Sunday, May 31, 2015

Lots of Enhancements to U.S. Congress.gov Legislative Information Portal

Congress.gov, the official website for U.S. federal legislative information, was officially launched in late 2013.

It is produced by the Library of Congress (LOC) using data from the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Office of the Secretary of the Senate, the Government Publishing Office, Congressional Budget Office, and the LOC's Congressional Research Service.

In a very short time, there have been many additions of new content, as well as enhancements to search and browse functionality. In Custodia Legis, the blog of the Law Library of Congress described the most recent changes in a post a few days ago.

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Canadian Forum on Civil Justice May 2015 Access to Justice Newsletter

The non-profit Canadian Forum on Access to Justice (CFCJ) has been publishing a monthly newsletter about Access to Justice since early 2013.

The latest issue of the newsletter includes:
  • an interview on the importance of the Internet as a tool for getting information into the hands of people who need it the most
  • a post on access to justice projects at the Law Commission of Ontario
  • an evaluation report on the Halton Legal Health Check-Up, a questionnaire for people who are living in poverty so they can identify legal problems and get help (Halton is near Toronto)
  • conference announcements

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Canadian Library Association e-Books Task Force Report and Recommendations

Last fall, the Canadian Library Association (CLA) established an e-Book Task Force with membership representing a broad range of sectors and geographic regions, including public libraries, academic libraries, consortia, and publishers.

Its terms of reference were to:
  1. Identify, collect, analyse and share information on what is currently being done with respect to e-books, as defined by the task force;
  2. Develop recommendations on which existing overarching principles could be adopted by CLA as well as recommend which overarching principles that CLA could/should be develop;
  3. Identify and recommend potential advocacy roles and strategies related to the above and to the e-book issues that face the library and information community.
The Task Force has published its recommendations which were approved by Executive Council in March 2015 and endorsed by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) in May 2015:
     

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Speech by Chief Justice of Canada - Canada Attempted Cultural Genocide Against Aboriginal Peoples

Earlier this week, Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin gave the fourth annual Pluralism Lecture of the Global Centre for Pluralism, founded in 2006 by the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims.

In that speech,  Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin described what she called the attempt by Canadian governments since the 19th century to commit “cultural genocide” against aboriginal peoples.

According to a May 28th article in the Globe and Mail, the Chief Justice’s use of the term “unparalleled” in Canadian history:
"Peter Russell, a political science professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, said that Chief Justice McLachlin shares with virtually all Supreme Court judges since a landmark rights case in 1990 'a tremendous sense of sorrow about the denial of very fundamental rights to Canada’s native people'."

"Chief Justice McLachlin, who has been on the court since 1989 and chief since 2000, is its longest-serving chief justice. She cited early laws barring treaty Indians from leaving reservations, rampant starvation and disease and the denial of the right to vote."

"She also pointed to the outlawing of aboriginal religious and social traditions, such as the potlatch and the sun dance, and to residential schools, in which children who had been taken from their parents were forbidden to speak their native languages, forced to wear white man’s clothing, forced to observe Christian religious practices and sometimes subjected to sexual abuse."
The full speech can be seen on the website of the Globe and Mail.

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Discussion Paper on Use of Social Media by Canadian Judicial Officers

The Canadian Centre for Court Technology (CCCT-CCTJ) today released a discussion paper entitled The Use of Social Media by Canadian Judicial Officer.

The paper is based on unprecedented survey of Canadian judicial officers with responses from almost 700 participants (approximately 500 in English and 200 in French). The officers included justices of the peace, provincial/territorial judges, provincial and federal tribunal members, Superior Court justices, Court of Appeal justices, Masters and Prothonotaries.

They were asked about their use of social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and blogs, organizational policies, perceived security risks, ethics and more:
"Overall, the survey findings were informative. It found that judicial officers responding to the survey use social media at a significantly lower rate than the general population. Those judicial officers who do use social media are relative newcomers, having started only in the past several years. By far, most use of social media by judicial officers is in a personal capacity. Judicial officers visit social media most often to follow contacts, follow the news, find online contacts, follow events and find online multi-media content such as photos and videos. A negligible minority of judicial officers contribute to social media sites in a professional capacity while a small minority contribute to social media sites such as Facebook in a personal capacity."

"The survey results indicate a high level of concern about security and privacy amongst judicial officers. In terms of ethics, judicial officers believe that using social media in a personal capacity is more acceptable than engaging in the same activities from a professional standpoint. Judicial officers are unsure about many of the ethical implications of social media use, such as the propriety of professional interactions with social media contacts. In terms of conducting non-legal research through social media, a strong majority of respondents do not do so. Amongst the minority that do, almost half never disclose this information to the parties, a quarter rarely do so and another quarter always or often disclose."

