Thursday, November 27, 2008

Supreme Court of Canada: New Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of November 1st to 15th, 2008 is 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 12:41 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Contract: Government Librarians To Get Lump Sum For Dropping Pay Equity Lawsuit

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the federal government have reached a tentative deal over a new collective agreement.

PSAC is the largest union of Canadian government employees. Many government librarians are members.

Under the deal, members would receive a 6.8 per cent wage increase over four years.

Employees in the Education and Library Science Bargaining Unit will receive a $4,000 lump sum pensionable payment in exchange for the withdrawal of two pay equity complaints before the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

The deal must still be ratified by members.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:44 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Anne Roland, Supreme Court of Canada Registrar, Retires

In an emotional farewell to staff, Anne Roland, Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada since 1990, reminisced today about the many changes she has seen at Canada's highest judicial institution where she started working 32 years ago. Roland is retiring this week.

As Registar, she acted as the Court's top administrative official, with responsibilities for appointment and supervision of Court staff, the management of the Library and the Registry, and the publication of the Supreme Court Reports.

Madame Roland emigrated from France and joined the Canadian public service some 37 years ago, working first in translation before moving to the judicial branch. One of her first tasks at the Supreme Court of Canada was to oversee the preparation of official French versions for a huge backlog of cases.

In comments at today's event, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin told a story about Roland's dedication. Roland was in charge of preparing for publication the historic 1982 constitutional patriation reference case while pregnant, completing the job on time and to perfection just 2 days before going into labour.

As Registrar, Madame Roland oversaw a tremendous transformation of the Court: computerization, expansion of staff in fields such as jurilinguistics and IT, major building renovations, the reform of the rules of the Court, the modernization of the courtroom (the Supreme Court of Canada is now considered to have one of the most technologically advanced hearing rooms of any appellate court in the world), and more.

She leaves behind a reputation as a rigorous administrator and a tenacious defender of our independence as an institution.

I've only been here 3 years. I will remember her for her great sense of humour and fun, her infectious laugh and her approachability. And, of course, for her unflagging support for the Library.

Her successor has not yet been named. In the meantime, the Deputy Registrar, Louise Meagher, will be the acting Registrar.

This afternoon, Madame Roland sent staff a final e-mail send-off containing a piece of haiku that I think sums up her career:
Chiefs and Judges Served
Beloved Court in Icy Land
Tulips and rights bloom

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

Monday, November 24, 2008

Independent Report Says: Remove Hate Speech From Human Rights Code

An independent report by University of Windsor constitutional law expert Richard Moon is recommending that the Canadian Human Rights Commission be stripped of its authority to police hate speech on the Internet.

He suggests that section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act be repealed. Rather, hate speech should be dealt with under the Criminal Code, which has much stricter rules of evidence for finding guilt.

Moon argues:
"The use of censorship by the government should be confined to a narrow category of extreme expression – that which threatens, advocates or justifies violence against the members of an identifiable group, even if the violence that is supported or threatened is not imminent (...)"

"Less extreme forms of discriminatory expression, although harmful, cannot simply be censored out of public discourse. Any attempt to exclude from public discourse speech that stereotypes or defames the members of an identifiable group would require extraordinary intervention by the state and would dramatically compromise the public commitment to freedom of expression. Because these less extreme forms of discriminatory expression are so commonplace, it is impossible to establish clear and effective rules for their identification and exclusion. But because they are so pervasive, it is also vital that they be addressed or confronted. We must develop ways other than censorship to respond to expression that stereotypes and defames the members of an identifiable group and to hold institutions such as the media accountable when they engage in these forms of discriminatory expression."
The federal human rights body commissioned the study because of controversy surrounding its investigation of a number of cases many civil liberties and journalist associations saw as threatening the freedom of the press.

