Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Updated Research Guide on International Sports Law

The GlobaLex collection at the New York University School of Law has just updated its International Sports Law research guide.

It looks at the key institutions governing international sports and provides information and links to federations governing individual sports at an international level, bodies associated with the Olympic Games and the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

There are sections on doping, women and sports, violence as well as suggested sports law bibliographies, databases and periodicals.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:19 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 August 16 t0 31, 2011 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 7:15 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Integrating IT Security In Your Library

This is a follow-up to the Library Boy post of August 25, 2011 entitled Series on IT Security for Libraries.

The LISNews site has been running a series on IT security. The 6th part published today is about Integrating IT Security In Your Library:
"Chances are your library is now, or will be at some point, a target. Don't think you're safe just because you're just a small library because when it comes to getting hacked, size doesn't matter. The average web-based application (small or large) is hit by some type of attack once every two minutes (says security firm Imperva, but anyone with access to web server logs will agree). Automated tools make it easy for bad guys to target everything and anything regardless of what might be inside. These tools can easily scan thousands of sites looking for anything with a security hole (and we all have them). There's a seemingly infinite number of things they're after. They may want to host cracked software. They may want to send spam. They may be doing blackhat SEO. They may want your patron's personal information. They may want to use your site as a way to get elsewhere. This is just a small fraction of what they can do with little time or effort."

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

Monday, August 29, 2011

Update to 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 an updated Google Books Bibliography (version 7):
"The Google Books 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. To better show the development Google Books, it is organized by year of publication. 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."
Google has been digitizing millions of books to create a massive online library / bookstore but the plans ran into legal difficulties when US author and publisher groups launched a copyright violation lawsuit against the search giant. A proposed settlement was rejected by the courts.

Earlier Library Boy posts about the Google Books Settlement include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:49 pm 0 comments

Lessons from the Law Library - The 'Answer' Does Not Exist

Last Friday on, library school intern Amanda (Andie) Bulman shared some of what she learned as a student reference assistant at the Sir James Dunn Law Library at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

She outlines 5 lessons, all of which I can identify with, but I think Lesson #2 is the most important one:
"Sometimes “The Answer” does not exist. In June slews of undergraduates were taking a business law course and came to the library on a semi-regular basis. They frequently requested my help in searching for case law or legislation that had very specific criteria and I frequently went home feeling frustrated by my inability to find 'the answer'. I eventually realized that it is unlikely that 'the answer' would be found in a single document. Legal research is a time consuming process and well-crafted legal arguments are usually constructed from a variety of resources. The answer is a myth. Legal research rarely works that way."
I helped teach an intro to legal research class last year at a local university and for me, that was the often the hardest lesson to get many of the first year students to understand (and accept).


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:34 pm 2 comments

Worldcat Database Turns 40

Worldcat, the world's largest online collaborative library catalogue, turned 40 last Friday:
"WorldCat is a singular achievement. It represents the cooperative spirit at the heart of what makes libraries unique among cultural, educational and civic services. It is a shared resource that is built and maintained by thousands of members for the good of all (...)"

"The technology has obviously changed, but the vision has not: furthering access to the information in the world’s libraries. WorldCat may be one of the world’s oldest databases, but our libraries’ commitment to its health and improvement keeps it truly young at heart. And that heart, still beating strongly, is at the center of a unique, global bibliographic system."
At my place of work, Worldcat is one of the tools we use to identify locations from which to make interlibrary loan requests for our patrons.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:08 pm 0 comments

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Series on IT Security for Libraries

The LISNews site has been running a series on IT Security for Libraries.

The most recent part covers 20 Common Security Myths:
  1. You have nothing important to steal
  2. Having antivirus software makes you completely safe
  3. Using Mac/Linux makes you safe
  4. Patches and updates make things worse and break them
  5. You can look at a site and know it's safe and not serving bad stuff
  6. Using a firewall makes you safe
  7. Complex frequently changed passwords make you safe
  8. Avoiding IE makes me safe
  9. If an email comes from a familiar face it's ok
  10. If a link comes from a friend on Facebook/twitter it's safe
  11. If I just click a link it's ok
  12. Only porn, gambling, and other “sketchy” sites are dangerous
  13. Only naive users get infected with malware and viruses
  14. You can only get infected if you download files
  15. If I'm compromised I will know it
  16. Infections come from email
  17. P2P and torrents are safe
  18. Hardware can't spread or come preinfected with malware
  19. If I never log off / restart I can't get infected
    And finally...
  20. I'm too smart to get infected... Yes, you and me both!

