culture of Sharing:
"This next phase features four elements:
  • An online community of practice. Led by PovNet, we will provide a private online space for PLEI practitioners to have frank conversations and share experiences and learning about technology and PLEI on an ongoing basis.
  • A series of webinar broadcasts. Led by Éducaloi, we will hold a series of 8 broadcast webinars over a two year period where PLEI practitioners, managers, and funders from across Canada can learn about key topics relating to technology and PLEI.
  • A series of hand-on web labs. Led by CLEO [Community Legal Education Ontario], we will hold a series of 8 hands-on interactive workshops over the web aimed at PLEI practitioners who work directly with online technologies.
  • Documentation of best practices. Led by Courthouse Libraries BC, we will create online PLEI best practices guides, developed from the exchanges in the online community of practice space, the webinar broadcasts and the hands-on web labs."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:47 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

First Global Database of Human Trafficking Cases

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has launched a database of human trafficking case law with details on victims' and perpetrators' nationalities, trafficking routes, verdicts and other information related to prosecuted cases from across the world.

At the time of the launch of the database, more than 150 selected cases from over 30 countries and two regional courts had been uploaded, with an additional 100 cases from over a dozen states to be added in the coming months.

Earlier Library Boy posts on human trafficking include:
  • New Library of Parliament Publications (October 6, 2006): "Trafficking in Persons: 'The United Nations estimates that 700,000 people are trafficked annually worldwide – this is a fluid figure that is difficult to pin down (...) This paper will discuss the concept of trafficking in general terms and provide an overview of the legislative framework surrounding the issue at the international level and within the Canadian context. It will conclude with a discussion of potential gaps in Canadian legislation and policy with respect to trafficking in persons'."
  • New Library of Parliament Research Publications (February 18, 2007): "Human Trafficking: 'Trafficking in persons is not the same as migrant smuggling. The key distinction is that smuggled migrants are usually free once they arrive at their intended destination, whereas trafficking victims may be held against their will and subject to forced labour or prostitution (...) The 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report [U.S. State Department] also indicates that 'Canada is a source, transit, and destination country …' Some 800 people are trafficked into this country each year, while an additional 1,500 to 2,200 are trafficked through Canada to the United States'."
  • Annual U.S. State Department Report on Human Trafficking (June 27, 2007): "The State Department of the United States has been producing an annual report since the year 2000 called the Trafficking in Persons Report. It reports on foreign governments' efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons (...) According to the country section on Canada: 'Canada is principally a transit and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Women and children are trafficked mostly from Asia and Eastern Europe for sexual exploitation, but victims from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the Middle East also have been identified in Canada'."
  • New U.S. Reports on Human Trafficking (August 1, 2007): "The Government Accountability Office in the United States recently published 2 reports on human trafficking"
  • International Day for the Abolition of Slavery (December 2, 2007): "Today is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery and the Dag Hammarskjöld Library of the United Nations has put together a web page with resources on contemporary forms of human trafficking."
  • Wiki on Forced Migration Issues (September 17, 2008): "Librarian Elisa Mason, who has worked at the UN High Commission for Refugees and the Refugee Studies Centre in Oxford, has created the Forced Migration Guide using wiki software. The guide offers descriptions of resources for the study of refugees, internal displacement and human trafficking."
  • Library of Parliament Publication on Trafficking of Humans (October 21, 2008): "This paper will discuss the concept of trafficking in general terms and provide an overview of the legislative framework surrounding the issue at the international level and within the Canadian context. It will conclude with a discussion of potential gaps in Canadian legislation and policy with respect to trafficking in persons."
  • United Nations Report on Globalization of Crime (September 5, 2010): "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."

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

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New European Court of Human Rights Factsheet on Death Penalty Abolition

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 Court has just added a new one on the abolition of the death penalty.

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 Court was set up in 1959.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:42 pm 0 comments links to this post

Speech by the Hon Michael Kirby at the Conference on Law Reform in Hong Kong: Does it Need Reform?

