Thursday, July 31, 2014

Library Boy on Hiatus During Month of August

I will be taking a sabbatical in August.

Back after Labour Day.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Indexes As Necessary as Ever in Electronic Age

Susannah Tredwell, librarian at Davies LLP in Vancouver and fellow member of CALL (Canadian Association of Law Libraries), wrote a piece last week on Slaw.ca about the continuing value of indexes:
It is sometimes assumed that a book that is being read on an electronic device does not need an index, as readers can use the search function instead. Although word search is a useful tool, it does not replace the index, since it fails to distinguish between irrelevant mentions of a word (e.g. “this chapter will not discuss SEARCHTERM”) and lengthy discussion of the subject (...)
There have been experiments in automated indexing, but these have not been as successful in producing indexes as those produced by humans. Human indexers are still better at understanding how readers look for information, and how the various terms used relate to each other. 
A poor index (or no index at all) impedes the research process. Giving the increasing number of e-books out there, publishers may think that they can omit the index as it is no longer necessary, but, as has been mentioned above, this is not the case. The index remains a valuable tool for researchers no matter what the format of the publication. 
The blog on the SOQUIJ site (the public sector Société québécoise d'information juridique) noticed Tredwell's Slaw post, adding that the principles she outlines also apply to the classification plans, taxonomies or indexes of legal research databases:
"Les moteurs de recherche permettent certes de repérer tous les documents où le mot recherché est utilisé. Toutefois, un travail d’analyse, d’indexation et d’uniformisation par des juristes spécialisés garantit une recherche intelligente, qui couvre les documents où des synonymes et des concepts similaires sont utilisés et où les documents les plus pertinents sont mis en vedette."
Ain't that the truth. Quality resources will always have some form of professional indexing.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Recent Legislative Summaries from Library of Parliament

The Library of Parliament has recently published a number of legislative summaries describing federal bills:
  • Bill C-17: An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act: "Bill C - 17, an Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act ( alternative title: Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act [ Vanessa’s Law ]), was introduced in the House of Commons by the Minister of Health on 6 December 2013. According to its summary, the bill amends the Food and Drugs Act in order to strengthen oversight of pharmaceuticals and medical devices as well as improve repor ting of adverse reactions associated with these products. The bill addresses patient safety issues that were referred to in the Speech from the Throne at the opening of the 2nd Session of the 41 st Parliament in October 2013 , including the need to ensure that (1) drug side effects are clearly indicated and (2) unsafe drugs are recalled quickly."
  • Bill C-27: an Act to amend the Public Service Employment Act (enhancing hiring opportunities for certain serving and former members of the Canadian Forces): "It amends the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) : by mirroring the provisions in Bill C - 11, 2 introduced on 7 November 2013, to grant priority for appointment in the federal public service to mem bers of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) who are released from military service for medical reasons attributable to service; by adding new provisions to allow : active members of the CAF who accumulate at least three years of service to apply for positions reserved for members of the public service ( 'advertised internal appointment process'); veterans who have been honourably released from the CAF after having accumulated at least three years of service to have this same right during a period of five years af ter their release; and by amending the definition of 'veteran' to allow all members who have been honourably released from the CAF and who have accumulated at least three years of service to benefit from a 'preference' in any external appointment to a posi tion in the public service if they meet the essential qualifications and once priority rights have been exercised (the definition of a 'survivor of a veteran' nevertheless continues to be restricted to the surviving spouse or common - law partner of a vetera n who served in the Second World War)."
  • Bill S-4: an Act to amend the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act : "Bill S - 4 ... (short title : Digital Privacy Act) was introduced in the Senate and received first reading on 8 April 2014. Bill S - 4 amends the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act , the federal private sector privacy law . It does this in several notable ways, including by : permitting the disclosure of an individual’s personal information without their knowledge or consent in certain circumstances; requiring organizations to take various measures in cases of data security breaches; creating offences for failure to comply with obligations related to data security breaches; and enabling the Privacy Commissioner, in certain circumstances, to enter into compliance agreements with organizations."
It is possible to follow the progress of federal bills, find links to related parliamentary debates and other background information on the LEGISinfo website.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Law Reform Commission of Saskatchewan Report on Foreclosure Protection

