Saturday, March 28, 2015

CanLII Primer: New Resource for Self-Represented Litigants

The National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP) has launched The Can LII Primer :
"In the 2013 National SRL Study we were struck by the number of SRLs who used Can Lll, and how important a resource this was for them. Can Lll is not easy to navigate, and especially without a background knowledge of the Canadian court structure, system of precedent, the relationship of legislation to case law, and so on."

"Because so many SRLs continue to tell us how important Can LII is as a resource for them, we decided last Fall to develop a guide to finding your way around Can Lll. Julie [Dr. Julie Macfarlane, Professor of Law and Project Director] at the University of Windsor.began working on the Primer with NSRLP Research Assistant Tamara Thomas, who is primarily responsible for the Primer’s accessible prose and logical organization, as well as the creative use of screenshots and other visuals. We quickly realized that it was important to include a 'Law 101' section to enable users to maximize the effectiveness of their searches."
The Primer can be found on the NSRLP website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:02 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, March 26, 2015

New Trial Ordered in Ontario Case After Judge Looks Up Info on Google Street View

According to the blog Legal Feeds, the Ontario Superior Court has ordered a new trial in an assault case because a judge looked up information from Google Street View on his own initiative:
"In coming to his conclusion, Goldstein [Superior Court Justice Robert Goldstein, who ordered the new trial], citing one case from the Ontario Court of Appeal as well as other trial decisions, noted judges could in fact access Google maps to take judicial notice of facts. But the question, he found, is when do the judge’s actions cross the line into conducting an investigation and usurping the role of counsel. In this case, a major concern was not putting the image to Ghaleenovee [the defendant] (...)"

"Criminal defence lawyer Daniel Brown notes the case deals in part with the scope of judicial notice when it comes to accepting facts generally accepted to be true. When it comes to Google maps, according to Brown, there’s a general acceptance that they’re accurate. But in this case, he says, the trial judge went even further."

" 'That’s problematic for a few reasons,' he says, noting the Street View image may now be out of date."
 Earlier Library Boy posts on misttrials caused by the use of the Internet or social media 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 (...) "
  • 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. " 
  • 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 ..."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:39 pm 0 comments links to this post

Alberta Law Reform Institute Final Report on Assisted Reproduction After Death

The Alberta Law Reform Institute has published its Final Report on Assisted Reproduction After Death: Parentage and Implications:
"The idea of recognising parentage and inheritance rights for children born after the death of one of their genetic parents has been part of the common law for centuries. However, these provisions have only applied to children en ventre sa mère. In other words, parentage and inheritance rights are bestowed upon those children who are in utero at the time of a parent’s death, provided they are subsequently born alive."

"Advancements in reproductive technology mean that storage of reproductive materials and conception by assisted reproduction are achievable. Further, it is possible for assisted reproduction to occur after the death of one of the genetic donors. In other words, children may be conceived after the death of one of their genetic parents by using the deceased parent’s stored reproductive material. Given this prospect, it is appropriate to consider the legal status of such 'after-born' children."
The report makes a number of recommendations:
  • Where a person provides reproductive material or an embryo and consents to its use for reproductive purposes after his or her death by a surviving spouse or partner, the court may, on application, declare that person to be a parent of a child conceived after that person’s death on the same basis as if the child had been conceived through assisted reproduction during the person’s lifetime.
  • Where a person provides reproductive material or an embryo and consents to its use for reproductive purposes after his or her death by a surviving spouse or partner, the surviving spouse or partner should have standing to apply for a declaration of the deceased’s parentage where a child is conceived using the deceased’s reproductive material or embryo and the child’s birth mother is a surrogate.
  • Where a person provides reproductive material or embryos and consents to its use for reproductive purposes after his or her death by a surviving spouse or partner, the surviving spouse or partner should be recognized as a parent on the same basis as if the child had been conceived through assisted reproduction during the deceased’s lifetime.
The report examines the policies of a number of other Canadian jurisdictions.

