Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Value of Law Reform Commissions

I like reports written by law reform commissions, whether here in Canada or from other jurisdictions.

As independent bodies, they often have the time to dive deep into an issue and look at its historical evolution and they often do a comparative analysis of what authorities in other countries have tried to do.

These organizations make recommendations to governments that can go a long way to improve access to justice, modernize the justice system, and reduce harm for vulnerable groups.

A few years ago, the Law Commission of England and Wales asked economists to try to quantify the benefits generated by the projects that it had undertaken over the years.

The Commission recently published an update:

"The report establishes that the Law Commission’s projects make a difference in myriad ways: efficiency gains, technology driven growth, harm prevention, well-being improvement, rule of law, access to justice, modernising the legal system and thought leadership (...) The estimated economic gains from the five highest value projects completed since 2019 is about £670 million over 10 years."

The projects include new rules on surrogacy, confiscation of the proceeds of crime, simplifying the rules for marriage, simplification of immigration rules, and anti-money laundering changes.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:41 pm 0 comments

Monday, February 26, 2024

Law Library of Congress Comparative Table on Carbon Neutrality Legislation Around the World

The Law Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. recently published a table on Carbon Neutrality Legislation Around the World:

"This table shows the 57 jurisdictions around the world that the Law Library of Congress has identified as having a net zero emissions or climate neutrality goal set forth in existing or pending legislation. The table highlights existing legislation with established targets and the most recent legislative proposals that are not yet enacted. Existing legislation includes that of the European Union (EU) and its 27 member states, where a June 2021 regulation sets 2050 as the target date for climate neutrality. Fifteen EU member states have passed their own legislation in addition to the directly applicable regulation, including three that have set an earlier target date. To date, 25 jurisdictions outside the EU have passed legislation containing a carbon neutrality or net zero emissions goal, with four jurisdictions (Gibraltar, Iceland, Maldives and Scotland) setting a target date earlier than 2050, while two jurisdictions (Kazakhstan and Nigeria) target the achievement of carbon neutrality later that 2050. At least two other countries (Argentina and Israel) have proposed legislation that includes the goal, and one nation (Chile) has proposed legislation specifying electricity transmission as an enabling sector for carbon neutrality. Two jurisdictions (Russia and the United Kingdom) have enacted laws with carbon neutrality or net zero goals at the subnational level, while Brazil has proposed legislation with the goal of net carbon neutrality in the Brazilian Amazon."

The Law Library of Congress is the world’s largest law library, with a collection of over 2 and a half million volumes from all ages of history and virtually every jurisdiction in the world.

Over the years, it has published dozens of comparative law reports which are a treasure trove for legal research on a huge variety of issues.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:58 pm 0 comments

Thursday, February 22, 2024

English Law Commission Consultation on Digital Assets in Private International Law

The Law Commission in England has launched a short consultation exercise on proposed legislation on digital assets and electronic trade documents.


A summary of the Commission's work on the issue can be found on the project's page:

"The UK Government asked the Law Commission to make recommendations for reform to ensure that the law is capable of accommodating both crypto-tokens and other digital assets in a way which allows the possibilities of this type of technology to flourish."

"In our final report, we conclude that the common law system in England and Wales is well placed to provide a coherent and globally relevant regime for existing and new types of digital asset."

"We conclude that the flexibility of common law allows for the recognition of a distinct category of personal property that can better recognise, accommodate and protect the unique features of certain digital assets (including crypto-tokens and cryptoassets). We recommend legislation to confirm the existence of this category and remove any uncertainty. On 22 February 2024 we published a short consultation on draft clauses which would implement this recommendation."

"To ensure that courts can respond sensitively to the complexity of emerging technology and apply the law to new fact patterns involving that technology, we recommend that Government create a panel of industry experts who can provide guidance on technical and legal issues relating to digital assets."

"We also make recommendations to provide market participants with legal tools that do not yet exist in England and Wales, such as new ways to take security over crypto-tokens and tokenised securities."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:02 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

CanLII Expands AI Summarization Projects

CanLII, the Canadian Legal Information Institute, has been offering case summaries generated through artificial intelligence for some time, starting with decisions from Saskatchewan. 

According to a recent blog post, CanLII will expand AI-created summaries to all Alberta, Manitoba, and Prince Edward Island

"In total, these projects will involve the summarization of 4,000 cases and 1,100 statutes and regulations from PEI, 28,000 cases and 3,000 statutes and regulations from Manitoba, and 120,000 cases and 3,000 statutes and regulations from Alberta. Furthermore, as part of a special project extension, the next three years’ worth of new Manitoba primary law documents will also be summarized."