The Law Reform Commission of Saskatchewan has released a report on the Reform of The Land Contracts (Actions) Act that deals with foreclosure:
"Foreclosure involves lengthy legal proceedings taken in the Court of Queen’s Bench and is governed  by several statutes, including The Land Contracts (Actions) Act (the LCAA). The LCAA is consumer protection legislation intended to protect borrowers by requiring lenders to obtain leave of the court before starting foreclosure. The protection is provided as time: time to bring the mortgage up to date, refinance, or sell the property before foreclosure or judicial sale or, if that is not possible, time to find alternative accommodation. The LCAA is 70 year old legislation, having been enacted in 1943. This Final Report considers the steps required by the LCAA for non-farm land mortgages and recommends reforms to better protect borrowers in current conditions."
The report looks at other Canadian jurisdictions, including B.C., Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

New European Court of Human Rights Factsheets

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg has published a series of Factsheets that describe important jurisprudence of the institution on a number of subjects.

The ECHR recently added new Factsheets on:
The ECHR hears complaints from individuals living in any of the member states of the Council of Europe about violations of the European Convention of Human Rights. The Council of Europe is one of the continent's oldest political organizations, founded in 1949. It has 47 member countries.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Statistics Canada Article on Police-Reported Crimes Stats for 2013

Statistics Canada has published an article on Police-reported crime statistics, 2013 that shows most categories of criminal offences have been continuing their long-term decline in Canada:
"The police-reported Crime Severity Index (CSI), which measures the volume and severity of crime, declined 9% in 2013 compared with 2012. This was the 10th consecutive decline in the index. The CSI was 36% lower than 10 years earlier."

"The traditional crime rate also declined in 2013 compared with 2012, falling 8%. It continued its long-term downward trend that began in the early 1990s, reaching its lowest level since 1969. Since 1962, the traditional crime rate has measured the volume of crime, but does not take into account the severity of crimes (...)"

"Most offences were down in 2013. The decline in the CSI was specifically attributable to declines in breaking and entering and robbery. Decreases in some of the less serious but very frequent offences, such as theft of $5,000 or under and mischief, also contributed to the drop in the CSI."

"However, some offences were up in 2013. In particular, police services reported more incidents of extortion, child pornography, aggravated sexual assault (level 3), sexual violations against children and identity fraud."

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Government Information Day Coming to University of Ottawa in October 2014

The libraries at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa are hosting Government Information Day on October 16, 2014 at the University of Ottawa.

The event will be structured around two themes: preservation and access, and open government. Full details will be announced soon.

The first Government Information Day took place last year at the University of Toronto.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Canadian Library Association Feliciter June 2014 Issue

The June 2014 issue of Feliciter, the journal of the Canadian Library Association (CLA), is available on line.

The theme of the issue is marketing libraries.

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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 July 1st to 15th, 2014 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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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Interview With Law Library of Congress Global Legal Research Intern Jessica Ho-Wo-Cheong

In Custodia Legis, the blog of the Law Library of Congress in Washington, has been running an interview series featuring members of the staff. The series started in late October 2010.

The most recent interview is with Montreal-born Jessica Ho-Wo-Cheong, Global Legal Research Intern:
"How would you describe your job to other people?
The Law Library of Congress provides legal research and reports to Congress pursuant to their requests, and it often entails some aspect of comparative law.  It also receives requests from other parts of the federal government, and from private patrons.  As an intern with the Global Legal Research Directorate, I conduct research and write reports in response to requests.  Under the supervision of Foreign Law Specialist Nicolas Boring, I cover not only Canadian law but also French civil law jurisdictions including countries such as Mali, Cameroon and Burundi.  Ultimately, I come into work every day ready to take on whatever task needs to be done!"

"Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?
For any young lawyer, the opportunity to be surrounded by such an immense and vast collection is remarkable.  Not only is the collection impressive, but what is equally impressive is having the research information analysts, experts in their own field, able to help refine searches and find materials.  This collection, combined with the possibility of working with lawyers from across the globe, made me want to be a part of this remarkable team."

"I also appreciate the public service aspect of working for government and being able to provide reference answers to citizens.  The ‘Ask a Librarian’ service is open to anyone, anytime, anywhere.  The range of questions we receive is quite astounding.  It is exciting to face a new challenge every day and constantly learn about legal traditions across the globe."
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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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Free Publication on Court Structures of the Common Law World

British legal publisher Justis is offering a free download of a document entitled Court Structures of the Common Law World (free registration required):
"Understanding how and why different courts operate can be a time-consuming, headache-inducing task."

"It doesn't have to be, though. We've done the legal legwork for you and crammed it all into an easy-to-read 59-page eBook, Court Structures of the Common Law World."

"Download your free copy and discover:
  • The judicial hierarchy of 20 jurisdictions, including the UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada and Jamaica – all illustrated in handy diagrams
  • The historical and political backgrounds to these case studies 
  • How key cases have laid the foundations for constitutional change"

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Laws of the FIFA World Cup

Slaw contributor Omar Ha-Redeye had a great post the other day on The Laws of 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The post describes the massive rule book that governs World Cup matches as well as some of the legal controversies surrounding the conditions Brazil had to accept in order to host the event.

Earlier Library Boy posts that discuss sports and the law include: 
  •  From Lawyers' Wigs to Baseball Uniforms (March 9, 2006): "The Law Library Journal (American Association of Law Libraries) published 'Baseball and the Law: A Selected Annotated Bibliography, 1990–2004' in the spring of 2005." 
  • World Cup 2006 in Germany - The Law on Doping in Sports (May 26, 2006): "The World Cup of Soccer, perhaps the world's greatest sporting extravaganza with the exception of the Summer Olympic Games, is taking place this June in Germany. And where there's international sports, there's the use of performance-enhancing drugs, or 'doping' (...) So what laws and regulations apply to sports and doping?" 
  • New Law Library Journal Articles (September 6, 2006): "We have just received Law Library Journal vol. 98, no. 3 (Summer 2006) at the Supreme Court of Canada library. Among the articles that caught my attention: (...) Exploring the Court of Arbitration for Sport: 'The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), recognized as an emerging leader in international sports dispute resolution, was created specifically to address sports-related matters. Since its formation, the CAS has addressed a wide range of sports-related issues, including matters pertaining to the positive drug tests of athletes, the challenges to technical decisions of officials made during competition, and the eligibility of athletes to compete in the Olympic Games. Of significance, CAS awards have been recognized as developing a lex sportiva, that is, a set of guiding principles and rules in international sports law'. " 
  • New Internet Research Guide for Olympic Studies (April 2, 2008): "Intute, a British university consortium that offers free online service access to evaluated web resources for education and research, has just published a new subject booklet entitled 'Internet resources for Olympic studies'. The booklet describes resources relating to associations, the history of the Olympic Games, past and future Games, athletes, sports research, event management, and legal issues (arbitration of sports disputes, disability sports, gender equity and doping)." 
  • Law and the Olympics (January 6, 2010): "Blogosaurus Lex, the blog from the Legal Resource Centre of Alberta, had a post in December on Law and the Olympics."
  • Updated Research Guide on International Sports Law (August 31, 2011): "The GlobaLex collection at the New York University School of Law has just updated its International Sports Law research guide. It looks at the key institutions governing international sports (...) There are sections on doping, women and sports, violence as well as suggested sports law bibliographies, databases and periodicals."
  •  June 2012 Issue of Legal Information Management on Sports Law (July 3, 2012): "The most recent issue of Legal Information Management, a journal of the British and Irish Association of Law Libraries, is devoted to the Olympics and sports law."
  • Lawyers Weekly Profile of Canadian on Court of Arbitration for Sport (October 23, 2012): "This week's issue of The Lawyers Weekly features the article Quick, high-stakes decisions can make for Olympian task. It profiles Toronto lawyer Graeme Mew, an Olympic Games arbitrator at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (...)"




