Monday, November 30, 2009

Guide to the Amended Google Book Settlement

The American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries and the Association of College & Research Libraries have published A Guide for the Perplexed Part III: The Amended Settlement Agreement.

The guide explains many of the changes in the proposed Google Book Settlement Agreement submitted to a New York court by Google, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers on November 13, 2009. The settlement is intended to put an end to the copyright infringement litigation concerning Google's project to scan millions of books into a massive database.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:50 pm 0 comments

Report on the UK's National DNA Database

The Human Genetics Commission, an advisory body to the United Kingdom goverment, has just released a report analyzing that country's national DNA database.

Entitled "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear? Balancing individual rights and the public interest in the governance and use of the National DNA Database", the report proposes a series of improvements for the management and supervision of the database and calls for new guidance for police officers taking DNA samples, as well as closer monitoring to make sure they are following it:

"Britain has the largest forensic DNA database in the world in proportion to the size of its population. It is estimated to contain the DNA profiles of over 8 per cent of the UK population. For some groups this is much higher: the profiles of over three quarters of young black men between the ages of 18 and 35 are recorded. Currently, anyone arrested for a ‘recordable offence’ in England and Wales can have their DNA taken and retained indefinitely."

"The National DNA Database provides the police with an important investigative tool to identify suspects for a variety of crimes including the most serious, such as rape, murder and terrorist offences. In some cases, the database is the only means by which a suspect can be identified and brought into an inquiry."

"The UK Parliament has never actually debated the establishment of the database as such – it came about through amendments to legislation that was originally designed to codify powers and duties of the police at a time before ‘DNA fingerprinting’ had been invented. Since then, many groups and individual members of the public, as well as the Human Genetics Commission (HGC), have expressed concerns about the police’s powers to keep and use DNA samples, and the profiles derived from them, especially when no court has found them guilty of an offence. "

"Balancing personal privacy and public protection is not easy. The National DNA Database has now been the subject of a judgment from the European Court of Human Rights that strongly criticises the way the UK has tried to strike this balance. The UK must now decide how it will respond."

Earlier Library Boy posts about DNA databases include:

  • Only 15% of UK Public Sector Databases Respect Privacy Laws (March 24, 2009): "According to a report published this week by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust in the United Kingdom, 11 of the 46 biggest public sector databases maintained by the British government, including the national DNA database, clearly breach data protection and privacy rights laws."
  • Library of Parliament Publication on Forensic DNA Analysis (March 31, 2009): "The use of DNA identification was further expanded in 2000 with the establishment of the National DNA Data Bank, which allows investigators to rapidly screen DNA evidence against the DNA records of thousands of previously convicted criminals and evidence from other crimes (...) This paper examines three areas in which new DNA investigation methods are already changing the application of forensic DNA analysis internationally, or are likely to do so in the near future..."
  • Parliamentary Committee Report on DNA Identification Act (July 22, 2009): "The most recent issue of the Weekly Checklist of Government Publications includes the June 2009 report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security entitled Statutory Review of the DNA Identification Act: (...) The National DNA Data Bank (hereinafter the NDDB) is an extremely effective investigation tool upon which police can rely to further their investigations or exonerate a suspect. The information contained in the NDDB has also prompted the exoneration of persons who have been wrongfully convicted of a crime (...) It [the report] underscores the urgency of investing additional funds in the forensic laboratories and the NDDB without delay to ensure the proper functioning of the justice in this regard. It proposes recommendations designed to maximize the benefits that forensic science derives from DNA analysis. The report also expresses the Committee’s faith in DNA science, and its considered opinion that the NDDB is an extremely useful and important tool for the criminal justice system"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:27 pm 0 comments

Friday, November 27, 2009

Improvements to CanLII Legislative Databases

CanLII, the Canadian Legal Information Institute that offers free Internet access to primary Canadian legal material, has made a number of improvements to its databases of federal and provincial legislation.

