Monday, September 30, 2013

2012 Annual Report on Use of Electronic Surveillance in Canada

The most recent issue of the Weekly Checklist of Canadian Government Publications features the 2012 annual report on electronic surveillance from Public Safety Canada. It was published in late August.

The report outlines the use of electronic surveillance of private communications by law enforcement agencies to assist in criminal investigations.

Under the Criminal Code, agencies must obtain judicial authorization before conducting the surveillance.The government is required to prepare and present to Parliament an annual report on the use of electronic surveillance.

The 2012 Annual Report covers a five-year period from 2008 to 2012. The Report includes new statistics for the period from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012, and updates the figures for the years 2008 to 2011.

Statistics are provided for things such as:
  • the number of applications made for authorizations, or for renewal of authorizations;
  • the number of applications granted with or without terms and conditions, as well as the number of applications that were refused;
  • the number of persons identified in an authorization who were charged for various offences;
  • the number of persons not identified in an authorization, but who were arrested or charged for various offences because they became known to peace officers as a result of authorized surveillance;
  • the average time for which authorizations were issued and for which renewals were granted;
  • the number of authorizations valid for more than 60, 120, 180 and 240 days;
  • the number of notifications given to people who had private communications intercepted;
  • the types of offences for which authorizations were granted;
  • a description of the classes of places set out in authorizations, and the number of authorizations granted for each class of place;
  • a general description of the methods of interception used;
  • the number of proceedings in which intercepted communications were entered as evidence; and
  • the number of investigations in which information from intercepted communications was used but the communication itself was not entered as evidence.
The Weekly Checklist includes a listing of titles made available by the Parliament of Canada, federal departments, and Statistics Canada to the Depository Services Program for distribution to a network of Depository Libraries in Canada and abroad.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:11 pm 0 comments links to this post

Federal Court of Appeal Justice Marc Nadon Nominated to Supreme Court of Canada

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today nominated Federal Court of Appeal Justice Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court of Canada.

He is to replace Mr. Justice Morris Fish, who retired in late August.

Justice Nadon will appear this Wednesday in front of an ad hoc parliamentary committee as part of the confirmation process.


Background and news commentary:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:03 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Quebec Bar Association Teams Up With Montreal Radio Station for Second Season of Debates

For the second year in a row, the Quebec Bar Association has teamed up with Montreal radio station CIBL 101,5 and the Juripop legal clinic to organize a weekly radio debate program called  Droit de Cité

Every week, 2 teams of university debaters face off on a controversial public topic in front of a jury made of up student reps, members of the Bar and well-known Québec personalities. All shows are archived on the Droit de Cité website.

The first debate of the new season will happen on October 2, 2013 and will deal with the right of  employees of the province's school system to wear religious symbols.

The Quebec Bar Association has been quite innovative in its outreach to the general public using web-based media as well as traditional broadcast media. It is already the co-producer of the television series Le Droit de savoir ("The Right to Know") on the Canal savoir cable channel and on the Télé-Québec public educational channel in Quebec.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

September/October 2013 Issue of AALL Spectrum

The September/October 2013 issue of AALL Spectrum, a monthly publication of the American Association of Law Libraries, is available.

Among this month's selection of articles:

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October 15 Deadline for Canadian Association of Law Libraries Research Grant

Members of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) have until October 15, 2013 to apply for a CALL Research Grant.

The grant provides financial assistance of up to $3,000 in 2013 to support members who wish to do research on a topic of interest to members and to the association, and which would promote an understanding of legal information sources or law librarianship.

Funding may be granted for research assistance, online costs, compensating time off, purchase of software, travel, clerical assistance, etc. CALL members may apply individually for the grant or with another researcher, and previous applicants who were not awarded funding are welcome to reapply.

The final decision to award the research grant will be made by the CALL Executive, based on the recommendation of the Committee to Promote Research.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

English and Scottish Law Commission Report on Level Crossings

Given the deadly collision a week ago in Ottawa between a transit bus and a passenger train at a level rail crossing, the joint report released today by the Law Commission for England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission on level crossings will be of interest.

The British railway network has some 8,000 level crossings.

From the report:
"In this project we have examined the legal framework for the regulation of level crossings with a view to its modernisation and simplification. We make recommendations in this report to reform the framework so that it is more coherent, accessible and up-to-date, allowing for better regulation and the reduction of risk (...)"

