Sunday, August 09, 2015
Thursday, August 06, 2015
Manitoba Law Reform Commission Consultation Report on Presumption of Death Act
From the Executive Summary:
"Presumption of death legislation is not to be confused with survivorship or missing persons legislation. Survivorship legislation prescribes the order of death when two or more persons die in circumstances in which the order of death cannot be determined. Missing persons legislation provides access to records for the purpose of searching for a missing person. In contrast to both of these type of legislation, presumption of death legislation allows courts to issue orders declaring someone to be presumed dead so that the estate of the missing person may be administered, insurance proceeds may be paid out, or a spouse may remarry. Manitoba has statutes which deal separately with survivorship, missing persons and presumption of death."The report:
"All Canadian jurisdictions have some form of presumption of death legislation regardless of whether or not the relevant legislative provisions are restricted, in their application, to specific statutory contexts or are laws of general application, or both. It would appear that the presumption of death legislation found in most other Canadian jurisdictions has been significantly amended since originally enacted. Conversely, Manitoba’s Presumption of Death Act has not been amended since first enacted in 1968. The purpose of this Consultation Report is to recommend improvements to Manitoba’s Presumption of Death Act in order to put it on par with presumption of death legislation found other Canadian jurisdictions."
- outlines the history and background which led up to the enactment of the Presumption of Death Act in Manitoba
- canvasses the need for reform with reference to legislation in other jurisdictions
- provides a summary of additional matters considered or reviewed by the Commission during its study of the Act, but about which it has made no recommendations
- provides a summary of the Commission’s provisional recommendations.
Wednesday, August 05, 2015
Roundup of SLA Twitter Chat on Knowledge Management
The chat dealt with 4 questions:
- the definition of KM
- are you responsible for areas in your workplace that can be considered KM?
- what KM strategy or technique do you find most valuable?
- which resources do you use to learn about or sharpen your KM skills?
Labels: information management
August 2015 Issue of In Session: Canadian Association of Law Libraries' e-Newsletter
Tuesday, August 04, 2015
Bingham Centre Report on Judicial Appointments in Commonwealth Countries
The study, funded by the Commonwealth Secretariat, provides an overview of current arrangements in the 53 member states of the Commonwealth including Canada, and seeks to identify best practices under the Commonwealth Principles on the Accountability of and the Relationship between the Three Branches of Government (also known as the 'Latimer House Principles').
From the foreward:
"When Commonwealth Heads of Government at their meeting in Abuja in 2003 adopted the Commonwealth (Latimer House) Principles on the Accountability of and the Relationship between the Three Branches of Government, they demonstrated continuing Commonwealth commitment to advancing respect for the separation of powers including judicial independence, and a collective determination to raise levels of practical observance (...)"The Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law is named after Tom Bingham (The Rt Hon Lord Bingham of Cornhill) who died in 2010. During his long judicial career, he filled many positions including that of Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.
"This Compendium on the appointment, tenure and removal of judges in the Commonwealth outlines the various constitutional arrangements in Commonwealth member states, and makes recommendations. It also indicates best practice in the appointment, security of tenure, and removal of judges in light of the Latimer House Principles. It analyses statistics, soft law instruments, commentaries, and recent developments, as well as the composition and workings of judicial appointments commissions in Commonwealth member states."
"Our hope is that the best practices shared in this publication, and other agreed Commonwealth values and principles, will assist member states in formulating legislative and institutional policy, and with strengthening independence and accountability in the relationships between the three
branches of government (...)"
"Accordingly, the Compendium stresses the importance of judiciaries that are independent, impartial and efficient. If the rule of law is to be respected, it is necessary to have fair and impartial processes for resolving disputes; for correct and clear interpretation and application of the law; and, for holding governments, institutions, and private individuals accountable."
The Centre is dedicated to the promotion and enhancement of the rule of law worldwide. It is based at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law in London.
Monday, August 03, 2015
Canadian Lawyer Magazine Top 25 List of Most Influential People in Law
"We aim to select lawyers who have been influential within the profession as well as society over the last year and a half — both at home and beyond Canada’s borders. Inclusion in the Top 25 talks to a level of respect, the ability to influence public opinion, and to help shape the laws of this country and others; contribution to the strength and quality of legal services; involvement and impact within the justice community; and social and political influence and involvement."
"The Top 25 is split into five areas of influence with five winners in each of the following categories: government, associations, and non-profits — including courts, public inquiries, and officers of Parliament; changemakers; criminal and human rights law; the world stage; and corporate-commercial law. Nominees were put in the category in which the individual exercised their influence during the time period."