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:26 pm 0 comments

Interview With Program Specialist at Law Library of Congress

In Custodia Legis, the blog of the Law Library of Congress in Washington, has been running an interview series featuring members of the library staff. The series started in late October 2010.

This week's interview is with Kimberly Zellars, Program Specialist:
"How would you describe your job to other people?"

"To be honest if I had to choose one word it would be eventful. My current job revolves around quality customer service, attention to detail, and event planning. I have had an opportunity to work alongside and meet various leaders in the United States and abroad, including Supreme Court Justices, media professionals, and members of parliament. One of my most recent assignments was working with the Friends of the Law Library of Congress on the 2011 Wickersham Awards ceremony. The event honored Justice John Paul Stevens for his outstanding contributions to the legal profession."

"What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library?"

"Expect the unexpected. While I have a variety of reasons for saying that the best example I can give is when the Outreach Team was told we would host a play. Yes, you read correctly, a play. A legally historical play, but a play nonetheless. So overall, I learned to expect the unexpected, think outside the box, and there is never a wrong opinion, except the unspoken one."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:49 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Canadian Association of Law Libraries: September 15 Deadline for James D. Lang Memorial Scholarship

September 15 is the next deadline for applications to the James D. Lang Memorial Scholarship, awarded three times a year by the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL):
"The scholarship is designed to support attendance at a continuing education program, be it a workshop, certificate program or other similar activity deemed appropriate by the CALL/ACBD Scholarships and Awards Committee."
The scholarship is open to members of the association who have been in good standing for a minimum of twelve months.

An application form is available online.

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

OCLC Report on Single Search: The Quest for the Holy Grail

The international library cooperative OCLC has released a new report on multidatabase or single search called Single Search: The Quest for the Holy Grail:
"Users can search Internet resources through a single search engine query, yet often the resources of a single cultural institution or university campus are segregated into silos, each with its own dedicated search system. The prominence of multidisciplinary research, the increase in the use of primary materials, and the desire to make new connections across disparate materials all would be advanced by the offering of single search to open up all the collections to the researcher (...)"

"OCLC Research facilitated the working group of nine single search implementers through discussions about the opportunities for, and obstacles to, integrated access across an institution. They told their stories, categorized a list of issues, and created and answered a questionnaire looking for similarities and differences in their approaches. This brief report summarizes those discussions and highlights emerging practices in providing access to LAM [libraries, archives and museums] collections, with a particular emphasis on successful strategies in the quest for single search."

"The goal of the report is to foster successful single search implementations by sharing the experience of the working group with those who want to create single search but don't know where to start."
Earlier Library posts on single search include:
  • Implementing a Federated Search Product (October 22, 2008): "The Nov. 2008 issue of the AALL Spectrum has an article entitled The Wise Researcher: One library’s experience implementing a federated search product (...) The authors caution readers that federated searching can present some drawbacks. For example, the big commercial providers like Westlaw and Lexis do not allow federated search tools into their databases and some providers have not yet developed the code to allow the federated search tools to connect to them. As well, the increased convenience may come at a cost: many of the advanced search features and limit options offered by individual databases are not available in federated searching."
  • Federated Search Report and Tool Kit (October 24, 2008): "The British site FUMSI features a new article by Jill Hurst-Wahl called Introduction to Federated Search ... The article is an excerpt from a larger Federated Search Report and Tool Kit available for purchase online. "
  • Canadian Association of Law Libraries Conference Meetings (May 9, 2010): "Some highlights from this morning: the Courthouse and Law Society Libraries Special Interest Group (SIG) held its annual business meeting (...) At the meeting, a number of members briefly described some of their projects of the past year (...) The Law Society of Upper Canada Great Library launched a webinars series, created a reference procedures wiki and is testing (beta version) a new discovery tool that will offer one-stop searching of the catalogue, CLE materials and federated search."
  • Electronic Resources and Libraries Conference - Web Scale Discovery (March 3, 2011): "...another big theme that emerged at the conference is what is called 'web scale discovery' or WSD (...) Basically, WSD tools claim to offer a unified search of all of a library's offerings through a single interface. Contrary to federated search, WSD tools are based on a pre-harvested centralized unified index of an institution's licensed and local collections. Services such as Serials Solutions Summon, WorldCat Local, Primo Central or EBSCO Discovery pre-index material from subscription databases, library holdings, dissertations, institutional repositories, e-book subscriptions, etc. to allow fast, simultaneous searching. We briefly looked into WSD at my place of work but decided not to pursue things further for a few reasons. In particular, not all vendors of legal research materials play along and will allow their content and metadata to be harvested into a unified index. And these tend to be relatively expensive products."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:19 pm 0 comments

