Thursday, March 30, 2023

Mentorship Program for Visible Minority Librarians in Canada

The Visible Minority Librarians of Canada Mentorship Program is now accepting applications for the 2023 session that will run from May 1st to June 30th, 2023.

Applications will close on April 21, 2023:

"The Visible Minority Librarians of Canada (ViMLoC) recognizes the need to help visible minority librarians, especially early career and new immigrant librarians, develop their professional careers, as well as the need to encourage and guide visible minority library students with career planning. Lack of mentorship is often cited as a challenge among visible minority librarians, and through our mentorship program, we found that small acts of mentorship were able to make an impact on our mentees. Applying for this program will help create a larger network of visible minority librarians and increase our representation in the library profession. The 2023 ViMLoC mentoring program will recruit experienced visible minority librarians as potential mentors, as well as facilitate the matching of potential mentors to mentees. ViMLoC membership is NOT required to participate in this program."

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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Joint Report by Scottish and English Law Reform Commissions on Surrogacy

The Scottish Law Commission and the Law Commission of England and Wales have published a joint report on surrogacy.

It comes in three parts:

Surrogacy is where a woman – the surrogate – bears a child on behalf of someone else or a couple, who intend to become the child’s legal parents.

The main focus of the suggested reforms involves screening before conception, allowing meaningful scrutiny at an early stage by a regulated surrogacy organization, rather than the current law, which only involves scrutiny by the court after the child is born. The reforms would respect the autonomy of the surrogate – if she withdraws her consent, the courts will make the final decision on parental status. 

The recommendations would also ensure that surrogacy remains non-commercial by prohibiting payments to the surrogate for carrying or delivering the child, ensuring that surrogacy agreements remain unenforceable, and requiring surrogacy organizations to operate on a non-profit-making basis.

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

Federal Budget Highlights of Interest to the Library and Information Community

The website has published an overview of the 2023 federal budget that was tabled yesterday in the House of Commons.

The post presents highlights of interest to the Canadian library and information management community in areas such as:

  • data management
  • digital economy
  • diversity, equity and inclusion
  • government information
  • mental health
  • privacy
  • reconciliation with Indigenous peoples
  • and more


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:11 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Amnesty International Annual Report

The international human rights organization Amnesty International (AI) has published its most recent annual report on the state of human rights around the world.

In her introduction to the document, the organization's Secretary General Agnès Callamard writes:

"2022 may have been a turning point for the international order. It certainly saw a renewal of the Atlantic alliance, with a level of cooperation between the US and other Western powers that a year ago, in the wake of the chaotic 2021 Afghanistan withdrawal, would have been hard to imagine."

"But there was no turning point on the human rights front. Rather, the descent continued unchecked. Russia’s aggression served to further destabilize an international multilateral system already weakened by decades of powerful states flouting international law with impunity. The war diverted resources and attention away from the climate crisis, other long-standing conflicts and human suffering the world over."

"The West’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine also underscored its own double standards, and its inconsequential reactions to so many other violations of the UN Charter. This in turn further fuelled instability and impunity."

"If Russia’s war of aggression demonstrates anything for the world’s future, it is the importance of an effective and consistently applied rules-based international order. Those leading the coalition in support of Ukraine must step up their efforts, and partner with others, for a renewed commitment to an international system that benefits the majority of the world’s population."

"2023 marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document created from the ashes of a world war. Let us not wait for the world to burn yet again to truly live by the freedoms and principles that came at the cost of millions of lives. 2023 must be a turning point for upholding human rights: anything less from the world's leaders is a betrayal which could take the world to the abyss."

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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Supreme Court of Canada Releases 2022 Year in Review

The Supreme Court of Canada has released its 2022 Year in Review which shares information and stories about the work of the Court and its employees.

The document contains information about decisions, statistical trends, and noteworthy activities, including the nomination of Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin to the bench and the September 2022 the trip to Quebec City for two hearings and community outreach.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:39 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Canadian Government Publishes 2023-2024 Departmental Plans

The federal government has been publishing the departmental plans for 2023-2024.

Every year, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat tables plans in the House of Commons on behalf of dozens of federal government agencies and departments.

