Sunday, October 31, 2010

New Alberta Rules of Court Come Into Force Nov. 1

New Alberta Rules of Court are set to come into force on November 1st, 2010.

The Alberta Law Reform Institute has produced a paper explaining the Transition to the New Rules of Court.

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

Hurray for Projects That Were Big Fat Failures

The blogger known as Librarian in Black caught my attention with a series of posts last week on failed projects.

On October 26, there was a "track" at the recent Internet Librarian 2010 conference in Monterrey, California entitled "Innovation, Risk & Failure" that concentrated on library projects and initiatives that went wrong. I have noticed that libraries seldom talk about anything that failed, which is odd. Maybe there is a huge hidden library cemetery somewhere where all of those failed projects have been secretly buried never to be talked about again.

Years ago, I worked in a dot com in Toronto that was part of a larger enterprise with many Internet properties. We thought it was wonderful if 3 or 4 out of 10 projects succeeded and the failures were what were truly interesting because they taught us so much.

Anyway, here are the 3 posts from the Librarian in Black:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:36 pm 0 comments

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Manitoba Law Reform Commission Report on Limitations

The Manitoba Law Reform Commission has just released a report proposing reforms to provincial legislation on limitations.

The most important proposal is for the abolition of the various categories of claims set out in the current Act, and their replacement with a single, basic two year limitation applicable to all claims unless they are otherwise dealt with.

This two year limitation would begin running when the existence of a claim was discovered or discoverable, instead of when the cause of action arose.

There would be exceptions in areas such as claims arising out of sexual assaults or assaults in intimate or dependent relationships, claims of aboriginal title, proceedings for a declaration of existing rights if no consequential relief is sought, and proceedings to recover fines or taxes owing to the Crown.

Earlier Library Boy posts on limitations include:
  • Manitoba Law Reform Commission Report on Limitations of Actions (July 5, 2009): "The Manitoba Law Reform Commission recently published a Draft Report for Consultation on the province's Limitations of Actions Act: (...) 'The Limitation of Actions Act was originally enacted in 1931. Although amended three times since then (in 1967, 1980, and 2002) it is fundamentally based on an amalgam of limitations provisions that originated in England centuries ago. In other words, it is highly dated, and it is showing its age. The Act badly requires modernization, and in this report the Commission has identified what it sees as the primary areas requiring modernization, as well as the best ways of accomplishing that goal. In light of the work that has been done in recent years in other Canadian jurisdictions, the Commission sees no need to reinvent this wheel. For the most part, in this report we have described the structure of the 'modern' limitations regimes found in other jurisdictions, and analyzed whether they are suitable for Manitoba and how, if at all, they ought to be adapted for Manitoba’s conditions'. "
  • British Columbia White Paper on Limitation Act Reform (September 17, 2010): "The government of British Columbia has published a White Paper aimed at reforming the province's Limitation Act (...) Among the major recommendations in the White paper: moving from a variety of basic limitation periods to a single two-year basic limitation period for all civil claims ; eliminating the special six-year ultimate limitation period for negligence claims against doctors, hospitals and hospital employees. All lawsuits will be governed by a single ultimate limitation period of either 10 or 15 years"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:36 pm 0 comments

New Zealand Law Reform Commission Report on Compulsory Treatment of Addicts

The Law Commission of New Zealand has released a report entitled Compulsory Treatment for Substance Dependence: A Review of the Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Act 1966.

From the press release:
"The Law Commission’s latest report, Compulsory Treatment for Substance Dependence, proposes replacing the out-dated Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Act 1966 with a new Act which would make the law more user friendly while at the same time providing much greater safeguards for people forced to undergo compulsory treatment (...)"

"Currently there are only 4 facilities authorised to accept people under compulsory treatment orders after they have completed detoxification in a hospital. None was willing to take young people under 20 and none was available outside the three main centres (...)"

"Under the Commission’s proposals anybody over the age of 18 who believed a person met the criteria for compulsory treatment would be able to contact an official called the Director of Area Alcohol and Drug Services who would arrange for an assessment. In order to meet the criteria for compulsory treatment a person would have to have severe substance dependence, be at risk from significant harm and be likely to benefit from, but have refused, treatment."

"The initial maximum period of compulsory treatment would be six weeks with the potential for the Family Court to extend the period for a further three months where a person appeared to have a brain injury caused by drug or alcohol use, so that more time was needed to treat them or make arrangements for their on-going care (...)"

"The new Act would also provide much stronger legal safeguards than the current legislation, ensuring that a person under a compulsory treatment order has the same patient rights and opportunities for review that apply to those held under mental health legislation."
The report also examines the policies in five Australian states and in the United Kingdom.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:17 pm 0 comments

Interview With Law Librarian of Congress

In Custodia Legis, the blog of the Law Library of Congress in Washington, has launched an interview series, starting with Roberta Shaffer, who was appointed Law Librarian of Congress in August 2009.