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dealing With Self-Represented Litigants

In the most recent issue of The Lawyers Weekly, John Schofield discusses the challenges lawyers face when the opposing party is a possibly vulnerable and angry self-represented litigant:
"Sooner or later, almost every lawyer faces a self-represented litigant (SRL). And the odds are increasing — not only in small claims court and family court (the traditional preserves of the SRL), but in Superior and Supreme Court cases. Precise statistics are hard to come by. Still, in a survey of lawyers attending the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Family Law Summit last June, Queen’s University law professor Nicholas Bala found that 80 per cent of the 167 respondents reported they were encountering SRLs more often. Caldwell [Vancouver lawyer Chelsea Caldwell] says she’s seeing SRL more at the Supreme Court level, too."
Caldwell delivered a paper last May on the subject to a conference on small claims proceedings organized by the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia

Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:
  • Canadian Judicial Council Statement on Self-Represented Litigants (December 17, 2006): "Self-represented litigants are often unaware of the workings of the justice system and can feel overwhelmed by all the rules of procedure. The set of principles proposed by the Council should guide judges, court administrators, members of the Bar, legal aid organizations in assisting self-represented ligitants understand how the justice system works."
  • 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."
  • 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. "
  • Materials from Austin, Texas Conference on Self-Represented Litigants (April 7, 2010): "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 (...) 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."
  • Judges Struggling to Deal With Increased Number of Self-Represented Litigants (November 1, 2010): "This week's issue of The Lawyers Weekly includes the article Judges grapple with unrepresented litigants that quotes Judge François Rolland, chief justice of Quebec’s Superior Court, on the growing and disturbing trend towards self-represented litigants (...)"
  • British Columbia Supreme Court Info Packages for Self-Represented Litigants (June 11, 2011): "The information packages are aimed at self-represented litigants and others engaged in a variety of court-related applications and proceedings. Most of the information packages contain, where applicable, forms, instructions and some commentary, but vary widely—from non-adversarial matters (such as name changes, indigency applications, company restoration, and even adoptions), to appeals and judicial review issues (including separate packages for appeals generally, Masters’ orders, Legal Professions Act reviews, small claims, and petitions for judicial review), to post-judgment and execution issues (such as packages for costs, enforcement and garnishment issues, etc.), to civil litigation basics (chambers applications, responses, CPLs, financial statements, etc.)."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:03 pm 0 comments

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Role of Librarians in Researching Tasers recently published an article entitled The Growing Legal Implications of Tasers: A primer on the development, uses, and consequences of Tasers .

The controversial police weapon, also known as ECDs (electronic control devices), incapacitate suspects by hitting them with a high voltage charge. There have a number of deaths associated with their increasingly widespread use by police forces across North America, including here in Canada.

The last 2 paragraphs address the role of law librarians in researching Taser-related issues:

"Librarians can also take an interdisciplinary approach and search the scientific literature for articles and reports on the health effects of electrical shock, the workings of ECDs, the implications of using ECDs in psychiatric and hospital settings, and medical opinions on 'excited delirium' as a cause of death."

"As Tasers and other ECDs become more and more extensively used by law enforcement agencies as a less-lethal alternative to firearms, and as challenges to their use and abuse continue to be mounted, the law in this rapidly emerging area of law will continue to grow. Law librarians are uniquely positioned to assist patrons in keeping ahead of the developments."