In the most prominent case, the Canadian Islamic Congress complained to the Commission that Maclean's magazine had subjected Canadian Muslims to hate speech for publishing an article by conservative journalist Mark Steyn that said Muslims were going to swamp the West. The Commission dismissed the case.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:29 pm 0 comments

Saturday, November 22, 2008

United Nations University Online Audio/Video Archives

The United Nations University Office in New York recently made audio and video recordings of many of its past events available online.

There are a number of videos of law-related events:
  • International Criminal Accountability and Children's Rights (June 27, 2008): "Over the past several years, the rights of children have come to be accepted by international criminal tribunals; it has been acknowledged that child victims are no less entitled to justice than are adults. Complicating such progress, though, is the fact that testifying about war crimes and similar abuses may add to, rather than alleviate, the trauma of already victimized children. There is also the dilemma of child soldiers: what is justice when a child has been both victim, and perpetrator, of terrible acts? How should international justice deal with such cases?"
  • Can Genocide Be Prevented? (June 12, 2008): "Watch the interview 'Can Genocide be Prevented?' with Dr. Francis Deng, Special Advisor of the Secretary-General for the Prevention of Genocide. Join Dr. David Hamburg, DeWitt Wallace Distinguished Scholar at Weill Cornell Medical College, as he explores the root causes of genocide, how it can be prevented and an overview of what the UN has done and can do to prevent genocide."
  • For the Rule of Law - Criminal Justice Teaching and Training Across the World (October 28, 2008): "The panel was based on the recently published book For the Rule of Law: Criminal Justice Teaching and Training Across the World ... Bringing together 21 contributions from 26 authors, this anthology has taken up the challenge of establishing 'a common language of justice' to facilitate the realization of the rule of law worldwide. The authors establish a broad international context in which to better understand the importance of the promotion of human rights and the rule of law within the criminal justice sector, the universalization of standards, and security and justice reforms."
The United Nations University seeks to form a bridge between the United Nations and the international academic community and to serve as a think-tank for the United Nations system. Its headquarters are in Tokyo and it maintains research affiliates and offices throughout the world. Its students are postgraduate or postdoctoral researchers.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:30 pm 0 comments

AALL Spectrum December 2008 Issue Available

The most recent issue of the AALL Spectrum is available online. The Spectrum is the monthly publication of the American Association of Law Libraries.

Among the articles that may be of interest to Canadian law librarians:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:12 pm 0 comments

Thursday, November 20, 2008

UK Law Commission Report on Bribery

The Law Commission in the United Kingdom has just released its final report on bribery. It is the result of consultations launched in November 2007.

The report proposes getting rid of the existing legislative patchwork by creating two general offences of bribery (one dealing with the payer and the other dealing with the recipient), and one specific offence of bribing a foreign public official.

In addition, there will be a new corporate offence of negligently failing to prevent bribery by an employee or agent.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:53 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Few Details in Canadian Government Throne Speech on Justice Initiatives

The federal government's Speech from the Throne was delivered today by Governor General Michaelle Jean in the Senate Chamber.

The Speech from the Throne outlined the recently re-elected Conservative government's legislative agenda for the 40th Parliament.

As expected, the speech concentrated almost exclusively on the current worldwide economic crisis. Details of what the government plans to do about the slowdown will be unveiled next week by the Finance Minister.

Not that the government is relegating justice issues to the back burner.

The speech did mention justice initiatives, including added penalties for offences related to youth crime, organized crime and gun violence. It also alluded to cracking down on gun smuggling and gun crime.

Few details were made available.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:43 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Parliamentary Budget Officer Battles Library of Parliament For Independence

Today's Ottawa Citizen provides a detailed account of the growing controversy surrounding the degree of independence of Canada's newest government watchdog, the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

Officer Kevin Page intends to release a report this week on the state of federal finances. He argues that he is independent and can provide parliamentarians with any studies he darn well pleases.

No so fast, clamour the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament and the Library of Parliament. By law, Page reports to the Librarian of Parliament who must approve the release of any reports.

