Thursday, December 21, 2023

Canadian Forum on Civil Justice Winter 2023 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 role of legal clinics
  • a newly revised Selected Annotated Bibliography of National and Regional Legal Needs Surveys
  • CFCJ resources and reports
  • and much more
The CFCJ is a national non-profit organization that works to advance civil justice reform through research and advocacy.


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Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Survey for Law Library Benchmarks, 2024-25

New York-based Primary Research Group will soon publish a new edition of Law Library Benchmarks, a survey of law libraries.

US and Canadian law libraries that contribute through a survey will receive a free copy of Law Library Benchmarks, 2024-25 Edition.

Primary Research Group has published many law library-related surveys in the past.

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Tuesday, December 19, 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:

  • Child to parent violence and aggression : reviewing the research: "Child-to-parent violence and aggression (CPVA) is described as a form of family violence characterized by a pattern (as opposed to a single incident) of violent and aggressive behaviours in children and youth Footnote1 towards their parents or primary caregivers. These behaviours may have several consequences, including: triggering fear, grief, and other emotions; experiencing a loss of control; negatively impacting both individual and family well-being; and generating new behaviours in parents, siblings and other family members or caregivers in order to avoid physical violence or verbal altercations (...) This report synthesizes the findings of a scoping review that resulted in 162 peer-reviewed articles on CPVA that were published between January 2009 and March 2022 as well as an analysis of statistical information on victims (parents or siblings) of youth violence in Canada between 2009 and 2021."
  • Perceptions of the Canadian youth criminal justice system : key findings from the 2022 National Justice Survey: "The National Justice Survey (NJS) is a public opinion research survey that is administered on an annual basis to explore the perceptions and knowledge of justice-related issues of people living in Canada. Findings from this survey are used to inform policy and program development. This report focuses on youth justice-related issues and examines respondents’ perceptions and knowledge of the youth criminal justice system (YCJS)."
  • Understanding family violence in diverse communities : what subject-matter experts think family law legal advisers should know: "This report summarizes five thought papers written by subject-matter experts to assist family law legal advisers in identifying and responding to family violence in diverse communities. The thought papers focused on the following population groups: racialized groups; 2SLGBTQI+ individuals; Muslim communities; newcomers; and people with disabilities."
  • Experiences of Indigenous families in the family justice system : a literature review and perspectives from legal and frontline family justice professionals: "This report aims to contribute to the understanding of the experiences of Indigenous families (specifically, unmarried or married couples with children) dealing with separation and divorce, who are going through the family justice system (FJS). This includes both identifying needs specific to Indigenous people going through the mainstream FJS and developing a better understanding of Indigenous approaches to resolving family conflicts. This preliminary information will help to identify specific challenges faced by and opportunities available for Indigenous families going through separation and divorce, and those who work with them. The research can inform future efforts to respond more effectively to the needs of Indigenous families and communities, as well as opportunities to welcome more effectively the gifts of Indigenous Knowledge Keepers through subsequent policy development, consultation, and research activities in relation to family law and family justice."

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Monday, December 18, 2023

Proceedings of the 2023 Congrès de professionnel.le.s de l'information Now Available

The Congrès de professionnel.le.s de l'information is the largest French-language library and archives conference in Canada.

Its last meeting took place in Montreal from November 7 to 9, 2023.

The presentations are now available online for free.

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Sunday, December 17, 2023

Crown Copyright Code of Best Practices for Libraries

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries and the Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA) have been working on a Crown Copyright Code of Best Practices for Libraries.

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries is a member of the CFLA and has argued for reform of Crown Copyright.

The draft code is now available for comment

As the draft explains:

"The current legal provision related to Crown copyright in Canada is found in Section 12 of the Copyright Act. It is extremely comprehensive in scope, granting the Crown copyright to any work that has been 'prepared or published under the direction or control of Her Majesty or any government department.' It also preserves the ancient royal prerogative or privilege that predates copyright law and it is silent about term length for unpublished works, leading to the assumption that these works are protected by copyright in perpetuity. These anomalies provide governments with expansive rights that could be used to withhold, censor or control government information to the detriment of the public good."

"Section 12 also sets out the duration of copyright controls for government works it covers. For published government works, the duration of the term of copyright is 50 years after the year of publication. In addition, and by virtue of Subsection 13(3) of the Copyright Act, the Crown, like any private sector employer, owns copyright in original work authored by its employees in the course of their employment. This copyright lasts until the end of the 70th year past the death of the author. Both Sections 12 and 13(3) may be modified by agreement but such agreements are relatively rare. Both apply to all works of the federal and provincial government and the territories and neither provides for compulsory licensing. In practice, government works are generally assumed to be protected by Crown copyright unless a personal author is named on the title page and the copyright statement does not clearly state that Crown copyright applies (e.g., © Government of Canada)."