The improvements include:
  • automatically generated table of contents to federal legislation
  • stable URLs to the most recent version of legislation

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:46 pm 0 comments

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Recent Empirical Research About the Supreme Court of Canada

The Osgoode Hall Law School blog The Court today published a post entitled Recent Proliferation of Empirical Research on the SCC - A Literature Review:
"Since the advent of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a growing number of Canadian academics have delved into empirical, and especially quantitative, research on Supreme Court of Canada judicial decision-making. A flurry of articles and literature on the subject has been published in the past few months. Below is a sample of some such research."


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Digitization of Older Canadian Parliamentary Publications

At lunch, I attended a round table organized by the National Capital Association of Law Libraries that took place at the University of Ottawa.

One of the more interesting announcements concerned the ongoing digitization of older publications relating to the activities of the Parliament of Canada.

According to the person from Library and Archives Canada who was present, the following material is now digitized:
  • Journals of the House of Commons and Senate for 1901-1954
  • Committee proceedings and evidence for 1901-1934
  • Public Accounts and Estimates for 1867-1993
The material is available on the site of the Internet Archive.

Debates for the House of Commons for the period 1901-1993 are in the process of being digitized.

Library and Archives Canada has already digitized the full collection of the Canada Gazette going back to 1841.

For an interesting overview of who has digitized which Canadian parliamentary publications, people may want to read the March 2009 document entitled Working Paper: Digitization of Publications relating to the Parliament of Canada on the parliamentary website.

The working paper looks at the digitization of bills, committee reports, Hansard debates, journals of the House and Senate, Order and Notice Papers, Orders of Business, progress of legislation, statutes and regulations and orders-in-council, the Canada Gazette, commissions of inquiry and sessional papers:
"The original aim of this Working Paper was to provide information for the development of a Digital Strategy for the Library of Parliament. However so much interesting and little-known material emerged in the course of discussion and research that the authors felt that the findings would be of general interest and could serve as a basis for corrections and further information. "

"The aim of the Working Paper (begun in September 2008) is to provide an overview of:
  • which published papers relating to the operations of Parliament have been digitized;
  • by which organization;
  • where the digitized works are housed;
  • who is permitted access &
  • plans for future digitization. "

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:37 pm 1 comments

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Judges Guest Blog on Slaw

A group of judges from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice have started guest blogging on Slaw, the cooperative Canadian legal blog.

Their contributions will be identifiable thanks to a special banner saying "Judge Guest Bloggers".

There have been 2 posts so far:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:25 pm 0 comments

Monday, November 23, 2009

Statistics Canada Report on Victim Services

Statistics Canada has released a new report on Victim Services in Canada: National, Provincial and Territorial Fact Sheets:

"This report is based on data from the 2007/2008 Victim Services Survey and provides a profile of victim service agencies in Canada that responded to the survey, as well as information on the clients they served. In reference to 2007/2008, the report presents data on the types of agencies in Canada, the services offered, staff and volunteers, and criminal injuries compensation applications and awards. Characteristics of clients, such as sex, age grouping and type of victimization, are based on counts of clients served on a snapshot day of May 28, 2008. The 2007/2008 Victim Services Survey was conducted by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics and was funded by Justice Canada's Policy Centre for Victim Issues. Victim service agencies surveyed include system-based, police-based and court-based agencies, sexual assault centres, other selected community-based agencies, and criminal injuries compensation and other financial benefit programs for victims of crime."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:40 pm 0 comments

Most Annoying and Overused Buzzwords

There is an article in this week's edition of The Lawyers Weekly about all those irritating buzzwords that have invaded the professions, including the law.

Among the phrases discussed in the article are: leverage, viral, disconnect and interface.

And "outside the box".

Have fun reading the article.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:32 pm 0 comments

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Library Routes Project: How Did You Become A Librarian?

The Library Routes Project is a wiki-based project that seeks to gather information about "library roots" (how people got into librarianship in the first place) and "library routes" (career paths).

The project was launched in October 2009.

Instructions on how to contribute can be found in the "How does it work?" section of the wiki home page.