Which makes Page less than a truly independent guardian.

As The Citizen reports:

"Mr. Page interprets his mandate more broadly than the Speakers and believes he should operate with full transparency. He has insisted his office will have no credibility and risks being drawn into politics unless his reports are publicly released. The library, where his office is housed, considers much of its research and analysis 'privileged,' which means it can't be publicly released without the authority of the MPs or committees who asked for it (...)

" ' This is not a personality conflict ... This is a huge structural problem,' said Ian Lee, who heads the MBA program at Carleton University's Sprott School of Business." ' You can't be independent inside the library because the library sees itself as subservient to MPs, providing them private and individualized services. That's a contradiction of what the budget office should be' ."

The position of Parliamentary Budget Officer was created through amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act contained in the Federal Accountability Act.

More on the issue:

  • Speakers move to handcuff budget officer (Ottawa Citizen, November 4, 2008): "Parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page says the office can't operate under the Library of Parliament with the independence and openness it needs (...) Mr. Page's call for more independence comes after the Speakers of the House of Commons and Senate took steps to rein in the office, which they argued has overstepped its mandate and should not operate so independently and openly. A letter obtained by the Citizen shows Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella and House Speaker Peter Milliken are at loggerheads with Mr. Page over the way he is interpreting his mandate."
  • Gentlemen, please - no fighting in the Library! (Maclean's Magazine, Inside the Queensway blog, November 13, 2008): "Honestly, though, as tempting as it is to make the William Young [Parliamentary Librarian] the villain of the piece — heck, he seems pretty determined to do that all by himself — this whole unseemly showdown in the stacks could have been neatly avoided had the legislation that created the Parliamentary Budget Office not been so badly botched by the very same parliamentarians that it was meant to serve. Now that it has blown up into a fullblown power struggle, however, the government is going to be left with no choice but to admit that maybe, just maybe, they made a critical error by failing to make the PBO a stand alone Officer of Parliament, and amend the much vaunted Federal Accountability Act to do so."
  • Parliamentary library attempts to muzzle budget officer (Ottawa Citizen, November 13, 2008): "Mr. Page has argued the office also needs an 'open operating model' in which all his research and reports are signed and publicly posted. In fact, he said MPs and senators he consulted nearly unanimously agreed his work should be publicly available. Sharon Sutherland, an accountability expert, said there is nothing more inherently political than how and when a government spends money so to put the budget office in the 'historically meticulously non-partisan library' is 'nonsense.' She said she was surprised Mr. Young isn't fighting to get the budget office out of the library. The library must be worried about the budget office finding itself 'at war with the government' over some at the centre of a politically explosive issue that could embarrass the government and turn the 'screws on the general library budget' ."

For background on the Parliamentary Budget Office, there is a Library of Parliament publication from 2006 entitled The Accountability Act and the Parliamentary Budget Officer. It includes a section about the very powerful Congressional Budget Office in the United States.

The Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer has its own website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:06 pm 0 comments

CASLIS 2009 Seminar: Connecting With Our Clients

The Government Library and Information Specialists Section of CASLIS (Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services) is organizing a one-day seminar to explore how we can connect with our clients through marketing and communications.

The seminar will be held January 12, 2008 at Library and Archives Canada (395 Wellington Street) in Ottawa.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:02 pm 0 comments

Monday, November 17, 2008

Coffee Talk Training Sessions at the Supreme Court of Canada Library

Getting people to come to training sessions in legal research is never easy: law students, law clerks, lawyers, other personnel are always busy, they may not be working on your presentation topic and therefore see no reason to attend, or they would rather not be lectured to for 45 minutes.

Solution: bribe them with free coffee!

OK, not really. Though free coffee is part of the deal.

Last week, we librarians at the Supreme Court of Canada started a series of "coffee talks", very, very brief weekly sessions lasting no more than 15 minutes in English and then 15 minutes in French. Each session shows a few quick research tricks on a very narrowly circumscribed issue. And people get all the coffee they can drink. At 10AM, which is perfect timing.