Other Library Boy posts on the Taser weapon include:
  • Canada Orders Review of Use of Tasers After Video of Polish Immigrant's Death Released (November 15, 2007): "Yesterday's Globe and Mail recounts 'Tasered man's last moments' and provides links to the 10-minute amateur video of Dziekanski being shot with the Taser, convulsing and screaming in pain, being subdued by police and then going silent and no longer moving."
  • RCMP Told To Curb Taser Use (December 15, 2007): "Earlier this week, Paul Kennedy, head of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, released an interim report outlining recommendations for the government on the Mounties' use of the Taser stun guns. The Commission is an independent civilian agency. Kennedy's report does not call for a moratorium on the weapon. However, it concludes that the federal police force needs to limit its use, increase training for officers and conduct more research on its effects."
  • Canadian Parliamentary Committee Report on Taser Stun Guns (July 29, 2008): "To prevent confidence in the RCMP from eroding further, the Committee [House of Commons Standing Public Safety and National Security] considers that the RCMP must react immediately by revising its policy on CEWs to stipulate that use of such weapons can be justified only in situations where a subject is displaying assaultive behaviour or represents a threat of death or grievous bodily harm. This immediate restriction is necessary given the persisting uncertainty about the effects of CEW technology on the health and safety of persons subjected to it, and the scarcity of independent, peer-reviewed research in this regard. The Committee also urges the RCMP to implement preventive methods designed to diminish the use of Taser guns during police interventions, in particular by enhancing accountability at the RCMP and improving officer training on intervention involving persons suffering from various problems, including bipolar disorder, autism and autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia and drug addiction."
  • RCMP Report on Taser Usage (September 12, 2008): "The Toronto Star has obtained a study on the use of Taser stun guns that was commissioned by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Commissioner.The June 2008 study on "conducted energy weapons" (CEWs) was published by the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, an independent civilian agency. The newspaper requested a copy under the Access to Information Act... The report finds that the RCMP relied too much on the advice of the weapon's American manufacturer and did not consult enough with medical professionals."
  • RCMP Complaints Commissioner Report on Tasering Death of Polish Immigrant (December 9, 2009): "Paul Kennedy, chairman of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, yesterday released his long awaited report into the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport on October 14, 2007 (...) The report makes numerous recommendations. Among others, Kennedy calls on the Mounties to review their taser quality-assessment program and improve training in awareness of the potentially dangerous nature of tasers. As well, the RCMP should do more to teach officers techniques to communicate with people who cannot meaningfully communicate with them. Dziekanski could not speak English."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:45 pm 0 comments

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Law Commission of Ontario Releases Draft Framework for the Law As It Affects Older Adults

Last week, the Law Commission of Ontario released its proposed Draft Framework for the Law as it Affects Older Adults:
"The Framework is intended to assist with the development and evaluation of laws, policies and practices to ensure that the realities of the circumstances and experiences of older adults are taken into account, and that laws, policies and programs promote positive outcomes for these members of society."

"It is accompanied by an extensive Interim Report, which sets out the research and analysis which form the basis for the Framework, and provides examples of its implications and implementation."

"It is built upon and expands on work already done in this area, including the National Framework on Aging and Seniors Policy Lens, the International Principles for Older Persons and other international documents, the Senate Special Committee Report on Aging, the work of the Ontario Human Rights Commission on human rights and older age, and many other important initiatives that have been undertaken both in Canada and abroad over the last fifteen years."
The Interim Report is available on the Commission website. The Commission is holding public consultations on the Draft Framework that run until November 18, 2011.

Earlier Library Boy posts on elder law include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:38 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Reminder That No One Database Offers All the Journals You Need

A useful reminder today on from John Papadopoulos (University of Toronto) about the inconsistent coverage of Canadian Law Journals on Commercial Databases.

As part of a law journal table of contents project, law librarians at the University were surprised to found out that even the small number of publications being tracked were found on a wide variety of online platforms (with less overlap than expected), with many journals not being available electronically at all.

This is an important issue when training new employees in legal research (starting tomorrow, we begin training a new batch of law clerks at my place of work). My experience is that many researchers become used to searching in one or maybe two tools when looking for commentary, forgetting that no one vendor or platform provides anything close to comprehensive coverage, even for Canadian scholarly content.

As Papadopulos writes:

"Looking at things another way, if I was expecting to get one stop shopping - of my 66 journals I would find:

- 24 of them on Lexis
- 25 of them on West
- 30 of them on Hein (not all would be current)"

"I guess there are a couple of lessons here. One, it looks like neither of these sources has a clear competitive advantage in their journals coverage. The second is one that my library mentor Ted Tjaden made sure I understood when I joined UofT: if you are doing journal research and want to know what has been written on a specific topic use an index - full-text searching is (still) not enough."

