Thursday, May 20, 2021

Canadian Forum on Civil Justice Spring 2021 Newsletter

The non-profit Canadian Forum on Access to Justice (CFCJ) publishes a regular newsletter on access to justice issues.

The latest issue includes news about:

  • the Measuring the Impact of Legal Service Interventions project: "In the second phase of this project, the CFCJ research team will work with community legal clinics in Ontario to gather research insights on the impacts of legal assistance on experiences resolving civil justice problems, and on longer-term consequences."
  • a new paper on The Needs of Helping Organizations in the Community: "By partnering with community-based organizations, legal service providers can extend their reach to better address the diverse needs of people experiencing legal problems. To the extent that residents of a given catchment area may be more inclined to seek information or assistance from community-based organizations, these services are well-positioned to connect with legal services to offer additional support. "
  • a project on Multi-Disciplinary Models for Legal Problem Resolution: "The goal of this research is to examine existing services and programs that enlist legal and non-legal resources to address everyday legal problems and related problems. "
  • a recent presentation on A People-Centred Approach to Data and Evidence-Based Policymaking
  • and more
The CFCJ is a national non-profit organization that works to advance civil justice reform through research and advocacy. It is affiliated with Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto.


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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Publications Nominated for the 2021 Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing

Every year, the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) hands out the Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing.

It honours a publisher that has demonstrated excellence by publishing a work, series, website or e-product that makes a significant contribution to legal research and scholarship.

The nominees this year are:

  • The CanLII Manual to British Columbia Civil Litigation, by Brent Anderson et al, John Fiddick and Cameron Wardell (eds.), a volunteer-written, open access publication that supports both legal professionals and self-represented litigants with their civil justice research.
  • Sentencing, 10th edition, by Clayton C. Ruby (LexisNexis, Canada). This book outlines all of the significant facets of sentencing principles and procedure and provides the reader with a comprehensive range of sentencing for various offences.
  • Laws of the Constitution: Consolidated, by Donald Bur (University of Alberta Press). This consolidation gathers all of the historical and contemporary constitutional documents currently in force at publication pertaining to Canada, its provinces, and its territories, and organizes them thematically and topically.
  • vLex Justis, an advanced legal research platform that covers legal materials from over 100 countries.
The winner will be announced at the 2021 CALL Virtual Conference Awards Ceremony on Friday, May 28 at 1:30 pm EST.

The award honours Hugh Lawford (1933-2009), Professor of Law at Queens’ University and the founder of Quicklaw.

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Monday, May 17, 2021

Sources for Finding Canadian Court Records

Members of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries from across the country chipped in recently to compile a list of sources for obtaining court documents from different jurisdictions.

The idea came from Sarah Richmond, Manager of Research Services with the Vancouver law firm Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP.

Meris Bray, Reference Librarian at the University of Windsor Faculty of Law, converted the information into a webpage.

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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Manitoba Law Reform Commission Consultation Paper on Organ Donation

The Manitoba Law Reform Commission has published a Consultation Paper entitled Presumed Consent Organ Donation:

"Until January 2021, each Canadian province and territory maintained 'express consent' or 'optin' systems of organ donation consistent with Manitoba’s, under which legislation required the explicit consent of donors for the use of any parts of their bodies after death for therapeutic purposes, medical education or scientific research. However, in January of this year, Nova Scotia became the first jurisdiction not only in Canada but within North America to break this mold."

"Under Nova Scotia’s new Human Organ and Tissue Donation Act,  when there is no record of a person’s decision on organ and tissue donation, their consent will now be considered, under law, to have been given (...)"

"Given the hundreds of Manitobans currently on transplantation waitlists, and the reform efforts in other Canadian jurisdictions, the Commission asks the question: If Manitoba were to amend The Human Tissue Gift Act to implement a system of presumed consent organ donation, how should it amend this legislation?"

The document looks at the legal landscape of organ and tissue donation in other parts of Canada.  

It also explores recent legislative changes and reform efforts in other jurisdictions, including Canadian provinces, the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Spain.

The consultation period lasts until July 30, 2021. 

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Thursday, May 13, 2021

2021 WILU Library Instruction Conference

WILU stands for Workshop for Instruction in Library Use and is an annual conference devoted to research and innovations in the area of information literacy and library instruction.