The advantages are obvious, we hope:
  • it is easier for people at the Court to spare 10-15 minutes
  • it is easier for us to prepare short sessions
  • we can repeat topics throughout the year
  • we can easily add lots of new content to the Intranet on "how to" do this and "how to" do that
  • it is good marketing
We have come up with a long list of topics. It is very eclectic but addresses the kinds of questions that pop up frequently:
  • how to save money finding and reading Canadian cases in Quicklaw or WestlaweCarswell
  • how to quickly find legislative history materials
  • tricks in our catalogue
  • advanced Google
  • how to quickly find treaty materials
  • 2 or 3 quick ways of noting up UK cases
  • deciphering legal citations from places like France and pre-1865 England
  • who is this Mr. Halsbury and why has he written all those laws of England?
  • etc.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:44 pm 3 comments

More Obama Transition Resources from Government Documents Roundtable

Since July, the U.S.-based Free Government Information (FGI) blog has had a weekly feature called the Guide of the Week.

Hundreds of topical guides have been created by government documents librarians over the years. Many have been collected in the Handout Exchange, a wikified collection put together by the Government Documents Roundtable (GODORT) of the American Library Association. Every week, the FGI blog focuses on one of those research guides.

Starting this week, the FGI blog is highlighting guides from the Handout Exchange that shed light on important Presidential transition issues, starting with oversight of financial institutions and markets.

This week, the blog features 3 guides:
This is a follow-up to the earlier Library Boy posts:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:57 pm 0 comments

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Courthouse Libraries BC: New Cool Catalogue

Courthouse Libraries BC, which used to be known as the British Columbia Courthouse Library Society, has released a new version of its online catalogue using a visual display interface from Aquabrowser.

As the promoters explain, the new catalogue offers:
  • A Google-like simple search that accommodates variations in spelling and pluralization
  • Relevancy-ranked search results
  • Word cloud displaying associated terms to help you find what you need
  • One-click options to refine your search by date of publication, subject and so on
Shaunna Mireau, the Library Manager at Field Law LLP in Edmonton, Alberta, has tested it and offers her comments at the collaborative Canadian law blog

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:38 pm 0 comments

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More Obama Transition Resources - Law Librarians Get In On The Act

This is a follow-up to the November 8, 2008 Library Boy post Resources on Obama Presidential Transition.

When Canadian governments change, there is very little material available to explain the process. South of our borders, there is a flood of data, info, analysis, suggestions, debate and punditry. A political junkie's dream come true:
  • Moving Toward a 21st-Century Right-to-Know Agenda: this is from a government freedom of information coalition that includes most major American law library associations. "We, the undersigned, support the principles of government openness as articulated in the recommendations generated by the 21st Century Right to Know project, although not all of us agree on every recommendation. With a new presidential administration and a new Congress taking office in 2009, we believe there is a great opportunity, and great need, to increase government transparency. We hope these recommendations contribute to that important work."
  • The Presidential Transition (The Brookings Institution): "Our next president will face enormous and unprecedented challenges, from global financial turmoil to ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. But on each of the 12 big issues the new Administration will face, there are facts, ideas and solutions. Between now and Inauguration Day, we’ll be examining these policy challenges, with public discussions, memos to the president-elect, and a weekly podcast. Whether you’re a first-time voter or an 'inside the beltway' insider, we hope you’ll browse the material in our Briefing Room, join the conversation, and keep up with us by signing up for our weekly newsletter."
  • Presidential Transition (C-Span channel) : the cable TV channel for U.S. politics fanatics has audio and video reports and links to other resources
  • Obama's Transition to Power (PBS Newshour): the U.S. public broadcaster has created a special section on its website
  • White House Transition Project: "Since 1997, the White House Transition Project has combined the efforts of scholars, universities, and policy institutions to smooth out the American presidential transition. WHTP bridges the gaps between the partisan forces engaged in settling elections and the decision processes essential to governing by providing non-partisan information about the challenges of the American presidential transition and the strategies for overcoming those challenges. It provides these and other resources to presidential campaigns, to the president-elect, and to the new administration. These resources include three seperate report series providing a White House institutional memory, perspectives on past transitions, and advanced reserach covering special aspects of transitions and governing. The WHTP also provides unique analysis of the appointments process and a clearinghouse on other transition resources. "