"The legislation governing level crossings is complex and antiquated, much of it dating back to the nineteenth century when the main railways were constructed under individual local Acts, called special Acts. Today, the relevant legislative provisions are contained in a combination of public general Acts, private Acts, bye-laws, and subordinate legislation in the form of Orders and Regulations, many of which have been amended heavily over the years. Some of the Acts have been partially repealed and some of their provisions have become spent or obsolete. It is not always clear which legislative provisions apply and which take precedence."
Among the report's recommendations: 
  • Create a new, more streamlined procedure to close individual level crossings where it is in the public interest to do so.
  • Bring safety regulation entirely under the umbrella of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
  • Provide tools to support this under health and safety regulations, including level crossings plans, enforceable agreements between railway operators and other duty holders, and a power for the Secretary of State to issue directions if necessary.
  • Improve the balance of convenience to all level crossing users by imposing a statutory duty upon railway and highway operators to consider the convenience of all users when carrying out their obligations in respect of level crossings.
  • Improve efficiency and level crossing management by imposing a statutory duty on highway and railway operators to make arrangements to co-operate with each other in carrying out their obligations in respect of level crossings.
  • Provide clarity in certain areas of land law about the position of statutory level crossings.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:10 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Library Partnership to Preserve Canadian Federal Government Electronic Publications

The CLA Govt Library & IM Professionals Network, part of the Canadian Library Association, has reprinted a press release from the newly formed Canadian Government Information Private LOCKSS Network.

It is a partnership of 11 major libraries that:
"has established a geographically distributed infrastructure to preserve government information in a secure environment, helping ensure access to digital content in the future" (...)

"The Network’s first collection includes more than 111,000 PDFs produced by departments and agencies across the Government of Canada and collected by the Depository Services Program (DSP). This content was harvested in partnership with the Internet Archive’s Archive-IT service and will be updated by PLN members on a regular basis. The preservation of this content would not be possible without the cooperation of the DSP and its managers’ commitment to the stewardship of government information."
The participating institutions are:
  • Dalhousie University
  • McGill University
  • Scholar’s Portal (Ontario Council of University Libraries)
  • Simon Fraser University
  • Stanford University
  • University of Alberta
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Calgary
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Victoria

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:43 pm 0 comments links to this post

Supreme Court of Canada Hearings Calendar for Fall 2013

The Supreme Court of Canada has published its calendar of appeal hearings for the fall of 2013.

To find out more about any particular case, simply click on a case name to find docket information, case summaries as well as factums from the parties. 

The most recent issue of The Lawyers Weekly has an overview of the big cases of the upcoming judicial season.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:37 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, September 23, 2013

Documenting the Continuing Need for Print Legal Materials

As described recently on the Free Government Information blog, the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) has been collecting stories from members and local chapters about the continued use and value of U.S. legal materials in print.

Through its Print Resource Usage Log, the AALL has collected a few dozen examples. Last summer, the AALL's Washington Blawg documented some of those stories.

Based on my experience and that of my colleagues, I would not be surprised to find similar cases here en Canada.



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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:54 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Text on Free Scholarship: Developing a National Legal Scholarship Library

The Social Science Research Network features a recent text on Free Scholarship: Developing a National Legal Scholarship Library, authored by three Australian academics including Graham Greenleaf, co-founder of the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII).

From the abstract:
"This article considers how a country’s legal scholarship can become a major resource on a free access legal information institute (LII), and the relationship of such a national facility to global legal scholarship facilities such as SSRN’s Legal Scholarship Network (LSN) and Google Scholar. It commences with an analysis of the attractions of those global services to authors and users, and by comparison what advantages a nationally-focused scholarship facility can provide. The initial conclusion is that a combination of the two could be the most desirable result for both users and authors. 'Open content' is distinguished from 'free access,' and it is argued that the latter is more important than the former to the public interest in access to scholarship."

"AustLII's development since 2008 of the 'Australasian Legal Scholarship Library' is explained. The current version (Stage 1) includes about 55,000 searchable items of free access Australasian legal scholarship in 93 databases (over 100 if law reform databases are counted). The Library includes law journals (most back to their first issues); law school research repositories; judicial scholarship; law texts from open content publishers; and law thesis abstracts. It may be the Internet’s second largest national free access collection of legal scholarship, after the US collection in the SSRN/LSN). It also includes the LawCite citator, which automatically tracks citation of scholarship in the case law on AustLII and on all LIIs with which AustLII cooperates."