It started in the UK but the project now appears to have "crossed the pond", with contributions starting to appear from that Big Republic to the south of us and from Canada.

[Source: LISNews]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:09 pm 0 comments

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Issue of Law Library Journal

The most recent issue of Law Library Journal has been published.

It is the quarterly publication of the American Association of Law Libraries.

3 articles in particular caught my attention:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:51 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Using a Wiki to Publish a Research Guide

Librarian Elisa Mason, who has worked at the UN High Commission for Refugees and the Refugee Studies Centre in Oxford, created the Forced Migration Guide back in 2008 using wiki software.

In an article from Library Hi Tech News that was reprinted on the E-LIS E-prints in Library and Information Science portal, she explains how she went about selecting a wiki as the best platform.

The article is entitled Using a Wiki to Publish a Research Guide:

"Wiki publishing poses a threefold challenge: First, from the publication perspective, while you may be in control of your content, you are also on your own, with no editor, no marketer, and no designer on hand to assist you. Second, from the technology point of view, you must troubleshoot and devise your own workarounds. Finally, it is an ongoing commitment to maintain a living resource. In the end, though, the positives outweigh any negatives. Using a wiki to publish is an easy and useful way for a non-technical person to present a lot of material to a wide audience fairly quickly. And a librarian can derive tremendous professional satisfaction in being able to offer a resource of his or her own making."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:39 pm 0 comments

'Unfriend' Selected as Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year

The New Oxford American Dictionary has chosen the word 'unfriend' as its 2009 Word of the Year:
"unfriend – verb – To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook. "

"As in, 'I decided to unfriend my roommate on Facebook after we had a fight'."

" 'It has both currency and potential longevity,' notes Christine Lindberg, Senior Lexicographer for Oxford’s US dictionary program. 'In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year'."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:28 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Osgoode Hall Review of Law and Policy on Copyright Reform

The most recent issue of the Osgoode Hall Review of Law and Policy features a number of submissions to the recent Canadian copyright reform consultation.

From the issue's forward:

"On July 20, 2009, the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages launched a consultation process seeking Canadians‘ views on the appropriate nature, extent, and scope of copyright reform. The Conservatives‘ previous attempt at copyright reform, in the form of Bill C-61, encountered significant opposition but ultimately died on the order paper when an election was called. In an effort to improve on that bill and to respond to objections that the process underlying the introduction of Bill C-61 was insufficiently transparent, the government launched a consultation process. The public could participate in this process by making written submissions, participating in the online discussion forum, attending one of the public town halls in Montreal or Toronto, or by attending one of the invitation-only round tables."

"Canadians were asked five key questions by the Ministers:

  1. How do Canada’s copyright laws affect you? How should existing laws be modernized?
  2. Based on Canadian values and interests, how should copyright changes be made in order to withstand the test of time?
  3. What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster innovation and creativity in Canada?
  4. What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster competition and investment in Canada?
  5. What kinds of changes would best position Canada as a leader in the global, digital economy? "

"This special issue of the Review aims to help elucidate the key areas of debate surrounding these critical questions facing the drafters of new copyright legislation. This issue is the product of a review of the thousands of submissions to the consultative process. It attempts to provide a collection of the most well-written, well-supported, and convincingly argued submissions from a spectrum of perspectives on copyright reform."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:58 pm 0 comments

Monday, November 16, 2009

Law Commission of New Zealand Report on Suppressing Names of Victims and Accused

The Law Commission of New Zealand’s report on Suppressing Names and Evidence was tabled in Parliament today.

The report examines sections of the country's Criminal Justice Act 1985 that allow for exceptions to the open courts principle:
"In relation to our courts, it is important that the principles of open justice and freedom of expression are strongly protected by the law. But the law must also protect the administration of justice and the right to a fair trial."

"Striking the balance between these competing demands is not an easy task. The criteria governing decisions to suppress names or evidence must be sufficiently precise to ensure that the values of free speech and open justice are consistently given the emphasis required. But they also need to allow judges enough discretion to take account of the wide range of interests that might impinge on a decision: of victims, witnesses, the accused and the community."