"Confusion about the appropriate interpretation of the Act, and its hampering impact on the efforts of libraries attempting to serve as stewards of government works, was described in numerous submissions and testimonies presented to the Parliamentary Committee responsible for the Copyright Act review of 2018/2019, summarized by librarian Amanda Wakaruk and described in the Committee’s final report. Put briefly, this confusion, compounded by copyright anxiety and related legal chill, has impeded the work of libraries, which has resulted in the loss of innumerable government works, including both born digital files and legacy print materials."

"At the time of writing, the Government of Canada has yet to address the concerns of those that participated in the most recent legislative review or the near-continuous requests for review and reform made by Canadian library associations and the Canadian Association of University Teachers. Nor has it addressed the comments of the Supreme Court of Canada, that Section 12 be revisited by Parliament."

The issue was discussed earlier in December at one of the sessions at the Government Information Day(s) 2023.

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Supreme Court of Canada Calendar of January 2024 Hearings

The Supreme Court of Canada has published its calendar of upcoming appeals that will be heard in January 2024.

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


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Thursday, December 14, 2023

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

The December 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. 

In this issue, there is information about:

  • CALL's strategic plan 2024 - 2029
  • Results from the 2023 CALL-TALL (Toronto Association of Law Libraries) Salary Survey 
  • Scholarships and Awards

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Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Canadian Bar Association Practice Tools on Business and Human Rights

The Canadian Bar Association has developed tools to help practitioners navigate the area of business and human rights.

"Businesses, including their subsidiaries and partners, are not isolated from the societies in which they operate, nor are they insulated from events occurring in places where they secure raw materials and other goods. These facts are underscored by two recent and high-profile international developments: the February 2021 military coup in Myanmar; and the persecution of Uyghurs and other minorities in China's Xinjiang province. As a result, companies in Canada and across the globe are being required to examine their operations to ascertain what links, if any, they have to any ongoing human rights abuses in these territories. Situations like these will continue to present themselves, and will require Canadian lawyers and their clients to examine operations and formulate responses. This guide is meant to assist Canadian (external and in-house) practitioners with these efforts."

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Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Presentations of the Ontario Access to Justice Week 2023 Available Online

The Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG) was established by the Law Society of Ontario in 2015 to bring together justice stakeholders to develop public-centred solutions.

One of its activities is Access to Justice Week whose 2023 edition took place from October 23 to 27, 2023.

Many of the sessions were recorded and are now available for free online.

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Monday, December 11, 2023

New Book Gives Insider's View of Law Reform Commission Work

The Law Commission of England has published a new book, Inside Modern Law Reform, that provides an insider's point of view of the history of the Commission and how it carries out its work to make laws more relevant, modern and fair.

From the brief description on the Commission website:

"As well as describing the history and process of law reform, the book outlines the wide-ranging social and economic benefits it provides, the importance of an independent Law Commission, the unique work it does in Wales, its international relationships, and the opportunities they offer to enrich the Commission’s work."

"While the level of detail provided in the book may be of more interest to those who are already familiar with the work of a law reform body, nonetheless the Commission hopes that the work will be of interest to a more general audience. Above all, the work is aimed at all those who share a concern for good law reform both nationally and internationally."

"The Commission is indebted to the many thousands of individuals and organisations who have contributed so fully and generously to its law reform projects over the decades and from whom it has learned and continues to learn. It is because of these contributions that it has been able to build up the wide-ranging experience of law reform described in this book."

The book is available for free in PDF format.

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Sunday, December 10, 2023

30 Documents for 75th Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 and remains of the world's most important documents defining rights.

The UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library in New York has selected 30 key documents related to the 30 articles of the UDHR.

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New Zealand Courts Guidelines for Generative Artificial Intelligence

The New Zealand judiciary has issued Guidelines for use of generative artificial intelligence in Courts and Tribunals.

The guidelines are cautious and pragmatic and include ideas for :

  • Judges, Judicial Officers, Tribunal Members and Judicial Support staff
  • Lawyers
  • Non-lawyers (such as self-represented litigants)

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Thursday, December 07, 2023

Government Information Day(s) 2023 Program

The Ontario Council of University Libraries - Government Information Community will be hosting this year’s virtual Government Information Day(s) 2023 next week (December 12-14).