"From 2013-14 the Library is to be expanded (Stage 2) to at least 100,000 searchable items, and improved technically, with research infrastructure funding from the Australian Research Council. In addition to expansion of existing categories, digitised historical law texts and law reform reports are being added. The article considers how the Library Stage 2 must be re-conceptualised in light of what is provided by global legal scholarship services, and the ongoing relationship with such services which is desirable in the interests of its authors and users. Matters discussed include approaches to permissions, collaboration with commercial publishers and other repositories, and proposed technical enhancements such as ‘AustLII authors pages’, metrics (citation and usage) for each item of scholarship, and for each law journal, improved feedback mechanisms to authors and readers, and similarity-based searching."

"The article concludes with an assessment of the factors in the Australian context that have been most conducive to the Library’s development so far. While not all of these may be replicated elsewhere (eg numerous law-school-published journals; research infrastructure funding), most elements are not jurisdiction-specific (or have analogs), and therefore may be of broader relevance."
The text is being presented later this month at the 2013 Law via the Internet conference on the Island of Jersey in the English Channel. The conference brings together people from the Legal Information Institutes (LIIs) from different countries and continents that together form the Free Access to Law Movement.

The goal of the LIIs is to maximize free access to public legal information such as legislation and case law from as many countries and international institutions as possible. CanLII, the Canadian Legal Information Institute, and Lexum, which publishes the decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada online, are prominent members of the movement.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:54 pm 0 comments links to this post

English Law Commission Consultation Paper on Data Sharing Between Public Bodies

The English Law Commission has issued a consultation paper on Data Sharing Between Public Bodies:
"Data sharing is a common part of modern governance and the delivery of public services. Public bodies collect large amounts of data from individuals and other organisations in the exercise of their various functions and share these data with other public bodies. There are reported to be significant obstacles to effective data sharing. It is not, however, clear whether these obstacles are the result of inadequacies in the legal regime governing data sharing or the result of a number of practical or cultural barriers (...) "

"In most other projects, we know that the law needs reforming. We are not certain that this is the case with this project. The problems with data sharing between public bodies may originate from a number of causes other than a deficit in substantive law, such as: a lack of guidance or education; insufficient technology; cultural blocks; inadequate organisation; or excessive sanctions. At this stage, we are carrying out a scoping exercise. The objective of this exercise is not to propose any reform to the current legal framework but to investigate the root causes of the reported obstacles to data sharing between public bodies. Once these causes are identified, we will decide whether a full law reform project is needed, and will make recommendations accordingly (...) "

"We are also clear that there would only be a problem if it is legitimate data sharing that is being prevented. There are legal aspects to this but it also raises matters of principle. Sharing cannot be legitimate if it is unlawful. The laws of data protection and confidentiality place limits on lawful sharing ...There are also questions as to whether public bodies should have the legal power to share data even where the sharing is not prevented by these prohibitions. There are important ethical limits on what the state should know about individuals at all; and further, on how information should be disseminated between different institutions within the state. "

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:39 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Resources from the CanLII Hackathon Last Weekend

Last weekend, CanLII (Canadian Legal Information Institute) held a "hackathon" at the University of Ottawa, a conference for the geekier legal researchers interested in computer applications for the use and reuse of legal data.

There are a few locations that provide links to resources, texts and videos of the event:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:27 pm 0 comments links to this post

September 2013 Issue of Governance and Recordkeeping Around the World

The Governance and Recordkeeping Around the World newsletter, published by Library and Archives Canada (LAC), highlights issues pertaining to government and recordkeeping practices in the public and private sector.

The September 2013 issue has just been published on the LAC website.

It includes:
  • news items from Canada and around the world
  • announcements of upcoming Canadian and international events (meetings, workshops, seminars)
  • project and product news in areas such as digitization, archives, open source, e-government, access to information and Web 2.0 initiatives
  • selected papers and readings (white papers, presentations, reports)

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:19 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of September 1-15, 2013 is now available on the Court website.

The web page explains: "The Supreme Court of Canada Library lends materials from all but the most recent New Library Titles list in accordance with its Interlibrary Loan Policy."