They set out departmental/agency priorities, provide performance measurement indicators, and explain expected results.

There are many justice-related agencies and departments in the list, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

The plans are part of the federal government's budget estimates process. They replace the former Reports on Plans and Priorities.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:17 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

CanLII Publishes New Open Access E-Book on Canadian and Indigenous Perspectives on Criminal Law

The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) has published a new open access e-book entitled Canadian Law, Indigenous Laws & Critical Perspectives:

"This is the first Canadian open access criminal law casebook, incorporating a wide range of traditional and audio/visual materials such as podcasts and documentary films. It is also notable for being the first to present Indigenous laws alongside Canadian criminal law. Cree law is featured throughout and the editors hope to include more Indigenous laws in future editions."

"Considered by many to be an emerging core competency for lawyers and other legal professionals, a trauma-informed approach is taken in this eBook. This is reflected in the selection of materials, use of content notes, inclusion of mental health and counselling resources, and substantive materials on trauma-informed lawyering, cultural humility, vicarious trauma, and resilience."

"Critical perspectives are also included on topics such as criminal law as colonial violence, anti-Black racism, intersectionality, social determinants of justice, victims of crime, wrongful convictions, policing, restorative justice, incarceration and prison abolition, and the criminalization of people who use substances and/or experience homelessness, poverty and mental health issues."

 The publication is the latest in a series of collective open access books by CanLII.

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Thursday, March 16, 2023

Law Society of Ireland Article on Plain Language

The Law Society of Ireland Gazette recently published an article called Mind your language that discusses the advantages of drafting legal documents using accessible, understandable terminology, or what is described as "plain language"

The practice has been spreading gradually in many fields including law, and the International Standards Organisation is even expected to produce a standard for plain language this year.

The article offers examples of plain language from a number of countries, like the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and of course Ireland.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:30 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Stanford Launches Archive of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, 1945-46

The Stanford Libraries have made available the Taube Archive of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, 1945-1946.

The Nuremberg trials are to this day the most prominent international criminal trials.

They were convened after the collapse of the Third Reich to try Nazi leaders in 1945 and 1946 for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Taube Archive home page describes the contents:

"The Taube Archive of the International Military Tribunal (IMT) at Nuremberg, 1945-46 archival collection provides access to a digital version of Nuremberg IMT courtroom proceedings and documentation, including evidentiary films, full audio recordings of the proceedings, and approximately 250,000 pages of digitized paper documents. These documents include transcripts of the hearings in English, French, German and Russian; written pleadings; evidence exhibits filed by the prosecution and the defense; documents of the Committee for the Investigation and Prosecution of Major War Criminals; the judgment. All 9,920 collection items are searchable and viewable in digital form."

Direct descendants of the Nuremberg court include the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and the the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:33 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

March 2023 Issue of In Session E-Bulletin of Canadian Association of Law Libraries

The March 2023 issue of In Session has been published.

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. 

Excerpt from the President's Message (George Tsiakos):

"2023/2023 Executive Board
Once again, I want to thank the eight exceptional candidates for putting their names forward to serve the Association – we are very fortunate to have such involved members volunteering their time. Congratulations to the newly-elected and continuing Board members who will official take office after the 2023 AGM.

  • Yemisi, Dina, President (continuing)
  • Mary-Jo Petsche, First Vice-President (continuing)
  • Jason Wong, Second Vice-President (acclaimed)
  • Jennifer McNenly, Treasurer (acclaimed/continuing)
  • Donna Sikorsky, Secretary (elected)
  • Hanna Steeves, Member-at-Large (elected)
  • Alexia Loumankis, Member-at-Large (elected)

Many thanks to the Elections Committee – Martha Murphy (Chair), Ann Marie Melvie and Sooin Kim, and to the Nominations Committee – Kim Nayyer (Chair), Daniel Boyer, Vicki Jay Leung, and Doris Wagner, for all their work in securing exceptional candidates and steering the process. And, of course, thanks to all members who took time to learn about the candidates and for casting their vote. I look forward to serving with the new and continuing members of the Executive Board later this year in my capacity as Past-President."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:59 pm 0 comments