The Hon. Michael Kirby, retired judge of the High Court of Australia, recently gave a speech at a Hong Kong conference on the future of law reform where he talked about the reasons why law reform attempts seem to be at a standstill in many countries:

"If there is one significant lesson from this dialogue, it must be of the decline and fall (at least temporarily) of the full-time, professional, well resourced law reform agency. In Canada, the federal body created to perform the task has been abolished: not once but twice. In Ontario, where a major full-time institution, described by Patricia Hughes, long flourished, it has been replaced by a part-time body with a small budget. In several Australian states, a hybrid institute has replaced the earlier models, reliant on busy academics and robbed of significant public subventions. Even the Australian Law Reform Commission, despite the marked success of its implementation track record, has suffered serious blows to its personnel, facilities, programme and funding"

"So the question presented at the end of this dialogue is not how institutional law reform can be improved in Hong Kong, and elsewhere. It is whether full-time law reform agencies have any realistic part to play in the legal systems of common law countries. What are the reasons for the apparent rise in hostility to the Scarman idea [of full-time institutional law reform proposed in the UK in 1965]? If we can analyse them, we may well be able to overcome them and breathe fresh life into the concept of institutional law reform that looked so promising just 45 years ago"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:34 pm 0 comments links to this post

Osgoode Hall Law School Launches International Investment Arbitration Website

Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto has launched a new website and research tool called International Investment Arbitration + Public Policy:

The site offers:
  • access to a database of known arbitration cases decided under investment treaties
  • organization of investment arbitration cases by policy area (e.g. agriculture, environmental protection, taxation)
  • compilation of the appointment records of individual arbitrators who have sat in investment arbitration cases
  • other information and commentary on the system of international investment arbitration.
[Source: Canadian Association of Law Librarians listserv]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:14 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, October 10, 2011

Legacy of Departing Supreme Court of Canada Justice Ian Binnie

This week's issue of The Lawyers Weekly examines the "exceptional legacy" of Justice Ian Binnie who is retiring from the Supreme Court of Canada after almost 14 years on the country's top bench:
"He authored many leading cases, including on the admissibility of similar-fact evidence in criminal trials; patent interpretation and validity; protection for famous trade-marks; punitive damages awards in contract; expert evidence on novel science; and standard of review in administrative law cases."

"His groundbreaking judgments also enlarged the fair comment defence in defamation cases, gave protection to journalists’ secret sources and created a three-step framework for analyzing when judges can intervene to override liability limitation clauses in contracts."

The article also lists "Binnie’s Blockbusters" or "groundbreaking unanimous and majority judgments".

Earlier Library Boy posts on Justice Binnie's retirement:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:30 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, October 08, 2011

British Columbia Law Institute Report on Proposals for Unfair Contracts Relief

The British Columbia Law Institute recently released a Report on Proposals for Unfair Contracts Relief:
"The
 basic
 purpose
 of
 the
 law
 of
 contracts
 is
 to
 ensure
 that
 promises
 made
 for
 consideration
 are 
enforced. 
Achieving 
this 
basic 
purpose
 offends 
the 
conscience 
of 
society
 in
 some
 cases.
 The
 courts
 have
 a
 longstanding
 jurisdiction
 to
 refuse
 to
 enforce
 contracts 
that 
are 
determined
 to 
be 
unfair."
"This
 report
 recommends
 reforms
 to
 the
 leading
 concepts
 used
 by
 contract
 law
 to
 tackle
 the
 problem
 of
 unfairness.
 These
 concepts
 are
 unconscionability,
 duress,
 undue
 influence,
 good
 faith,
 and
 misrepresentation.
 Over
 the
 past
 years,
 they
 have
 been
 considered
 in
 an
 increasing
 number
 of
 court
 decisions.
 This
 has
 led
 to
 an
 expansion
 of, 
and
 a
 degree
 of 
confusion 
about,
 their
 scope.
 It
 is 
now
 timely 
to
 rationalize
 and 
consolidate 
these 
concepts."
The BCLI website also includes a consultation paper on the issue as well as 4 backgrounders.

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

Alberta Law Reform Institute Discussion Paper on Estate Administration

The Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) recently released a discussion report on Estate Administration:
"Estate administration is the job of gathering the assets of the deceased, paying the debts and distributing the estate to the persons entitled by will or the intestate succession legislation."

"Often the personal representative [PR] will be a family member who may have no previous experience of such a job and will also be dealing with the death of a family member at the same time."