In our training sessions where I work, we try to explain to people that they need to learn more than one journal database, to get beyond their "favourite" source. People need to be shown how to break their habit of always only going to Westlaw or Quicklaw or whatever.

One way of doing that is through link resolver software that provides users with a web form in which they can enter an article citation and be shown which databases licensed by the library have the corresponding full text with the option then of clicking through to the actual article.

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

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Free Access to Law – Is It Here to Stay?

The Cornell University Law School blog VoxPopuLII has published a post entitled Reaching Sustainability of Free Access to Law Initiatives that discusses the "Free Access to Law – Is It Here to Stay?" research project.

That project is being conducted by the Université de Montréal's Chair in Legal Information:
"In May of this year, one of us wrote a post discussing two research projects being conducted at the University of Montreal’s Chair in Legal Information. One of those projects, known by its team as the 'Free Access to Law – Is It Here to Stay?' Project, has just concluded. This co-authored post is about that project, the stories we heard throughout conducting the research, and what we can learn from those stories about sustaining legal information institutes (LIIs) ..."

"The first section of this post — written by Isabelle Moncion of Lexum — is about the 'Free Access to Law – Is It Here to Stay?' project as a whole, and the second portion, written by AfricanLII co-founder Mariya Badeva-Bright, focuses on lessons learned as applied to The African Legal Information Institute (AfricanLII)."

"First, a few words about the methodology of the 'Free Access to Law – Is It Here to Stay?' project. In 11 countries and regions –- Burkina Faso, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Niger, the Philippines, South Africa, and Uganda –- researchers under the coordination of the Chair in Legal Information, AfricanLII, and the Centre for Internet and Society interviewed users of Free Access to Law (FAL) services, and practitioners who create and maintain those services, for purposes of building case studies on one FAL initiative per country. The research was guided by the Local Researcher’s Methodology Guide, which among other things asked the question, 'What determines the sustainability of operations of Free Access to Law initiatives?' Along with the case studies (...), a Good Practices Handbook (humbly renamed 'Good' rather than 'Best,' as stories from the FAL initiative showed that unfortunately, but not surprisingly, an always-successful series of practices does not exist) was written based on the results found in the case studies. The handbook will be online soon."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:50 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 August 1st to 15th, 2011 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 7:42 pm 0 comments

Monday, August 15, 2011

Canadian Bar Association Walter Owen Book Prize

CLC-Post, the blog of the Canadian Bar Association's annual Canadian Legal Conference, spoke to the winners of the 2011 Walter Owen Book Prize. This year's conference in Halifax ends tomorrow.

The Prize is designed "to recognize excellent legal writing and to reward outstanding new contributions to Canadian legal literature that enhance the quality of legal research in this country".

The winners this year are:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:48 pm 0 comments

Twelfth Annual Justicia Awards for Excellence in Journalism

The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) and Justice Canada have announced the names of the winners of the twelfth annual Justicia Awards for Excellence in Journalism.

The Awards celebrate outstanding journalism that fosters public awareness and understanding of the Canadian justice system.

Awards are given in two categories, broadcast and print media:
  • Broadcast: A team from the BBC, led by Canadian journalist Laura Lynch, is the winner in the broadcast category for a two-part documentary entitled “Power and the Judges.” The December 2010 documentary examined the power that judges hold, whether their independence and impartiality can be ensured and whether they should ever have the authority to overrule laws
  • Print: Dominique Forget is the winner in the print category for her May 1, 2011 article “Une justice pour happy few” in L’actualité. The article examined the state of Quebec’s civil justice system, which it described as dominated by the wealthy, businesses and non-governmental organizations. It describes the system as “too expensive, too complicated and too long” and discusses alternatives such as mediation, plain language and participatory justice.
Winners receive a bronze statuette that is based on the Justicia statue that stands outside the Supreme Court building in Ottawa.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:40 pm 0 comments

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Members of the Free Access to Law Movement

There is a website that lists the 40 or so members of the Free Access to Law Movement.

They all subscribe to the Declaration on Free Access to Law.

CanLII, the Canadian Legal Information Institute, is a member.

