Thursday, June 28, 2018

New Research Report on Access to Court Transcripts

The National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP) has published a new research report entitled Is Access to Court Transcripts an Access to Justice Issue?

From a description of the project:
"For SRLs, access to a written (or audio) transcript of their hearing is frequently critical to their effective participation in the justice system. We hear regularly from SRLs who feel that without a transcript, it is simply impossible for them to know what to do next, or how to weigh their options – whether to settle, to appeal, or to prepare for another step in the legal process."
"The reasons for this are surely obvious. SRLs consistently tell us that they find hearings (including case management and settlement conferences) the most intimidating and difficult part of the legal process. They are often operating in a state of high anxiety, typically with little sleep the night before. Without legal training and experience, they understandably, no matter how well-educated or how well-prepared they may be, find it extraordinarily difficult to pinpoint what is most important in what the judge or master has said during the hearing. They often hear terms or expressions that they do not readily understand (...) "
"We found that:
  • The process (and cost) of obtaining a transcript varies widely across the country.
  • Some processes are relatively simple, others extremely hard to figure out (Becky and Kaila spent four months just gathering the relevant information for each province and territory).
  • Transcripts are always costly; some are very costly. And they are not generally included in fee waiver schemes for indigent litigants.
  • Some court hearings in some courts do not offer transcripts.
  • Some appeal processes require the litigant to obtain a transcript of the lower court decision."
"These challenges have a further, unfortunate, but understandable consequence. When they face difficulty accessing their hearing transcripts, some SRLs begin to wonder if there are nefarious reasons behind why this is being made so hard for them, and may come to believe that transcripts are being deliberately withheld. In short, this is yet one more way in which the justice system is unintentionally creating mistrust and reducing public confidence."
The NSRLP, which flows out of the work conducted by Dr. Julie Macfarlane, Faculty of Law of the University of Windsor, describes itself as a clearinghouse for resources, research data, new initiatives, training materials and other information that affects and reflects the SRL phenomenon.


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

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Alberta Law Reform Institute Report on Property Division Rules for Common-law Couples

The Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) has published a report on Property Division: Common-law Couples and Adult Interdependent Partners:
"Couples should be free to make their own agreements regarding ownership and division of property. ALRI recommends that legislation should allow common law couples to make their own agreements. ALRI further recommends that agreements should be subject to specific requirements in order to be enforceable. Those requirements, which include independent legal advice, are intended to make sure that each common law partner is aware of their potential claims to property and the nature and effect of the agreement, and that each partner is entering the agreement freely and voluntarily."

"An agreement that does not satisfy these safeguards is not enforceable but may be considered by the Court in an application by one or both partners to divide property."

"If a couple does not make their own agreement or their agreement is not enforceable, ALRI recommends that there should be default rules to govern the division of property."

"Legislated default rules for property division should apply to couples who are adult interdependent partners under the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act. The criteria in the Act consider whether the couple are interdependent economically, domestically and socially. Couples also have to live together for a specified qualifying period, although they may shorten or eliminate the qualifying period by making a written agreement. Short term or casual relationships would not trigger the property division rules."

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Statistics Canada Article on Adult and Youth Correctional Statistics in Canada

The Statistics Canada publication Juristat last week published an article entitled Adult and youth correctional statistics in Canada, 2016/2017.

According to the article, the number of adults and youth being supervised by correctional services in Canada has fallen by almost one-fifth since 2012/2013.

It also found that the overrepresentation of Indigenous Canadians continued.

Aboriginal adults represented about 5% of the Canadian adult population in 2016/2017, while accounting for 28% of admissions to provincial/territorial correctional services and 27% of admissions for federal correctional services. In comparison, in 2006/2007, Aboriginal adults accounted for 21% of admissions to provincial and territorial correctional services and 19% to federal correctional services.

Aboriginal males accounted for 28% of male admissions to custody in the provinces and territories in 2016/2017, while Aboriginal females accounted for 43% of total female admissions to custody.

The overrepresentation also applied to Aboriginal youth. They accounted for 46% of admissions to correctional services in 2016/2017, while representing 8% of the Canadian youth population.