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:29 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Law Commission of Ontario Releases First Report on Government Cheque Cashing Fees

The Law Commission of Ontario, launched in September 2007, has released its first final report entitled Fees For Cashing Government Cheques:

"The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) initiated a Project on fees for cashing government cheques in response to concerns regarding the impact of cheque cashing fees on low-income communities and on remote Northern communities without access to mainstream financial institutions such as banks or credit unions. Recipients of government benefits generally have very low incomes, and as a result, the fees for cashing their government benefit cheques can have a very significant impact on their finances."
The Commission is a partnership between the Attorney General of Ontario, the Law Foundation of Ontario, the Law Society of Upper Canada, and Ontario's six law schools. It replaces the former Ontario Law Reform Commission that was terminated in 1995.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:54 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Publication: Libraries and Publishing 3.0

The Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services (CASLIS), on whose executive I sat in the past, has just published Libraries and Publishing 3.0: Student Views from the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, The University of British Columbia.

Papers include:

- Historical Collections 2.0: From Information to Understanding by Tania Alekson
- Digital Copyright and Indigenous Cultural Ownership by Erin M. Abler
- The Impact of the Open Access Movement for Scholars in India by Natalie Porter
- The Past, Present and Future of Scholarly Communication in Ornithology by Christina Struik
- Google Scholar: An Outcast in the Library World by Mê-Linh Lê

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:23 am 0 comments

Should The McGill Guide to Legal Citation Be Free?

Yesterday, the collaborative legal blog published an article by Gary P. Rodrigues: A Modest Proposal - The McGill Guide

The article proposes that the well-known and indispensable Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation, known as the McGill Guide, be made universally available "to judges, lawyers and law students on all of the online services in the country including CANLII, SOQUIJ, and every commercial legal publisher."

Currently in its sixth edition, the Guide is available only in print and for a price.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:18 am 0 comments

U.S. President-Elect Obama To Shut Guantanamo Prison Camp

The Jurist legal news site sums up the story: Obama advisers planning Guantanamo prison closure: report.

"Under the plan, which would also entail the end of Guantanamo-based military commissions, the majority of detainees would either be released or brought to the US to face criminal charges. Cases that involve the use of particularly sensitive evidence would be tried in special courts designed to protect the information. The plan has already faced criticism from those who either argue that the detainees should not be brought into the country at all, or that they should all be tried in traditional criminal courts."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:00 am 0 comments

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Resources on Obama Presidential Transition

Here are resources to help us understand what will happen and what is at stake South of our borders:
  • 2009 Congressional and Presidential Transition (Government Accountability Office, U.S. Government): "Following each presidential election, GAO serves as a resource to assist with the transition to a new Congress and administration. On this Web site, using its institutional knowledge and broad-based, nonpartisan work on matters across the government spectrum, GAO provides insight into, and recommendations for addressing, the nation’s major issues, risks and challenges. Also located throughout the site are key reports for further research, as well as contact information for and video messages from GAO experts."
  • : Office of the President-Elect: official site of the Obama-Biden government agenda, includes policies, news, blogs, videos
  • Presidential transition resources (Congresspedia - Sunlight Foundation): wiki including laws, Congressional Research Service reports, Congressional hearings on transition issues, media coverage, background documents and policy recommendations from many sources on the transition
  • Criminal Justice Recommendations for New Administration and Congress Released Today by Coalition of Experts (Sentencing Project): "The 2009 Criminal Justice Transition Coalition, which includes The Sentencing Project and 20 other prominent national organizations, released today a collaborative report identifying critical needs for federal policy reform. Smart on Crime: Recommendations for the Next Administration and Congress contains comprehensive policy recommendations at every stage of the justice system for the new Administration and Congress."
  • Better Question: Who Isn’t a Lawyer on Obama’s Transition Team? (ABA Journal): "President-elect Barack Obama and his VP-elect Joe Biden wasted no time assembling their transition team, which features a number of attorneys. (Graduates of Harvard Law School, Obama's alma mater, also proliferate.)"