"It has been a challenge to arrive at a set of recommendations that achieve this objective. Ultimately, our recommendations have been shaped by our clear view, supported by the majority of submitters, that suppression is currently granted inconsistently and sometimes too readily, and that the grounds for it need to be
clarified and tightened."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:59 pm 0 comments

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Revised Google Book Settlement

On Friday, some important modifications were made to the proposed Google Book Settlement that is supposed to end a class action lawsuit by U.S.-based author and publisher groups over Google's plans to make and sell digital copies of millions of books.

One of the major concessions made by Google is that the settlement would now apply only to books registered with the U.S. Copyright office or published in the U.K., Australia, or Canada.

The Book Rights Registry board, the entity that will be responsible for paying authors and publishers, would also be required to search for copyright holders who have not yet come forward and to hold revenue on their behalf. Much of the controversy about the original deal focused on what many critics see as Google's monopoly on so-called “orphan works” — out-of-print books that are still protected by copyright but whose writers' whereabouts are unknown.

The ResourceShelf has fairly comprehensive analysis and commentary on the proposed changes.

Earlier Library Boy posts about the dispute include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:22 pm 0 comments

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Correctional Investigator Report on Federal Aboriginal Prisoners

The Office of the Correctional Investigator yesterday released a report on the situation of Aboriginal offenders under federal jurisdiction.

The Correctional Investigator is mandated by Part III of the federal Corrections and Conditional Release Act as an Ombudsman for federal offenders. The primary function of the Office is to investigate and bring resolution to individual offender complaints.

The report finds that Aboriginal offenders in the federal correctional system are not treated equally. Aboriginal offenders tend to be:
  • released later in their sentence (lower parole grant rates)
  • over-represented in segregation populations
  • more likely to have served previous youth and/or adult sentences
  • more often held to warrant expiry
  • classified as higher risk and higher need
  • more likely to reoffend and have their conditional release revoked more often
The report also finds that Aboriginal offenders are disproportionately overrepresented in federal correctional populations – despite representing only 4% of the Canadian population, Aboriginal people comprise 20% of the total federal offender population.

Among women offenders, the over-representation is even more dramatic – one in three federally sentenced women is Aboriginal. Aboriginal rates of incarceration are now approaching nine times the national average.

The report acknowledges that many of the circumstances contributing to high rates of Aboriginal incarceration – e.g. poverty, social exclusion, substance abuse, discrimination – go well beyond the capacity of the Correctional Service to address in isolation.

However, the federal correctional system does have a legal mandate to make sure that Aboriginal prisoners are given every opportunity to access culturally sensitive programming. This type of rehabilitation programming is found to be lacking or inconsistent.

The report documents the following:
  • limited use of legislative provisions designed to enhance Aboriginal reintegration, including under-utilization of Healing Lodges
  • shortage of Elders and dedicated Aboriginal program delivery officers
  • inconsistent access to Aboriginal programming
  • lack of an Aboriginal anti-gang management strategy
  • lack of an Aboriginal-sensitive classification instrument
  • absence of statistical evidence indicating progress or improvement in managing Aboriginal offenders
  • lack of capacity to address the unique social and historical circumstances contributing to Aboriginal offending

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:22 pm 0 comments

Friday, November 13, 2009

New Issue of Bulletin of the Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services

The most recent edition of Special Issues is out. Special Issues is the bulletin of the Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services.