"The survey found a general lack of social media policies for judicial officers in Canadian courts and tribunals and a lack of awareness by chief judges/justices of use of social media by members of their courts/tribunals. We venture to suggest that the concerns and lack of clear understanding about ethical implications noted above, all point to the need for social media policies and education for judicial officers."
The report includes recommendations that courts, tribunals and organizations involved with judicial officers consider mandatory training programs about social media.

The document was drafted by a working group composed of federally - and provincially-appointed judges, tribunal members, academics, and lawyers. Itwas chaired by Justice Fran Kiteley of the Ontario Superior Court who is co-chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Centre for Court Technology.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Canadian Lawyer Magazine Top 25 Most Influential 2015 Survey

Canadian Lawyer is holding its sixth annual Canadian Lawyer’s Top 25 Most Influential survey:
"Again this year, we will be picking the top 5 lawyers and judges in the following 5 categories:
  • Corporate-commercial, including litigation, deals, class actions, etc.
  • Criminal law/human rights
  • Changemakers: lawyers in any area or type of practice who have been leaders or catalysts for positive change in any area of the profession such as diversity, law firm management, education, etc.
  • Government/non-profits/associations, including public inquiries, officers of Parliament, and academic institutions
  • The world stage: Canadian lawyers who have an influence on law and society beyond our borders.
Our list of nominees was created through our internal editorial panel as well as suggestions from readers and past honorees."
Voting closes on June 9, 2015. Results will be announced in the August 2015 issue of the magazine.

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Evolving Legal Services Research Project

Community Legal Education Ontario, in partnership with the Institute for Social Research at York University, has undertaken a major research project to examine the effectiveness of public legal education and information (PLEI) in helping low- and modest-income people address their legal problems:
"Canadian jurisdictions, including Ontario and BC, are increasingly exploring and relying on limited legal assistance programs as a method of providing legal services to people who cannot afford legal services. Increased rationing of publicly - funded legal services has meant that public legal education and information (PLEI), either on its own or in conjunction with other unbundled legal services, is required to fill an increasingly larger role in meeting the legal needs of poor people and people with modest means. Yet we know relatively little about the extent to which PLEI is an effective legal service: for what types of clients, for which kinds of legal problems, and in which circumstances, can PLEI provide the most robust assistance. "

"Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) sought and received funding from the Law Foundation of Ontario (LFO) to conduct Phase 1 of a research project – the Evolving Legal Services Research (ELSR) Project – to explore the effectiveness of PLEI throughout the continuum of legal services delivery in Ontario and British Columbia. CLEO has now completed the Phase 1 deliverables – a comprehensive review of the relevant literature and, building on the literature review, a well - developed research plan for Phase 2."
In Phase 2 of the research project, qualitative and quantitative data will be collected over a 19-month period to gather knowledge concerning where PLEI is relied on as a primary form of legal services delivery as well as where PLEI is used in conjunction with other legal services. The idea is to try to zero in on the factors that contribute to PLEI’s effectiveness in supporting positive outcomes in a range of circumstances.

The Phase 1 Review of Current Literature on the topic was compiled for the project by Dr. Melina Buckley.


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Canadian Terrorism Database Shows Weak Link Between Violent Extremism and Religion

The Canadian newsweekly Embassy published an article in its most recent edition about the Canadian Incident Database.

The Database is an open source database describing terrorism and violent extremism since 1960 with a Canadian connection, including incidents occurring overseas involving Canadian perpetrators, targets, and victims.     

According to the article in Embassy:
"Though recent discourse from Canadian politicians has focused on religious motivations for terrorism, and ISIS in particular, events that occurred in Canada have tended not to be religiously motivated. Of the 1,405 incidents, 255, or about 18 per cent, were religiously motivated, according to the database, and only two per cent of attacks labelled as violent extremism were perpetrated by religious groups."
5 university partners – University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Carleton University, University of Waterloo, and Université de Montréal - have compiled the information in the database. Funding comes from Public Safety Canada and Defence Research and Development Canada.

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

National Post Interview With Chief Justice of Canada Beverley McLachlin

The National Post has published a lengthy article based on an exclusive interview with Beverley McLachlin, Chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

It goes over her philosophy of judicial review, the Court's evolution since the introduction of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, what some observers quoted in the interview have called the Court's often adversarial relationship with the current federal government, and McLachlin's leadership style.


