Thursday, April 29, 2010

Australian Law Reform Commission Consultation Paper on Family Violence Reform

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) and the New South Wales Law Reform Commission (NSWLRC) have released a Consultation Paper for their joint inquiry into family violence laws.

The inquiry will look at:
  • the interaction in practice of State and Territory family/domestic violence and child protection laws with the Family Law Act and relevant Commonwealth, State and Territory criminal laws; and
  • the impact of inconsistent interpretation or application of laws in cases of sexual assault occuring in a family/domestic violence context, including rules of evidence, on victims of such violence

From the press release:

"ALRC President, Professor Rosalind Croucher said that over 60 individuals and organisations from around Australia working in the areas of family violence, sexual assault and child protection had already been consulted to inform the thinking behind the Consultation Paper."

" 'This Inquiry will be one of the largest and most significant in the ALRC’s recent history. The Inquiry’s Terms of Reference have asked the Commissions to focus on laws and legal processes and to consider what improvements could be made to protect women and children from family violence. Building on the work of the Family Law Council, Professor Richard Chisholm and the Australian Institute of Family Studies Evaluation of the 2006 family law reforms, this Inquiry looks at the interrelationship in practice of at least nine sets of criminal laws, eight sets of child protection laws, eight sets of family violence laws and the Family Law Act, as well as evidence laws, sentencing laws and a range of other legal processes'. "


"Commissioner Professor Hilary Astor from the NSWLRC stated, 'Families in crisis often have intersecting problems involving family violence, sexual assault and child protection matters. They are presently faced with a complex maze of courts, legal processes and services which often don’t relate well to each other. At the moment, it is far too easy for people to fall through the cracks, for them to leave the process disillusioned, or for outcomes not to deliver maximum safety for families in crisis. The Consultation Paper asks people to respond to questions and proposals, and to contribute their own ideas, for improving law and practice so that our systems for dealing with all forms of family violence are approachable, effective and easy to navigate'. "

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:15 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Privacy Commissioner of Canada to Webcast Consultations on Online Tracking

This is a follow-up to the Library Boy post of January 19, 2010 entitled Privacy Commissioner of Canada Launches Consultation on Online Tracking.

This Thursday, the Commissioner is holding a public discussion in Toronto that will be transmitted via webcast.

The consultation is looking at privacy issues related to the online tracking, profiling and targeting of consumers by marketers and other businesses. The webpage includes links to submissions received to this date (Interactive Advertising Bureau Of Canada, Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, Canadian Marketing Association, European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online and the Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety, Public Interest Advocacy Centre).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:42 pm 0 comments

Juristat Article on Youth Custody and Community Services in Canada

The most recent issue of the Statistics Canada publication Juristat has an article on Youth custody and community services in Canada, 2008/2009.

It provides an overview of the number and characteristics of youth admitted to and released from custody and community services in 2008/2009 and examines trends over a five-year period. A focused analysis of Aboriginal youth under correctional supervision is also presented.

Overall, of the 40,300 admissions to youth correctional services in the eight jurisdictions that provided data for 2008/2009, 41% of youth were admitted to probation, followed by remand (meaning custody while awaiting trial or sentencing) (39%), sentenced custody (9%), the community portion of a custody and supervision order (6%), deferred custody (4%) and the intensive support and supervision program (1%) .

From the summary:
"In 2008/2009, the number and rate of youth admitted to correctional supervision programs declined, continuing the downward trend that has been occurring for several years and that was accelerated in 2003 when the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) was implemented. During this same period, the police-reported youth crime rate has also generally declined, and, although youth court statistics are currently only available up to 2006/2007, these data also indicate declines in youth court appearances since the implementation of the YCJA. Despite the overall declines witnessed in admissions to youth correctional programs, trends in the use of remand are of note. Although the number of admissions to remand decreased in 2008/2009, admissions had grown in prior years and data indicate that, on any given day in 2008/2009, youth in remand outnumbered those in sentenced custody for the second year in a row. "
General highlights:

  • The rate of youth admitted to remand declined in most jurisdictions
  • Just over half of all youth held in remand were released within one week
  • The rate of youth admitted to sentenced custody also down
  • Most youth spent less than 6 months in sentenced custody (with 43% of youth released were released after spending one month or less in sentenced custody)
  • Overall, youth admitted due a violation against the person accounted for the largest proportion of admissions to remand and sentenced custody
  • Females continue to account for a minority of youth admitted to correctional services
  • According to the 2006 Census, 6% of all youth 12 to 17 years old in Canada self-identified as Aboriginal. In comparison, the representation of Aboriginal youth in custody and community services has traditionally been higher. In 2008/2009, Aboriginal youth accounted for 27% of youth admitted to remand, 36% of youth admitted to sentenced custody, and 24% of youth admitted to probation

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:24 pm 0 comments

Law Commission of New Zealand Report on Sale of Alcohol

The Law Commission of New Zealand has published its final report on the country's liquor laws:

"The terms of reference for the review required the Commission to consider a broad range of issues including: the adequacy of the current liquor licensing laws; alcohol taxation and pricing; advertising; age restrictions and the responsibilities of parents with respect to adolescent drinking. The report contains 153 recommendations to Government and is divided into four parts. Part 1 summarises the public consultation findings and outlines the case for legal reform; Part 2 sets out the detailed framework for a new licensing system; Part 3 deals with alcohol taxation and pricing and the promotion of alcohol and Part 4 addresses alcohol offences, education and treatment."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:14 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Scott Index to Canadian Legal Periodical Literature Available on CAIJ

The Scott Index, formerly known as the Index to Canadian Legal Periodical Literature, is available on the website of CAIJ (Centre d'accès à l'information juridique), the network of 38 libraries serving members of the Barreau du Québec and the province's judiciary.

CAIJ will offer coverage from 1998 onwards. Content includes:
  • legal articles published in more than a hundred Canadian legal journals;
  • legal articles published in journals from related fields (ex : Canadian Journal of Political Science);
  • texts from legal conferences; and
  • case comments

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

Monday, April 26, 2010

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary on Proposed Youth Criminal Justice Act Amendments

The Library of Parliament has published a Legislative Summary of Bill C-4: An Act to Amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act and to Make Consequential and Related Amendments to Other Acts:
"The purpose of the bill is to amend certain provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) to emphasize the importance of protecting society and to facilitate the detention of young persons3 who reoffend or who pose a threat to public safety. More particularly, the bill:"
  • "establishes deterrence and denunciation as sentencing principles similar to the principles provided in the adult criminal justice system (clause 7);
  • expands the case law definition of a violent offence to include reckless behaviour endangering public safety (clause 2);
  • amends the rules for pre-sentence detention (also called pre-trial detention) to facilitate the detention of young persons accused of crimes against property punishable by a maximum term of five years or more (clause 4);
  • authorizes the court to impose a prison sentence on a young person who has previously been subject to a number of extrajudicial sanctions (clause 8);
  • requires the Crown to consider the possibility of seeking an adult sentence for young offenders 14 to 17 years of age convicted of murder, attempted murder, manslaughter or aggravated sexual assault (clauses 11 and 18);
  • facilitates publication of the names of young offenders convicted of violent offences (clauses 20 and 24);
  • requires police to keep a record of any extrajudicial measures imposed on young persons so that their criminal tendencies can be documented (clause 25);
  • prohibits the imprisonment of young persons in adult correctional facilities (clause 21)."
"Bill C-4 also includes the essential aspects of the two features contained in the former Bill C-25:4 the addition of deterrence and denunciation as sentencing principles and, second, rules facilitating the pre-sentencing detention of young persons."
People who wish to follow the progress of the bill as it makes its way through the Houses of Parliament can do so on the LEGISinfo website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:04 pm 0 comments

Lawyers Weekly Interview With Supreme Court of Canada Justice Louis LeBel

The most recent issue of The Lawyers Weekly (April 30 2010 issue) has a feature interview with Supreme Court of Canada Justice Louis LeBel:
"In a recent wide-ranging exclusive interview with The Lawyers Weekly to mark his 10 years at the court, Justice LeBel, now 71, candidly discloses his most challenging appeals; how he avoids bitterness when he 'loses' a case; divisions on the court; his view of Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin’s leadership; why advocacy matters and what not to do; and why the judges are increasingly meeting twice to decide some appeals."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:56 pm 0 comments

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Annual Report of the CALL Courthouse and Law Society Libraries SIG

I co-chair the Courthouse and Law Society Libraries Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL).

Our 2009-2010 annual report has just been released in time for the upcoming CALL annual conference in Windsor (May 9-12).