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:20 pm 0 comments

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Info Career Trends November 2008 Issue

The November 2008 issue of Info Career Trends (vol. 9, no. 6) features a number of articles on professional success, from networking to landing a first library job and having a productive first year on the job, from taking control of one's own professional development and taking conscious steps to move one's career in a desired direction:

Info Career Trends is a career information newsletter for librarians and information professionals associated with the job site.

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

Supreme Court of Canada Library: New Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of October 16 to 31, 2008 is available on the Court website.

The web page explains: "The Supreme Court of Canada Library does not lend materials from this list, which is provided for information only."

But, once the material goes into the general collection, after about a month, the works do become available for inter-library loan to authorized libraries.

It is possible to subscribe via e-mail to receive the list.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:07 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Former Supreme Court Justice Iacobucci To Mediate Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission Dispute

Former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci has been asked to help mediate the dispute that has paralyzed the work of the Truth And Reconciliation Commission that was set up earlier this year to deal with the historical legacy of the Indian residential school system.

Over the years, thousands of aboriginal students were subjected to physical, sexual and emotional abuse by personnel working for the church authorities that ran the boarding schools on behalf of the Canadian government.

Last month, the work of the Commission was derailed after its head, Justice Harry LaForme, resigned, complaining that he could no longer work with the 2 other commissioners.

More background:

  • Head of Commission on Indian Residential Schools Resigns (Library Boy, October 20, 2008)
  • Iacobucci to mediate native reconciliation issue (CanWest News Service, Nov. 5, 2008): "Iacobucci has agreed to hold a first meeting in Toronto on Friday with lawyers for the parties, which range from the federal government and the churches to victims and the Assembly of First Nations (...) The Assembly of First Nations welcomed Iacobucci's willingness to pitch in, citing as an asset his history as a negotiator for the federal government in the talks that resulted in the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement."
  • Iacobucci to help truth and reconciliation commission move forward (Anglican Journal, Nov. 5, 2008): " 'Justice Iacobucci has, through his work on the IRSSA, made an enormous contribution towards achieving a fair, comprehensive and lasting resolution of the legacy of Indian Residential Schools,' said a joint statement of the lawyers representing government, native groups, and churches, which are party to the agreement (...) Various groups, including the Anglican Church of Canada, expressed concern that Mr. La Forme’s resignation would further delay the truth-gathering process involving former students of native boarding schools, most of whom are now elderly. Mr. LaForme said he resigned because of an 'incurable problem' that doomed the TRC 'as currently constituted' to failure. "
  • Residential schools panel struggles to find new chair (Globe and Mail, October 30, 2008): "When Harry LaForme was named chair of Canada's residential schools truth and reconciliation commission, Marlene Brant Castellano thought her work was done. She took the long list of candidates and the short list, and all her notes, and threw them in the bin, confident that Mr. Justice LaForme, a unanimous choice of the selection committee co-chaired by Dr. Brant Castellano and Thomas Berger, would lead a successful commission. Now that the commission is on the brink of collapse after Judge LaForme's acrimonious resignation last week, that list may have to be resurrected as the parties to the residential schools settlement try to find a way to get the process back on track."
  • Give truth a chance, Canada (Globe and Mail, November 4, 2008): "The reality of truth commissions - as I know from my experience working for such a commission in my native Peru - is they often face rocky beginnings, then go on to achieve great things."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:44 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Alberta Law Reform Institute Report on Enforcement of Judgments From Other Jurisdictions

The Alberta Law Reform Institute recently published final report no. 94 on the enforcement of judgments obtained outside Alberta.