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Monday, July 14, 2014

Most Recent Issue of LawNow on Cases that Changed the Legal Landscape

The most recent issue of LawNow is available online.

The magazine is published by the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta.

The main section contains a number of features articles on the theme of "Bench Marks: Cases that Change the Legal Landscape".

There is also a special report on aboriginal law.

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English Law Commission Report on Data Sharing Between Public Bodies

The Law Commission of England has released a "scoping report" on Data Sharing between Public Bodies.

The Commission is asking the UK government to launch a full-scale, UK-wide law reform project by the Law Commission of England and Wales, together with the Scottish Law Commission and the Northern Ireland Law Commission, to map the many statutory provisions that permit and control data sharing, simplify and clarify the law so that it is easier to understand and use, and bring the law up to date:
"The law surrounding data sharing is complex. Powers to share data are scattered across a very large number of statutes and may be set out expressly or implied.  In addition, there are common law powers."

"In this scoping project we considered the following questions:
  • Are there hurdles to effective data sharing between public bodies (including private bodies engaged in public service delivery)?
  • Are those hurdles inappropriate?
  • How far do problems in data sharing stem from the law?
  • How far do problems in data sharing stem from other causes, such as a lack of training or guidance, organisational incentives and disincentives?
  • Would law reform solve or mitigate the problems? (...)"
"We consider that the project could usefully include consideration of the functions of the Information Commissioner in relation to data sharing, including the Commissioner’s enforcement role. The work of other bodies providing advice and guidance should be explored to improve the consistent application of data sharing law across government and in public service delivery more widely."

"The investigation should also include consideration of 'soft law' solutions such as codes of practice, as well as advice and guidance, training of staff, and ways of sharing best practice in the management of data sharing between public bodies."

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Slaw.ca Founder Simon Fodden Among Fastcase 50 Legal Innovators

Simon Fodden, the founder of Slaw.ca, Canada's preeminent online legal magazine, has been recognized as one of this year's Fastcase 50 which honours people considered to be pioneers and innovators in the delivery of legal services.

Fastcase is an American-based provider of electronic versions of primary law (cases, statutes, regulations, court rules, and constitutions) from all 50 U.S. states and the U.S. federal government.

Fastcase and HeinOnline were the joint winners of the 2014 New Product of the Year Award of the American Association of Law Libraries.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summaries of Canadian Association of Law Libraries 2014 Conference Sessions

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) has just published summaries of many of the sessions at its most recent annual conference held in late May in Winnipeg.

And here is a Library Boy summary of the May 27, 2014 session on the Future of Resource Sharing (CALL did not have a summary for it).

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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

July 2014 Issue of AALL Spectrum

The July 2014 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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Monday, July 07, 2014

WestlawNext User Annotations Stored on US Servers

Bronwyn Guiton, a librarian at the Vancouver law firm Lawson Lundell LLP, has compiled responses from Canadian law librarians regarding WestlawNext user-made annotations being stored on servers in the USA, thus making them subject to the US Patriot Act.

Her summary has been posted to the website of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries:
"WestlawNext is a new version of Westlaw that is being rolled out –or has already been rolled out— to subscribers. On WestlawNext, users can now add their own notes or highlighting ('annotations') to a decision, case, or journal article. For example, a lawyer can annotate a paragraph of a decision to say, 'Note to self – the damages aspect of this discussion could be useful for my closing arguments for XYZ case'."

"The issue is that annotations are stored on servers in the United States and therefore subject to the Patriot Act."