The SIG has as small web page with basic information about our activities.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:31 pm 0 comments

Friday, April 23, 2010

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 April 1st to 15th, 2010 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 7:10 pm 0 comments

Thursday, April 22, 2010

April 2010 Issue of Governance and Recordkeeping Around the World Newsletter

The Governance and Recordkeeping Around the World newsletter, published by Library and Archives Canada, "highlights issues pertaining to government and recordkeeping practices in the public and private sector".

The April 2010 issue has just been published on the Library and Archives Canada website.

It includes:
  • news items from Canada and around the world
  • announcements of upcoming events (meetings, workshops)
  • project and product news in areas such as digitization, archives, e-discovery, open source, access to information and databases
  • surveys
  • selected papers and readings

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:30 pm 0 comments

Federal Judges Unhappy About Wikipedia Evidence in Immigration Cases

According to an article in The Globe and Mail (Judges rap Wiki-evidence in immigration cases, April 21, 2010), Federal Court judges have had some harsh words for government lawyers' use of Wikipedia in deportation cases.

A Canadian government spokesperson is quoted as saying that the online encyclopedia that can be edited by anyone is "specifically discouraged as a reference in decision making, unless it is supported by information from a credible, reliable source".

The article explains the controversy:
"To be fair, no one article ever seems to have emerged as the linchpin in any government case, and most citations are peripheral. Defence lawyers also have been known to marshal Wikipedia entries to poke holes in Crown cases."

"But this is a slippery slope, especially in cases centring on asylum or deportation, which often amount to life-and-death matters."

"The earliest known case arose in 2006, when Federal Court Judge Luc Martineau reprimanded a federal agent for 'capricious findings' in denying refugee status to a Palestinian. The agent’s transgressions included use of Wikipedia to research the Israeli army’s practice of razing houses. Finding a 'breach of the duty of fairness,' the judge ordered a new hearing."

"Wikipedia has surfaced at least a dozen times in Federal Court, according to its online database. Yet this is just the tip of the information iceberg"
Earlier Library Boy posts about the accuracy of Wikipedia include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:15 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Webinar - Collection Development in the Age of the Virtual Law Firm Library

The American Association of Law Libraries is organizing a webinar on May 5 entitled Collection Development in the Age of the Virtual Law Firm Library.

"The current economic downturn combined with the increased cost of real estate has accelerated the demise of the print law firm library collection. How do you create an effective collection development policy that reflects print and digital media? This webinar addresses some of the challenges and opportunities necessary to maintain an appropriate mix of print and digital resources to support your firm's 21st century practice."
It takes place at 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM - Central Time (U.S. and Canada). Registration closes April 29 at 5:00 PM - Central Time

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:18 pm 1 comments

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Canadian E-Discovery Case Law Digests

I discovered the other day that LexUM, the legal informatics lab at the Université de Montréal, hosts the Canadian e-Discovery Portal which includes case law digests in matters relating to electronic discovery.

The digests link to the full text of the corresponding decisions on the CanLII website.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:45 pm 0 comments

Lawyers Weekly Article on Private Prosecutions in Canada

In the most recent issue of The Lawyers Weekly, Toronto-based lawyer Dianne Saxe discusses the phenomenon of private prosecutions in Canada, which appear to have some importance in the field of environmental law:

"Public prosecutors are less likely to discontinue a private prosecution today than they used to be, and are supposed to do so only when:
- there is so little evidence that there is no case to answer; or
- the prosecution is likely to damage the interests of justice.

"But that is only the first step. A generation ago, if environmental groups escaped having their charges withdrawn by the attorney general, they received a cold welcome from the courts. In R v. Cyanamid Canada Inc., (1981) 11 CELR 31, where the judge had no choice but to convict, he showed his displeasure by imposing a $1 fine. "

"Today, private prosecutors get a lot more respect from the bench. As the Canadian Law Reform Commission put it: 'This form of citizen/victim participation enhances basic democratic values while at the same time it promotes the general image of an effective system of administering justice within the Canadian state'. "

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:37 pm 0 comments

Monday, April 19, 2010

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Bill to Limit Tenure of Senators

The Library of Parliament recently released a legislative summary of Bill C-10: An Act to Amend the Constitution Act, 1867 (Senate Term Limit):
"It limits the tenure of senators appointed after 14 October 2008 to one non-renewable eight-year term. The bill sets the existing retirement age of 75 for current senators to all senators regardless of when they were appointed. It further allows a senator who is subject to the eight-year term to return to the Senate to complete an interrupted term."