It is possible to subscribe via e-mail to receive the list.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:50 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, September 16, 2013

Law Library of Congress Report on Guest Worker Programs

The Law Library of Congress has produced a report comparing the legal situation of temporary or guest workers in 14 countries including Canada:
"The report includes a comparative analysis and individual chapters on each country, the EU, and relevant international arrangements. It provides a general overview of a variety of immigration systems, and addresses issues such as eligibility criteria for the admission of guest workers and their families, guest workers’ recruitment and sponsorship, and visa requirements. The report further discusses the tying of temporary workers to their employers in some countries; the duration and the conditions that apply to switching employers; the terms, including the renewability, of guest workers’ visas; and the availability of a path to permanent status. "
The Law Library of Congress is the world’s largest law library, with a collection of over 2.65 million volumes from all ages of history and virtually every jurisdiction in the world.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:14 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, September 12, 2013

New CanLII Search Interface to Launch September 17

CanLII, the Canadian Legal Information Institute, will launch its new search interface on September 17, 2013:
"The main search interface has been simplified to one field, programmed to recognize and give good results for both simple keyword and complex Boolean searches; allowing researchers to engage with CanLII in the ways that best suits their needs. To support specialized search, such as by citation or title, or to note something up from the homepage, the simplified search box can be expanded with a click to reveal advanced search capabilities (...)"
"During each month of our testing period, between 5,000 and 10,000 unique visitors to the 'CanLII Bet' made between 10,000 and 21,000 visits and devoured a combined total of over a half-million pages of content. In addition, CanLII conducted direct user testing and solicited a great deal of feedback to ensure all concerns, large and small, were considered as we prepared for the leap from the 'CanLII classic' in place since 2007, to the new experience."
So next week, the CanLI Beta test interface will replace the current one.

Earlier Library Boy posts about the new CanLII search interface include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:33 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Royal Society of Canada Holding Public Consultations on Future of Canada's Libraries and Archives

The Royal Society of Canada has established an eleven-member expert panel to investigate the status and future of Canada’s libraries and archives.

As part of its work, the panel is consulting the Canadian public via e-mail or in person.

The blog of the CLA Govt Library & IM Professionals Network, a division of the Canadian Library Association, has the schedule of hearings as well as a list of questions to help frame public discussions.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:20 pm 0 comments links to this post

Seventeenth Annual Canadian IT Law Association Conference

The Canadian Information Technology Law Association is holding its 17th annual conference in Toronto, October 24-25, 2013.

Among the many topics to be covered:
  • Annual Update on IP Issues
  • Comparative IT Legal Issues in Canada, The United States and Europe 
  • The Third Industrial Revolution: Emerging Technologies and the Legal Issues They Raise (3D printing, wearable computing, vehicle telematics)
  • Complex IT Service Agreements

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:58 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, September 09, 2013

Recent Research from Public Safety Canada

The most recent issue of the Weekly Checklist of Canadian Government Publications refers to a few research briefs produced by Public Safety Canada:
  • Risk and Mentally Disordered Offenders: "The increasing numbers of mentally disordered offenders present a number of challenges for correctional staff. Decisions on security and supervision levels need to be made as well as placements into the appropriate treatment programs. Many of these decisions are facilitated with the administration of structured risk assessment instruments (...) However, most risk assessment instruments used by correctional agencies were developed on non-mentally disordered, general offenders. Therefore, it is uncertain as to how appropriate these assessment instruments and the risk factors measured by the instruments are for mentally disordered offenders."
  • Organized Crime Research Highlights: this publication includes summaries on research relating to Internet-facilitated counterfeit crime; violence and gang territories; measuring police impact on organized crime; locating meth labs; strategic intelligence and transnational organized crime; sizing drug markets using sewage.
The Weekly Checklist includes a listing of titles made available by the Parliament of Canada, federal departments, and Statistics Canada to the Depository Services Program for distribution to a network of Depository Libraries in Canada and abroad.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:05 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Call for Papers - 2014 Conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries

Members of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) have until October 18, 2013 to submit program ideas for the 2014 CALL Annual Conference.

The conference will take place May 25 – 28, 2014 at the Hotel Fort Garry in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:35 pm 1 comments links to this post

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Recent Publications From the Canadian Judicial Council on Court Management

The most recent issue of the Weekly Checklist of Canadian Government Publications refers to a number of publications from the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) relating to court management and the management of case information.