"A number of previous honourees are back this year: perennial winner Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin; perpetual rabble rouser Rocco Galati, who is intent on making the government actually follow the law; and Louise Arbour, Murray Klippenstein, and Pascal Paradis all in the world stage category."
"For the first time, we have included a write-in candidate. Justice Murray Sinclair, who made the list last year for his contributions as the chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, wasn’t on our list of nominees but with the release of the TRC’s recommendations and executive summary of its hearings, Sinclair’s impact and influence on Canadian society deserved mention."
ABA Journal Cover Story on Why Hollywood Loves Lawyers
"Academy Award-winning actress and Harvard heartthrob Natalie Portman announces that she has signed on to do a biopic on the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and law lovers everywhere come to a halt—Bluebooks drop in mid cite-check, throats go dry at oral arguments, billable hours stop for a minute (actually, just a second), and court watchers turn off Judge Judy and long for selfies with the glamorous Portman dressed in a black robe."
"Football is America’s game, but movies are its favorite form of entertainment. And movies about the law are as essential to Hollywood history as cowboy Westerns or romantic comedies. Heroism that acquits the falsely accused will hold its own against any nonstop action flick."
Saturday, August 01, 2015
Nominations Open for ABA Journal Annual List of the 100 Best Legal Blogs
It is time once again for nominations. Nominations can be sent in until the end of the day Aug. 16, 2015.
Here are the criteria:
- We’re primarily interested in blogs in which the author is recognizable as someone working in a legal field or studying law in the vast majority of his or her posts.
- The blog should offer insights into the practice of law and be of interest to legal professionals or law students.
- The majority of the blog’s content should be unique to the blog and not cross-posted or cut and pasted from other publications.
- We are not interested in blogs that more or less exist to promote the author’s products and services.
Canadian Forum on Civil Justice July 2015 Access to Justice Newsletter
The latest issue of the newsletter includes:
- an article on online divorce
- news about the upcoming Innovation and the Access to Justice Conference in October 2015
- a Summer Round Up: Our Picks for Must-read News and Articles from the CFCJ
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Slaw Research Tips on Deep Linking
- Deep Linking to LexisNexis Canada Sources
- Deep Linking to Westlaw Canada Sources
- Deep Links to CanLII
Labels: legal research and writing
Adam Dodek of University of Ottawa Wins Bar Association's 2015 Walter Owen Book Prize
"Solicitor-Client Privilege explains key aspects of lawyer-client confidentiality, analyzes the exceptions to privilege, conditions where privilege is unclear, and situations of competing interests that might bring into question the application of privilege (...) "The Prize seeks to recognize excellent legal writing and to reward outstanding new contributions to Canadian legal literature that enhance the quality of legal research in this country.
"Prof. Dodek teaches public law and legislation, constitutional law, legal ethics and professional responsibility, and a seminar on the Supreme Court of Canada at University of Ottawa. He is a founding member of the faculty’s Public Law Group, the director of the Professionalism Initiative, and co-founder of the Legal Writing Academy."
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
July 2015 Issue of Connected Bulletin on Courts and Social Media
The bulletin is published by the Virginia-based National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and the Conference of Court Public Information Officers.
In this month's issue:
- Michigan court clerk comes up with ‘Uber’ offer for jurors
- Federal judge suspends blog after court employees consider it ‘embarrassing’
- Kansas Court of Appeals mulls case of expelled University of Kansas student
- NCSC’s most popular post of the month
- Social media tip of the month—Learn how to schedule posts so your court can save time
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
New and Updated European Court of Human Rights Factsheets
Recent additions and updates include:
- Sexual orientation issues
- Gender identity issues
- Freedom of religion
- Hate speech
- Religious symbols and clothing
- End of life
- Police arrest and assistance of a lawyer
- Parental rights
- Reproductive rights
Monday, July 27, 2015
Globe and Mail Weekend Feature on Judicial Appointments in Canada
In it, Fine provides an analysis of appointments to the Canadian federal judiciary over the past decade under the Conservatives:
"The Conservative government has now named about 600 of the 840 full-time federally appointed judges, or nearly three in every four judges on provincial superior courts, appeal courts, the Federal Court and Tax Court. " (...)
"The judges, who can serve until they are 75, may be sitting long after other governments have come along and rewritten the laws. They also are a farm team or development system for the Supreme Court. They are Mr. Harper’s enduring legacy" (...)
"The rules in the appointments system are few, and all previous governments have used the bench to reward party faithful. But Mr. Harper is the first Prime Minister to be a critic of the Charter, and early on he told Parliament that he wanted to choose judges who would support his crackdown on crime."