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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Vote for the 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

Members of the public have until Friday, June 5 at 11:59 p.m. to vote online for the winner of the 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.
The prize, which is sponsored by ABA Journal and the University of Alabama School of Law, is intended to recognize a work of fiction that best exemplifies the role of lawyers in society.
The three finalists this year are:
There is a judging panel of four:
  • Roy Blount Jr., author and humorist
  • Wayne Flynt, author and Alabama historian
  • Mary McDonagh Murphy, independent film and television writer and producer
  • Michele Norris, NPR host and special correspondent
The public vote will act as a fifth judge.

The 2015 prize will be awarded Sept. 3 at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the Library of Congress National Book Festival.

The award is named after author Harper Lee, whose novel To Kill A Mockingbird, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961. Previous winners include John Grisham, Michael Connelly and Paul Goldstein.

Earlier Library Boy posts about the prize include:

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Interview With Law Library of Congress Foreign Law Specialist Jenny Gesley

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

The most recent interview is with Jenny Gesley, Foreign Law Specialist who provides research and reference services related to Germany and other German-speaking countries:
"How would you describe your job to other people?
As a foreign law specialist, I cover the German-speaking jurisdictions of Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Liechtenstein. In this capacity, I answer requests from members of Congress, executive agencies, courts, and also the general public on the laws of these countries. The work is at the intersection of research and practice and can cover every area of the law, which makes it both challenging and interesting. In addition, I am in charge of maintaining and updating the Law Library’s collection for these countries (...)"

"What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Law Library of Congress?
I have learned a lot of interesting facts about the Law Library of Congress, but what impressed me the most were the following two facts. The Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress was the first public building constructed with electrical wiring in the city of Washington, D.C. Members of Congress would come to the Member’s Room at the Library of Congress to marvel at the new invention. Second, the Law Library’s collection of law books for a country sometimes surpasses the collections of institutions within the country itself, which can also be helpful if that country’s collections are destroyed as a result of a natural disaster or conflict."
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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June 15 Deadline for Applications for James D. Lang Memorial Scholarship Fund

Members of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) have until June 15, 2015 to apply to the James D. Lang Memorial Scholarship fund.

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 Scholarships and Awards Committee.

Here is a testimonial from a recent recipient, Mary-Jo Mustoe, Librarian at the R. Boak Burns Law Library at the Welland County Law Association in Welland, Ontario:
“I’ve been aware of the James D. Lang Scholarship for many years, but it never occurred to me to apply. This year I was seriously thinking of expanding my educational opportunities outside of the usual library conferences and I found a really interesting course offered by the iSchool Institute. The James D. Lang Scholarship enabled me to attend the two-day course - Defining New Metrics for Library Success. This course opened a whole new dimension of learning and analytics and has added a new skill to my daily work in the law library.”
This scholarship fund was established in memory of James D. Lang, a long- time employee of Canadian publisher Carswell and member of CALL.

More details are available on the CALL website.

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Petition to Re-Instate the Ontario E-Laws Detailed Legislative History Tables

Annette Demers, Law Librarian at the University of Windsor and former president of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries, has prepared a letter and petition to the Ontario Minister of Justice asking that the Detailed Legislative History Tables be maintained on the government's E-Laws website.

E-Laws is the Ontario government's official legislation website. When it was migrated to a new platform, the decision was taken to discontinue producing the Tables which provide essential information about legislative amendments and coming into force provisions.

As the letter explains:
"As advanced users of legal information, who conduct research on behalf of lawyers, judges, law professors and students, and as teachers of the next generation of lawyers, we are opposed to the discontinuation of this research tool, particularly insofar as an alternative has not yet been devised."

"No technology upgrade should result in a loss of functionality ‐ upgrades should achieve the goal of maintaining and enhancing existing functionality. This project should not have went live until a suitable solution was devised, and after appropriate consultation with stakeholders. "

"If an alternative is devised in one year, this is one full year of legislative activity which will not have been tabulated. The longer it takes to devise a strategy, the more the tracking of amendments is aggregated, creating a larger problem requiring more and more resources to remedy in time. The outcome may surely be an entire timeframe where there is no tool to assist researchers."
Please circulate this petition widely. Demers hopes to deliver it to the Ontario Ministry of Justice by June 15.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

New Zealand Law Commission Issues Paper on National Security Information in Proceedings

The Law Commission of New Zealand has published an Issues Paper that discusses how national security information should be used and protected in criminal, civil and administrative proceedings.