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

Law Library of Congress Report on Regulation of Cryptocurrency Around the World

The Law Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. recently published a report on the Regulation of Cryptocurrency Around the World:
"This report surveys the legal and policy landscape surrounding cryptocurrencies around the world. While not dissimilar in form to the 2014 Law Library of Congress report on the same subject, which covered forty foreign jurisdictions and the European Union, this report is significantly more comprehensive, covering 130 countries as well as some regional organizations that have issued laws or policies on the subject. This expansive growth is primarily attributable to the fact that over the past four years cryptocurrencies have become ubiquitous, prompting more national and regional authorities to grapple with their regulation. The resulting availability of a broader set of information regarding how various jurisdictions are handling the fast-growing cryptocurrency market makes it possible to identify emerging patterns, some of which are described below. The country surveys are also organized regionally to allow for region-specific comparisons." 
"One interesting aspect of the fast-growing cryptocurrency market is the fluidity of the terms used to describe the different products that fall within its ambit. While the various forms of what are broadly known as “cryptocurrencies” are similar in that they are primarily based on the same type of decentralized technology known as blockchain with inherent encryption, the terminology used to describe them varies greatly from one jurisdiction to another. Some of the terms used by countries to reference cryptocurrency include: digital currency (Argentina, Thailand, and Australia), virtual commodity (Canada, China, Taiwan), crypto-token (Germany), payment token (Switzerland), cyber currency (Italy and Lebanon), electronic currency (Colombia and Lebanon), and virtual asset (Honduras and Mexico)."
The Law Library of Congress is the world’s largest law library, with a collection of over 2.65 million volumes from all ages of history and virtually every jurisdiction in the world.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:41 pm 0 comments

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Lawyer Moms of America Against Trump Immigration Policy

In news from south of our borders:
"A new group called Lawyer Moms of America, formed to oppose separation of immigrant families, has quickly grown to 10,000 members, thanks to social media. " 

"The group is planning a Day of Action on June 29, even though President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to end family separations."

"Lawyer Moms says the executive order is silent on the status of more than 2,345 immigrant children who are already separated from their families, and the group is urging they be reunited. And the group is concerned about families being held indefinitely in what could amount to internment camps."
Earlier this week, the American Library Association mentioned a whole list of other organizations fighting the Trump administration's cruel anti-immigrant policy:
“We express our sincere appreciation and stand in solidarity with those of like mind including ACLU, Al Otro Lado, Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project, Border Angels, CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, Immigrant Defender's Law Network , KIND (Kids in Need of Legal Defense), Pueblo Sin Fronteras, REFORMA: Children in Crisis, Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, Texas Civil Rights Project, The Florence Project and Refugee Rights Project, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, The Young Center of Children's Immigrant Rights, and Together Rising.”
Send them money.

The American Association of Law Libraries has also reacted this week.

Amnesty International has declared that it "considers intentionally inflicting severe mental suffering on families for coercive purposes a form of torture".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:57 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Victoria Law Reform Commission Report on Litigation Funding and Class Proceedings

The Victoria Law Reform Commission in Australia has tabled a final report in the state parliament on Access to Justice - Litigation Funding and Group Proceedings:
"Each of the three components—litigation funding, contingency fees, and class actions (group proceedings)—does, or has the potential to, contribute to access to justice. Litigation funding reduces the risks to litigants of taking proceedings; removing the ban on contingency fees could introduce another means of doing so; and class actions take advantage of economies of scale."

"This report, informed by the overarching issue of access to justice and the aim that litigants are not exposed to unfair risks or disproportionate cost burdens, examines the specified issues in the terms of reference, and makes recommendations in respect of each of them."

"In relation to litigation funding, the Commission makes recommendations for national regulation of the industry and greater transparency when a litigation funder is involved in proceedings. The Commission does not recommend fixed caps or limits on funding costs; rather, it encourages appropriate court control."

"In relation to the prohibition on law firms charging contingency fees, the Commission recommends that, in principle and in appropriate areas of law, lawyers should be allowed to charge contingency fees. This is also a matter which should be developed nationally, in the interests of consistency."