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

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Library Journal's Movers and Shakers 2015

Earlier this month, Library Journal released its 2015 list of Library Movers and Shakers:
"Passion. Vision. Mission. These are just a few of the words that characterize the 50 individuals—and one organization—named 2015 Movers & Shakers. They are passionate about what they do, whether it is advocating for literacy and diversity, serving the underserved, spreading and sharing technology, and much more. They see the future and bring it to life. And they are committed to the mission of the library as an engine of democracy."
Winners were chosen in the following categories:
  • Change agents
  • Innovators
  • Advocates
  • Educatotrs
  • Digital developers
  • Community builders
The publication provides a map of all the Movers and Shakers from 2002 to 2015. Over the years, a number of Canadian librarians have been selected,but none made the cut this year.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:44 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Law Library of Congress Employees' Favourite Legal Words

The Law Library of Congress decided to survey its staffers to find out what their favorite legal terms or phrases are and why.

Among the results are:
  • recreational litigation
  • per stirpes
  • in custodia legis
  • proprio motu
  • amicus curiae
  • res ipsa loquitur
  • in loco parentis
  • estoppel
  • force majeure
  • Miranda warning
  • well-founded fear (refugee law)
  • common scold (old)
  • oredelf  (very old)
  • pettifogger
My favourite terms or expressions are "mandamus" and "anticonstitutionnellement" (in French) . I am also very fond of "obiter dicta".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:34 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, March 23, 2015

Northwest Interlibrary Loan and Resource Sharing Conference September 2015 in Portland

Librarians who handle inter-library loans will be interested in the Northwest Interlibrary Loan and Resource Sharing Conference taking place September 10-11, 2015, in Portland, Oregon at Portland Community College.

The program will look at issues relating to:
  • Managing your ILL statistics
  • Sustainable ILL & green practices
  • Coping with fewer resources
  • ILL for public libraries
  • Succession planning
  • Libraries without books, what does it mean for ILL?
  • Keeping track of licensing of e-content for ILL
  • Training staff and students
  • Copyright and licensing 
You can have a look at the content of past conferences online.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:06 pm 0 comments links to this post

English Law Commission Consultation Paper on Chairty Law

The Law Commission of England has published a consultation paper on Technical Issues in Charity Law that looks at some of the administrative and financial burdens that the 370,000 charities in England and Wales have to face.

It also explores certain possible reforms, such as the use of permanent endowment, protection of gifts to merged charities and sale of charity land.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:53 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Upcoming SLA Twitter Chat on Networking

The international information professional organization SLA (Special Libraries Association) is organizing a Twitter chat on Wednesday, March 25 from 4:00PM. to 5:00PM Eastern time on the benefits of networking.

It will be hosted by SLA Online Content Advisory Council Chair Tracy Z. Maleeff (@LibrarySherpa) and SLA Professional Development Advisory Council Chair Leslie Hicks (@librarianninja).

Topics covered will include:
  •  How do you typically go about networking with your peers? Do you have a strategy or a plan? What kind of networker are you?
  • If you struggle with networking, what weaknesses do you wish to improve upon? If you are skilled, what do you suggest to help?
  • What do you expect your network to provide you? Or, do you have success stories of how networking benefited you?
  • Which tools, tips or tricks do you employ to be successful at networking? What techniques and practices do you utilize?
The hashtag for the event will be #SLAtalk.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:14 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Comparing Constitutions Online

The AALL Spectrum Blog on the website of the American Association of Law Libraries had an item last week about the free website Constitute based at the University of Texas at Austin,

The website not only contains 194 constitutions from around the world, it also allows you to compare constitutions by topic.

Topics include such things as amendment procedure, citizenship, indigenous groups, religion, language, citizenship, elections, structure of the executive, federalism, secession, references to international law, treaty-making, the judiciary, structure and powers of the legislature, independent agencies and commissions, rights and duties.

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

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Supreme Court of Canada Updated Policy for Access to Court Records

The Supreme Court of Canada today published its revised Policy for Access to Supreme Court of Canada Court Records. It took effect today March 17, 2015 and replaces the policy dated February 9, 2009.