[Source: beSpacific]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:48 pm 0 comments

Thursday, August 11, 2011

CanLII To Intervene in Upcoming Supreme Court Fair Dealing Case

CanLII, the Canadian Legal Information Institute, has been granted intervenor status in the SOCAN v. Bell et al. case to be heard later this year at the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Court will be asked to provide guidance on the meaning of “research” as a fair dealing right under the Copyright Act.

As CanLII wrote yesterday on its blog:
"While the facts of the SOCAN case relate to online music previews and not legal research, the legal questions at issue include the meaning of 'research' as a head of fair dealing and how, in the internet age, courts should balance copyright holders’ interests with user rights. CanLII and the Federation will argue for a large and liberal interpretation of the term 'research' as set out in CCH v. Law Society of Upper Canada and in several other subsequent cases..."


"While the ability of the Federation [Federation of Law Societies of Canada] to provide free access to Canadian law through CanLII is not under immediate threat, CanLII and the Federation are concerned about the detrimental impact on access to law and justice that could flow from a narrow interpretation of 'research' and from a restrictive approach to fair dealing rights in respect of copyright material."
CanLII's factum is available online on the Federation's website. Facta submitted by the appellant and the respondents can be found on the Supreme Court of Canada website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:56 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Canada Law Book CEO Stuart Morrison 1950-2001

Simon Chester wrote yesterday on about the passing away of Stuart Morrison, President and CEO of Canada Law Book, a legal publisher acquired last year by Thomson Reuters.

Morrison died of leukemia last weekend:

"Stuart loved controversy – paradoxically, because he was, in many ways, an arch-conservative. His prime contribution to Canadian legal publishing was probably his creation of the Law Times, which in its early years was a provocative, irreverent, muck-raking publication which was fun to read and which generated a fair number of libel suits. After a few damage awards, Stuart decided that libel insurance might be a good idea, and perhaps fact checkers had their uses. After a few controversies too many, the advertisers started to walk, and Law Times pulled in its horns."


"Stuart was a bundle of paradoxes. Every Stuart story had a twist. Highly opinionated, though undereducated. Canadian though somehow terribly English. Convention-shocking in a conservative trade. A legal publisher whose heart was more in marketing – and running a tight business – than publishing books. A bon vivant who put in time on the line learning how to be a sous chef. Hard headed, though with a soft centre for blind horses and vulnerable animals."

"In the end a combination of malaria (picked up in Namibia) and leukemia did him in. He will be mourned and missed by his family and friends."

"He didn’t want a funeral. You’ll see no obituaries. Next time you have a drink, think of him and smile. That’s all he would have done."

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

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

New United States Code Website

The Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the United States House of Representatives is beta-testing a new website for the United States Code:

Some key features of the new website are:

  • A new search engine for Code data
  • An expanding "Table of Contents" style browse of the Code
  • A simple search facility for quickly accessing specific Code sections or performing simple word or phrase searches
  • An advanced search facility for sophisticated searching of Code content using delimiters such as field or Code hierarchy restrictions, Boolean logic, and case sensitive searches
  • An improved display of search results and Code documents
  • Cite Checker, a new tool that enables quick checking of specific Code sections for recent amendments
  • Easy access to the USCprelim, an advance posting of the next online version of the Code
  • New explanatory material about the Code and the functions of the Office

Prospective features include:

  • Ability to search previous versions of the Code
  • Ability to search USCprelim
  • Enhanced internal and external link
The United States Code is "a consolidation and codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:28 pm 0 comments

UK Liberal Democrats To Call for Decriminalization of Drug Possession

The British website openDemocracy publishes a regular feature called the Drug Policy Forum that takes a critical reformist look at stories about the "war on drugs" and criminal justice issues.

The most recent issue leads with news that that United Kingdom's Liberal Democrats, members of the governing coalition, are expected to call for an independent inquiry into the decriminalization of possession of all drugs.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:24 pm 0 comments

THOMAS Congressional Info Service Adds Twitter

THOMAS, the legislative information service of the American Congress, has added a Twitter feed:
"Today we launched another update to THOMAS: our @THOMASdotgov Twitter feed is now dynamically updating on the homepage in the right column. It is just below the Weekly Top Five. Did you know if you hover over any item in the top five you can see the title? One of our goals with the Twitter account is to provide timely alerts about legislative developments and, with this change, now we can do that directly from the homepage."
The Canadian Parliament should think about it.