Monday, March 13, 2023

New and Updated Research Guides from GlobaLex

GlobaLex, a very good electronic collection created by the Hauser Global Law School Program at the New York University School of Law, has  published or updated a number of research guides recently:

  • UPDATE: "Space Asset" Under the Space Protocol to the Cape Town Convention and the Related Issues Under International Space Law: "The ongoing privatization and commercialization of today's space industry creates more financial risks for private sector financiers, and the movable nature of space activities may cause legal uncertainties of the security interests. Given such situation, the 2001 UNIDROIT Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment (the "Cape Town Convention") and the 2012 Protocol to the Cape Town Convention on Matters Specific to Space Assets (the "Space Protocol") marked a significant development in harmonizing and unifying the rules of asset-backed finance for mobile space equipment. As a key term in the Space Protocol, the concept of "Space Asset" was for the first time introduced in the Cape Town Convention and defined under the Space Protocol, which may impact contemporary international space law that formed mainly from the UN space law treaties (the "five United Nations treaties on outer space") and principles (the "five United Nations declarations and legal principles"). This article will first explain and analyze the definition of "Space Asset", then further discuss issues related to this new concept, including the delimitation of outer space, the relationship between an Aircraft Object and a Space Asset, as well as the differences and similarities between Space Assets under the Space Protocol and a Space Object under the UN space law treaties."
  • Researching International Labour Law (authors are Canadian librarians from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario): "International labour law refers to the body of rules and principles concerning the relationship between employers, workers, and governments. This research guide provides a brief overview of introductory resources in international labour law and the major sources of law in this area. The primary responsibility for developing and implementing a system of international labour standards lies with the International Labour Organization (ILO), a specialized United Nations (UN) agency. As such, the ILO is a major focus of this guide. However, it should be noted that international labour law also includes regional sources of law as well as several UN treaties that establish state obligations in this area. These will be described in brief."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:36 pm 0 comments

Thursday, March 09, 2023

Chief Justice of Canada Talk at Harvard Law School

Richard Wagner, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, recently gave a talk at Harvard Law School during which he outlined some of the Court's initiatives to reach out to the general public.

As explained in an article in Harvard Law Today, making the Court's activities more understandable is an important way to combat disinformation and distrust in the institutions of democracy:

"He named specific measures his court has taken to further this goal. In his view, access to justice is connected to access to information, so he initiated steps to make the Canadian court’s actions more transparent. One was to hold an annual, two-hour press conference; another was to make an easily readable, one-page synopsis available for every decision."

" 'One way to maintain peoples’ faith in the institution is to explain what we do,' Wagner said. 'So, we say in very accessible language what this decision is and what it means to you. This is not easy but we do it. We discovered that [the synopses] were being used by law professors, so it was a real success.' "

"A more creative method has been to hold annual court sessions away from the capital city of Ottawa, taking to cities, including Winnipeg and Quebec City, and opening the hearings to local audiences. 'For a week, the nine of us will meet the public, talk to law professors, and hear two cases. We answer questions so people will understand exactly what we do and why we do it.' This, he said, can counteract false information that might be spread on social media."

Justice Wagner was the guest of the Canadian Law Students Association at Harvard.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:56 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

Most Recent Issue of the Canadian Law Library Review

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

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

Check out the feature article on p. 9 by Danielle Noonan Readers’ Advisory Services in Canadian Prisons:

"Library services in Canadian prisons have often been influenced by American standards. There is little research on libraries in Canadian prisons, and of that research it is evident that readers’ advisory services in prisons are nearly nonexistent. The following article  overviews 1981 and 1984 recommendations to the Correctional Service of Canada and a 2003 national survey about the operation of prison libraries. Through a comparison of the  American Library Association’s criteria and the current state of Canadian prison libraries, this article identifies the issues and proposes solutions that would enable prison librarians  to meet the recommended standards for readers advisory services in prisons."


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:20 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, March 07, 2023

Respectful Terminologies Project for Indigenous People

The National Indigenous Knowledge and Language Alliance (NIKLA) has launched the Respectful Terminologies Project to develop a preferred classification vocabulary to describe Indigenous people, places, heritage, traditions, knowledge, and culture.