It focuses on instances where national security information is relevant to a decision that affects a person's rights or interests, but its disclosure might prejudice national security. The Law Commission’s objective is to establish whether the current law effectively protects such information while upholding fair trial rights and the principles of natural justice, or whether there is scope for reform:
"This issues paper deals with issues of considerable public importance such as when the Crown should have the ability to refuse to disclose information in court proceedings, which strikes at the very heart of the open justice principle. We invite submissions as to what amounts to legitimate national security concerns (for example, protecting intelligence-gathering partnerships and methodology) and what responses can help mitigate the impact that non-disclosure of national security information might have on what are fundamental principles of our rule of law system. Our aim is to ensure the procedure is clear and effective when legitimate national security concerns necessitate that the Crown’s disclosure obligations be altered." (...)

"This review looks at the protection, disclosure, exclusion and use of relevant classified and sensitive national security information in such proceedings. As part of the review the Law Commission is considering whether legislation is needed to provide a process by which national security information may be disclosed and used in court (including criminal trials) and in tribunal proceedings and administrative decisions (and appeals against decisions) in a way that protects the information while maintaining principles of natural justice."

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Library and Archives Canada Response to Library Community Concerns About Outsourcing of AMICUS National Catalogue

This is a follow-up to the March 11, 2015 Library Boy post entitled Canadian Library Association Concerns About Outsourcing of AMICUS National Catalogue to OCLC.

Library and Archives Canada (LAC)  has been negotiating with the OCLC international library cooperative about taking over AMICUS, Canada's national union catalogue. Many Canadian libraries use AMICUS to identify institutions from which to order materials via inter-library loan.

The Canadian Library Association (CLA) wrote earlier this year to LAC to express concerns about the change. These concerns include questions relating to:
  • access to the new AMICUS for libraries that are not members of OCLC
  • the openness of OCLC
  • accessibility issues for libraries using older technologies
  • the maintenance of Canadian authorities and subject headings going forward
  • cross-references between English and French authorities and subject headings
Library and Archives has responded and that response has been published on the CLA website.

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Roundup of SLA Twitter Chat on Networking

The international information professional organization SLA (Special Libraries Association) organized a Twitter chat on March 25, 2015 to identify the tools, tricks and techniques info pros use to network.

The SLA has now published the contents of the event on the Storify website.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Library of Parliament Adds Journals to its Historical Resources Database

In 2013, the Library of Parliament, in collaboration with Canadiana.org, launched a new Canadian Historical Parliamentary Resources digital portal.

The portal offers free public access to digital versions of the debates of the Parliament of Canada in both official languages, starting with the first session of Parliament in 1867 until debate coverage on the parliamentary website parl.gc.ca begins (Debates for the House of Commons are available as of January 17, 1994 ; Debates for the Senate of Canada are available from the parliamentary website as of February 27, 1996).

The portal has now added access to the Journals of the Senate and of the House of Commons of Canada, again going back to 1867. The Senate and House of Commons Journals are the notes and records kept by the Clerks and other Table Officers during a sitting. They are the official record of Senate and House decisions and other transactions such as petitions presented, documents tabled, etc.

Canadiana.org is a not-for-profit, charitable organization made up of public libraries, archives, research institutions, and other organizations committed to digitizing, preserving, and providing access to Canada’s documentary heritage.

[Source: @LoPinformation]

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Lex Machina Wins American Association of Law Libraries New Product of the Year Award

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) announced today that Lex Machina’s Legal Analytics product is the winner of its 2015 New Product Award:
"Lex Machina’s Legal Analytics product, created by experts at Stanford’s Computer Science Department and Law School, assembles data sets from millions of pages of legal information that contain valuable information on districts, judges, law firms, lawyers, parties, and patents. The Software-as-a-Service product helps users predict the behaviors and outcomes that different legal strategies will produce, enabling them to win cases and close business."
The product can help litigators answer questions such as:
  • How likely is a judge to grant or deny a specific motion?
  • How long do cases take to terminate, get to trial, or get to the claim construction hearing before a judge?
  • How likely is a judge to find patents, trademarks or copyrights infringed, invalid, or unenforceable?
  • Opposing counsel’s experience before specific judges and courts,
  • Opposing counsel’s client list
  • Which law firms have the most experience against opposing counsel
  •  A party’s experience before specific judges and courts, find the timing from filing to key events in cases involving them, and view damages awarded in patent cases
  • Total number of times each patent has been asserted
  • Total findings of infringement, invalidity, and unenforceability of patents, damages awarded, parties involved
  •  etc.
According to the AALL:
"This award honors new commercial information products that enhance or improve existing law library services or procedures or innovative products which improve access to legal information, the legal research process, or procedures for technical processing of library materials. A 'new' product is one which has been in the library-related marketplace for two years or less."