"It surprises many people to realize that at the Law Library we are looking at the entire landscape of the laws of the world – in this case, PAST, present, and future. Do you realize that our collections encompass over 240 jurisdictions? We consider how this information will be acquired, accessed, organized, managed, mobilized, and preserved in an era of technological advances, changing expectations by our diverse constituencies, financial constraints, and globalization. We need to be aware of the content of the law, its context, its consumers, and its containers — always mindful of authority, authenticity and accuracy. We must also think about all these issues as part of the entire Library of Congress and the challenges that the Library faces in the 21st century. One of the most exciting things about law is that it is transdisciplinary–it is infused by and infuses all other disciplines."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:07 pm 0 comments

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Canadian Library Association CLA Copyright Grassroots Advocacy Kit

The Canadian Library Association has released a Grassroots Advocacy Kit to help members and other librarians lobby Members of Parliament on issues of concern as the proposed copyright reform bill goes to second reading next week in the House of Commons:

"This Copyright Advocacy Kit provides you with all the tools you need to contact your Member of Parliament and communicate our key points. The kit includes a list of 8 key messages, a sample form letter to your MP, a guide for holding an in-person meeting, and a link to find contact information for your MP. The kit also contains background information, including the latest CLA Position Statement Protecting the Public Interest in the Digital World: the views of the Canadian Library Association/Association canadienne des bibliothèques on Bill C-32, An Act to amend the Copyright Act."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:03 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quebec Bar Association Releases Plain Language Guide

The Barreau du Québec (Quebec Bar Association) has published a new guide on the use of plain language in law, Le langage clair : Un outil indispensable à l'avocat (in French).

The guide contains:
  • definitions and advantages of plain language
  • a few rules for using plain language
  • hints on how to explain legal issues and notions
  • examples of difficult and confusing legal expressions and turns of phrase
Related Library Boy posts that deal with plain language include:
  • Plain Language Resources for Law, Business, Government, and Life (August 9, 2005): "Clear language or plain language refers to jargon-free, understandable language. For the past 20 years or more, an international movement has been working to make the language used in law, health information, financial services, commerce and business more accessible. Plain language does NOT mean dumbed down or simplistic vocabulary."
  • Move Toward Plain Language in Canadian Court Decisions (November 7, 2005): "Saturday's Globe and Mail contains an article by Richard Blackwell entitled 'Doing the write thing: Judges used to put out decisions that were incomprehensible. Now they are sometimes even eloquent. The writing lessons didn't hurt'... As the article explains, the Supreme Court has been removing Latin words from its rulings and altering the format to make them easier to follow for people reading electronic versions on a website. The clear language push is also being promoted in Canada by such organizations as the National Judicial Institute and the Montreal-based Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, where new judges have their writing critiqued by English professors."
  • Plain Language Legal Writing (January 22, 2006): "The Canadian Bar Association's PracticeLink has just published its third in a series of articles on plain language in legal writing: Mastering Modern Legal Correspondence."
  • Myths About the Complexity of Legal Language (November 17, 2006): "The Social Science Research Network has published a forthcoming article on Some Myths about Legal Language by Professor Peter Tiersma of the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles (...) Excerpts from the final section of the full-text: (...) 'Thus, the main obstacle to writing the law in plain English is that, unless the law itself is vastly simplified, it will require the use of so many words that there will be nothing plain about it. Most advocates of plain English recognize this problem. Although they continue to agitate for plainer language in legal documents, including statutes, they realize that many parts of the law are too complex to allow them to be fully and comprehensibly explained to ordinary citizens. They therefore advocate that those legal areas in which citizens have particular interest, like criminal law, be officially summarized and explained'."
  • George Orwell and Plain Language in Law (June 25, 2007): "Judith D. Fischer, University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, has an article on the Social Science Research Network entitled Why George Orwell's Ideas About Language Still Matter for Lawyers. The article deals with the use of clear language in legal writing but also analyses the use of deceit in legal and political discourse in the United States ..."
  • British Parliamentary Publication on Use and Abuse of Official Language (December 7, 2009): "The Public Administration Committee of the British House of Commons recently published a report entitled Bad Language: The Use and Abuse of Official Language that deals with the damage done by unclear, inaccurate and confusing language in official documents (...)"
  • Éducaloi Conference on Plain Language and the Law (September 7, 2010): "Éducaloi, a non-profit organization that specializes in public legal education in Quebec, is organizing a conference in Montreal on October 21st and 22nd on the topic of plain language and the law (...) We hope to win you over with a unique program and the quality of our speakers and panellists, who include several guests from the rest of Canada and abroad. Choose from 17 workshops covering a wide range of topics, including Plain Language and the Art of Drafting Judgments, Revisiting the Language of Contracts, Providing Legal Information Using Social Media and Head to Head: the Journalist and the Expert."


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:28 pm 0 comments

Ten Librarian Blogs To Read in 2011

The LISNews site is asking readers to Name Your Favorite New Librarian Blogs - 10 Blogs To Read in 2011:
"As we quickly march toward the end of 2010, the pressure is mounting to produce the annual list of blogs to read in the coming year. We'll consider any blogs that might be of interest to librarians. They need not be famous or long lived, in fact we're always looking for NEW sites and new writers doing interesting work."
The webpage contains links to the Top Ten lists for 2006 through 2010.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:25 pm 0 comments

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Webinar With Google Canada's Policy Counsel

The Education Committee of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) will soon be holding another session in its CALL Webinar Series.

Jacob Glick, Google's Canada Policy Counsel, will be talking about The Unified Theory of Everything (in Information Policy) on Tuesday December 7, 2010 from 1:00 p.m to 2:30 p.m. EST.

The registration forms and details regarding costs can be found on the CALL website in the Professional Development section:
"Jacob Glick is part of a global policy team, working with academics, civil society, industry and government to keep the Internet awesome. He regularly writes, presents, blogs and tweets on issues related to privacy, intellectual property, telecommunication and broadcasting regulation, online advertising, and innovation policy (...)"