"Surveys have found that the job of a PR is not well understood and there is little information available to help."

"This Report for Discussion proposes key changes to improve the process of estate administration in Alberta and invites your comments on the proposals."
  • "First, it proposes that a PR, whether appointed by a will or on intestacy, have the power to act from the death.
  • Second, it proposes to set out clearly the values that the PR must follow in administering an estate. The PR must act with a duty of care, administer the estate in a timely manner, and maintain communication.
  • Third, it proposes to outline a clear and rational statement explaining the process of estate administration and the PR’s core tasks. The starting point for this statement will be the current list of the PR’s core tasks in the Surrogate Rules.
  • Finally, it stresses the importance of communication by the PR to the beneficiaries, creditors and others. Communication arises in all aspects of the PR’s job. The process of administering an estate is made easier for the PR and all involved if communication is open and effective."
Interested parties have until November 30, 2011 to consider the proposals and to make their views known to the ALRI.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:18 pm 0 comments links to this post

What Is The Most Important Trait To Have In Your Profession?

A recent post on 3 Geeks and a Law Blog asked What Is The Most Important Trait To Have In Your Profession?

The answers include social intelligence, open-mindedness, curiosity, self-control, love of learning and more.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:13 pm 0 comments links to this post

Library of Parliament Publication on Bilingualism in the Federal Courts

The Library of Parliament recently published a report on Bilingualism in the Federal Courts:
"This document analyzes the rules that govern the use of both official languages in the federal courts, that is, the courts established by Parliament. It gives a brief overview of Canada’s court system before examining the legislative, constitutional and judicial framework of bilingualism in the federal courts. Lastly, it reviews the unique case of the Supreme Court of Canada and summarizes the recent debate on adding language requirements for the judges who sit on the Supreme Court bench."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:10 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Canadian Government Reintroduces Copyright Amendment Legislation

Late last week, the Canadian government introduced the Copyright Modernization Act.

It is identical to proposed legislation that died on the order table when the last Parliament was dissolved for the May 2011 elections.

This is the fifth attempt in less than a decade to update Canada's copyright law.
  • Government backgrounder : "Librarians will be allowed to digitize print material and then send a copy electronically to a library client through an interlibrary loan. The requesting client could either view the material on a computer or print one copy. Libraries, archives, and museums will be permitted to make copies of copyrighted material in an alternative format if there is a concern that the original is in a format that is in danger of becoming obsolete. "
  • Copyright changes: how they'll affect users of digital content (CBC News, September 30, 2011): "If passed in its current form, the Copyright Modernization Act will allow Canadians to: (...) Use copyrighted content for the purposes of education, satire or parody. This expands what is known as the fair dealing provisions of the existing law — which until now covered only research, private study, criticism and news reporting (...) The new law will also: Prohibit the circumventing of digital locks, even for legal purposes — such as the education or satire uses protected by other sections of the Act. This is one of the most controversial parts of the legislation. Many experts have criticized the government for not including an exemption that would allow for the bypassing of digital locks for legitimate purposes, such as the copying of parts of digitally locked textbooks to view on another device or for use in an assignment."
  • University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist's blog comments on the bill

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

Canadian Government Reintroduces Amendments to PIPEDA Privacy Legislation

Last week, the Canadian government reintroduced a bill to amend the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). An identical bill died on the order paper when federal elections were called for last May.

One of the changes proposed would oblige companies to report breaches of personal information to the federal privacy commissioner and affected individuals.

Further information:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:42 pm 0 comments links to this post

Government Introduces Federal Law–Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 3 in the Senate

Last week, the Canadian government introduced a bill in the Senate that will harmonize federal law with the civil law of Quebec to ensure that it takes into account both civil law and common law traditions of Canada.

Harmonization involves reviewing all federal legislation the application of which requires reliance on provincial private law. Where necessary, harmonization changes ensure that federal legislation integrates the terminology, concepts and institutions of Quebec civil law.

This is the third harmonization bill to be tabled by the Government and it is part of the harmonization work that was begun by the Department of Justice Canada after the new Civil Code of Québec came into force in 1994.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:33 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

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 16 to 30, 2011 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 5:41 pm 0 comments links to this post