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Library of Parliament Analysis of Freedom of Religion and the State’s Duty of Neutrality

The Library of Parliament today published a post on its HillNotes blog that refers to the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision Mouvement laïque québécois v. Saguenay (City) .

The Court ruled unanimously that the City of Saguenay, Quebec cannot open its council meetings with a prayer:
"The Court held in Mouvement laïque québécois v. Saguenay (City) that the recitation of prayers before council interfered with an atheist appellant’s freedom of conscience and religion and failed to respect the state’s duty of neutrality on religious matters. This duty requires that the state abstain from favouring one religious belief over others (...)"
"Writing on behalf of the Court, Justice Clément Gascon stressed that the decision should not be viewed as 'taking a stand in favour of atheism or agnosticism' over religion. Rather, he wrote that in preserving 'a neutral public space that is free of discrimination and in which true freedom to believe or not to believe is enjoyed by everyone equally,' the state helps preserve every person’s 'freedom and dignity' (...)"

"Justice Gascon discussed the Supreme Court’s 'evolving' understanding of the freedom of religion and conscience. He added that it must be interpreted in light of section 27 of the Canadian Charter, which recognizes the multicultural nature of Canada. He recognized that there are many traditional practices in Canada’s heritage that are religious in nature."

"A reference to a religious faith by the state is not on its own determinative. Rather, it is the purpose and effect of the reference that may be discriminatory. The traditional element of such practices, however, cannot be used to justify promoting the participation of certain believers to the detriment of others."

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles April 2015

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the month of April 2015 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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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Law Library of Congress Comparative Law Report on Responses to Health Emergencies

The Law Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. recently published a study of Legal Responses to Health Emergencies:
"This report contains discussions of the regulations addressing health emergencies in twenty-five jurisdictions. The jurisdictional surveys that are included cover countries from six continents and reflect national, regional (European Union, EU), and international (World Health Organization, WHO) approaches to the problem. The report is supplemented by an annotated bibliography that lists recently published English-language monographs and academic articles on issues related to handling public health crises. All surveys included in this report review government structures tasked with delivering public health protection, relevant legislative frameworks for addressing health emergencies, and the powers of government institutions in times of health crises and their ability to mitigate the consequences of such crises. Analyses of the regulation of such issues as disease surveillance and notification systems are also provided. Individual surveys discuss the role of medical and emergency services personnel in responding to public health challenges, the coordination of government activities aimed at minimizing the spread of epidemics, and the cooperation of national health-care institutions with the WHO in implementing pandemic preparedness measures. Measures taken by national governments in response to recent outbreaks of infectious diseases, including the Ebola epidemic in western Africa in 2014, are also described."
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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Saturday, May 09, 2015

Library of Parliament Publication on Assisted Human Reproduction in Canada

The Library of Parliament has published a revised version of its research publication on Legal Status at the Federal Level of Assisted Human Reproduction in Canada:
"The world’s first 'test-tube baby,' the result of fertilizing a human ovum in vitro and transferring the resulting embryo to a woman’s uterus, was born in England in 1978. This achievement followed decades of clinical and laboratory research. It also catalyzed interest in a new area of medical ethics as multiple technological advances, along with their implications for genetics, posed new ethical questions and responsibilities."

"This paper provides an overview of the many steps that the Canadian federal government has taken to establish a legislative and regulatory framework for reproductive technologies and related research. This background includes a description of the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies, early attempts at legislation and a discussion of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, in force since 2004, including its list of prohibited activities. The constitutional challenge to the legislation that was brought by the Attorney General of Quebec and ultimately heard by the Supreme Court of Canada is reviewed. Finally, the federal government’s response to the Supreme Court decision in the form of amendments to the Act is summarized. This paper does not examine how activities related to assisted human reproduction may be regulated by the provinces."

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HeinOnline Oral History of Law Librarianship

U.S. vendor HeinOnline has created a series of online interviews entitled An Oral History of Law Librarianship.

The interviews are part of the HeinOnline library Spinelli’s Law Library Reference Shelf and are also viewable on the HeinOnline YouTube channel.

The videos contain interviews of active and retired law librarians and others related to the profession. This series showcases individuals in the profession as they discuss and reflect on their experiences.

The focus is obviously American.

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April 2015 Issue of Connected Bulletin on Courts and Social Media

The April 2015 issue of Connected is available online. The bulletin covers news about the impact of new social media on courts.