"A simple insight -- the policy debates in Canada over the last two years around net neutrality, Canadian content online, copyright reform, the digital TV transition, the future of local TV and anti-spam legislation are all reflections of a single technological and business transformation: the convergence of everything to the open internet. This convergence has led to unparalleled innovation, consumer choice and competition. Policy should seek to protect and promote the open internet rather than distort it to protect existing business models or technologies."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:19 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Juristat Article on Homicide in Canada, 2009

Juristat, a publication of the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, today published an article entitled Homicide in Canada, 2009:

"There were 610 homicides reported by police in 2009, 1 less than the previous year. Homicides continue to be a relatively rare occurrence in Canada, accounting for less than 1% of all violent crimes reported by police. Canadians are about six times more likely to commit suicide and about five times more likely to be killed in a traffic accident than they are to be a victim of homicide."

"Homicide is the most serious criminal offence, and a country’s homicide rate can be used as a barometer to measure the level of violence in that society. It is also the only criminal offence that is directly comparable among nations. Canada’s homicide rate continues to be about one-third that of the United States, but comparable to many European nations ..."

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

Juristat Article on Adult Correctional Services in Canada, 2008/2009

Juristat, a publication of the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, today published an article about Adult Correctional Services in Canada, 2008/2009.

Among the highlights:
  • In 2008/2009, in the 12 jurisdictions that reported data, there were almost 371,800 adults admitted to correctional services. Most admissions were to remand (41%), followed by probation (23%), and provincial and territorial sentenced custody (22%)
  • Approximately 2% of admissions were to federal custody
  • In 2008/2009, admissions to community supervision increased from the previous year, driven by increases in probation (+3%) and conditional sentences (+4%). The number of admissions to conditional sentences grew for the second consecutive year. Just over 18,400 adults were admitted to conditional sentences in 2008/2009
  • In 2008/2009, the operating costs to provide correctional services in Canada, which includes custodial services, community supervision, headquarters and central services, provincial parole boards and the National Parole Board (NPB), totalled almost $3.9 billion. This amount was 7% more than the previous year when controlling for inflation. Operating costs increased in both the provincial and territorial system (+6%) and the federal system (+8%)
  • Aboriginal adults continued to account for a notable share of admissions to correctional programs, including remand (21%), provincial and territorial sentenced custody (27%), federal custody (18%), probation (18%) and conditional sentences (20%).4 In contrast, Aboriginal people represented 3% of the Canadian adult population according to the 2006 Census
  • In 2008/2009, women accounted for 6% of admissions to federal custody, 12% of admissions to provincial and territorial sentenced custody and 13% of admissions to remand. Among the provinces and territories, there were variations in the proportion of women admitted to sentenced custody. The proportion of female admissions to provincial and territorial sentenced custody ranged from 6% in Nunavut to 15% in Saskatchewan
Adult offenders sentenced to custody terms of two years or more fall under the federal penitentiary system.

Custody sentences of less than two years, remand (custody before or during trial or sentencing) and community-based sanctions (such as probation and conditional sentences) are all the responsibility of the provinces and territories.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:51 pm 0 comments

Juristat Article on Police Officers Murdered in the Line of Duty

Juristat, a publication of the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, has just published an article entitled Police officers murdered in the line of duty, 1961 to 2009.

Among the highlights:
  • Since 1961, Canada has seen 133 police officers murdered in the line of duty, all but four of whom were men
  • Homicides against police officers occurred most often during a robbery investigation, accounting for almost one-quarter of all killings
  • Nine in ten police officers were shot to death, most of whom were not wearing a protective vest
  • All but five homicides against police officers since 1961 have been solved.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:43 pm 0 comments

Privacy Commissioner Draft Report on Online Tracking, Profiling and Targeting and Cloud Computing

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has released its draft report from its Consultations on Online Tracking, Profiling and Targeting and Cloud Computing:

"In the spring of 2010, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) held consultations on online tracking, profiling and targeting; and cloud computing. The OPC received in total 32 written submissions and held three public events in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary, attended by representatives of other privacy commissioner offices and industry, as well as academics, advocates, and members of the public"

"With respect to online tracking, profiling and targeting, the written submissions focused primarily on behavioural advertising — what it is, what the benefits and risks are, and what self-regulatory measures are in place. Many respondents and participants raised various privacy issues in relation to online tracking, profiling and targeting. In terms of general privacy concerns, the blurring of the public/private divide and its effects on reputation was seen as a significant issue. Children's activities online and the need to incorporate privacy into digital citizenship programs were also concerns that were raised"

"The consultations were also an opportunity to examine the practice of online tracking, profiling and targeting through the lens of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). While most industry participants were of the view that PIPEDA can handle the evolving technological environment, certain challenges with respect to applying the law were raised by many respondents and participants. Defining what is (or is not) personal information, determining the appropriate form of consent, limiting the use of personal information, implementing reasonable safeguards, providing access and correction, and ensuring accountability were cited as PIPEDA-related issues that need careful attention. Online tracking, profiling and targeting are still largely invisible to most individuals, and most respondents and participants agreed that greater transparency is needed for the benefit of individuals and to ensure innovation."