Topics include:

  • parliamentary and legislative libraries and their work;
  • current day issues with online government information and efforts to safeguard its permanence and accessibility;
  • the metadata and organization of online government information;
  • Crown Copyright and where we are at;
  • Freedom of Information (FOI) for both the beginner and more advanced advocates;

Registration for the Zoom sessions is free.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Nominations Open for 18th Annual Canadian Law Blog Awards

The nomination period for the 18th annual Clawbies is now open. 

The Clawbies, or Canadian Law Blog Awards, exist to reward the best and most innovative Canadian law-related blogs, social media accounts, podcasts, and newsletters:

"Rule #1: Our 'humble Canadian' rule: don’t nominate your own publication or project for a Clawbie. It doesn’t work that way. The only surefire way of getting your work on our radar is to give props to other commentary authors. Follow this rule and we’ll take a look at your work too!"

"Rule #2: Nominate up to three digital publications or authors via blog post or tweets (using the hashtag  #clawbies2023). They must be freely available at no cost. Be sure to include a brief explanation of why you think those authors deserve an award!"

"Nominations will be accepted until the end of day on Friday, December 15th, 2023. Then stay tuned, because this year’s winners will be announced on New Year’s Eve."

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Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Geek in Review Podcast Interview on AI Tool Development at Lexis

The most recent episode of the Geek in Review Podcast co-hosted by Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer is available.

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

The episode features a talk with  ⁠Jeff Pfeifer⁠ and ⁠Serena Wellen⁠ from LexisNexis about the development of AI tools for the legal industry over the past year:

"Pfeifer and Wellen give us an insider’s view of what it took to bring their ⁠Lexis+ AI⁠ tool to the market and the balance between speed to market and getting solid customer guidance on what they need in a legal-focused Generative AI tool. Between the initial version released to a select group of customers and the current version, the product grew from an open-ended chat interface into more of a guided resource that helps users on creating and following up on prompts. As with most AI tools created in the past year, there is still more potential as more and more customers use it and give critical feedback along the way."

"In addition to Lexis+ AI, LexisNexis has now launched two additional AI products – ⁠Lexis Snapshot⁠ and ⁠Lexis Create⁠. Lexis Snapshot summarizes legal complaints to help firms monitor litigation. Lexis Create brings AI capabilities directly into Microsoft Word to assist with drafting and research while lawyers are working on documents."

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Monday, December 04, 2023

Statistics Canada Article on Human Trafficking

Statistics Canada has published an article entitled Trafficking in persons in Canada, 2022 in its Juristat Bulletin:

"Trafficking in persons, or human trafficking, is a serious human rights violation that can occur domestically or transnationally with the crossing of international borders. Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation or harbouring of a person and includes controlling or influencing their movements with the goal of exploiting, or facilitating the exploitation of, a person (...)"

"Human trafficking is considered a criminal offence in Canada, as outlined in the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act .... The National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, announced in 2019, further outlines the Government of Canada’s commitment to prevent and address human trafficking, including providing support to victims and survivors (...)"

"Despite legislation prohibiting all forms of human trafficking both within and outside Canadian borders, it is difficult to detect and measure due to its hidden nature. Victims of human trafficking are generally isolated and concealed from the public, and many may experience barriers or be unwilling to report to authorities for various reasons, including a general distrust of authorities, feelings of shame, fear of consequences, language barriers, or a lack of human rights knowledge ... Moreover, the detection of human trafficking cases by police services may be dependent on the availability of resources, specialized units and training received."

"While human trafficking takes various forms, trafficking for sexual exploitation is the most detected and encountered form of human trafficking by law enforcement in Canada ... It is highly gendered, disproportionately impacting women and girls, although men and boys are also victims."

Among the highlights:

  •  In 2022, there were 528 police-reported incidents of human trafficking, a slight decrease compared with 2021
  • Of the 3,103 detected victims of police-reported human trafficking in Canada from 2012 to 2022, the vast majority (94%) were women and girls, and were overwhelmingly young, with approximately 7 in 10 (69%) under the age of 25
  • Over half (56%) of human trafficking incidents were not solved, or cleared, by police. This could be due to several factors, including the incident still being under investigation, insufficient evidence available to proceed or no accused person identified
  • From 2011/2012 to 2021/2022, the most serious decision for the large majority (83%) of completed adult criminal court cases involving at least one human trafficking charge was a stay, a withdrawal, a dismissal, or a discharge. A small proportion of human trafficking cases resulted in a guilty decision (11%)

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