In addition to the hearing schedules, docket information, party information, case summaries, webcasts of appeal hearings and factums on appeal, the Court will begin to post memorandums of argument on applications for leave to appeal after they are granted.

The revised policy also introduces a Registered Access process for frequent users.This is for people who require regular access to multiple court records in one case file, or to single or multiple court records in more than one case file without having to complete a Request for Court Records each time.

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

Monday, March 16, 2015

Georgetown University Symposium Searches for Solutions for Link Rot

Retired Supreme Court of the United States librarian Judith Gaskell published an article today on Slaw.ca called Link Rot: the Problem Is Getting Bigger, but Solutions Are Being Developed.

The article describes a symposium in the fall of 2014 at Georgetown University that examined emerging solutions to the problem of link rot.. Many of the presentations are online.

Link rot, a growing and frustrating phenomenon on the Web and in the field of electronic legal information, refers to broken URLs or to URLs that direct to the original site but whose corresponding document has been removed or relocated without any information about where to find it.

Earlier Library Boy posts about link rot include:
  • Recent Law Librarianship Literature (November 6, 2005): "From Law Library Journal, v. 97, no. 4, Fall 2005: Persistent Identification of Electronic Documents and the Future of Footnotes: 'Over the past decade, the use of Internet citations in the footnotes of law review articles has grown from a trickle to a flood. But it is well documented that Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) experience link rot, that is, over time the URL is more and more likely to become a dead link, making the footnote citation worthless or nearly so'."
  • Most Recent Issue of Law Library Journal (November 5, 2010): "Among the articles that attracted my attention: ... Breaking Down Link Rot: The Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archives Examination of URL Stability: 'Ms. Rhodes explores URL stability, measured by the prevalence of link rot over a three-year period, among the original URLs for law- and policy-related materials published to the web and archived though the Chesapeake Project, a collaborative digital preservation initiative under way in the law library community. The results demonstrate a significant increase in link rot over time in materials originally published to seemingly stable organization, government, and state web sites'."
  • Fifth Annual Link Rot Report of the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group (May 3, 2012): "The Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group has just published its 5th annual study of link rot among the original URLs for online law- and policy-related materials it has been archiving since 2007 (...) In 2012, 218 out of 579 URLs in the sample no longer provide access to the content that was originally selected, captured, and archived by the Chesapeake Group. In other words, link rot has increased to 37.7 percent within five years."
  • CBC Radio Interview about Link Rot in Court Decisions (October 28, 2013): "The most recent episode of the CBC Radio show Spark includes an interview with Harvard Law School researcher Kendra Albert who co-authored an article about link rot in US Supreme Court decisions (...) In the case of the URLs in US Supreme Court decisions, the authors found a link rot rate of 50%. The Spark researchers checked URLs in Supreme Court of Canada decisions and found many broken links to texts from the Canadian Association of Journalists, the Law Society of Alberta and the Uniform Law Conference of Canada, among others."

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

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Supreme Court of Canada Statistics 2004 to 2014

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Canada published a statistical overview of its work for the decade from 2004 to 2014.

It provides data on the following:
  • "Cases Filed": the number of complete applications for leave to appeal and notices of appeal as of right filed by litigants with the Court’s Registry each year
  • "Applications for Leave Submitted": the number of leave applications submitted to panels of the Court for decision, the number of leave applications granted and the percentage granted of the total submitted
  • "Appeals Heard": the number of appeals heard each year and the number of hearing days over the year
  • "Appeal Judgments": the number of judgments rendered each year
  • "Average Time Lapses": time lines in the life of a case at the Court

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:00 pm 0 comments links to this post

Canadian Forum on Civil Justice Factsheet on Everyday Legal Problems and the Cost of Justice in Canada

The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice has published a factsheet on Everyday Legal Problems and the Cost of Justice in Canada whose content comes from a 2014 survey of 3,000 Canadians aged 18 and over:
"It is the first Canadian study of its kind to explore what everyday legal problems cost Canadians – not just in dollars, but in time and opportunity costs, costs to their physical and mental health, and costs to their livelihood."