In this month's issue:
  • Judge criticizes parents on Facebook
  • Wife gets the ok to file divorce papers on Facebook
  • Former gun store owner refuses to turn over social media passwords
  • Turkish court blocks Twitter and YouTube after graphic photos leaked online
  • Social media tip of the month
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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Thursday, May 07, 2015

UK Supreme Court Launches 'Video on Demand' Service

This week, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom launched an on-demand archive of past hearings ... to complement the court's existing live streaming service:
"Footage of the proceedings in court will be freely available via each case's page on the Supreme Court website, and will be uploaded the next working day. Once judgment is delivered, footage of the Justices' summary in court will also be published alongside the full judgment text and press summary."

"The service will include footage of proceedings of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (or JCPC, which hears appeals from a number of Commonwealth countries, British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies)."

"Footage will remain available for approximately one year after the court hearing, before being removed to make way for new cases. For copyright reasons, users will not be able to download the footage for long term storage or editing."

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Supreme Court of Canada Hearings Calendar for May 2015

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of Canada published its calendar of appeal hearings for May 2015.

To find out more about any particular case, the Court's website has a section that allows users to find docket information, case summaries as well as factums from the parties. All you need to do is click on a case name.

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Canadian Association of Law Libraries Conference Session on Collection Issues

One of the sessions I attended at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries that ended yesterday in Moncton, New Brunswick had to do with "Collection Issues in Changing Times".

A panel of library representatives from academic, courthouse, and law firm libraries discussed the issues that each faces – some the same, some that are unique to each because of different user groups and mandates.

Louis Mirando, director of the library at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, started off the discussion by describing the issues he thinks are paramount when it comes to collections.

Among these are:
  • the need to discuss the creation of a Canadian print archive network that would guarantee that a best last copy of all important print materials would be preserved and made available via inter-library loan. The US-based PalmPrint project run by the New England Law Library Consortium of which my library is part provides this last print copy service for many American legal materials
  • doubts about whether academic library patrons are using the collection. Mirando explained that students appear to prefer reading little beyond the contents of their coursepacks and his library has no way of tracking e-books
  • the impact of e-licenses that are closing academic law libraries more and more to the general public who are often not seen as authorized users of the licensed e-resources
  • the impossibility of sharing e-books via inter-library loan again because of e-license restrictions. What if every library has ditched their print copies of important materials?
  • who bears the responsibility for maintaining specialty collections in an era of budget cuts? Osgoode may assume that Dalhousie continues to buy maritime and fisheries law, Dalhousie may assume the University of Alberta is buying print materials in energy law. etc. What if the assumptions are wrong?
  • many academic libraries are eliminating purchases of law reporters in print. Will there be anyone left soon to act as the repository of the last print copy for sharing with other institutions?
  • fair dealing provisions in Canadian copyright legislation have not prevented universities from being sued by copyright collectives
Cyndi Murphy, Knowledge Manager in the Halifax office of Stewart McKelvey, described the issues faced  by a regional law firm library serving offices spread across the Atlantic provinces.

Budget constraints have led to the centralizing of ordering and technical services in Halifax, the abandonment of one of the two major Canadian legal research platforms (she did not specify whether this was Quicklaw or Westlaw), and a change in acquisition practices. The firm used to buy all new major Canadian law books and now purchases what is needed. It has also cancelled many looseleafs in recent years, preferring to look for online options when available. The effect of these trends is that the print collection has become concentrated in two cities and materials will go to other offices via inter-library loan. Decisions have become much more usage-based, for example if a work is frequently loaned out to another office, a new copy will be purchased for that location.

The final speaker was Jenny Thornhill, Manager of Court Library Services for the Nunavut Court of Justice, located in Iqaluit, Nunavut. She is the sole person in charge of both the main Law Library and the Judges Chambers Library. Jenny is responsible for all Law Library services to the judges and lawyers of Nunavut.

Her description of the physical library and her technological infrastructure surprised many people.

Her library is tiny, inter-library loans are difficult since Library and Archives Canada abolished its ILL service, IT access is sometimes wonky with only one satellite available to serve the huge territory. She works with Windows XP and Internet Explorer 8. Many sites and databases load slowly and webinar training is not always easy because it often requires downloading software that is not supported by local staff.