"Bill C-10 is the latest version of a series of government bills introduced since 2006 proposing to limit Senate terms. Since the introduction of the first Senate term limits bill (Bill S-4), the government’s proposals for reducing Senate terms have evolved, usually in response to concerns raised about some of the provisions contained in prior versions of the government’s bills."

"Bill C-10 reintroduces, without modification, Bill S-7, An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 (Senate term limits). Bill S-7 was introduced in the Senate on 28 May 2009, but died on the Order Paper when Parliament was prorogued on 30 December 2009. The bill did not proceed past second reading."

"Bill S-7 reintroduced, with important modifications, the provisions set out in Bill C-19, An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 (Senate tenure), introduced in the House of Commons on 13 November 2007. Bill C-19 died on the Order Paper when Parliament was dissolved on 7 September 2008."

"There are two important differences between Bill C-10 (and its predecessor, Bill S-7) and Bill C-19:
  • Bill C-10 imposes a universal retirement age of 75 years regardless of the date of appointment. Bill C-19 did not require senators appointed after the coming into force of the bill to retire at age 75; and
  • Senators appointed after 14 October 2008, but before the coming into force of Bill C-10, are subject to the eight-year term limit. The term, however, will begin on the date the bill comes into force"
There is an earlier Library Boy post on Senate Reform from January 16, 2010 entitled Library of Parliament Studies on Senate Reform.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:30 pm 0 comments

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Are All the Generalizations About Generational Differences Nonsense?

In the most recent issue of Cites & Insights, Walt Crawford examines the widely held idea that younger librarians are somehow vastly different because of their online habits:
"I’ve frequently argued that generational differences and generalizations (what I call 'gen-gen') are generally overstated and damaging. I’ll continue to make that case—that focusing on generational differences gets in the way of treating people like people."

"There’s a difference between generalizing about generations and recognizing that age can make a difference, at least sometimes. The first portion of this essay deals with one such case—a case where, if I denied that age has anything to do with outlook, I was wrong (...)"

"Sharp distinctions between generations—and even labels for specific generations—are mostly nonsense, and damaging nonsense at that. Sure, growing up with tools makes them less apparent as new tools—but it doesn’t mean you understand them, just that you’ve used them. (And, with a few exceptions, it means you’ve used them if you’re from a middle-class or wealthier family in a developed nation.) Gengen is stereotyping; stereotyping always saves time by allowing us to avoid dealing with people as individuals—and that’s pretty much never a positive thing."

"On the other hand…things do change, if not in bizarre generational leaps and gulfs, and those in power need to be aware of change and supportive of younger (or older but more aware) people trying to make sense of that change. Things don’t stay the same: That’s not new."

"I find it improbable that we’ll see less gengen, less stereotyping. It’s too profitable an activity for the Gurus of Gengen, and it’s too easy for others to say 'Oh, here’s what X is all about, now I can stop thinking about it'. "
The thing I have always liked about Crawford's publication (which he produces once a month) is that the analysis of any particular issue always includes a long list of excerpts from the writings of other library world commentators.

Reading Cites & Insights is a good way of getting an overview of the thinking out there.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:50 pm 0 comments

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Library of Parliament Series on Social Media