Related Globe and Mail articles include:"The Globe spent months exploring the secret world of appointments to understand the extent of the changes and how the government set out to identify candidates who share its view of the judiciary’s proper role. We spoke to dozens of key players – political insiders, members of judicial screening committees, academics, judges and former judges – often on a condition of anonymity, so they could talk freely."
- Legal observers urge Ottawa to revamp judicial appointment process (July 26, 2015): "Merit is too often trumped by political considerations in judicial appointments, leaders in the legal community say in calling for the federal government to overhaul the process. Among the simpler proposals: Putting ordinary Canadians on the committees that screen future judges, and restoring the right of these committees to say which ones they 'highly recommend.' They are now limited to recommend or not recommend. Some legal observers say the importance of politics in appointments could be further reduced by adopting models like Ontario’s, or Britain’s, in which independent committees give short lists of candidates from which the government must choose."
- Supreme Court unfair to Harper government, new Ontario justice says (July 26, 2015): "The newest judge on Ontario’s top court has an explanation for the Conservative government’s well-known losing streak at the Supreme Court of Canada: The court’s reasoning process is unfair, making it almost impossible for the federal government to defend its laws, such as those involving assisted suicide, prostitution and the war on drugs. Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Bradley Miller, whose appointment was announced last month, is part of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s vanguard on the bench – a leading dissenter, along with fellow appeal-court Justice Grant Huscroft, from much of what Canada’s judges have said and done under the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As The Globe reported on the weekend, Mr. Harper has been on a decade-long quest to transform the lower courts by finding judges who would be less activist, and less likely to stand in the way of policies such as a crackdown on crime. Justice Miller and Justice Huscroft offer an approach that is more deferential to government than is currently the norm on Canadian courts. If over time they are able to point the court in a new direction, judges will become less likely to strike down laws in which broad moral issues are at stake; government would be given more respect as the authority to decide such issues."
Sunday, July 26, 2015
Best Practices for Library Research Guides
Among the tips:
- Create a clean and consistent look
- Create guides for specific tasks or courses
- Quality over quantity
- Provide short resource descriptions and tutorials
- Break down the research process into smaller parts or steps
- Keep text to a minimum
- Avoid or define library terms
- Provide prominent access points
- Update guides regularly
Labels: library instruction
LLRX.com Article on Cut-and-Paste Judicial Decisions
The LLRX.com website yesterday published an article on the topic of judges copying verbatim sections from parties' facta:
"Decisions are evidence of judicial thinking. Indeed, legal precedent has earned a 'presumption of correctness' based on the 'judge's own considered conclusions' unless 'clearly erroneous.' of fact and conclusions of law, evidence showing a lack of 'independent judgment' might reveal a due process violation."
"Some common objections to verbatim copying in judicial decisions include: (1) adoption of one party's fact-finding ex parte; (2) no independent decision-making; (3) no notice, hearing or opportunity for objection by other party; (3) no evidence to support adopting findings; and (4) improper delegation of decision-making power to a party."
"In response, appellate decisions and scholarly literature have offered some useful indicia of 'independent judgment': (1) an oral pronouncement that reveals decision-making before inviting or adopting the proposals of parties; (2) citation of evidentiary support and legal principles for the court's conclusions; (3) biases and advocacy of the parties filtered out in vetting the factual findings; and (4) a robust appellate review assuring fidelity to due process and statutory requirements for independent judicial reasoning."
"This article collects notable decisions and scholarly research concerning the legal and ethical issues associated with cut-and-paste decision-making."The article cites to US and to a few Canadian decisions and articles.
Irish Law Reform Commission Report on Prevention of Benefit from Homicide
The recommendations are intended to prevent an offender benefitting, whether under a joint tenancy or, for example, a life insurance policy or a pension. The Report contains a draft Bill to implement the recommendations in the Report.
A joint tenancy is a type of co-ownership of property, often arranged between spouses. Where one of the spouses dies, the entire interest in the property automatically passes to the surviving joint owner who becomes full owner. The property held in a joint tenancy does not become part of the deceased joint owner's estate because ownership automatically vests in the surviving co-owner.
This legal consequence, called the right of survivorship, applies even where, as in Cawley v Lillis, the surviving co-owner has killed his or her spouse; and the High Court (Laffoy J) decided that, under the current law, the interest of the deceased should be held by the surviving spouse - the killer - in trust for the deceased’s daughter. The Court also suggested that the law in this area should be reviewed, and the Report being published today has done this.
The report examined case law and legislation from other jurisdictions, including Canada, the USA, Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Statistics Canada Article on Police-Reported Crime Shows 11th Consecutive Year of Decline
The crime severity index measures the volume and severity of police-reported crime.