The budget situation in Nunavut does not make thing easier. The budget, already very low at $220,000 per year, has not increased in 5 years. Dealing with vendors is also a headache since the library cannot use a government credit card for purchasing and still works with invoices (and cheques I suppose). Of course, the major problem from a collections point of view is the limited relevancy of many Canadian legal texts to the realities of the far North.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:24 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Supreme Court of Canada Library Director Wins National Award for Excellence in Law Librarianship

Rosalie Fox, director of the library at the Supreme Court of Canada, was honoured this morning with the Denis Marshall Memorial Award for Excellence in Law Librarianship for 2015.

The announcement was made before this morning's plenary session on the final day of the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL/ACBD) in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Here is an excerpt from the award presentation:
This year’s recipient is described by her colleagues as a born leader, with the kind of charisma, enthusiasm, vision, and a keen ability to think strategically and move organizations through change and transformation that we all aspire to learn from. She is a leader who shares her techniques by passing them on to others, leading by following, and supporting and encouraging new talent in our field. She brings people and groups together across tables to collaborate to improve everyone’s situation as we move through this transformational phase from analog and print, to digital and pervasive legal information. She is honest and reliable as a community leader. She is also considerate of the needs of the people around her who want to work with her to make a vision she built with them become reality. She is confident and committed to the cause of law librarianship. Our recipient is a leader in our field."
According to the official description of the Award:
"This award is an honour bestowed upon a current member of CALL/ACBD who has provided outstanding service to the Association AND/OR enhanced the profession of law librarianship in the recent past. The specific contributions  must reflect the qualities embodied by Denis Marshall:  
  • a continued commitment to excellence in law librarianship; 
  • a strong service ethic;
  • a commitment to continuous learning;
  • a significant contribution to the scholarship of the library profession;
  • mentoring and encouraging those who seek a profession in law librarianship;
  • the pursuit of innovation and/or innovative solutions;
  • and/or a contribution to leadership in the law library profession."
Rosalie Fox is a former President of CALL/ACBD. During her tenure, the Association introduced many important changes including the creation of its very successful continuing education webinar program and vendor open forums at the annual conference among other initiatives.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:07 am 0 comments links to this post

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Conference Sessions Now Recognized for Legal Continuing Education

One interesting piece of news coming out of this year's annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) ending today in Moncton, New Brunswick is the fact that the Law Society of New Brunswick has recognized a number of the conference sessions as being eligible for lawyers' continuing professional development credits.

That probably explains the presence of practising lawyers at a few of the sessions I have attended, including yesterday's presentation by University of Moncton law professor Michel Doucet on the constitutional rights of official language minorities and this morning's plenary session with Dalhousie University's Wayne MacKay on cyberbullying.

CALL planners for next year's annual conference in Vancouver intend to continue this kind of educational outreach to people beyond the law library bubble.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:49 am 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Conference - Language Rights in Canada

At the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries taking place right now In Moncton, I caught a talk earlier today by University of Moncton law professor Michel Doucet on language rights in Canada.

Doucet provided a rapid overview of the constitutional guarantees for official minority language communities (Francophones outside Quebec and Anglophones in Quebec) as well as a summary of how the Supreme Court of Canada has interpreted those rights since the adoption of the Charter of Rights in 1982.

He emphasized the collective nature of many of those rights, in particular the right to receive instruction in the language of the minority. These rights have a more collective dimension because the ultimate beneficiary is the community of speakers of the minority tongue.

Doucet then outlined the shift in how the Supreme Court of Canada has interpreted the constitutional provisions on these questions.

Many minority language advocates were disappointed by a trilogy of decisions in 1986 , he said, because the Court gave a restrictive interpretation to language rights, described as political rights arising out of a compromise, as opposed to being fundamental rights.

In the later Beaulac decision however (I will supply the link later), the highest court of the land turned tack according to Doucet and offered an expansive, more generous view of official minority language rights, the object of these rights being the maintenance and flourishing of the community. To ensure substantive equality between the minority community and the speakers of the majority official language of a region, the particular collective needs of the language minority must be taken into account. this may include the right not only to receive services in their language, but also the right of the minority to exclusive management of its educational and cultural institutions.

Another section of the Charter states that English and French versions of federal statutes have equal force of law, one not being a simple translation of the other. Doucet then added that you are only half a lawyer if you can't read both versions in case of discrepancies or ambiguities. He provided the example of a case that went to the Supreme Court of Canada. At the hearing, Justice Bastarache asked the parties whether they had read the French version of the federal statute at the heart of the dispute. They had not and the court handed down a short ruling based on the unambiguous meaning of the French text.

In the Supreme Court case that decided that parents from the minority language group had the right to manage their own schools, there were differences in the two versions of the statute text. The Chief Justice at the time ruled, according to Doucet, that a  word in the French version made the meaning clear.