"In relation to class actions, the Commission’s recommendations seek to strengthen the Court’s powers [note: the Court refers to the state's Supreme Court], particularly in ensuring that a successful outcome is not unduly eroded by legal and funding fees. The Commission also makes recommendations to improve efficiency and accountability, which should reduce delays and associated costs, but has concluded that the introduction of a pre-commencement certification requirement is neither desirable nor necessary."
The state of Victoria is in south-eastern Australia and its capital is Melbourne.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:24 pm 0 comments

British Columbia Law Institute Consultation Paper on Employment Standards Act

The British Columbia Law Institute has published a consultation paper on the province's Employment Standards Act.

The Act sets minimum standards for terms of employment and working conditions, and applies to most workplaces in British Columbia.

The paper contains 78 tentative recommendations dealing with all of the following areas:
  •  scope of the legislation
  •  hiring of employees
  •  hours of work, overtime and flextime
  •  wages and wage payment
  •  annual vacation and special leaves
  •  termination of employment
  •  vulnerable classes of employees
  •  complaints and enforcement
  •  enforcement mechanisms 
The paper examines comparable legislation in other jurisdictions in Canada and abroad.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:10 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

2018 Legal Research Teach-In Toolkit from American Association of Law Libraries

The Research Instruction and Patron Services Special Interest Section (a sub-group of the American Association of Law Libraries) has released its 26th Annual National Legal Research Resources Kit.

Every year, the Section solicits contributions from the law library community that other librarians can use to develop their own instructional activities at their institutions.

This year, there are submissions that include games, course and presentation materials, infographics and more.

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) has an Instructional Resources Bank in the members-only section of the CALL website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:37 pm 0 comments

Monday, June 18, 2018

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection from June 1 to 15, 2018 is now available on the Court website.

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


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

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Networking Tips: Build Bridges and Broaden Your Reach

Alan Kilpatrick from the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library gave a presentation at the recent annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) in Halifax as part of a panel on networking.

His text entitled Build Bridges and Broaden Your Reach has been published on the CALL blog.

He has broken down his advice on how networking can help a person's career into a few topics:
  • It’s never too early to start networking
  • Get active (in a professional association)
  • Network widely and wisely
  • Share your story
  • Embrace new situations

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:55 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Statistics Canada Article on Victimization of Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals

The Statistics Canada publication Juristat has published an article entitled Violent victimization of lesbians, gays and bisexuals in Canada, 2014:
"Using self‑reported data from the 2014 General Social Survey (GSS) on Canadians’ Safety (Victimization), this Juristat article presents information on violent victimization—incidents of sexual assault, robbery and physical assault—committed against lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals aged 18 years and older in Canada, along with their individual experiences of discrimination. Perceptions of the police and feelings of personal safety are also explored. Where possible, analysis of data collected in the 2004 and 2009 GSS on Victimization cycles is included to allow for comparisons over time."
  • Canadians aged 18 years and older who identified as lesbian or gay and bisexual were much more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to be victims of violent crime.
  • Even after controlling for other factors such as age, marital status, past history of homelessness, and childhood abuse, the odds of being a victim of violent victimization were two times higher among lesbian, gay or bisexual Canadians than among their heterosexual counterparts.
  • Compared with heterosexual Canadians, bisexual individuals were almost nine times more likely to be sexually assaulted in the previous 12 months.
  • The rate of self‑reported violent victimization of lesbian and gay individuals decreased by 67% between 2009 and 2014. This is compared to a decrease of 30% for heterosexual individuals.
  • Among those who reported experiencing discrimination in the five years preceding the survey, lesbian and gay individuals were significantly more likely (79%) than their bisexual (35%) and heterosexual (2%) counterparts to perceive the discrimination as being based on their sexual orientation.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:51 pm 0 comments

