Thursday, December 16, 2021

Santa Claus and the Law

In Custodia Legis, the blog of the Law Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. published a fun little roundup this week about various laws relating to Santa Claus:

"Local, federal and foreign governments are doing their regulatory best to speed his mail and ease his journey across borders with foreign livestock, regardless of his nationality or the emissions his vehicle produces."

You may have also caught the article Santa Claus in court: From bingo prizes to custody hearings by Nathan Baker earlier this week in The Lawyer's Daily. Santa apparently managed to get himself into a spot of trouble here in Canada but a court decision wisely spared him:

"Santa’s largesse got him in trouble in Community Fundraising Corp. v. Newfoundland and Labrador (DGSL) 2004 NLTD 236. There, Santa arrived at a bingo and, without warning to management, increased the night’s prizes over the statutorily allowed limits for the night. 'Santa Claus — there being only one, according to counsel — is a repeat offender whose activities led to the two-week suspension of the licence of another bingo operator.' Santa’s generosity apparently does need to be closely watched, but the court eventually found that 'the regulation, as presently worded, is an elephant gun; it is not an appropriate weapon with which to dispatch the Christmas mouse'."

A quick search of various Scottish, English, Australian and American legal websites produced a list of quite a few potential legal problems our good friend Saint Nick could run into, including, but not limited to:

  • Violating the separation of Church and State in the US
  • Breaking and entering
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Illegallly operating a toy factory
  • Trademark infringement
  • Patent infringement
  • Copyright infringement
  • Labour law violations
  • Numerous civil aviation regulations violations
  • Numerous breeches of sovereign airspace
  • Speeding
  • Animal cruelty
  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress (when kids don't get the gifts they want)
  • Lack of proper licenses, insurance and registration
  • Crossing international borders without a passport
  • Tariff evasion
  • Failing to file tax returns
  • Running an international crime enterprise 
  • Alienation of affection: apparently, in some U.S. states, if someone sees mommy or daddy kissing Santa Claus under the mistletoe, then the other partner or spouse can sue Santa for disrupting the marriage

Of course, I am sure most of the lawyers who have identified these potential problems are prepared to offer their services pro bono to Santa. In the spirit of the season.

Happy Holidays. Be safe.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:06 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Remote Work Proves the Firm Library Is More Than a Physical Space

Marshall Voizard, Reference Supervisor at the US law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, has published an article Remote Work Proves the Firm Library Is More Than a Physical Space on the blog On Firmer Ground.

It is run by the Private Law Librarians & Information Professionals Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries.

The article is fairly bullish about how the profession has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic.


"The forced crash course for the entire legal industry in MS Teams, Zoom, video conferencing, screen sharing, and the like has been a great boon for law librarians.  So many of our resources had already migrated from print to electronic before 2020, and I remember the pain of many reference requests when I tried to describe over the phone how to construct a search string or access a database.  How much easier it is now to demonstrate through screen sharing! These technologies have also presented new capabilities that were not available in person that we’re probably still in the early stages of discovering.  For example, I personally have found success partnering with outside vendors in video trainings where we each have the capability to share our own screens at different portions of the training — something we never thought to do in person."


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:33 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, December 14, 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 article on page 10 by Dominique Garingan, "Advanced Technologies and Algorithmic Literacy: Exploring Insights from the Legal Information Profession". Garingan is a Library Manager at Parlee McLaws LLP based in Calgary.

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

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

Monday, December 13, 2021

December 2021 Issue of In Session E-Bulletin of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries

The December 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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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:37 pm 0 comments

Thursday, December 09, 2021

Podcasts Judges Listen To

The Provincial Court of British Columbia eNews bulletin decided to ask its judges what podcasts they like:

"BC’s Provincial Court Judges drive thousands of kilometres a year travelling between more than 80 court locations around the province. Whether their commute takes them through the Deas Island Tunnel from Surrey to Vancouver or along Highway 97 from Dawson Creek to Fort St. John, many judges find listening to a good podcast reduces the stress and helps them maintain the serenity needed in court."

"eNews got such a good response when it asked judges what they were reading for pleasure, we decided to ask about their favourite podcasts. Again, their response was varied but it reveals common interests in history, ideas, music, wellness, mystery/true crime, and law."