"The OPC is seeking specific feedback from stakeholders on the public/private divide, children online, meaningful consent, and other uses of tracking, profiling and targeting. The OPC is also proposing to undertake specific activities in relation to online tracking, profiling and targeting, specifically, in terms of research and outreach activities"

"With respect to cloud computing, the OPC learned about the different characteristics and models of cloud computing. We heard about its benefits and risks to enterprises and consumers. Again, most respondents and participants were of the view that PIPEDA can address issues that arise from cloud computing while others suggested that more should be done. Most of the PIPEDA-related issues concerned jurisdiction and availability of personal information to third-parties; safeguards; new uses for the personal information and retention; and access"


"The deadline for feedback is November 26, 2010."

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

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall 2010 Message From President of Canadian Association of Law Libraries

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) recently published the President's Message to members for the fall of 2010.

Among the items of interest:


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:13 pm 0 comments

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bill in Canadian Senate to Harmonize Federal Legislation With Quebec Civil Law

Last week, the federal government introduced legislation in the Senate that will harmonize federal legislation with the Civil Code system of Quebec.

According to the Backgrounder provided by Justice Canada:

"The coming into force in 1994 of the Civil Code of Québec, which replaced the Civil Code of Lower Canada, 1866, had a significant impact on the application of federal statutes and regulations that refer to the province's private law. Harmonization of federal legislation with the civil law of Quebec was undertaken in order to prevent difficulties in applying federal legislation arising from the reform of the Civil Code of Québec."

"Harmonization involves reviewing federal legislation the application of which requires reliance on provincial private law. Where necessary, harmonization changes ensure that federal legislation takes into account the terminology, concepts and institutions of Quebec civil law. Harmonization not only improves the application of federal legislation in Quebec, but also increases the effectiveness of the courts and the public administration responsible for their application by making Parliament's intention clearer and reducing problems in interpreting federal legislation as it applies in Quebec"

This is the third harmonization bill introduced after the Civil Code of Québec came into force in 1994. The Federal Law-Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 1, (S.C. 2001, c. 4) came into force on June 1, 2001. The Federal Law-Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 2, (S.C. 2004, c. 25) came into force on December 15, 2004.

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

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Bill C-23B: Eliminating Pardons for Serious Crimes Act

The Library of Parliament has released a legislative summary of BillC-23B: Eliminating Pardons for Serious Crimes Act.

Under the proposed legislation, it would be more difficult, and in some cases impossible, to obtain a pardon for a criminal offence after sentence had been completed.

The proposed legislation would:

  • eliminate pardons and replace with a more restrictive and narrowly worded "record suspension";
  • make those convicted of sexual offences against minors ineligible for a record suspension;
  • make those who have been convicted of more than three indictable offences ineligible for a record suspension; and
  • increase the period of ineligibility for a record suspension – to five years for summary conviction offences, and to ten years for indictable offences.
Progress of the bill through the Houses of Parliament can be followed on the LegisINFO website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:18 pm 0 comments

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Library and Archives Canada Papers on Impact of Web 2.0 on Government Info Management

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has released four Thought Papers that examine the impact of Web 2.0 tools on recordkeeping and archival functions in the government of Canada.

The papers are:
  1. Web 2.0 and Recordkeeping: context and principles
  2. Re-examining the Foundations of Information Management in a Web 2.0 World
  3. Impacts of Web 2.0 on Information Models: Life Cycle and Continuums
  4. Managing Business Value in Web 2.0 Environments
These are consultation papers meant for LAC staff and the employees of other federal departments and agencies.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:44 pm 0 comments

A Day in the Life of the Law Library Photo Contest

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is calling on members to enter its A Day in the Life of the Law Library Community Photo Contest:
"Participation in the 'Day in the Life' contest is a great way to show off your talents and prove to the skeptics that law librarianship is more than shushing and shelving. The contest is open to all AALL members. You do not have to be a professional photographer to participate; amateurs are welcomed and encouraged to contribute. Use whatever photographic equipment you have available, whether it’s digital or film (...)"

"Enter your digital or print photographs by February 28 in any of the following categories:
  • Librarians as information evaluators and managers
  • Librarians as expert researchers
  • Librarians as teachers and trainers
  • Librarians as trailblazers in new technology
  • The artistry of librarianship
  • Most humorous"
Winning photos from last year's contest are on the AALL website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:35 pm 0 comments

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New Guide for Pre-Confederation Official Publications

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) today released a new guide to its vast collection of federal and provincial publications which were published prior to Confederation (pre-1867).

The guide lists the availability of material for the following periods and jurisdictions. Availability can be in print or microform in the LAC collections or online:
  • New France 1534-1763
  • Province of Quebec 1764-1791
  • Lower Canada 1791-1840
  • Upper Canada 1791-1840
  • Province of Canada 1841-1866
  • Newfoundland 1729-1866
  • Nova Scotia 1758-1867
  • New Brunswick 1786-1867
  • Prince Edward Island 1799-1867
  • British Columbia: Colony of Vancouver Island 1849-1866
  • British Columbia: Colony of British Columbia 1858-1871

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:20 pm 0 comments

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Webinar on Cost Saving Measures in the Library

The Education Committee of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) will soon be holding another session in its CALL Webinar Series.

Joan Rataic-Lang, Library Manager/Executive Director of the Toronto Lawyers Association, will speak on "Cost Saving Measures in the Library" on Tuesday November 23, 2010 from 1:00 p.m to 2:30 p.m. EST.

The registration forms and details regarding costs can be found on the CALL website in the Professional Development section:
"Cost cutting measures in libraries include difficult decisions on hard costs as well as the more elusive costs of staff time, processes and procedures. Balancing requirements with expenditures is a constant challenge for anyone responsible for a budget, much less trying to accommodate a shrinking budget. This presentation will arm the listeners with best practices and insights gained from a former law librarian who oversaw a major cost cutting project in a law firm library."