Among the highlights:
- With a base index value of 100 for 2006, the crime severity index has decreased to 66.7 in 2014. This decrease was driven primarily by a decline in breaking and entering, and robbery.
- The police-reported crime rate, which measures the volume of police-reported crime, also declined in 2014, decreasing 3% from the previous year to 5,046 incidents per 100,000 population. This represented the eleventh consecutive decrease in the police-reported crime rate, and the lowest rate recorded since 1969.
- There were just under 1.8 million Criminal Code incidents (excluding traffic) reported by police in 2014.
- Despite a decrease in the majority of Criminal Code violations (excluding traffic) between 2013 and 2014, the rate of police-reported violations increased for child pornography (+41%), terrorism (+39%), extortion (+16%), identity fraud (+8%), sexual violations against children (+6%), abduction (+4%), fraud (+2%), and motor vehicle theft (+1%).
- Almost all provinces and territories recorded a decline in their police-reported CSI and crime rate in 2014. The only exceptions were Yukon, where the CSI was up 11% from 2013 and the crime rate remained stable, as well as British Columbia, where the CSI was up 3% from the previous year and the crime rate increased 2%. In addition, Alberta’s CSI increased slightly between 2013 and 2014, up 1%, while the police-reported crime rate remained stable.
- The overall volume and severity of violent crime, as measured by the violent CSI, declined 5% between 2013 and 2014 to 70.2, and was driven largely by a decrease in robbery. This drop marked the eighth consecutive decline in the violent CSI.
- The overall rate of Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) violations decreased in 2014, down 6% from the previous year. This decrease was primarily the result of fewer drug offences involving cannabis and cocaine.
- Police-reported youth crime also decreased in 2014, with both the youth Crime Severity Index and the youth crime rate declining 9% from the previous year. The rate of youth accused of some of the most serious violations also decreased, including a drop in the rate of youth accused of homicide (-38%).
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
English Law Commission Consultation on Firearms
As the web page for the project explains:
"The law regulating the use and acquisition of firearms is contained primarily within the Firearms Act 1968. Further provisions, however, are to be found in an additional 33 Acts of Parliament. In total therefore, to understand fully the law on firearms it is necessary to have regard to 34 Acts of Parliament. In addition to these, the law is to be found in numerous pieces of secondary legislation."The consultation period ends September 21, 2015.
"Early fact finding with stakeholders suggested there was consensus on those problems that cause the most difficulties in practice. In this scoping consultation paper, the Law Commission sets out these problems and makes some provisional proposals as to how they could be remedied. By providing immediate solutions to these pressing problems, the aim is to maximise public safety whilst also providing clarity and certainty for members of the licensed firearms community."
"From discussions with stakeholders, it also became clear that there are more fundamental problems with the law. These problems are attributable to the fact the law has become increasing complex, inaccessible and in some instances incoherent. Given that the Firearms Act 1968 was a consolidating Act, many of its provisions have their origin in older legislative provisions, such as the Pistols Act 1903. It is questionable whether these remain fit for purpose in the 21st century."
"It is for these reasons the Law Commission has also examined in this scoping consultation paper whether more comprehensive reform of the law is necessary. We conclude that the law is problematic and could be improved. The consultation paper gives some examples of problems stakeholders have brought to our attention which we believe could be remedied by codifying the law."
Five Questions with Jennifer Walker, Head Librarian, County of Carleton Law Association
The most recent interview is with Jennifer Walker, Head Librarian, County of Carleton Law Association in Ottawa.
Other interviews in the series include:
- Annette Demers, Acting Law Librarian and Sessional Lecturer, Paul Martin Law Library, and former President of CALL
- Connie Crosby, Crosby Group Consulting and current CALL President
- Sarah Sutherland, Manager, Content and Partnerships CanLII
- Shaunna Mireau, Director of Knowledge Management and Process Improvement Field Law
- Kim Clarke, Head, Bennett Jones Law Library, University of Calgary
- Mark Lewis, Reference/IT Librarian, Sir James Dunn Law Library, Dalhousie University
- John Kerr, Librarian, Wellington Law Association
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles
It is possible to subscribe via e-mail to receive the list.
Monday, July 20, 2015
Canadian Bar Association Conference Honouring Supreme Court of Canada Justice Louis LeBel
The full-day event takes place at the downtown Fairmont Le Reine Élizabeth Hotel.
Lots of big names will be giving speeches tackling LeBel's many, many contributions to civil law and procedure, administrative law, criminal law, Canada's bijuralism, labour law and the area of conflict of laws.
Justice LeBel who retired on November 30, 2014 will speak at the closing cocktail reception.
Get your tickets now!