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

Monday, August 08, 2011

What Judges Learn in Writing School

Today's issue of the Toronto Star has an interesting article about writing courses for judges:

"The culture is shifting."

"Instead of writing with only lawyers or appeal courts in mind, many judges now consider their most important readers to be the public — and the losing party."

"Justice Jeremy Nightingale, who presides in Meadow Lake, Sask. and northern fly-in communities, is an example of how far things have come."

"He often gives copies of his decisions to his neighbour, a farmer, to make sure they’re readable."

" 'I want someone with little or no education to understand what I’m doing,' Nightingale said."

"And that raises an unusual new controversy"

"In a quest to hook their readers, can judges go too far? To some of their colleagues, a few judges are enjoying the writing process a bit too much, turning out prose worthy of a detective novel and crossing a line into bad taste."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:03 pm 0 comments

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Canadian Library Association Sets Up Government Information Network

The Canadian Library Association has approved the establishment of the Government Information Network.

It intends to be a network for monitoring issues relating to government publishing and the availability of government information.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:56 pm 0 comments

Library of Parliament Publication on Human Trafficking

The Library of Parliament earlier this week made available a publication on Trafficking in Persons (dated March 2011):

"Trafficking in persons has become one of the most pressing issues in global migration policy. The illegal transportation and harbouring of people for the purposes of forced service and other forms of exploitation is a violation of internationally and domestically recognized human rights. Organizations have arrived at different estimates concerning the extent of this global problem, partly because of differences in the interpretation of the term, but primarily because the clandestine nature of the crimes involved makes it difficult to produce accurate statistics. The United Nations (UN) has previously estimated that 700,000 people are trafficked annually worldwide, though it has most recently reported that any estimates made to date have been controversial due to the difficulty in determining 'with any precision how many victims of human trafficking there are, where they come from or where they are going'."

"This paper will discuss the concept of trafficking in general terms and provide an overview of the legislative framework surrounding the issue at the international level and within the Canadian context. It will conclude with a discussion of potential gaps in Canadian legislation and policy with respect to trafficking in persons."

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

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Search Process For Two New Supreme Court of Canada Justices Begins

Let the speculation begin.

According to an article in The Hill Times, the process to choose the replacements for Supreme Court of Canada Justices Louise Charron and Justice Ian Binnie starts today.

Earlier this year, Charron and Binnie, both from Ontario, announced they were resigning from the Supreme Court.

As The Hill Times article explains:
"MPs and human rights lawyers say they expect Prime Minister Stephen Harper will attempt to swing the pendulum of Supreme Court of Canada rulings toward the prevailing views of Conservative Party supporters as he fills the court’s two vacancies in a secretive and high-stakes process that begins its final stages this week."

"An ad hoc panel of MPs from all three main parties in the Commons will meet Thursday on Parliament Hill behind closed doors to review a list of potential nominees that Justice Minister Rob Nicholson (Niagara Falls, Ont.) will present them for an advisory opinion on their candidacy."

"The MPs will be sworn to secrecy about anything that transpires in the hearing, including the names of the candidates, as they reduce the pool of candidates to an unranked list of six from which Mr. Harper (Calgary Southwest, Alta.), in collaboration with Mr. Nicholson, will eventually choose the final nominees to fill the court’s two vacancies for Ontario."


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:07 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Law Commission of New Zealand Review of Privacy Act 1993

The Law Commission of New Zealand yesterday released its final report on that country's Privacy Act:

"The Commission thinks the Act could be improved in a number of areas. Among the key recommendations of the report are that:

-the Privacy Commissioner’s powers should be augmented by a new power to issue compliance notices, and, where there is a good reason for it, to require an audit of an agency’s information-handling practices;

-the complaints process under the Act should be streamlined in a number of respects, including giving the Privacy Commissioner the power to make binding decisions on complaints about people’s right to access their own personal information;

-agencies should be required to notify people when personal information held by an agency is lost or otherwise compromised (for example, through computer hacking), if the breach is sufficiently serious;

-there should be a new framework in the Act to allow the sharing of personal information between government agencies where it is in the public interest to do so, but with appropriate safeguards; and

-some exceptions to the privacy principles should be modified, for example to clarify that people can pass on information to an appropriate person where someone’s health is seriously at risk, or report suspected offending to the police."