"The survey is part of the larger 5 year Cost of Justice project, which examines the social and economic costs of Canada’s justice system. It is guided by two questions: What is the cost of delivering access to justice? And, what is the cost of not delivering access to justice?"
More details about the Cost of Justice project are available on the Forum's website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:55 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Canadian Library Association Statement on Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015

The Canadian Library Association yesterday released a statement on Bill C-51, the Canadian government's proposed new anti-terrorism bill:
"We are especially concerned that this bill is proceeding through the parliamentary process much too quickly for it to be fully analyzed and debated in terms of its implications for these important Canadian values."

"The CLA therefore urges the government, with respect to Bill C-51, to:
  • Incorporate considerably greater restrictions and independent oversight into the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act provisions.
  • Limit and clarify the kinds of expression that would be criminalized or restricted as 'terrorist propaganda.'
  • Allow Parliament to fully examine and properly debate the bill’s provisions, giving as much time as needed for all appropriate consultation." (...)
"Bill C-51 was introduced in Parliament only on January 30, 2015, and passed at Second Reading already on February 23. While terrorism is a current concern for Canadians and frequently appears in newspaper headlines, there is no clear emergency requiring such rapid passage of this legislation. Furthermore, when very strong cautions about this bill are delivered in an open letter by more than a hundred law professors from across the country, and in another by four former Prime Ministers and a range of former Supreme Court justices, cabinet ministers and officers of Parliament, and when the current federal Privacy Commissioner expresses grave concerns, Canadians rightly expect the government to allow Parliament to fully examine and properly debate this bill that has so many implications for the privacy of Canadians and their freedom of expression – whether or not it can be passed before Parliament’s summer recess."

"The CLA urges Parliament to insist on extensive consultations and hearings on Bill C-51 to ensure that all relevant knowledge, opinions, and perspectives can be heard and considered. As well, we urge the government, based on such testimony, to amend Bill C-51 if the evidence suggests that the bill in its present form is not in the best interest of both public safety and the democratic freedoms cherished by Canadians."
It is possible to follow the progress of the bill through Parliament by going to the LEGISinfo website. The page for Bill C-51 also contains links to speeches in Parliament, and material from parliamentary committee hearings. Backgrounders with the substantive reasoning explaining why the government believes the legislation is needed to protect Canadians is also available on LEGISinfo.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:46 pm 0 comments links to this post

Speech by UK Supreme Court Justice Lord Sumption on 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta

Earlier this month, Lord Sumption, Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, gave a speech called Magna Carta then and now to members of the association Friends of the British Library.

The Magna Carta, considered a foundational document for democratic principles, was signed in June 1215 by King John of England.

The speech looks at the origins of the  document and at how it has perceived by lawyers and historians over the centuries.

Earlier Library Boy posts about the Magna Carta include:
  • Online History of Human Rights in the UK 1215-1945 (August 1, 2007): "The National Archives of the United Kingdom has a new online exhibition that traces the historical development of legal and human rights in Great Britain from the Magna Carta in 1215 to the emergence of the modern post-WWII Welfare State."
  • British Library Exhibition on 900 Years of Struggle for Rights and Freedoms (October 30, 2008): "It takes a look at the people, events and documents that played a major role in the 900-year history of the rise and consolidation of rights and freedoms in the British Isles and by extension throughout the former British Empire/Commonwealth."
  • Magna Carta to Tour Canada in its 800th Anniversary Year (January 29, 2015): "The Magna Carta, along with its companion document from 1217 known as the Charter of the Forest, will be exhibited in Ottawa/Gatineau at the Canadian Museum of History from June 11 to July 26, 2015, before making stops in Winnipeg, Toronto and Edmonton."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:35 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Most Recent Issue of LawNow: Vulnerable Children

The most recent issue of LawNow is available online.

The magazine is published by the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta.

The main section contains a number of features articles on vulnerable children.