"Course Objectives
  1. Share practical experiences and best practices for cost saving in the library including expenditure on Online services.
  2. Share ideas collected from literature on the topic.
  3. Share ideas on how to work with stakeholders, change management and communication as they relate to cost savings."

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

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Updated Research Guide to Belgian Law

The GlobaLex electronic collection at New York University School of Law has published an updated Research Guide to Belgian Law by Christoph Malliet, librarian at the Law Library of the Catholic University of Leuven (I just love the Smurf / Schtroumpf cartoon character in legal robes in the nav bar of the library's collection of research guides - Smurfs are Belgian artist Peyo's creation):
"Belgium is a federal state with a civil law system and is a member of the European Union. These three qualities basically account for the legal system the country has adopted."

"The Belgian state was formed as a constitutional monarchy in 1830, as a compromise between French and Dutch claims, appeased by the British government. At that time, it was already largely influenced by the French legal system and this was laid down in the constitution. The legislative branch was formed by a parliament with two chambers (Chamber and Senate). The King was (and is) the head of state and of the executive branch, but political power is almost entirely in the hands of the government and it’s prime minister. The judicial branch consists of regular courts in different appeal levels (private and criminal law matters), later an administrative court was added (1948). A constitutional court has only been set up in recent times (1980). Although the Belgian state has undergone severe constitutional changes since this date, the court system has still not been touched by these yet."

"The court system still very much resembles the French system where it was derived from (...) The one thing about the court system that could not be the same as in France is of course the use of languages in court. Legal practice has to deal with the fact that the use of either the Dutch or the French language in court depends on the region where the court is established. In Brussels, both languages are used."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:52 pm 0 comments

New Irwin Law Book on Judicial Independence

This caught my attention: Canadian legal publisher Irwin Law has released Judicial Independence in Context:
'Judicial Independence in Context is a collection of essays by leading scholars, lawyers, and judges that examines both the theory and practice of judicial independence in Canada and around the world. Contributors assess the legacy of the Supreme Court of Canada’s controversial landmark decision in the Provincial Judges Reference while other essays address the need for institutional reform in Canada outside the salary remuneration setting in the areas of court administration and judicial appointments. The book also examines linkages between judicial independence and other issues such as diversity, social context education for judges, public criticism of judges, public policy, and technology. Other contributions examine issues of judicial independence in the United Kingdom, the United States, South Africa, Israel, and Pakistan."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:45 pm 0 comments

Live Webcast Friday of Duke Conference on Open Access Law Journals

Duke University in North Carolina is hosting a workshop this Friday, October 22 on Implementing the Durham Statement: Best Practices for Open Access Law Journals:
"The Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship has generated much discussion in legal education because of its call for law schools to move toward electronic publication of their student-edited journals. This workshop is a follow-up to the Durham Statement, aimed primarily at student law review editors, and at law librarians, law review advisers, publishers, and all others who are interested in open access and legal publishing (...)"

"The workshop will be webcast live and posted online afterwards. No registration is needed for the webcast. Our webcast is scheduled to be streamed live through Duke University's ustream channel and via Real ... On the day of the conference, an interface will be available here for remote sites to post questions and comments, and moderators will share some of these with participants."
The Durham Statement was issued in February 2009 by the directors of some of the major academic law libraries in the United States.

In the document, they call for the abandonment of print versions of law journals and the adoption of "stable, open, digital formats" for the dissemination of legal scholarship.

They also call on law libraries to stop acquiring print versions of law journals.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:34 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, October 19, 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 October 1 to 15, 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 2:09 pm 0 comments

Monday, October 18, 2010

MetaLib Federated Search Tool for U.S. Federal Government Information

The Government Printing Office, the official publisher of the American government, has launched MetaLib, a search engine that allows users to search simultaneously in as many as 53 government collections covering government, legislative, technical and scientific information.

In addition to the ability to search all databases at once, the new tool allows for:
  • Searching individual databases using the A-Z Resource List
  • Creating personalized sets of searchable database collections using the A-Z Resource List(i.e picking and choosing combinations of databases to search)
  • Saving configurations and resources to a personalized E-shelf
  • Emailing and/or saving records in various formats (e.g., MARC21, Standard, ProCite)

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:22 pm 0 comments

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Special Website for 60th Anniversary of European Convention of Human Rights

To mark the 60th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights, the Council of Europe has launched a website dedicated to this key instrument.

The Convention was adopted in 1950 and came into force in 1953. It outlines the human rights of 800 million Europeans in 47 states.

Set up in 1959, the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights is the judicial body guaranteeing the rights enshrined in the Convention.

The anniversary website has sections on:
  • the rights protected under the Convention
  • landmark judgments of the European Court of Human Rights
  • reference texts including preparatory documents for the Convention
It also has a "media library" with videos, podcasts, a virtual exhibition and an image bank.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:28 pm 0 comments

Friday, October 15, 2010

New Canadian Copyright Law Book Available Free for Download

This week, Canadian legal publisher Irwin Law released a new book entitled From "Radical Extremism" to "Balanced Copyright": Canadian Copyright and the Digital Agenda, edited by University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist. The entire book can be downloaded, chapter by chapter.
"The latest chapter in the Canadian copyright saga unfolded in June 2010 as Industry Minister Tony Clement and Canadian Heritage James Moore tabled Bill C-32, copyright reform legislation billed as providing both balance and a much-needed modernization of the law. The introduction marked the culmination of months of public discussion and internal government debate."