The final report was Stage 4 of the Commission's review of privacy legislation in New Zealand. Stages 1 through 3 looked at privacy values, changes in technology, international trends, and the adequacy of New Zealand's civil and criminal law to deal with invasions of privacy.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:47 pm 0 comments

Law Reform Commission of Ireland Report on Children and Medical Treatment

The Law Reform Commission of Ireland released its report on Children and the Law: Medical Treatment in the last week of July.

Among the recommendations in the Report are:
  1. 16 and 17 year olds: the Commission recommends that 16 and 17 year olds should be presumed to have full capacity (based on a functional test that they understand the health care decision and its consequences) to consent to, and refuse, health care and medical treatment. This includes: advice, over-the-counter medicine, surgery, access to contraception and mental health services.
  2. Those under 16: the Commission recommends that those under 16 should not be presumed competent to consent to, or refuse, medical treatment; but that, in exceptional circumstances they may be able to give their consent or refusal, based on an assessment of their maturity, and a presumption that their parents or guardians will usually be involved.
  3. The assessment of whether a person under 16 is sufficiently mature to consent to or refuse medical treatment would have to take account of the following factors: (a) whether he or she has sufficient maturity to understand the information relevant to making the specific decision and to appreciate its potential consequences; (b) whether his or her views are stable and reflect his or her values and beliefs; (c) the nature, purpose and utility of the treatment; (d) the risks and benefits involved in the treatment; and (e) any other specific welfare, protection or public health considerations.
  4. Where any person under 18 refuses life-sustaining treatment, an application to the High Court would be required to decide on the validity of any such refusal.
  5. The Commission recommends that the Mental Health Act 2001 be amended to make specific provision for people under 18: for example, that a Mental Heath Tribunal (with an age appropriate focus) rather than the District Court should review their admission and treatment.
The report also takes a comparative approach, examining other countries concerning consent to, and refusal of, health care treatment by persons under 18. The relevant legal developments in England and Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were taken into account.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:39 pm 0 comments

Library of Parliament on Freedom of Religion and Religious Symbols in the Public Sphere

The Library of Parliament recently released a publication dealing with Freedom of Religion and Religious Symbols in the Public Sphere:

"The issue of religious symbols in the public sphere has given rise to widespread debate on the scope of freedom of religion in various countries around the world. In our modern environment of globalization and unprecedented international migration flows, traditionally homogenous nations face the blurring of established spheres of cultural identity, and, in some cases, governments are changing laws, policies, and politics in an effort to manage these shifts. The various political, legislative, and judicial treatments of this issue have given rise to differing interpretations of freedom of religion as defined through domestic and international laws."


"The most prominent disputes over religious symbols in the public sphere have involved religious headcoverings - one of the most immediately obvious demonstrations of one’s faith that automatically distinguishes Muslims, Sikhs, and Jews from the larger, mostly Christian population in the Western world. The recent rise of immigrants in Europe has meant that headcoverings have become significant symbols of difference, provoking debate about their role in the public sphere."


"What becomes clear from this analysis is that while issues of freedom of religion are being debated in courts throughout the world in a variety of different contexts, the Islamic headscarf seems to have provoked cultural tensions in many European countries. One might argue that, backed by the ECHR, many states are turning to secularism as a protective shield in an attempt to guard society from the complexities of multiculturalism, effectively preventing the broad expression of a right that is guaranteed in international and domestic constitutional laws."

"In countries such as Canada and the United States, the question of religious symbols has been significantly less contentious, perhaps because these two nations were built upon the foundations of immigration and have needed to accept difference in order to survive. As a result, both Canada and the United States have a political and constitutional climate that has allowed their governments and courts to interpret freedom of religion in its broadest form, adopting an approach of neutral accommodation."

"Thus, each country in the Western world essentially provides a very similar guarantee of freedom, using a very similar constitutional proportionality test based on strong principles of freedom of religion. However, that test tends to be applied differently depending on each country’s historical traditions and its social and political culture, which have a profound influence on legal arguments concerning the limiting scope of safety, security, and public order."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:33 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

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 July 1st to 15th, 2011 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 5:21 pm 0 comments