The 2021 virtual conference will take place June 21-25, 2021. It is being organized by the libraries at Dalhousie, Mount Saint Vincent, and Saint Mary’s Universities in Nova Scotia:

"Looking ahead to what might be possible means building on what we do best. Our past and current practices are the foundation from which we build, innovate, and create. To envision the possible, we also draw on the past to reflect, critique, and improve upon the present. What can we envision for the future of information literacy and library instruction? Where have your visions led you? How have your experiences clarified your vision?  WILU 2021 invites you to share the practical and applied, theoretical and philosophical possibilities in information literacy."

Registration is still possible.


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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

May 2021 Issue of In Session - E-Newsletter of Canadian Association of Law Libraries

The May 2021 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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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Ryerson University School of Law Survey on Impact of COVID-19

The website had an article the other day about The Impact of COVID-19 on Legal Services in Ontario.

It refers to a survey being conducted by researchers at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Ryerson University in Toronto on the impact of the pandemic on the legal community:

"The purpose of the study is to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to legal services and in particular, how the changing circumstance affected civil law firms, including their key performance indicators, revenue, costs, billing structures, and general impact on firm growth. By understanding the effect of the pandemic on the legal profession, we hope to generate insights that can help inform initiatives designed to improve access to legal services. The study is funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario."

The survey runs until May 31, 2021.

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Monday, May 10, 2021

Lex-Atlas Compendium of National Legal Responses to Covid-19

Lex-Atlas: Covid-19 is made up of an international network of legal scholars who have written country reports on the legislative response to COVID-19:

"The project is motivated by the need for an integrated overview of national legal responses to Covid-19, focusing on the legal response to the pandemic with attention to its socio-political context. National responses have varied considerably. Epidemiological performance is but one measure, and a difficult one to judge when transparency is doubtful. Countries have employed emergency powers differently, but understanding them requires attention to the broader constitutional structure in which they are situated.  Most countries had various forms of institutional disruption, variable social policy coverage, and different responses to the human rights needs of vulnerable groups. The aim of the Compendium is to aim for a neutral account of the principal developments, with references to further reading. It is hoped this will assist policy makers in future pandemic preparedness, to fashion ongoing responses to Covid-19, and to assist scholars and historians to come to evaluative judgments of state responses to Covid-19."

The project has produced country reports that all have the same structure to allow for easier cross-national comparisons.

Collen Flood, University of Ottawa law professor, is a member of the editorial committee.

The project has the support of the Faculty of Laws, University College London, the Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London, and the Max Planck Institute of Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, Germany.  

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Thursday, May 06, 2021

Handbooks for Self-Represented Litigants

The Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) has published three (3) handbooks for self-represented litigants who are involved in civil, criminal or family litigation procedures.

"The handbooks make it simple for self-represented litigants to access information for each province and territory in both official languages on how to prepare for a hearing, the applicable rules and law, where to find free or lower cost legal help and related resource agencies, among many other things."

"It is important to note that while these handbooks cannot anticipate all of the possible situations that may arise, they provide a starting point that will assist and guide litigants. The Handbooks do not provide legal advice and are not a substitute for the advice that a lawyer may provide. The Handbooks provide general information only."

Each Handbook also has a Resources section, relevant to each Canadian jurisdiction, providing information as to how to obtain electronic access to statutes, regulations, and forms.

The CJC's  role is to ensure the proper conduct of federally appointed judges and to improve the quality of judicial services, court management and technology.

It is chaired by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2021

American Libraries Journal Publishes 2021 Library Systems Report

American Libraries recently published its 2021 Library Systems Report, the latest in a series of annual reports on trends in the library technology industry:

"In a year complicated by a global pandemic, the community of vendors providing technologies to libraries made important strides to meet pressing needs and make ongoing progress in their longer-term initiatives. Though the pandemic disrupted library services—as well as funding—in 2020, concerted efforts were made to fulfill the demands of users to the extent possible. Almost all vendors made sharp turns to expand access to digital collections and services in order to compensate for diminished access to physical materials."

"Only a few minor acquisitions took place in this deeply consolidated industry last year. Unlike in 2019, none of these transactions altered the overall balance of power among competitors. Vendors made extraordinary efforts to help customer libraries cope with changed services while they continued product development agendas looking beyond current circumstances."