"This book represents an effort by some of Canada’s leading copyright experts to shift away from the sloganeering that has marked the debate to date by moving toward an informed analysis of Bill C-32 and the future development of Canadian copyright law. Edited by Professor Michael Geist, an internationally regarded authority on Internet and technology law, it responds to the need for non-partisan, informed analysis of Bill C-32. An exceptional group of Canadian scholars from coast-to-coast have come together to assess Canada’s plans for copyright reform and the digital agenda in this timely volume that features context for the reforms, analysis of its impact on technology, business, education, and creators, as well as a look ahead to future copyright and digital issues."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:43 pm 0 comments List of Ten Most Important Women's Rights Cases in Past 80 Years.

The Osgoode Hall Law School blog The Court has come with a list of the top 10 women's rights cases in Canada since the famous Persons case 80 years ago.

October 18, 2010 will mark the 8oth anniversary of the case Edwards v. Canada (Attorney General), [1930] A.C. 124, often referred to as the Persons case:
"The case is significant for two main reasons. First, by accepting that women fit the definition of 'qualified persons,' and could therefore be admitted to the Senate pursuant to s.24 of the British North America Act, 1867, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (Canada’s then highest Court) substantially advanced gender equality in Canada. Second, by adopting the now-famous 'living tree' interpretive principle, Lord Sankey provided the mechanism by which our constitutional framework has developed and maintained an organic character. This characteristic is crucial for the Constitution to remain compatible with Canadian society amidst natural changes and evolution"

"In light of this significant anniversary, is pleased to bring you, in no particular order, the ten most significant women’s rights cases since the Persons case."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:34 pm 0 comments

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Resources to Prove the Value of Your Library Services

The UK organization Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) has put together resources that demonstrate the value and impact of special library and information services such as law, health and government libraries.

The resources include:
  • surveys, reports and case studies
  • advocacy resources
  • material on return on investment
  • specific material on libraries in specific sectors such as government, health or law
  • the SLA Alignment Project: the Special Libraries Association embarked on a major project in 2009 to refine their positioning in the marketplace and provide a framework for discussing the inherent value in the profession and the Association
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 (...)"
  • Proving the Value of the Special Library (April 8, 2010): "On his Stephen's Lighthouse blog, Stephen Abram has written a post about the 'Value of Special Libraries' (...) 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."
  • Best Practices to Demonstrate the Value of Your Law Library (April 10, 2010): "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 ( ...)"
[Source: Peter Scott's Library Blog]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:15 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Facebooking in Court: Coping With Socially Networked Jurors recently published an article entitled Facebooking in Court: Coping With Socially Networked Jurors.

It deals with the new reality of jurors who use social networks such as Facebook to discuss cases which they are hearing:
"This is the new courtroom reality, one that offers courts less control over what information flows in and out of the jury box. The problem is that, over the centuries, our legal system developed rules designed to ensure that the facts presented to a jury are scrutinized and challenged by both sides. Jurors were asked to hear all the evidence, refrain from sharing opinions and ultimately deliberate in secret. But modern, socially networked jurors accustomed to accessing and sharing information are colliding with this fishbowl experience and disrupting trials in ways few know how to address"
The article describes a number of incidents in the United States where jurors have breached their duties by posting case-related comments online or by engaging in other forms of forbidden behaviour (such as inviting a witness to become a Facebook friend).

The article also outlines how U.S. courts are adapting by developing new jury guidelines and instructions.

Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:
  • Impartiality of Juries Threatened by Web? (October 22, 2009): "Donald Findlay QC, one of Scotland's top criminal lawyers, has warned that the impartiality of the jury system is at risk due to jurors using internet search engines and has warned that the Government cannot continue with its 'ostrich-like' attitude to the problem (...) "
  • Should Twitter in the Courtroom Be Illegal? (November 11, 2009): "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 ..."
  • More Jurors Get Into Trouble for Going on the Net (December 13, 2009): "Last week, a Maryland appeals court upended a first-degree murder conviction because a juror consulted Wikipedia for trial information. Earlier this year, the appeals judges erased a conviction for three counts of assault because a juror did cyberspace research and shared the findings with the rest of the jury. In a third recent trial, a juror's admission to using his laptop for off-limits information jeopardized an attempted-murder trial. On Friday, lawyers for Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon asked for a new trial in part because five of the jurors who convicted her of embezzlement Dec. 1 were communicating among themselves on Facebook during the deliberations period - and at least one of them received an outsider's online opinion of what the verdict should be. "
  • Should Judges Join Facebook? (January 12, 2010): "In yesterday's Montreal Gazette, an article about whether Canadian judges should be on the popular social networking site Facebook: 'Amid escalating debate in the U.S. about judicial antics online, the Canadian Judicial Council has turned its attention to whether there should be some ground rules for judges who want to join Facebook and other social networking sites (...) While there are no known cases of Canadian judges on Facebook, participation in the U.S. has reached a level that prompted the Florida judicial ethics committee to issue an edict last month that judges and lawyers should not be Facebook 'friends,' to avoid appearance of conflict in the event they end up in the same courtroom (...)' "
  • U.S. Federal Courts Tell Jurors Twitter, Facebook and Texting Verboten (February 9, 2010): "Wired Magazine is reporting that the Judicial Conference of the United States, the body that develops policy for federal courts in that country, has proposed new model jury instructions that explicitly ban the use of applications like Facebook and Twitter ..."
  • Social Media Use by Government and Courts (March 16, 2010): "a short and selective list of articles, resources and sites ... helpful in explaining the use of social media by courts" (US)

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:23 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Alberta Law Reform Institute Report on Wills and the Legal Effects of Changed Circumstances

The Alberta Law Reform Institute recently released its report on Wills and the Legal Effects of Changed Circumstances.