The Library of Parliament recently published a series of short articles on the impact of social media such as blogs, wikis, Twitter, etc.:
  • Social Media: 1. An Introduction (February 3, 2010): "This paper gives a brief overview of their evolution and development, looks at how the attributes of these media affect the way people interact online, and considers their potential social and economic impact."
  • Social Media: 2. Who Uses Them? (February 3, 2010): "This paper reviews recent statistics that demonstrate differences between older and younger Canadians, men and women, Anglophones and Francophones, immigrants and native-born Canadians, and urban and rural dwellers in their rates of Internet and social media use."
  • Social Media: 3. Privacy and the Facebook Example (February 8, 2010): "When people post personal information on social network sites, that information may be used in ways they do not realize. Concerns over what social media sites do with personal information and how they inform users led Canada’s federal Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) to investigate the practices of Facebook, the world’s leading online social network. This led to changes in Facebook’s privacy practices, which were applied to the site worldwide. To illustrate the privacy concerns associated with social media and how these have been addressed, this paper gives an overview of the OPC’s investigation, the first major investigation any privacy authority had conducted into acebook’s practices."
  • Social Media: 4. Political Uses and Implications for Representative Democracy (March 22, 2010): "Social media offer innovative opportunities for political actors, political institutions and the public to interact with one another. Drawing on examples from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, this paper outlines how social media are currently being used in the political arena. It also discusses benefits and risks that have been attributed to the use of social media for political purposes, and explores the implications that the use of these technologies may have for representative democracy."
  • Social Media: 5. Parliamentary Use in the United Kingdom (March 25, 2010): "This paper focuses on innovative approaches that the Parliament of the United Kingdom is using to provide information, elicit feedback, and even allow respondents to communicate with one another. It is noteworthy that both houses of Parliament in the United Kingdom, as is the case in the United States, Australia, and the European Parliament, have been grappling with challenges related to the application of new technologies to institutions that evolved when communications technologies were far more limited. Examples from the realm of committee work include the question of applying the principle of parliamentary immunity to testimony delivered electronically rather than in person before a committee, how electronic input is to be stored and maintained to be able to respond to access-to-information requests, and how the identity of witnesses can be confirmed through electronic means. Yet, similar challenges existed when legislative committees first permitted the use of video conferencing as a way to hear from witnesses, or allowed 'walk-ons' in committee hearings conducted beyond the parliamentary base."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:59 pm 0 comments

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Manitoba Law Reform Commission Report on Appointments to Administrative Agencies

The Manitoba Law Reform Commission has just released a report entitled Improving Administrative Justice in Manitoba: Starting with the Appointments Process.

As I like to point out, one of the most interesting things to me about law reform reports is the fact that they frequently provide a comparative perpective about the issue studied and this report is no exception:
"Manitoba has about 160 administrative agencies, boards and commissions (often referred to as 'ABCs') that operate outside the line departments of government. The government relies on administrative boards to regulate and adjudicate, to give advice, to administer substantial financial and other assets and to provide goods and services. Other administrative boards are appointed to take on roles that emerge as governments assume regulatory functions. In the last decade most Canadian provinces and the federal government have reviewed their board appointments processes and most have implemented changes to ensure that the processes are more open, transparent and accountable and less partisan and more merit-based. Manitoba is one of the few provinces not to have made some change to its appointments process. The first step towards ensuring quality performance of administrative boards in Manitoba is to examine the quality of the appointments process."

"This report discusses the difficult issue of what role, if any, partisanship (in the sense of appointees’ known sympathies with the government’s political leanings) should play in the appointments process. This report outlines the formal mechanisms for making board appointments in Canadian common law jurisdictions and outlines the issues that arise with the less formal mechanisms. It examines how concerns with appointments have emerged in Canadian jurisdictions and how governments have changed their appointments processes in response to those concerns. This report describes publicly available information on the current appointments process in Manitoba, and reviews developments and reforms in appointments policies in Canada and other jurisdictions. The final part of this report examines more closely the elements of appointments policies and makes recommendations on a new appointments policy for Manitoba."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:09 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Information Commissioner Special Report to Parliament on Access to Information

In a special report to the Canadian Parliament released yesterday, interim Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault concludes that delays in the release of federal government information have increased markedly since 2002.

She conducted an extensive survey of how requests were handled in 24 federal institutions under the Access to Information Act. They account for 88 % of all access requests made to federal institutions in 2008-2009.

In her introductory message, Legault is very blunt:

"Despite warnings and recommendations, delays continue to be the Achilles’ heel of the access to information system and have yet to be appropriately addressed across the government. Chronic delays are generating an increasing number of complaints, which compound the pressure on institutions, particularly those that are under-resourced. As a result, delays continue to erode requesters’ right to timely access to information. "

"This right is at risk of being totally obliterated because delays threaten to render the entire access regime irrelevant in our current information economy. Ever-evolving information and communications technologies have increased expectations for a quick dissemination of information enabling content creation and innovation. The government should be leading this new development or, at the very least, keeping up with the pace (...) "

"The status quo whereby citizens want information that the government wants to control no longer works. The technical arcana of bureaucracy are neither a reasonable explanation nor an excuse for increasingly lengthy delays. As the custodians of information that belongs to Canadians, Parliament, the Information Commissioner and government must work with all stakeholders to achieve dynamic solutions that embrace democracy through the free flow of information."