Library vendors readily provided support during the pandemic, especially through rapid development or implementation of functionality that supported newly instituted workflows, such as online selection and checkout of materials and touchless curbside pickup. Abrupt building closures prompted a need to update policy calendars controlling due dates and notices, along with other operational changes. Almost all vendors described delivering system interventions or functional enhancements to assist their customers during this challenging period. Many of these changes will have enduring value. For some libraries, the crisis accelerated transitions to increased digital operations already under way.

"In addition to changes in system policies and operations, some vendors mentioned other specific—and unprecedented—measures offered in support of their clients during the pandemic. Biblionix not only implemented 16 features designed to help libraries adapt to changes in lending and workflow but also offered financial relief to its clients. Since many experienced reduced lending during the pandemic, Biblionix lowered the fees for Apollo ILS according to use levels, an unusual practice in the library technology industry. Innovative Interfaces made its Circa Sierra mobile app free to libraries for a year to assist with curbside services. Ex Libris launched the “Best Practices for the Ex Libris Community during COVID- 19” initiative to provide guidance on building closures and reopenings. Soutron Global developed a Pandemic Recovery Program, providing customers with an extended support package, and donated 10% of its revenue to a financial assistance fund designated for Soutron clients. OCLC supported libraries implementing curbside pickup services through specialized workflows provided through its CapiraCurbside mobile app."

The report is written by Marshall Breeding, a well-known library tech expert. He also edits the Library Technology Guides website and produces the annual International Library Automation Perceptions Surveys.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Most Recent Issue of the Canadian Law Library Review

The most recent issue of the Canadian Law Library Review (CLLR) is available online.

Check out the feature articles: 

  • "The Law Librarian’s Role in Reconciliation", p. 11
  • "Artificial Intelligence and Access to Justice: A New Frontier for Law Librarians", p. 17

The CLLR is the official journal of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL). It is an open access publication.

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Monday, May 03, 2021

English Law Commission Consultation Paper on Electronic Trade Documents

The Law Commission of England and Wales has issued a Consultation Paper on Electronic Trade Documents:

"The process of moving goods across borders in order to get them from the seller to the buyer typically involves a large multiplicity of actors including transportation, insurance, trade and/or supply chain finance and logistics service providers. One transaction typically involves 20 entities and between 10 and 20 paper documents, totalling over 100 pages."

"Despite the size and sophistication of this market, many of its processes, and the laws underlying them, are based on practices developed by merchants hundreds of years ago. In particular, international trade still relies to a large extent on a category of documents called 'documentary intangibles'. Documentary intangibles are unique because transfer of the document can be sufficient to transfer the right to claim performance of the obligation which the document embodies, whether that is an obligation to pay money or an obligation to deliver goods. For example, simply handing over a bill of lading can be sufficient to give the new holder a right to the goods described in the bill."

"The legal rules governing these documents are premised on the idea that they are physical documents which can be physically held or 'possessed'. The current law in England and Wales does not recognise the possibility of possessing electronic documents; possession is associated only with tangible assets. Industries using these documents are therefore prevented by law from moving to a fully paperless process. To give a sense of the enormous amount of paperwork global trade generates, consider that the world’s largest containerships can carry 24,000 twentyfoot containers at any one time on any one voyage. For each one of those cargoes a paper transport document is issued, and has to be processed manually to go from the shipper of the goods to the ultimate buyer at destination, sometimes through numerous intermediaries. This needs to be done using paper because the buyer is required to present the paper document when claiming the goods at the port of discharge. It has been estimated that the international trade industry generates four billion paper documents per year."


"In this consultation paper, we set out provisional proposals for law reform to allow for electronic trade documents to have the same legal effects as their paper equivalents, provided that they meet certain requirements to enable their possession in a digital context."

The consultation closes on 30 July 2021. 

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Australian Law Reform Commission Consultation Paper on Judicial Bias

The Australian Law Reform Commission has published a Consultation Paper on Judicial Impartiality with questions and draft proposals for public comment:

"The Consultation Paper addresses a number of aspects of the law and institutional structures relevant to judicial impartiality including:

  • the mechanisms for raising and determining issues of actual and apprehended bias;
  • the test for determining apprehended bias;
  • guidance on contact between judges and lawyers appearing in proceedings;
  • the collection of data by the courts; and
  • institutional processes and structures that complement the law on bias to support judicial impartiality and public confidence in the administration of justice."

The consultation ends June 30, 2021.

Further research and analysis can be found in the Inquiry Background Papers.

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