CanLII is a portal funded by Canada’s provincial and territorial law societies to make legal information content (court judgments, tribunal decisions, statutes and regulations, and commentary) available to Canadians free of charge.

 

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:37 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Recent Government of Canada Publications from the Weekly Acquisitions List

The Government of Canada's Weekly Acquisitions List can be a great way to discover new research reports published by various public bodies and agencies of the federal government. 

It is a record of all publications catalogued in the previous week.

The most recent list had a few documents that attracted my attention:

  • Applying R v Gladue : the use of Gladue reports and principles: "In 1996, section 718.2(e) was added to the Criminal Code, which introduced the principle of restraint in the use of imprisonment during sentencing with particular attention to the circumstances of Indigenous offenders ... The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC), in 1999, first interpreted section 718.2(e) in R v Gladue.⁠ Through this case, the SCC clarified that judges need to consider the unique systemic factors which may have played a part in bringing an Indigenous offender before the courts. To support courts in applying what are now considered Gladue sentencing principles in their decision-making, judges require relevant information about the Indigenous offender before the court. This information can be provided through comprehensive Gladue reports, which include information about an Indigenous person’s background and experiences with colonization, intergenerational trauma, racism, and discrimination ...This study was undertaken by the Department of Justice Canada to better understand how Gladue reports are being prepared across the country and how they and Gladue principles are being considered by the courts."
  • National risk profile : a national emergency preparedness and awareness tool: "The National Risk Profile (NRP) is Canada’s first strategic, national-level risk assessment. This report is based on input and evidence from whole-of-society stakeholders across Canada, and provides a foundation for understanding disaster risk from the three costliest hazards facing Canadians: earthquakes, wildland fire, and floods. It aims to broaden public awareness of disaster risk, identify gaps in the Canadian emergency management system at a national-level and provide evidence to support existing federal risk assessment and climate change adaptation efforts."
  • Canada Centre 2023 conference on countering radicalization to violence : what to measure, how to prevent: "At a time of converging drivers and vulnerabilities that are propelling extreme, grievancefueled forms of violence, Public Safety's Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence (Canada Centre) designed its fourth international conference on countering radicalization to violence (CRV) around the theme of ‘What to measure, how to prevent.’ The idea was to emphasize the importance of research, evaluation, and knowledge exchange between experts and practitioners for adapting prevention to this complex environment.  What follows are select highlights, with further detail about particular sessions and presentations available from the Canada Centre upon request."
  • ArriveCAN : independent auditor's report: "Overall, the Canada Border Services Agency, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Public Services and Procurement Canada repeatedly failed to follow good management practices in the contracting, development, and implementation of the ArriveCAN application. As a result of the many gaps and weaknesses we found in the project’s design, oversight, and accountability, it did not deliver the best value for taxpayer dollars spent. The enduring benefit of the ArriveCAN application is that it remains available for customs and immigration declarations. As of October 2022, ArriveCAN is no longer used to collect travellers’ contact and health information."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:08 pm 0 comments

Monday, February 19, 2024

February 2024 Issue of In Session E-Bulletin of Canadian Association of Law Libraries

The February 2024 issue of In Session has been published. 

It is the monthly e-newsletter of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) and contains news from CALL committees and special interest groups, member updates and events. 

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:20 pm 0 comments

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Courthouse Libraries BC Provides Free Access to Docket Information

Courthouse Libraries BC, the network of public law libraries in 30 courthouses around the province of British Columbia, is now providing free access to the province's court records system in its various locations.

Known as Court Services Online, the system provides access to provincial and BC Supreme Court civil files:

"We’ve secured special access to BC’s Court Services Online’s (CSO) E-search for all visitors to our library branches. This access is not just a new service—it’s a bridge to understanding the intricacies of legal proceedings, offering unparalleled insight into court cases within the limits of court records access policies."

"What is CSO E-search and Why Does It Matter?"

"CSO E-search is an online portal that allows users to search and view docket information for BC court cases. It’s an essential tool for anyone needing detailed information about legal precedents, court procedures, and the progress of specific cases. Until now, access was restricted by a pay-wall, making it challenging for the general public and even some legal professionals to obtain the information they needed without economic barriers."

"This special arrangement with CSO E-search opens up numerous possibilities for legal research, education, and preparation."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 11:38 am 0 comments

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Nova Scotia Law Reform Report on Parentage in the Context of Surrogacy and Sperm, Egg and Embryo Donation

The Access to Justice & Law Reform Institute of Nova Scotia has published its final report on Extending Legal Parentage in the Context of Surrogacy, and Sperm, Egg, and Embryo Donation.