There are 2 major articles:
  • "SharePoint in the Special Library" by Melanie Sucha, an Information Management Specialist with MicroWorks, an Ottawa-based IT company: "SharePoint – currently in its third release, with release four due in 2010 – is Microsoft’s platform for content management and online collaboration. SharePoint is a web-enabled, enterprise server application that offers such functionality as portals, intranets, extranets, collaboration areas, public websites, enterprise search, document management, records management, analytics, business intelligence, social networking, wikis, blogs, workflows and business process management. Whew! In other words: it’s a piece of software with broad capabilities, used by organizations to manage information in a variety of ways to suit their uniquebusiness needs."
  • "Information and Knowledge Management Checklist" by Ulla de Stricker, president of de Stricker Associates : "Indeed each organization - in fact each department within it, whether by way of geography or function - is a unique mix of purpose, history, resources, individual approaches, and many similar factors. It is impossible to generalize how an enterprise unit ought to go about information and knowledge management (IKM). What is possible is to gauge the level of awareness among managers and team members as to the suitability of the practices being followed now or potential new practices to be followed in future. Over the years, I have used many questions to shed light on the approach an organization takes to IKM. In this and the next nine posts, I illustrate the nature of such questions in hopes they may help readers who are interested in the attention paid to the way knowledge workers go about IKM. There is no implication that a 'correct' answer exists - the intention is strictly to encourage conscious assessment of actions habitually taken (or not)."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:36 pm 0 comments

New Tool to Track Member State Activities at the United Nations

The United Nations Dag Hammarkjöld Library has launched a new research tool called UN Member States on the Record:

"It provides links to selected UN databases, websites, and other information resources, in order to make the record of Member States' activities at the UN more accessible."

"Information available for each Member State includes: the key documents related to its membership in the UN; statements made before the principal organs; draft resolutions sponsored; periodic reports submitted on Human Rights conventions, and more. "

"Running behind this new research tool are pre-set searches on multiple databases maintained by the Dag Hammarkjöld Library. A single click links to the most accurate, up-to date results, and yet also includes extensive historic coverage. Full text documents are linked in all official languages of the UN."

"Based on frequently asked questions, the Dag Hammarkjöld Library developed this tool to highlight the work and actions of each individual Member State and to consolidate information scattered in multiple databases to one user-friendly resource. This opens the rich primary research resource of UN documents to anyone who can browse the web."
Here is the results page for Canada.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:27 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Should Twitter in the Courtroom Be Illegal?

A U.S. federal court in the state of Georgia has ruled that Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure prohibits "tweeting" from the courtroom:
"The immediate result of the court's decision is to reject a request from a reporter for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer that he be allowed to use his BlackBerry during the Shellnutt criminal case in order to send updates to his newspaper's Twitter feed."
This is exactly what Ottawa Citizen reporter Glen McGregor did during this year's bribery trial of Ottawa mayor Larry O’Brien.

This whole area of discussion (the impact of social networking media and Google in the courtroom) will be the topic of a panel at next year's annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) in Windsor, Ontario.

I explained a bit more in an October 22, 2009 Library Boy post entitled Impartiality of Juries Threatened by Web?.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:05 pm 0 comments

Nominations For Library Movers and Shakers 2010

Library Journal is calling on people to nominate Library Movers and Shakers: "50 or more up-and-coming individuals from around the world who are innovative, creative, and making a difference".

Deadline for nominations is November 13, 2008. The 9th annual Movers & Shakers supplement will be distributed with the March 15, 2010 issue of the publication.

Library Journal provides a map of all the Movers and Shakers from 2002 to 2009.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:01 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Canadian Law Librarians Share Training Materials

The Courthouse and Law Society Libraries Special Interest Group of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries has updated its list of instructional materials compiled by members.

This includes tutorials, research guides, handouts etc.

Trainers can see what other librarians have developed and used.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:22 pm 0 comments

Monday, November 09, 2009

Launch of New Courthouse Libraries BC Website

A few of us here at my place of work have been looking at the new and improved website of the Courthouse Libraries BC which was launched last Friday.

Among the features that have caught my eye are:
  • The Stream, their new blog
  • Practice portals with recommended books and resources, new publications and news related to specific areas of law
  • a great list of research resources including guides, video tutorials, proclamations, news and an "Asked and Answered" knowledgebase of legal research questions
  • a catalogue using Aquabrowser technology. Aquabrowser offers relevancy ranked search results and automatic spelling variations. Other features include a visual word cloud of related terms generated with each search and the ability to narrow results quickly and easily with one click of the mouse
Courthouse Libraries BC serves the public and legal community of British Columbia through libraries across the province.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:30 pm 0 comments

Sunday, November 08, 2009

2008 Annual Report of the RCMP Commissioner of Firearms

It has been an interesting week for gun control in Canada.