13 institutions performed below average or worse against a number of measures, including how quickly they responded to requests and how often they completed requests late.

Bad performers included the Privy Council Office, Health Canada, Revenue Canada, Natural Resources and the Canadian Food Inspection Service. The performance of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade was in such decline since last year that it earned a red alert rating.

11 institutions performed well, based on factors such as support from the minister and senior officials, sufficient resources, commitment to training, full delegation to the access to information departmental coordinator, consistent exercise of the duty to assist requesters, support and timeliness in handling consultations from other institutions, and sound information management. Among the institutions praised are Justice, Citizenship and Immigration, Public Works, Industry Canada and the Canadian Border Services Agency.

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

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

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 March 16th to 30th, 2010 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 12:41 pm 0 comments

Monday, April 12, 2010

Final Summary of Canadian Government Copyright Consultation

University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist has posted a tally of submissions to last fall's public consultations on Canadian copyright reform.

The consultation asked 5 questions:
  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?
The Canadian Association of Law Libraries made a submission to the consultations.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:04 pm 0 comments

Survey on 2010 Financial Outlook for Canadian Law Libraries

The Vendor Liaison Committee (VLC) of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is conducting a survey on the financial health of law libraries in Canada.

The Committee is asking that individuals with budget responsibility for their library complete the survey. The deadline is April 30, 2010.

The results will be reported at the VLC business meeting in Windsor at the annual CALL conference, May 8-12. Results will also be posted on the VLC page on the CALL website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:51 pm 0 comments

New Version of Google Books Bibliography

Charles W. Bailey, Jr., former assistant dean of the University Libraries at the University of Houston and currently publisher of Digital Scholarship has just published a Google Books Bibliography (version 6):

"This bibliography presents selected English-language articles and other works that are useful in understanding Google Books. It primarily focuses on the evolution of Google Books and the legal, library, and social issues associated with it. Where possible, links are provided to works that are freely available on the Internet, including e-prints in disciplinary archives and institutional repositories. Note that e-prints and published articles may not be identical."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:46 pm 0 comments

Sunday, April 11, 2010

New Library of Parliament Legislative Summaries

The Library of Parliament recently published two (2) legislative summaries relating to bills in front of the House of Commons:
  • Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act: "Bill C-3, An Act to promote gender equity in Indian registration by responding to the Court of Appeal for British Columbia decision in McIvor v. Canada (Registrar of Indian and Northern Affairs) (short title: Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act), was introduced in the House of Commons by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, the Honourable Chuck Strahl, on 11 March 2010. The bill modifies the Indian Act in order to comply with the British Columbia Court of Appeal's 2009 McIvor decision, which found aspects of the current registration provisions in violation of section 15 of the on the basis of sex. The Indian Act has been and remains the principal expression of Parliament's jurisdiction over 'Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians' under subsection 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867. From its inception, the Act has set out criteria defining Indian 'status' for purposes of determining entitlement to a range of legislated rights as well as eligibility for federal programs and services. Status provisions have been an enduring source of grievance for First Nations people, who claim an inherent right to determine their own citizenship.This section outlines the evolution of and developments related to those aspects of Indian status that are directly relevant to the specific amendments proposed by Bill C-3 over three periods: from pre-Confederation through 1982; from 1982 through 2007; and from the 2007 McIvordecision to the present."
  • An Act to amend the International Transfer of Offenders Act: "Bill C-5, An Act to amend the International Transfer of Offenders Act (short title: Keeping Canadians Safe [International Transfer of Offenders] Act), was introduced in the House of Commons on 18 March 2010 by the Minister of Public Safety, the Honourable Vic Toews. It is almost identical to Bill C-59, which received first reading during the 2nd Session of the 40th Parliament but died on the Order Paper when Parliament was prorogued on 30 December 2009. Bill C-5 amends the purpose of the International Transfer of Offenders Act, as well as the factors for the Minister's consideration in deciding whether to consent to an offender's transfer."
Tracking federal bills is easy with LEGISinfo, an electronic research toll created by the Library of Parliament. LEGISinfo provides information about individual federal bills, including the text at various readings, government press releases and backgrounders, speeches in Parliament, legislative summaries, votes and coming into force information.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:30 pm 0 comments

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Best Practices to Demonstrate the Value of Your Law Library

Deborah Copeman from the library of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society and I have put together a document on best practices to demonstrate the value of the law library.