In it, the Institute makes a number of recommendations for reform of the province's Wills Act to deal with issues such as:
  • changes that alter or revoke a will
  • the current provision that all existing wills are revoked by marriage or by entering an adult interdependent partnership agreement
  • the revival of a revoked will
  • admission of extrinsic evidence to interpret a will
  • rectification by the courts of any accidental drafting mistake made in a will
  • failed gifts - gifts can fail for many reasons: lapse (beneficiary predeceased the testator), disqualification (beneficiary witnessed the will), forfeiture (beneficiary killed the testator), disclaimer (beneficiary declined the gift) and non-compliance of the beneficiary with a condition of the gift
  • legal discrimination against children born outside of marriage
The report examines case law as well as statutes in other jurisdictions such as other Canadian provinces, England, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Scotland.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:17 pm 0 comments

Annual Report of the Nova Scotia Law Reform Commission

The Law Reform Commission of Nova Scotia has released its 2009-2010 annual report covering its activities for the period of April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010.

The Commission's job is to review the laws of Nova Scotia and to make recommendations for improvement, modernization and reform. This may involve either formulating new ideas and approaches to law, or proposing ways in which existing laws and the legal system can be made clearer or simpler so they can better serve the needs of the general public.

Last year, the Commisson completed a project on contaminated sites in the province. Current projects in progress include one on the rule against perpetuities (property law) and another related to the enforcement of civil judgments.

In the spring of 2010, the Commision received three new References from the Attorney General:
  • “Seniors Only” Housing
  • Powers of Attorney Act
  • Builders’ Lien Act

In the upcoming year, the Commission will be issuing discussion papers and reports on those topics.

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

Monday, October 11, 2010

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Bill Requiring Offender To Provide Sample of Bodily Substance

The Library of Parliament has published a legislative summary of Bill C-30: Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Shoker Act:
"Bill C-30 amends the Criminal Code (the Code) to allow a court to require that an offender or defendant provide a sample of a bodily substance on the demand of peace officers, probation officers, supervisors or designated persons, or at regular intervals, in order to enforce compliance with a prohibition on consuming drugs or alcohol imposed in a probation order, a conditional sentence order or a 'peace bond'."

"In the 2006 decision R. v. Shoker, a majority of the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Codedoes not authorize judges to order an individual on probation to provide samples of bodily substances for the purpose of determining whether the probationer is complying with a condition to abstain from consuming drugs or alcohol. The Shoker decision was said to have 'hampered the ability of police and probation officers to monitor offenders in the community' because officers had routinely been demanding breath, blood, or urine samples from individuals who were under a court order that contained an abstention condition."
It is possible to follow the progress of the bill on the LEGISinfo website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:26 pm 0 comments

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Supreme Court of Canada Facta for Upcoming Hearings Available Online

The fall 2010 session of the Supreme Court of Canada began earlier this week.

Not everyone knows that electronic facta filed by the parties in cases before the Supreme Court of Canada are available on the Court’s website. This has been so for cases filed since February 2009.

For example, if you want to find out about the arguments of the parties in upcoming hearings of the fall season, you only need to click on the style of cause (party name) link for a particular case.

For example, today, the Court heard an appeal in the case of Information Commissioner of Canada v. Prime Minister of Canada dealing with requests under the federal Access to Information Act for the daily agendas of former Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien. There is a link to the facta in the left-hand navigation column under the category "SCC Case Information".


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:48 pm 0 comments

October 15 Deadline for Canadian Association of Law Libraries Research Grants

Membrs of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) have until October 15, 2010 to apply for a research grant from the Association.

CALL will provide financial assistance of up to $2,000 in 2010 to support members who wish to do research on a topic of interest to those working in law libraries.

Proposed research projects need not be large or formal; research could include surveys, bibliographic projects, pilot projects and feasibility studies.

October 15 is also the deadline for nominations for the Denis Marshall Memorial Award for Excellence in Law Librarianship. This award is an honour bestowed upon a current CALL member who has provided outstanding service to the Association AND/OR enhanced the profession of law librarianship in the recent past.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:42 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Law Commission of Ontario Sponsoring Elder Law Conference

The Law Commission of Ontario is partnering later this month with the Canadian Centre for Elder Law and the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly to host the 5th annual Canadian Conference on Elder Law in Toronto.

The conference will be held on Friday October 29 and Saturday October 30, 2010.

According to the draft programme, the gathering will examine issues of elder rights, ageism and the law, access to justice, and law reform for older persons.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:12 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

2009-2010 Annual Report to Parliament on the Privacy Act

Privacy Commissioner of Canada Jennifer Stoddart today released her latest annual report on Canada's Privacy Act:

"In this report you will find summaries of two major privacy audits that spotlight the specific challenges of protecting personal information in the context of evolving information technologies. One turned up troubling deficiencies in the privacy policies and practices governing federal public servants' uses of BlackBerrys and other mobile communications devices. The other reveals that surplus computers and paper documents are often disposed of without adequate regard for the personal information they may hold."