From the Executive Summary:

"This Final Report makes recommendations on how Nova Scotian law should identify a child’s parents when the child is conceived via assisted reproduction (sperm, egg and embryo donation and/or surrogacy). This status is known as legal parentage. While subject to change through formal legal processes such as adoption, for most people legal parentage is an automatic and immutable status upon which their identity is built. For children, parentage legally situates them in the world. Rights based on kinship, such as inheritance, also flow via parentage. For parents, legal parentage provides the immediate presumptive status from which they are given standing to provide the parenting, care and support of children."

"In light of this foundational role, it is vital for legal parentage to reflect the social landscape within which Nova Scotians live, and the various ways families are created. It is also critical that parentage laws be accessible, understandable, and non-discriminatory. This need is most immediate in the context of surrogacy and assisted reproduction. Nova Scotia’s current approach to these families may give rise to discrimination under both the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act."

"Nova Scotia is the only jurisdiction in Canada that lacks parentage legislation. At present, our parentage laws are based on two archaic common law presumptions: the woman who gives birth to a child is that child’s mother, and her husband is the father. Mechanisms to prove (or disprove) parentage outside of these presumptions are largely based on biology proved by genetic testing."

"There are a number of overarching problems with this outdated regime. First, it does not recognize all families living in Nova Scotia today. Many people have children outside of these constraints, including members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. At present, people outside the scope of Nova Scotia’s parentage laws must either formally adopt their own child or ask the Registrar of Vital Statistics to be listed on birth registry documents. The expense, uncertainty, and intrusiveness of asking people to adopt their own children undermines family autonomy and devalues certain family forms (...)"

"Second, existing rules fail to account for parentage in cases of assisted reproduction. Canadians are increasingly using sperm, egg and embryo donation to have children. These technologies separate the link between biology and parentage in a way that is not contemplated by our law. This puts parents who use donated reproductive material in a precarious situation vis-à-vis their children and jeopardizes the substantive legal rights that flow from kinship to children."

"Third, existing mechanisms to account for children born via surrogacy are onerous and outdated. While Nova Scotia does have a method to recognize parents via surrogacy, at the time of writing, these laws arguably place a great deal of risk with the surrogate, exclude parties who lack viable genetic material, and mandate judicial oversight in every case (...)"

"The Institute takes the position that, as social and cultural understandings of parentage change, so too should the law’s response. This Report addresses some of the longstanding gaps in Nova Scotia’s parentage law and seeks to bring the law in line with modern realities of family creation in our Province. "

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:08 pm 0 comments

British Columbia Law Institute Consultation Paper on Parentage

The British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI) has issued a Consultation Paper on Parentage: A Review of Part 3 of the Family Law Act.

The BCLI is a not-for-profit law reform agency based in Vancouver.


From the Executive Summary:

"Conclusively determining who a child’s parents are is an important part of family law. Parentage is the foundation of many aspects of a child’s identity, such as family name and relationships, nationality, and cultural heritage. Parentage can also determine important legal rights and responsibilities, such as a  child’s inheritance rights."

"In British Columbia, parentage is determined by rules set out in part 3 of the Family Law Act. Part 3 is  the first comprehensive legal framework for parentage in British Columbia legislation. It has rules that govern the parentage of children conceived by sexual intercourse. It also applies to children conceived by assisted human reproduction, that is for example, with the assistance of a sperm, egg, or embryo donor, or a surrogate."

"Part 3 addresses the legal consequences for parentage of the use of assisted human reproduction after a person’s death. And it has a provision empowering the court to make an order declaring a person to be (or not to be) a parent, in cases involving disputes over a child’s parentage or any uncertainty about it."

"Part 3 has been in force for a little longer than 10 years. Now is a good time to take stock about how its rules have been working out in practice."

"This consultation paper is a full-scale review of part 3. While it finds that part 3 generally provides BC with a suitable legal framework for parentage, there is also room for improvement. "

The BCLI will be accepting comments on its paper until March 31, 2024.

A final report should be ready later in the year with proposals for reform.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:58 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Most Recent Issue of the Law Library Journal

The most recent issue of the Law Library Journal is available online. 

It is published by the American Association of Law Libraries.