It is based on contributions from members of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) who responded to a survey we sent out earlier this year:
"Several months ago, we invited CALL members to share their best practices for demonstrating the value of their library collection and services to their stakeholders for compilation into a report to share with the membership."

"Due to the current financial and fiscal climate, it is more important than ever before for law libraries of all types to be able to demonstrate how truly valuable they are to users, stakeholders and parent organizations (...)"

"Yet despite the best efforts of librarians, there continue to be stories about cutbacks and questions about the contributions of law libraries."

"Which begs the question: are we measuring the right things, in the right way, according to the right definition of 'value'? (...)"

"We hope that the examples provided by CALL members and the accompanying bibliography help you develop your own methods for proving your value to your users, funders, partners and stakeholders"
Deborah and I co-chair CALL's Courthouse and Law Society Libraries Special Interest Group.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:13 pm 1 comments

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Proving the Value of the Special Library

On his Stephen's Lighthouse blog, Stephen Abram has written a post about the Value of Special Libraries:
"Having spent many years working in special libraries, I am very aware of their position. You are under constant pressure to justify your services, role and budget in the specialized environment in which you practice."
The post describes various studies that demonstrate the impact of information specialists and special libraries that include entities such as government, courthouse, law firm, medical, scientific libraries.

Earlier Library Boy posts on the same topic include:
  • Law Library Branding and Recruitment (February 15, 2006): "Why should libraries care about brands? Because whether it has been given careful thought or not, every institution has a brand. Whether the brand is strong enough to be favorably remembered by clients is another matter. This article will give you the tools to identify your brand and to understand how useful it can be in your marketing efforts."
  • Newest Issue of AALL Spectrum: Marketing, Preservation and Katrina (January 30, 2007): "The February 2007 issue of the AALL Spectrum (American Association of Law Libraries) is available online. Among the offerings ...: 'Public Relations: Marketing Inspiration - How to move the law library to the center of your organization’s culture' (...) "
  • New Articles on Marketing and Impact of Law Libraries (November 13, 2007): "The November 2007 issue of AALL Spectrum, a publication of the American Association of Law Libraries, contains 2 articles that are related to marketing: 'Public Relations: Selling Law Librarianship' ... 'Perspective: What is Your Impact on Society' (...)"
  • Blog Series on How to Increase Your Value in Your Workplace (March 4, 2010): "The SLA Blog has started a series called 'Alignment Steps' that contains advice on how librarians and information professionals can prove and increase their value in their workplace."
  • Law Librarians Can Prove Their Value Through Training (March 10, 2010): "(...) the January/February 2010 Law Librarians newsletter put out by legal publisher Westlaw has published an article entitled 'Law Firm Economics and the Librarian—Bring Value Through Training'. The lessons can apply beyond the context of private law firm libraries (...)"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:34 pm 1 comments

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Materials from Austin, Texas Conference on Self-Represented Litigants

Materials from a January 2010 conference held by the Self‐Represented Litigation Network of the U.S.-based National Center for State Courts were recently posted on the Webjunction website.

The conference took place in Austin, Texas.
"The Self-Represented Litigation Network is an open and growing group of organizations and working groups dedicated to fulfilling the promise of a justice system that works for all, including those who cannot afford lawyers and who go to court on their own. The Network brings together a range of organizations including courts, and access to justice organizations in support of innovations in services for the self‐represented (...) "

"We hope that you will find the Conference materials energizing, and helpful. Above all, we hope that they will cement your commitment to the use of public libraries for access to justice, and that it will help you build the partnerships and give you the tools to be effective in this work. "

"Public libraries are critical access points to government institutions. As times get tougher, it becomes more and more important that people have libraries where they can find out how to protect their rights and navigate the complexities of our society. It also becomes more and more important that libraries can show how important and effective they are at meeting this need. "

Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:

  • CALL 2007 Conference - Canadian Courthouse Library Survey (May 6, 2007): "Leaders of the Courthouse and Law Society Libraries SIG [of the Canadian Association of law Libraries] unveiled the results of a survey regarding public access (...) 27.6% of libraries have developed resources to assist members of the public in finding legal information or legal advice consisting of prepared printed brochures and research guides. These materials included electronic sources, pathfinders, online forms and Internet sites. 34.5% of the libraries indicated they were involved in access to justice projects with other organizations: training sessions for public librarians and university students, moot court tournaments for high schools or newspaper article series on public legal education ..."
  • CALL 2007 Conference - Public Access to Legal Information (May 7, 2007): "At the 2007 conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries being held in Ottawa until Wednesday, there was a session today on 'The Ultimate End User: the Public's Access to Law Libraries and Legal Information'. There were 3 presentations dealing with how law libraries and public libraries can respond to the growing number of self-represented litigants, as well with the generalized growth in the appetite of the public for legal information. "
  • Role of Public Law Libraries (June 24, 2008): "The most recent issue of the AALL Spectrum features an article about what are called public law libraries which are law libraries that serve the general population, including self-represented litigants."
  • British Columbia Launches Clicklaw Public Legal Info Portal (April 29, 2009): "The Public Legal Education and Information Network in the province of British Columbia has launched Clicklaw to provide the general public with legal information and education resources. "
  • CALL 2009 Conference - Research Projects by Members (May 27, 2009): "At this year's session, 2 CALL members presented the results of their research projects. The first was from Kirsten Wurmann of the Legal Resource Centre in Edmonton who presented the results of her study on the role and impact of librarians in the history and development of public legal education practice in Canada. Her paper is entitled The Role and Impact of Librarians in the History and Development of Public Legal Education (PLE) in Canada. "

As well, the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice, a national organization based at the University of Alberta, has created what it calls an inventory of civil justice reforms in Canada. It contains descriptions of reform initiatives from across the country, as well as proposed reforms from law reform commissions, task force reports, and the like. This includes changes to court procedures, legal aid, initiatives aimed at helping self-represented litigants, and public legal education and information programs.

[Source: ResourceShelf]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:35 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Newsletter on Law and Religion

For the past few years, Sébastien Lherbier-Levy has been publishing a very detailed French-language newsletter on religion and law called "La lettre du droit des religions".

Each issue includes an editorial comment, feature articles, news items from different countries, case law from the European Court of Human Rights (and domestic case law from French tribunals) as well as a bibliography.

In the most recent issue (March 2010), there are, among other things, a number of items on the niqab controversy in various countries, including Canada. The niqab is the full veil covering the entire face worn by some Moslem women.

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

Monday, April 05, 2010

Maher Arar Now Publisher of Prism Magazine on National Security and Human Rights

The April/May 2010 issue of Ottawa Magazine has an interview with Maher Arar about his most recent project, a magazine on human rights and national security called Prism Magazine.

Arar has become a very well-known Canadian, as he was a victim of the policy known as extraordinary rendition.

Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian citizen falsely accused of ties to Islamic fundamentalist terrorism, was detained by U.S. authorities at a New York airport in 2002 and deported to Syria, where he was imprisoned and tortured.

A federal judicial inquiry found that the RCMP mislabelled him as an extremist with ties to al-Qaida. It also concluded the misinformation was shared with U.S. authorities likely leading them to deport him. The inquiry cleared Arar of any association with terrorism.

The Canadian government apologized to Arar and awarded him a $10.5-million legal settlement in 2007.

In the Ottawa Magazine interview (p. 15), Arar explains some of the thinking behind the magazine, which was launched at the beginning of the year:

"I've noticed, through my experiences, that reporters, in their rush to report on national security cases ... tend to cover the issues very quickly. They don't give them enough thought. In the process, reputations get damaged. I thought. Why not create something to give a model?"
Contributors come from the worlds of law, journalism, diplomacy and academia.

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

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Law Reform Commission of Ireland Report on Juries

The Law Reform Commission of Ireland last week issued a Consultation Paper on Jury Service.

The paper proposes a number of changes to jury practices in that country:
  • the existing blanket excusal from jury service of many professionals and public servants should be replaced by an individualised excusal "for good cause"
  • no person should be prohibited from jury service on the basis of physical disability alone; and that reasonable accommodation be put in place for hearing-and-visually impaired jurors to assist them in undertaking the duties of a juror
  • the Commission questions whether the number of objections to jurors without the need to give any reason for both the prosecution and the defence ("peremptory challenges") should be reduced
  • the Courts Service should provide to jurors information explaining whythey should not carry out independent investigations or Internet searches about a case and should limit their decision to the evidence presented in court
The paper looks at the history of jury selection and compares the practices in Ireland with those of many other jurisdictions such as Canada, England, Australia and New Zealand.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:45 pm 0 comments