The report recommends that the government of the province adopt three uniform statutes based on the work of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada:

"At present in Alberta if one wants to enforce a foreign judgment, either Canadian or non-Canadian, one has three options:"

  1. sue again on the original cause of action in Alberta;
  2. sue on the judgment in Alberta on the grounds that the judgment forms the basis of an outstanding obligation owed by the judgment debtor; or
  3. where appropriate, register the judgment under the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act, which is only available for certain types of judgments from specific jurisdictions.

"The outcome of any of these options, however, is uncertain, as there is no guarantee that the enforcement mechanism chosen will necessarily be successful in any particular case."

"In 1990, the Attorneys General and the Ministers of Justice requested that the Uniform Law Conference of Canada develop uniform legislation to provide a modern legal framework for the enforcement of judgments across Canada and the harmonization of the rules of jurisdiction. The work of the ULCC was bolstered by the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Morguard Investments Ltd. v. De Savoye, wherein Justice La Forest writing on behalf of the court held that in a federal state, such as Canada, the courts of one province should not question the assumption of jurisdiction by the courts of another province."

"The ULCC’s work has culminated in three uniform statutes:

  • Uniform Enforcement of Canadian Judgments and Decrees Act
  • Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act
  • Uniform Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act"

"These three uniform acts together create a legislative enforcement regime which, if implemented in Alberta, will encourage businesses operating elsewhere in Canada or the world, to conduct their business within Alberta due to the certainty that almost any judgment obtained from outside Alberta will be recognized by the Alberta courts and enforceable in Alberta."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:40 pm 1 comments

Imprisonment and Conditional Release in Canada

The most recent edition of the Weekly Checklist of Government of Canada publications lists a Public Safety Canada document entitled Corrections and Conditional Release in Canada: A General Primer.

The document provides an introduction to the principles of criminal sentencing, security classification of prisoners, rehabilitation programs and conditional release (parole).

It looks at the roles of the four main government agencies involved in federal corrections: Public Safety Canada, Correctional Service of Canada, National Parole Board, and the Correctional Investigator.

The Weekly Checklist includes a listing of book and serial titles which have been released during the previous week by the Parliament of Canada, federal departments, and Statistics Canada.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:22 pm 0 comments

2008 Annual Report of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees

The latest annual report of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to the 63rd session of the General Assembly is now available.

The report covers the work of the agency for the period from 1 January 2007 to 30 June 2008:

"This report provides an account of the work carried out by UNHCR between January 2007 and mid-2008, in response to the needs of 31.7 million people of concern. It describes major developments with respect to protection, assistance and finding durable solutions for refugees, IDPs [internally displaced persons], stateless persons and others of concern. The report reviews partnerships and coordination of action with other concerned entities both within and outside of the United Nations system, as well as ongoing contributions towards the debate on irregular, mixed population movements. The report also looks at renewed efforts to tackle the challenge of refugees in protracted situations."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:15 pm 0 comments

Monday, November 03, 2008

How To Use Screencasts and Podcasts for Library Training

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is offering a webcast Wednesday, November 12, 2008, 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM - Eastern Time: How to Train Without Showing Up:

"Find out how screen casts and podcasts can be created and used for educational purposes. Our speakers will present tips and best practices on creating screen casts and podcasts. They will share how they use screen casts and podcasts in their libraries and offer suggestions on how you can use them to educate others."

The speakers are Kerry Fitz-Gerald, Reference Librarian, Seattle University School of Law Library, and Rita Kaiser, Reference Services Librarian, King County Law Library (Seattle).