Among the interesting articles:

  • We Take Judicial Notice: Non-English Terms in Modern U.S. Case Law: "In light of growing linguistic pluralism in the United States, courts increasingly grapple with terms from languages other than English. This article investigates the usage of non English terms in U.S. case opinions since the end of World War II."
  • Law as a Consuming Passion: Food Policies in Law Libraries: "This article discusses two surveys conducted 20 years apart about food and drink policies in U.S. academic law libraries. It compares changes from 2002 to 2022 and identifies recent trends. Using this data, libraries can create  environments that better support legal research and the well-being and specific requirements of their patrons."


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:55 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Geek in Review Podcast on Love and Legal Tech

The most recent episode of the Geek in Review Podcast co-hosted by Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer is available.

Lambert is a former president of the American Association of Law Libraries.

The episode features a talk with Alex Macdonald and Cassie Vertovec who are a couple working in legal tech:

"We kick off our new 'Love & Legal Tech' series this week where we embark on a journey to explore the personal and professional lives of couples in the legal tech industry. We are excited to interview couples who share in the excitement of weaving their professional endeavors into their personal relationships. We think this is going to be a great series where couples get a chance to tell their stories of how they balance what one of our guests describes as 'Work-Life-Integration'."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:07 pm 0 comments

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Statistics Canada Report on Quality of Life in High Hate Crime Areas

Statistics Canada recently published a report showing that areas with high rates of hate crime also report lower scores on quality of life indicators:

"The total police-reported hate crime rate in 2022 across Canada was 9.2 incidents per 100,000 population, almost double the rate of 5.2 in 2019. The increasing trend in the number of hate crimes in Canada has provoked interest in exploring the social impacts and trends possibly associated with hate crimes (...)"

"Individuals subjected to hate crimes based on their race, ethnicity, religion, or a similar characteristic may experience heightened psychological distress. This is because such incidents represent an assault on a fundamental part of the victim's personal identity."

"Overall, at the community level, the percentage of people self-reporting positive mental health was lower among those living in a city that was a HHCA than those living in cities with lower rates of hate crime. This was true for both men and women. All told, 49% of men and 43% of women in HHCAs [High Hate Crime Areas] reported positive mental health, compared with 54% of men and 46% of women in cities with lower hate crime rates. It should be noted that regardless of hate crime rates, men were more likely to report positive mental health (54%) than women (44%)."

"In HHCA cities, racialized people were less likely to report positive mental health (44%) than non-racialized people (51%). On the other hand, in cities with relatively low rates of hate crime, racialized people were more likely to report positive mental health (51%) than non-racialized people (49%)."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:33 pm 0 comments

Thursday, February 08, 2024

Citing Generative AI Sources

The January/February 2024 issue of AALL Spectrum, a publication of the American Association of Law Libraries, has published an article on legal citation of AI-generated content by Dominique Garingan, Sessional Instructor, University of Calgary Faculty of Law.

The article starts at p. 33.

It is part of a regular column swap between the publication and Slaw.ca, the online Canadian legal website.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:35 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Law Library Benchmarks, 2024-25

Primary Research Group, a New York-based publisher of research reports and surveys about higher education libraries, has published the report Law Library Benchmarks, 2024-25 ($168US):

"This report presents detailed data from 44 law libraries in the USA and Canada with data broken out separately by size of library and for law firm libraries, university law libraries, courthouse libraries, and all other."

"The study gives its readers detailed benchmarking data on current and future spending plans, with specific data sets for the overall budget, payroll, salaries, overall materials spending, online information, print information, reporters, legal and other scholarly journals, books (eBook and print) purchased from Amazon, books purchased from all other sources, subscription blogs, seminars and professional development and more.  The study also looks at spending plans on particular suppliers of legal information."

Among the major findings in the report:

  • Survey respondents were spending a mean of about 27% of their overall work time working from home.
  • Courthouse libraries in the sample accounted for almost all spending on print reporters.
  • More than 46% of university law librarians in the sample say that use of artificial intelligence has made them more productive.

Primary Research Group has published many law library-related surveys in the past.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:15 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Supreme Court of Canada Calendar of February 2024 Hearings

The Supreme Court of Canada has published its calendar of upcoming appeals that will be heard later this month.

To find out more about any particular case, click on a case number in parentheses to find docket information, case summaries as well as factums from the parties and any interveners.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:26 pm 0 comments

Monday, February 05, 2024

Recent Government of Canada Publications from the Weekly Acquisitions List

The Government of Canada's Weekly Acquisitions List can be a great way to discover new research reports published by various public bodies and agencies of the federal government. 

It is a record of all publications catalogued in the previous week.

The most recent list had a few documents that attracted my attention:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:48 pm 0 comments