"The report also highlights numerous investigations conducted under the Privacy Act, including one in which tax department employees had inappropriately accessed salary information of high-profile sports figures."

"Reviews of Privacy Impact Assessments performed by federal departments and agencies preparing to introduce new programs or services are also of increasing interest to the public. One Privacy Impact Assessment that garnered widespread attention related to the federal government's controversial rollout of 44 millimetre-wave full-body scanners at Canadian airports."

"This report also contains overviews of several major initiatives that preoccupied us over the past year, where national security demands encroached on the privacy rights of Canadians. Key among those were the massive security cordon surrounding the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games, the many new security measures affecting international travellers, and a series of legislative initiatives aimed at strengthening the hand of authorities using the Internet to combat terrorism and crime"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:25 pm 0 comments

Monday, October 04, 2010

User Survey Results for PACER's Electronic Court Records Service in the US

The Judicial Conference of the United States has released the findings of a year-long survey of the users of PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). PACER allows users to access docket and case information from federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts in the United States.

My library is a subscriber to the electronic service.

80% of users surveyed indicating they are "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with the service.

Over 95% of respondents who contacted the help desk during the study period indicated they are "satisfied" or "very satisfied" overall.

Earlier Library Boy posts about PACER include:
  • Where to Find U.S. Court Documents (September 25, 2009): "The WisBlawg (University of Wisconsin Law Library) has put together a list of services and databases to find that kind of material. It includes the big names such as Westlaw and Lexis as well as specialized services like PACER, FreeCourtDockets, RECAP and Justia Federal District Court Filings and Dockets."
  • PACER Database for US Court Documents Gets a Remake (May 18, 2010): "The PACER website (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) has a new look (...) Resourceshelf describes the changes."

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

Nominations for Library Movers and Shakers of 2011

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 1, 2010. The 2011 Movers and Shakers will be highlighted in the March 15 issue of the publication.

Library Journal provides a map of all the Movers and Shakers from 2002 to 2010.

Over the years, a number of Canadian librarians have been selected:

British Columbia
Nova Scotia

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

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Law Commission of New Zealand Issues Paper on Right to Know

The Law Commission of New Zealand recently published an "issues paper" on The Public’s Right to Know –A Review of the Official Information Act 1982:
"In December 2009 we asked both requesters and providers of information to let us know their main concerns with the operation of this legislation and in March 2010 we published a summary of the main findings from this survey. We do not suggest any change to fundamental principles but recognise several ways in which the Acts could operate more effectively. Electronic technology has transformed the information environment worldwide and we must ensure our legislation can reflect that transformation. We also think our legislation needs more ongoing administrative oversight and support and ask how this might best be achieved. The closing date for submissions is Friday 10 December 2010."
The Law Commission writes that technological change has created a much stronger expectation of openness and availability of government information than in the past.

The fundamental principles of the New Zealand access legislation may be sound, but a preliminary user survey revealed frustration from some users who felt government departments did not always take sufficient note of the public interest when declining requests for information. Some also felt officials resorted too readily to the protection of 'commercial interests' as a ground for refusal.

At the same time, some government departments that were sometimes overwhelmed by the sheer volume and scope of some requests.

The Issues Paper notes the trend in other jurisdictions, particularly the UK and Australia, towards a more proactive approach within governments towards the release of information - rather than waiting for it to be requested.

Furthermore, the Commission found that there is no body responsible for championing open government or acting as a watchdog in New Zealand.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:54 pm 0 comments

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Bill to Exclude Prisoners from Old Age Pension

The Library of Parliament has published its legislative summary of Bill C-31: An Act to amend the Old Age Security Act:

"The Old Age Security Act (OASA) provides that a low-income Canadian resident who has retired may receive the old age security pension and the guaranteed income supplement. At present, under the OASA, the pension and other benefits are granted to any person who meets the eligibility criteria. The fact that a pensioner is serving a sentence of imprisonment does not affect the eligibility criteria for the pension."

"Bill C-31 provides that the old age security pension, the guaranteed income supplement and the allowance provided for in the OASA will not be paid to anyone incarcerated in a federal institution (where inmates are generally serving a sentence of at least two years) or in a provincial or territorial institution if the sentence of imprisonment is more than 90 days. Payment of the pension or other benefit will not resume until the pensioner informs the Minister in writing of his or her release. However, the allowance to the spouse or common-law partner will continue to be paid based on the individual income of the spouse or common-law partner, rather than on the couple's income."

It is possible to follow progress of the bill on the LEGISinfo website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:46 pm 0 comments

Saturday, October 02, 2010

AALL Spectrum Announces 2010 Excellence in Marketing Awards winners

The Sept/Oct 2010 issue of the AALL Spectrum, the monthly publication of the American Association of Law Libraries, lists the winners of the association's Excellence in Marketing Awards.

There are awards in the following categories:
  • Best Brochure
  • Best Newsletter
  • Best Campaign
  • Best PR Toolkit
  • Best Use of Technology
The table of contents for the full issue is on the AALL website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:42 pm 0 comments

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 September 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 3:36 pm 0 comments

Ontario Bar Association YouTube Channel

The Advancement Of Legal Education and Research Trust (ALERT), the charitable arm of the Ontario Bar Association, has created a YouTube channel.

The videos are the channel have been created with the goal of "raising awareness and understanding of the justice system in Ontario".

So far, there are categories, in English and French, for small claims court and for pensions and benefits law.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:31 pm 0 comments