According to a post on the SPARC website, the project has received seed funding to create a platform showcasing results:

"The project will involve extensive consultation with the various Indigenous communities, which in Canada includes three main groups: First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people. The idea is to build relationships and work in collaboration to explore language that is more descriptive and appropriate."

"For instance, 'Indigenous peoples–North America' is preferred to the outdated and erroneous library subject heading of 'Indians of North America.' Other problematic terms include 'Indian mythology' or 'folklore' for creation stories and references to harmful terms that objectify Indigenous women. Terms for Nations that are the result of colonial renaming or other misuse need to be replaced with terms Nations call themselves as part of a practice that supports Indigenous self-determination."

"Library workers use lists of approved terms to indicate the subject or topic of the book that determine how the book can be found in a library search.  Terminology often reflects racial and cultural biases of those who created the information system. Many librarians acknowledge these terms can affect accessibility and representation, as well as perpetuate trauma to groups outside of that dominant perspective."

Funding has been received from a variety of  organizations such as Library and Archives Canada, the Canadian Heritage Information Network, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, the Canadian Urban Library Council, the Canadian Research Knowledge Network, the Internet Archive Canada and OCLC.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:55 pm 0 comments

Monday, March 06, 2023

International Federation of Library Associations Guidelines for Library Services to Prisoners

The International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) has published the fourth edition of its Guidelines for Library Services to Prisoners.

From the "Purpose for the Guidelines" section of the document:

"The objective of this document is to provide a tool for the planning, implementation, and evaluation of library services to prisoners. The document is intended to serve as a model guide for the development of national guidelines for prison libraries. The guidelines are applicable to all places of incarceration, regardless of the term used to describe the facility. They are therefore applicable to adult and juvenile prisons, detention centres, and jails ... and can be adapted to reflect local circumstances and needs (...) A section of minimum standards is included in recognition that many countries will not be able to comply with these broader guidelines. It is hoped that these minimum standards will be achievable in most contexts and will provide a starting point for environments where prison libraries are not commonly available or well-supported."

"The guidelines provide a tool for planning new libraries and for the evaluation of existing libraries and can be used in the absence of any local guidelines or standards. In addition to being a practical tool for the establishment, operation, and assessment of prison libraries, these guidelines shall serve as a general statement of principle for the fundamental right of prisoners to read, learn, access and acquire information. The guidelines are aimed at librarians, library administrators, prison authorities, legislative and administrative branches of government, and other agencies/authorities that are responsible for administering and funding prison libraries."

Founded in 1927, IFLA has member library associations and institutions in 150 countries

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:36 pm 0 comments

Sunday, March 05, 2023

Recent Justice-Related Documents from the Government of Canada

The Government of Canada's Weekly Acquisitions List can be a great way to discover new research reports published by various public bodies and agencies of the federal government. It is a record of all publications catalogued in the previous week.

Here are a few recent additions of justice-related documents:

  • The Voice of the Child in Family Law: Exploring Strategies, Challenges, and Best Practices for Canada (original publication date 2019): "The objective of this project is to collect and collate research, describe existing methods to include the children’s voices in family law in Canada (and internationally where relevant), to identify themes, and to develop a comprehensive and accessible literature review. This review provides descriptions of promising practices applicable to various aspects of the voice of the child and discussions of case law."
  • Victims’ Rights in Canada in the 21st Century (written in 2021): "This report will not revisit the well-known territory of theory and philosophy in any significant manner; however, Part I of this report will still explore the relationship between theory and practical change in order to provide some context and framework for the remainder of the report. Part II will explore any significant changes, and the studies which have evaluated these changes, with respect to the rights of victims to participate at trial in the past twenty years and with respect to statutory provisions designed to protect the privacy and dignity of the victim as a witness at trial. Parts III and IV will present similar, but briefer, explorations with respect to the welfare rights or entitlements of victims, as well as developments relating to restorative justice."
  • Victim Privacy and Open Justice: 2.0 At the Frontiers of Change (written in 2020): "The purpose of this report, commissioned by the Research and Statistics Division of the Department of Justice, is to review and update changes to open court and victim privacy principle since 2003, which was the year that Victim Privacy and the Open Court Principle report was written (hereinafter referred to as the 2003 Report). This update maintains symmetry with the structure of the 2003 Report in its review of Supreme Court of Canada jurisprudence and legislative changes since then. By 2003, the Supreme Court strongly endorsed and protected open court, adopting a strong standard of justification that required a sound evidentiary basis to warrant limits to the principle. The “second generation” jurisprudence is consistent with that conception of openness, but notable for accepting restrictions more readily and, in some instances, explicitly on grounds of a victim or participant’s vulnerability (...) The update would not be complete without discussion of two “frontier” developments: the impact of technology, and transformation of public and cultural discourse about sexual offending. First, the challenges to openness posed by technology are briefly identified and analyzed: this includes electronic court records and documents, the electronic courtroom, as well as electronic publicity and publication bans (...) Second, unexpected and major shifts in the narrative of sexual transgression represent a gamechanging development for victims of such offences and their role in the criminal justice system, including their privacy interests. Frustration with the typical justice system response to sexual assault have led some advocates to lobby for changes within the criminal justice system and sanctions that may fall outside the formal justice system. One of the more obvious and interesting points about the three watershed events discussed – #BeenRapedNeverReported, Unfounded, #MeToo – is that the transformation in discourse is for the most part driven by forces connected to, but outside the formal processes of law. Social media activism and investigative journalism have been at the forefront of change. Through the momentum of these broad-based movements, the social, psychological and cultural environment of sexual transgression has undergone fundamental change, with positive results for the reporting of offences, their handling by Canadian police forces, and victim perceptions of their status in criminal justice and willingness to step forward on their own and in solidarity with others, whether anonymously or not. "
  • Review of International Child Support Models Volume I – Main Report (written in 2019): "As part of ongoing legal policy work, the Department of Justice Canada contracted with Kelly Sears Consulting Group to conduct an extensive review of international models used to determine child support amounts. The overall purpose of the research was to review and analyze child  support models with a focus on how selected issues are addressed. The jurisdictions included in this study were: the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Norway, Sweden, New Zealand, and the American states of Wisconsin, Delaware, Illinois, and Vermont. "
  • Review of International Child Support Models Volume II – Jurisdictional Summaries

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:55 pm 0 comments

Supreme Court of Canada Calendar of Upcoming Hearings in March 2023

The Supreme Court of Canada recently published its calendar of upcoming appeals that will be heard in March 2023.

To find out more about any particular case, click on the docket number in parentheses next to each case name to find docket information, case summaries as well as factums from the parties. 


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

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Geek in Review Podcast Interview with Johannes Scholtes on AI and the Legal Industry

The most recent episode of the Geek in Review Podcast by US law librarian Greg Lambert is available.

Lambert is a former president of the American Association of Law Libraries.

The podcast features a discussion with Johannes Scholtes, Chief Data Scientist for IPRO – ZyLAB, and Professor of Text Mining at Maastricht University in The Netherlands:

"While the AI tools like GPT and other generative AI tools have finally begun to be true language tools, there is still a lot that these tools simply cannot do. Scholtes says that there is plenty of legal work to be done, and in fact perhaps more work now that the computers can do most of the heavy lifting and allow the lawyers to do the thinking and strategy."

"Scholtes compares the relationship between the lawyer and the technology to be that of a pilot and co-pilot. A relationship in which the co-pilot cannot be completely trusted but can be trained to assist through the process of vertical training. This means that a law firm needs to work with the AI to have it better understand how to process legal information. Having the technology alongside the lawyers provides a stronger legal representation than just the lawyers or the technology alone. In addition to reducing risk and improving outcomes, Scholtes also projects that Lawyer + AI means higher rates and better profitability, while the clients receive better results."

"It is exciting to be at the beginning of this change in the way law is practiced. It is important, however, that law firms, lawyers, and legal professionals understand how to teach and control the technology, and that there needs to be transparency in how the tools work and make decisions. His recommendation is that if all you are offered is and AI Black Box, then you should simply walk away. That lack of trust will come back to bite you."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:12 pm 0 comments