On Wednesday, a majority of Members of Parliament voted in the House of Commons in favour of a private members' bill to abolish the federal long-gun registry which covers hunting rifles and shotguns. It now goes to committee.

The registry was created in response to the massacre of 14 women at Montreal's École Polytéchnique engineering school in 1989.

On Friday, the 2008 annual report of the federal Commissioner of Firearms was tabled in Parliament. The registry is strongly supported by law enforcement agencies across Canada.

For history of the federal gun registry, you can go to the site of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:26 pm 0 comments

Saturday, November 07, 2009

2008-09 Annual Report of the Office of the Correctional Investigator

The 2008-09 Annual Report of the Office of the Correctional Investigator (OCI) was tabled earlier this week in Parliament.

One of the highlights of this year's report is the need to improve the care and treatment of inmates with mental illness.

The Report recommends increased hiring of mental health professionals and the establishment of intermediate mental health care capacity in each region. It also recommends clinical management plans to treat offenders with mental disorders be developed and implemented on a priority basis and managed by interdisciplinary teams of mental health, security and case management personnel working together.

Another area of concern for the OCI is the need to improve management of self-injurious behaviour by offenders. The Report calls for the development of a national strategy for managing chronic self-harming behaviours and incidents.

The Correctional Investigator is mandated by Part III of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act as an Ombudsman for federal offenders. The primary function of the Office is to investigate and bring resolution to individual offender complaints.

Coverage of the report:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:50 pm 0 comments

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Supreme Court of Canada Departmental Performance Report 2008-2009

The federal government today tabled in the House of Commons 92 Departmental Performance Reports on behalf of federal departments and agencies.

The 2008-2009 Departmental Performance Report for the Supreme Court of Canada provides an outline of the institution's activities in the last year, covering, among other things:
  • courtroom modernization (the introduction of an advanced e-courtroom)
  • development of an electronic document and records management system
  • web-based electronic case filing
  • better staffing strategies
  • review of the library collection development policy
When it comes to the performance of the Supreme Court of Canada library, the document reports that user satisfaction is extremely high.

User satisfaction surveys were conducted in April 2008 and December 2008:
"Specifically users were asked 5 questions : Did you receive the required information? Was it useful to your work? Was it received on time? Did library staff save you time? Would you have any additional comments to add? Results were compiled in two separate reports. Turnaround time within service standards was met 95% of the time for complex requests, while 100% of users indicated that they were 'very satisfied' with the level of service received from the library staff. The Library met turnaround time targets for factual and bibliographic requests 100% of the time."
As well, the library adopted a new collection development policy in 2008-2009 after extensive consultation process with internal and external stakeholders.

The document contains general remarks about the quality and comprehensiveness of the Court's library collection:
"Based on a citation analysis of the references cited in the Supreme Court of Canada decisions released in 2008, 95.16% of law reports cited and 89.93% of journal articles/books cited are available in the Library's print collection. With the addition of electronic resources licensed to the Court, the Collection is able to meet the information needs of the Court 98% of the time, consistent with previous years. It is anticipated that the proportion of material available only in electronic format will increase relative to the availability of material in print format in future years. Also in 2008-09, the Library made its journal A-Z list available to the public on the Court's website, providing access to its extensive collection of legal periodicals in print, electronic and microform to legal researchers across the country."
Every year, federal departments and agencies publish Reports on Plans and Priorities (RPPs) outlining their strategic goals.

At the end of the fiscal year, Departmental Performance Reports look back on actual accomplishments and expenditures, to assess how well the agencies performed as measured against the objectives that were set out in the RPPs.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:02 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of October 16 to 31st, 2009 is now available on the Court website.

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

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

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

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:04 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Study on Impact of Intervenors at Supreme Court of Canada

University of Toronto law professors Ben Alarie and Andrew Green have posted a draft of a new paper to the Social Science Research Network.