Registration is $25 US for AALL members and $35 for non-AALL members.
Participation requires WebEx software.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:09 pm 0 comments

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Law Library Journal Recommended Reading Lists

The most recent issue of Law Library Journal (American Association of Law Libraries) features a series of Special Interest Section Recommended Reading Lists:
"To celebrate the centennial volume of Law Library Journal, each of the Special Interest Sections was invited to contribute a 'recommended reading list' to this final issue of volume 100. The goal was for the SIS to put together a list of articles from Law Library Journal’s first century that it would suggest as reading for its members. Eight of the Special Interest Sections responded to the invitation, and their selections follow in alphabetical order by the name of the SIS."
The SIGs are:
  • Foreign, Comparative, and International Law SIS
  • Legal History and Rare Books SIS
  • Legal Information Services to the Public SIS
  • Online Bibliographic Services SIS
  • Private Law Libraries SIS
  • Social Responsibilities SIS
  • State, Court and County Law Libraries SIS
  • Technical Services SIS
The full table of contents of the issue is available online.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:32 pm 0 comments

International Court of Justice Annual Report 2008

The latest annual report of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has been published.

The ICJ, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, has two functions:
  • to pass judgments on disputes brought by States
  • to issue advisory opinions on legal questions from other organs of the United Nations and specialized agencies
The report gives an overview of the work of the ICJ from 1 August 2007 to 31 July 2008, including the current composition of the court, summaries of the status of cases before the court, and certain financial information.

The document was presented to the UN General Assembly on 30 October 2008.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:02 pm 0 comments

New Portal of Human Rights Lawsuits Against Corporations

Last week, the non-profit Business & Human Rights Resource Centre launched a free online portal to document lawsuits from across the world alleging human rights abuses by companies.

Most of these cases are pending; some are finished or settled – the profiles indicate the current status of each.

Case profiles include:
  • AngloGold Ashanti: sued in South Africa over miners suffering from silicosis
  • BHP Billiton: sued in Australia and Papua New Guinea over pollution by its mine in Papua New Guinea
  • Chevron/Texaco: sued in Ecuador, alleging extensive pollution damaging environment and health
  • Dow/Union Carbide: sued in India and US following the industrial disaster in Bhopal
  • ExxonMobil: sued in US over alleged complicity in abuses by Indonesian security forces in Aceh
  • Severstal: sued in Russia for severe pollution by its steel plant; government failed to provide the court-ordered relief; local residents took Russian Government to European Court of Human Rights and won
  • Shell: sued in US over alleged complicity in killings of Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 other Ogoni activists in Nigeria
  • Trafigura: legal action in UK, France, Netherlands & Côte d’Ivoire regarding dumping of toxic waste in Côte d’Ivoire, allegedly leading to 17 deaths and the illness of hundreds
  • Yahoo!: sued in US for handing information to Chinese officials; led to detention & alleged torture of dissidents
The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre tracks the human rights impacts (positive & negative) of 4000 companies in over 180 countries. Issues include discrimination, labour rights,
security & conflict zones, killings, torture, displacement, environmental abuses affecting human health, access to medicines, poverty and development.

Other Library Boy posts about the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre include:
  • Weekly Updates Available from Business and Human Rights Database (March 22, 2005): "Corporate profiles include news stories, items about investigations, lawsuits and enforcement actions, as well as official responses (...) The Centre has also just introduced a new feature, Weekly Updates, which are e-mail alerts with an interesting twist: companies are invited to respond to reports that criticise them, and the responses are included. This is to help keep the updates balanced and encourage companies to publicly address important labour and human rights concerns being raised by civil society organizations such as labour unions, development associations, Third World NGOs, and human rights organizations."
  • Business & Human Rights Resource Centre Website Relaunched (June 15, 2007): "The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, a research website set up by human rights NGOs and various academic organizations, has just launched its re-designed website.The Resource Centre is an independent non-profit that encourages companies to respect human rights by bringing reports about their conduct - positive & negative - to a global audience."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:50 pm 0 comments