"The decision on how to deal with annotations will ultimately come down to your organization’s answers to the following questions:"
"Is it problematic that annotations are stored on servers located in the United States?"
"If the answer is yes, then:
Is it enough to remind lawyers not to record confidential information in the annotations in WestlawNext, or must this feature be supressed so that users can’t see it and use it at all?"

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Sunday, July 06, 2014

Colloquium Report of the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters

The Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters is a broad-based committee established by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Beverley McLachlin.

It is chaired by Supreme Court of Canada Justice Thomas Cromwell. Members of the committee include the Canadian Bar Association, Justice Canada, and the Canadian Judicial Council. It works to identify ways to reduce barriers to access to the civil justice system.

After releasing its final report in October 2013, the Committee decided to organize a colloquium in January 2014 to work on practical steps to improve the situation.

The Colloquium Report is now available online:
"Following the release of the Action Committee’s final report, Access to Civil & Family Justice: A Roadmap for Change (Final Report), a series of locally organized access to justice events were held across Canada to introduce the Final Report to local stakeholders and justice leaders, encourage action-oriented responses for reform, and provide focus and encouragement for local access to justice initiatives. Held primarily throughout the Fall of 2013, these local events culminated in the national Action Committee Colloquium, which took place on January 27-28, 2014 in Toronto. The purpose of the colloquium was to bring together leaders in the field of access to justice from across Canada to share “best practices”, showcase examples of successful and innovative programs and reforms, discuss common challenges, and begin developing action-oriented access to justice initiatives. Over the course of two days, delegates worked together in plenary and small breakout sessions to workshop strategies for reaching the goals laid out in the Final Report."

"This report on the Colloquium provides an overview of the Colloquium discussions and a summary of the key messages of those who participated in the two-day event. It attempts to capture the comments, suggestions and major points of dialogue. In addition to providing an overview and summary of the major discussion threads, it also highlights examples provided by participants of initiatives, programs and innovations that are currently working in various jurisdictions."

"Our hope is that the ideas and collaborations born at this Colloquium and recorded in this report will serve as the first of many future collaborations and projects that bring together justice stakeholders at all levels, from across multiple jurisdictions, to move forward a Canada-wide discussion on innovation and action in access to justice."

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Thursday, July 03, 2014

June 2014 Issue of Connected Bulletin on Courts and Social Media

The June 2014 issue of Connected is available online. The bulletin covers news about the impact of new social media on courts.

Most of the items are about the United States, but there is occasional coverage of other jurisdictions.

Items in this issue include:
  • Connecticut adds QR Code to juror summons
  • Social media policy resource (from the National Conference of State Legislatures in the United States)
  • Social Media and the Courts: Innovative Tools or Dangerous Fad? A practical guide for court administrators
The bulletin is published by the Virginia-based National Center for State Courts and the Conference of Court Public Information Officers.

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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 June 16-30, 2014 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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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

English Law Commission Report on Fiduciary Duties of Investment Intermediaries

The English Law Commission has released a report on Fiduciary Duties of Investment Intermediaries:
"In this report we have considered the question of long-term investment with particular reference to pensions, where liabilities will typically be incurred over a long period (...)"

"We conclude that trustees should take into account factors which are financially material to the performance of an investment. Where trustees think ethical or environmental, social or governance (ESG) issues are financially material they should take them into account."

"We also conclude that, whilst the pursuit of a financial return should be the predominant concern of pension trustees, the law is sufficiently flexible to allow other, subordinate, concerns to be taken into account. The law permits trustees to make investment decisions that are based on non-financial factors, provided that:
  • they have good reason to think that scheme members share the concern, and
  • there is no risk of significant financial detriment to the fund."

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July 2014 Issue of In Session: Canadian Association of Law Libraries' e-Newsletter

The July 2014 issue of In Session is available online.

It is the monthly e-newsletter of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) and contains news from CALL committees and special interest groups, member updates and events.

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