Updated International Law Research Guides From GlobaLex

GlobaLex, the electronic collection created by the Hauser Global Law School Program at the New York University School of Law, recently updated some of its research guides:
  • Sustainable Development Law (SDL) Research Guide: "Historically, sustainable development law has often focused on environmental issues in developed countries. Indeed, sustainable development was recognized long before the 1972 Stockholm UN Conference on the Human Environment (culminating in the Stockholm Declaration). Scholars, citizens, and government officials have debated the tension between the Earth’s natural resources and the needs of both current and future generations. More recently, the field of Sustainable Development Law (SDL) has shifted to an integration of international economic, social, and environmental law. Human rights advocates hope that this more integrated approach will allow SDL to respond more nimbly to chronic, complex issues like poverty (...) This guide will provide an extended introduction to the topic in an effort to aid legal researchers, but it is not intended to be comprehensive. Researchers will likely find the interdisciplinary nature of this field to be challenging. SDL can be found in traditional primary law, as well as soft law. As this field evolves, policy and scholarly work will continue to move the discussion and legal developments forward."
  • Research Guide on Global Health Law: "Included are a wide array of resources, ranging from primary 'hard' international law instruments, to databases that contain domestic health-related legislation. Also included are suggestions for researching the relationships between global health law and international human rights, trade, and intellectual property. In terms of format, the guide emphasizes electronic sources, but some print monographs are also mentioned. All of the listed resources are available in English, although several are multilingual. The aggregate purpose of the guide is to provide a comprehensive roadmap for researching the highly complex and dynamic field of global health law."
  • Contemporary Land Grabbing, Research, and Bibliography: "Contemporary land grabbing often involves large-scale land acquisitions by foreign and/or nonindigenous investors. These acquisitions, in turn, cause issues such as land alienation from local communities, human rights violations, and loss of livelihoods and culture (...) Research is made more difficult by the complex reasons and motivations behind contemporary land grabbing, the number of stakeholders involved, the interdisciplinary nature of research, the many different types of legal sources to search (for example, international treaties, custom, jurisprudence, soft law, and domestic statutes and customary law), lack of empirical evidence, and scattered resources in many different places. The research is a mixture of international and domestic legal research and legal and non-legal research. In this research guide, I first investigate the definitions of contemporary land grabbing and land alienation. Next, I delineate various mechanisms and international principles that can be useful for protecting the rights of indigenous and local people relating to land from the attack of state and nonstate actors. Finally, I selectively review several books and articles that provide excellent starting points for contemporary land grabbing research."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:42 pm 0 comments

Monday, June 11, 2018

New Statistics Canada Study on Cyberstalking

Statistics Canada has released a new study on Women and men who experienced cyberstalking in Canada.

The study examined the prevalence of online victimization or cyberstalking among women and men aged 15 and older, as well as the association between experiences of cyberstalking, self-rated mental health and satisfaction with personal safety from crime.

Among the highlights:
  • In 2014, approximately 2.5 million people in Canada (representing 7% of Internet users aged 15 and over) experienced cyberstalking in the previous five years. Women were more likely to report having been cyberstalked (8%) than men (less than 6%).
  • The prevalence of cyberstalking was higher among younger women and men. For instance, 14% of women aged 15 to 24 were cyberstalked compared with 7% of women aged 45 to 54. Similarly, 9% of men aged 15 to 24 reported being cyberstalked compared with 4% of men aged 45 to 54.
  • Women who were victimized or witnessed violence in their youth were more likely to report that they experienced cyberstalking. For example, 15% of women who witnessed violence involving at least one parent before age 15 were cyberstalked, compared with 7% among those who did not.
  • Women who were cyberstalked had a lower probability than those who were not cyberstalked to report that their mental health was 'very good' or 'excellent' (67% versus 74%). They were also less likely to be 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied' with personal safety from crime (80% versus 86%).
  • Men who were cyberstalked also had a lower probability to report that their mental health was 'very good' or 'excellent' (70% versus 75%). Personal safety indicators, however, did not differ between men who were cyberstalked and those who were not.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:56 pm 0 comments

June 2018 Issue of In Session - E-Newsletter of Canadian Association of Law Libraries

The June 2018 issue of In Session is available online.

It is the monthly e-newsletter of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) and contains news from CALL committees and special interest groups, member updates and events.

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