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

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Suggested Improvements to The McGill Guide, 10th Edition

Hannah Steeves of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia contributed an article last week to about Seeing Red: The McGill Guide, 10th Edition. She is the Instruction & Reference Librarian at the Sir James Dunn Law Library at that institution.

The McGill Guide of course is the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation we all love so much, and love to criticize.

In her article, Steeves mentions that a 10th edition is scheduled for 2022. 

And as someone who teaches legal citation to first year law students, she has a few suggestions for improvements that involve being more flexible and accessible.

Her intro is brilliantly put:

"Disclaimer: I am required to teach legal citation to keen 1Ls that are learning about snails in bottles, individuals masturbating in windows, cannibalism at sea, and cricket games [my note: referring to famous cases]. I am never surprised that they do not find legal citation particularly exciting. However, unexciting does not mean unimportant. I understand and value proper citation and appreciate the efforts that McGill Law students and faculty have put into the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation since 1986."

As someone who taught legal citation to summer students in a major law firm a zillion years ago, I can identify. 


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:10 pm 0 comments

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Survey of Law Library Plans for the Print Materials Collection

Primary Research Group, a New York-based publisher of research reports and surveys about libraries, has published the Survey of Law Library Plans for the Print Materials Collection, 2022 Edition ($155.00 US):

"This study presents data from 28 major law libraries about their plans for their print materials collection.  Data is broken out separately for university, small law firm, large law firm, government and courthouse law libraries, as well as for law libraries in Canada and in the United States, and by library law library staff size.  Law library directors from many eminent law firms, schools and court and other government law libraries comment on their plans for print subscriptions to journals, books, directories, loose-leaf services, magazine and newspapers and other print information vehicles.  In addition to extensive commentary the report gives detailed data on overall print budget spending, spending on particular forms (books, journals, etc.) and data on the future of print separately for primary and secondary legal information and non-legal information. The study also looks at the impact of the pandemic on law library thinking and planning for print materials."

"Just a few of the 111-page report’s many findings are that:

  • The Canadian law libraries in the sample vastly outspent the US ones on print materials.
  • Libraries headed by individuals under age 60 spent far less on print materials than those headed by individuals over age 60.
  • Collection culling of print materials was slightly higher in the USA than in Canada.
  • For law school libraries, print materials accounted for 33.67% of the print materials budget.
  • Spending on print directories by the libraries sampled is expected to fall by 15% in 2022."

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

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Forthcoming Article on Plain Language Laws in the United States

The SSRN research platform has published an article on The Rise of Plain Language Laws that will be published in a  forthcoming issue of the University of Miami Law Review. The author is Michael Blasie (Pennsylvania State University):

"When lawmakers enacted 778 plain language laws across the United States, no one noticed. Apart from a handful, these laws went untracked and unstudied. Without study, large questions remain about these laws’ effects and utility, and about how they inform the adoption or rejection of plain language."

"This Article creates a conceptual framework for plain language laws to set the stage for future empirical research and normative discussions on the value of plain language. It unveils the first nationwide empirical survey of plain language laws to reveal their locations, coverages, and standards. In doing so, the Article creates a systematic method to find these laws. Then it coins categories and terminology to describe their coverage and standards, thus creating a timely launchpad for future scholarship on domestic and international plain language laws. Along the way, the Article exposes the previously unknown scope of these laws—from election ballots and insurance contracts to veterans housing and consumer contracts to regulatory drafting and governor reports. That scope underscores the pervasive influence of plain language across public and private sectors, and over lawyers and non-lawyers alike. More, the survey reveals significant intrastate and interstate variations and trends in coverages and standards. With this knowledge, for the first-time empirical research can more precisely measure the benefits and costs of plain language laws while controlling for variables." [from the abstract]

It is easy to sign up for an account to gain access to hundreds of thousands of articles in dozens of disciplines including law.



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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:35 pm 0 comments

Government Information Day Later This Month

The 2021 edition of Government Information Day will take place on December 14th and December 15th.

There are sessions on topics as varied as discovery services for Canadian census and geospatial data, regulating artificial intelligence, working with some 11 languages in the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly, and more.

Dr. Debby Wilson Danard will be the keynote speaker on the subject of INDIGIPEDIA.CA, a new Indigenous Digital Encyclopedia

The conference is free but registration is required. Registration opened today on December 1st, 2021. 


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