The Weekly Checklist includes a listing of titles made available by the Parliament of Canada, federal departments, and Statistics Canada to the Depository Services Program for distribution to a network of Depository Libraries in Canada and abroad.

The CJC publications include papers on systems to manage digital court documents, the determination of costs in civil litigation involving digital information and e-discovery, as well as a comparative analysis of court administrative systems in Australia, Canada, England and Wales, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland:
  • Court Information Management: "Traditionally, courts have relied on the availability of filed documents – both paper based or electronic – as a means to move the work of the Court forward. Recent technological advancements have dramatically improved the way documents are captured, stored, shared and retrieved electronically. Managing this information and making full use of digital technology has been a challenge for all institutions, including the courts. The possibility of having instant access to digitized documents from virtually anywhere presents enormous benefits; however, there are also risks in allowing unfettered access to court documents. Some information is sensitive and the impact of its release needs to be carefully weighed in the context of ensuring a fair trial and protecting vulnerable individuals. Courts also have a duty to protect the integrity of all information that are part of legal proceedings. As expectations grow that courts will foster ongoing transparency through the use of modern information technology, courts must seize the opportunities to streamline their policies and governance in this regard. By setting definitions, architectural principles and information management policies, courts may approach this evolving issue with confidence. This discussion paper proposes a framework for individual courts to consider when moving towards the development of their respective Information Management policies."
  • Guidelines on Benchmarking of Costs: "As reliance on digital documents increases, efforts must be made to ensure that all parties have equal access to affordable technologies. The proposed benchmarks and standards in this document are intended to assist in setting the costs that may be reasonably incurred in civil litigation matters where digital information is filed. In those circumstances where law firms may need to rely on commercial services, costs could include the retaining of external technical consultants. Such an expense would be protected if deemed necessary within published guidelines. Where a law firm has in-house equipment and staff to assist with e-discovery, they may be able to get some reimbursement for their client if they win a matter which had clear guidelines for the reasonableness of such costs incurred. By offering a predictive costing model, this document is intended to level the playing field among parties and to provide the court, law firms and their clients with a common understanding of these issues. These Guidelines are comprehensive and include services that may not always be required. In fact, the cost model spreadsheet provides an overview of all possible services on a complex case. These guidelines have been prepared by the Canadian Judicial Council to assist courts. Judges retain discretion in making any cost orders in a particular matter. Use of these guidelines should assist both lawyers and judges in considering e-discovery as an affordable tool, particularly when pursued in proportion to the scope of the litigation."
  • Comparative Analysis of Key Characteristics of Court Administration Systems: "In 2006, the Canadian Judicial Council published a report entitled Alternative Models of Court Administration. In exploring the trend towards governments granting greater administrative autonomy to the courts, the report offered seven different models present in a number of jurisdictions. In 2011 the Administration of Justice Committee of Council commissioned a research study which would present a comparison of key characteristics of court administrative systems against those models in common law countries including Australia, England and Wales, New Zealand, North Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland. Key to this comparative analysis was the collection of legislation, memoranda of understanding and other forms of written agreements between the Judiciary and the Executive. They outline which level of government is responsible for certain or all aspects of court administration. The report consists of two documents. Presented here is the first part, namely, a comparative analysis building on the seven models presented in the 2006 report and further analysing how each of the selected jurisdictions advances their work according to six specific characteristics of court administration. Further below is the second part, namely, a report presented in a chart or table format which gives an overview of the analysis’ content and provides for an easy comparison of the systems in place within the respective jurisdictions."




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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:22 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of August 16-31, 2013 is now available on the Court website.

The web page explains: "The Supreme Court of Canada Library lends materials from all but the most recent New Library Titles list in accordance with its Interlibrary Loan Policy."

It is possible to subscribe via e-mail to receive the list.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:59 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Canadian Association of Law Libraries: September 15 Deadline for James D. Lang Memorial Scholarship

September 15 is the next deadline for applications to the James D. Lang Memorial Scholarship, awarded three times a year by the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL):
"The scholarship is designed to support attendance at a continuing education program, be it a workshop, certificate program or other similar activity deemed appropriate by the CALL/ACBD Scholarships and Awards Committee."
The scholarship is open to members of the association who have been in good standing for a minimum of twelve months.

An application form is available online.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:14 pm 0 comments links to this post