There is also a special report on "romance and the law".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:12 pm 0 comments links to this post

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Webinar on Real/Personal Property Law

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is organizing a webinar on April 21 on real and personal property law:
"Questions / topics to be covered will include:
- How is property law taught in law school?
- More specifically, the following concepts will be discussed:
  • Personal property: ownership versus possession; "finder's-keepers" law; conversion; bailment; security interests in personal property
  • Real property:
  • Interests in land
  • Land title regimes versus Registry Act regimes
  • Restrictive covenants against land / easements
  • The dreaded "rule against perpetuities"
  • Buying and selling land
- Research tips for researching property law
- Creating your own research guides and pathfinders for researching property law"
It is part of CALL's 2014-2015 series of webinars on substantive law.

The speaker is Ted Tjaden, national litigation precedents lawyer in Gowlings’ Toronto office. He is the author of Legal Research and Writing, 3rd ed (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2010).

The webinar will take place from 1 to 2:30PM Eastern Time.

CALL/ACBD Member: $40 + $5.20 HST    = $45.20
Non-member: $60 + $7.80 HST    = $67.80
Student Rate: $25 + $3.25 HST    = $28.25

It is possible to register online.

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

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Canadian Library Association Concerns About Outsourcing of AMICUS National Catalogue to OCLC

This is a follow-up to the Library Boy post of September 9, 2014 entitled Roundup on Proposed Outsourcing of AMICUS National Catalogue to OCLC.

Library and Archives Canada (LAC)  has been negotiating with the OCLC international library cooperative about taking over AMICUS, Canada's national union catalogue. My place of work uses AMICUS to identify institutions from which to order materials via inter-library loan.

The technology that runs AMICUS is decades-old and is no longer seen to meet the needs of the Canadian library community.


LAC has been holding roundtables with stakeholders about the issue and the Canadian Library Association's Technical Services Network submitted a series of questions to LAC in the wake of such a meeting on March 2, 2015.

The questions cover access to the new AMICUS for libraries that are not members of OCLC, the openness of OCLC, accessibility issues for libraries using older technologies, the maintenance of Canadian authorities and subject headings going forward, cross-references between English and French authorities and subject headings, etc.


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

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

English Law Commission Launches Project to Reform Firearms Offences

The Law Commission of England has launched a project to reform firearms offences with a view to clarifying and simplifying the law and making it easier to understand and use.

Current legislation is complex and unclear, with some 30 overlapping and inconsistent provisions:
"For example, no definitions are given for key terms such as 'antique', 'imitation', 'lethal' and even 'weapon'. There is considerable overlap between offences, making it difficult to establish clearly which charges apply in an individual case. The law has also failed to keep abreast with modern technology, and in particular with the availability of equipment that can be used to convert objects into active firearms."

"The implications are serious and wide-ranging. Experts are taking longer to classify weapons, prosecutors are struggling to select appropriate charges and there are many examples of defendants escaping prosecution on a technicality by successfully arguing that the weapon in their possession has been wrongly identified."
The Commission will hold a three-month consultation in summer 2015, supported by a scoping consultation paper and a conference for stakeholders. It expects to publish our final scoping report in spring 2016.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:00 pm 0 comments links to this post

Law Library of Congress Report on Constitutional Provisions on National and Religious Identity

The Law Library of Congress in Washington recently released a comparative report on Constitutional Provisions on National and Religious Identity:
"This report contains information on provisions in constitutions and other founding documents specifying an ethnic or religious identity for a n Asian or European country. Section I covers twenty countries and includes those indicating an ethnic identity and in some cases also a religious one. Section II covers four countries for whom those documents mention only a religious identity, not an ethnic one, and whose constitutions indicate that the specified religion is the basis for legislation. Section III covers thirteen countries that specify a religion, without necessarily indicating that religion is the basis of legislation and without any single ethnic identity."
The Law Library of Congress is the world’s largest law library, with a collection of over 2.65 million volumes from all ages of history and virtually every jurisdiction in the world.

It has produced many comparative law reports on a large range of topics.

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

Monday, March 09, 2015

Supreme Court of Canada Hearings Calendar for March 2015

The Supreme Court of Canada has published its calendar of appeal hearings for March 2015.

To find out more about any particular case, the Court's website has a section that allows users to find docket information, case summaries as well as factums from the parties. All you need to do is click on a case name.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:48 pm 0 comments links to this post