The paper is entitled Interventions at the Supreme Court of Canada: Accuracy, Affiliation, and Acceptance:

"Do interveners matter? Under Chief Justice McLachlin the Supreme Court of Canada has allowed an average of 176 interventions per calendar year and interveners have cumulatively made submissions in half of the cases heard by the Court. This level of activity suggests that interveners are doing something. But what is it that they are doing?"

"In the abstract, there are at least three functions that the practice of intervention might perform. First, hearing from interveners might provide objectively useful information to the Court (i.e., interveners might promote the 'accuracy' of the Court’s decision-making). A second possibility is that the practice of intervention allows interveners to provide the 'best argument' for certain partisan interests that judges might want to 'affiliate' with. A third possibility is that interventions are allowed mainly (if not only) so that intervening parties feel they have had their voices heard by the Court and by the greater public, including Parliament, regardless of the effect on the outcome of the appeal (i.e., the Court might be promoting the 'acceptability' of its decisions by allowing for an outlet for expression)."

"It is disconcerting that until now the effects of interventions on the decision-making of the Supreme Court of Canada have not been systematically explored through empirical analysis. A growing body of literature has examined the role of amicus curiae at the Supreme Court of the United States. To date, however, the related literature in Canada is slim and, to the extent it exists, does not deploy the empirical methods necessary to test independently for the influence of interveners on the decisions of individual judges. This work fills this gap in the existing literature and expands our collective understanding of the consequences of the practice of intervention at Canada’s highest court. We find evidence that interveners matter more than many observers might expect. "
They are presenting the paper this Friday at a Symposium on the Role of Intervenors in Public Interest Litigation at the Faculty of Law of the University of Toronto.


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

Monday, November 02, 2009

Hill Times Supplement on Canadian Copyright Reform

The Hill Times, the Ottawa-based weekly that covers the federal government and Parliament Hill, has a new Policy Briefing on Communications and Intellectual Property (it is the November 2, 2009 link).

It contains a series of articles about copyright reform by government and opposition spokespeople and by analysts.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:34 pm 0 comments

Sunday, November 01, 2009

CanLII Now Offers Point-In-Time Territorial Legislation Databases

CanLII, the Canadian Legal Information Institute that offers free Internet access to primary Canadian legal material, now has point-in-time legislation from the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon:
"The new features include:
  • Access to past versions;
  • Coming into force dates of amendments;
  • Information with respect to repealed and superseded legislation;
  • Search with specific in force dates;
  • Version comparison;
  • Track changes with RSS feeds."
CanLII now offers point-in-time capability for all Canadian jurisdictions (federal, provincial and territorial).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:10 pm 0 comments

Annual Report 2008-2009 of the Australian Law Reform Commission

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has published its annual report for 2008-2009:
"2008–09 has been another very busy one for the ALRC, with a focus on organisational renewal and increasing productivity. Following the release in August of the landmark Privacy Report, For Your Information: Australian Privacy Law and Practice, (ALRC 108, 2008)—which involved one of the largest national and international consultation exercises in the ALRC’s history—the ALRC was referred two new inquiries: a review of Commonwealth Secrecy Laws; and a review of the Royal Commissions Act 1902 (Cth) and related issues. Both of these major inquiries are due to be completed by the end of October 2009."

"The then Opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) went into the last federal election in November 2007 with a platform of commitment to more openness, accountability and transparency in the operation of executive government. Among other things, the ALP pledged to implement the major recommendations in the ALRC’s report on freedom of information (FOI) law and practice, Open Government (ALRC 77, 1995), as well as those in the ALRC’s review of federal sedition laws, Fighting Words (ALRC 104, 2006)."

"In some respects, the ALRC’s current review of secrecy laws represents one of the final pieces in the puzzle (a regime providing strong whistleblower protections would be another key piece), since over the past decade or so the ALRC has provided reports and recommendations to successive governments about improving FOI; privacy laws and practices; the protection of classified and security sensitive information; the preservation of archival resources; and client legal privilege in federal investigations."

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