On the question whether Justices of the Supreme Court should be bilingual, Doucet clearly answered yes. He explained that he had once listened to the translation of his own words from a time when he pleaded in French in front of the Justices and found many ambiguous passages and missing words. During hearings, judges often interrupt and ask questions at a quick pace. The translator could be heard saying : "cannot follow" during the quick back and forth. Doucet explained he felt this disadvantaged French litigants whose words could not be fully heard and understood by judges who did not speak French.



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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:38 pm 0 comments links to this post

Canadian Association of Law Libraries - Monday Keynote Speech on Future of the Legal Profession

The opening keynote speech at this year's annual of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries was given yesterday by Fred Headon of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA).

The conference is taking place in Moncton and continues until tomorrow.

Headon led the CBA Legal Futures Initiative, a lengthy consultative exercise to analyze the challenges facing the legal profession and how to respond to them.

The challenges are many as we all know, including:

- a growing gap between citizens and the legal system, an uncoupling
- non-stop change in technology
- risk aversion in the profession
- the arrival, especially in the US legal services market, of new firms outside the legal industry that offer cheap, standardized services for online divorce, online deal closing, online document review for litigation, etc.. All these new players are eroding lawyer market shade. This includes large international accounting firms that have hired thousands of lawyers worldwide to offer legal-style services in loan negociations, contracting etc.

The Legal Futures Initiative conducted research into the expectations of the public and found that people expect more flexibility in services, billing, and delivery arrangements, as well as more speed and participation. People want more predictable pricing, and be able to know exactly how far any process has progressed. Headon explained that process management tools could allow firms to break down work product into separately identifiable chunks, assign a price to the different steps and deliver information to the client using technology in predictable ways. Yet many firms and practitioners look as if they were still stuck in the era before the Industrial Revolution, according to Headon.

Headon stressed again and again that there is a growing gap between how lawyers and clients identify the value-add of various legal services. The clients expect lawyers to use the cheaper, effective ways. This could include automating the parts of the workflow that lend themselves to that, in the same way that Turbotax for example automates the way many Canadians do their taxes. Behind the scenes, the knowledge of how the Income Tax Act handles deductions, exemptions, eligibility thresholds has been automated and coded into the software's features. Lawyers, on the other hand, continue, said Headon, to see the value of their services in their "knowledge" and expertise.

Headon explained some of the Initiative's recommendations. Many of them involved exploring opening up the legal industry structure to new kinds of business structure, unbundling of services, partnering with other professionals and non-lawyer consultants to provide a multidisciplinary array of services to clients, training lawyers on a broader range of knowledge such as KM and project management, and automating the segments of the work process that make sense.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:05 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, May 04, 2015

2015 Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing Awarded to Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History

Earlier today, the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) awarded the 2015 Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing to the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History book series (University of Toronto Press).

The announcement was made at the CALL annual conference in Moncton, New Brunswick.

 It honours a publisher that has demonstrated excellence by publishing a work, series, website or e-product that makes a significant contribution to legal research and scholarship.

The award honours Hugh Lawford (1933-2009), Professor of Law at Queens’ University and the founder of Quicklaw.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:12 pm 0 comments links to this post

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Conference - Thomson ReutersVendor Demo

Thomson Reuters demo'ed some of its product enhancements this morning at a breakfast session held at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Among the highlights that attracted my attention were a number of recent or upcoming enhancements to the WestlawNext research platform:

- international content will soon be migrated to the platform from the old legacy platform
- the financial research tool LiveEdgar will be returning
- Quantum services, with new results graphing capability, will be moving to WestlawNext
- directories for expert witnesses, Canadian lawyers and ADR professionals will be added to the Litigator product
- the Index to Canadian Legal Literature is also being fully integrated into WestllawNext and adding new content sources such as continuing public education podcasts and YouTube tutorials. It will offer new sorting and filtering of results by document type e.g. Article, book review, seminar paper, podcast etc.

The Quebec portal "La Reference" from the editor Yvon Blais in Montreal has added new doctrinal collections in Quebec law such as 10 monographs in commercial law, as well as new quantum services for personal injury and dismissal cases. The portal contains the most often cited doctrinal texts by Quebec courts including many classics such as "Les obligations" by Baudouin. It also offers access to an extensive collection of Quebec Bar Association materials, materials from the Chambre des notaires, legal encyclopedias etc.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:28 am 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Conference - Vendor Demos bySOQUIJ and Wolters Kluwer

Two of the vendor demos earlier today at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries taking place in Moncton, New Brunswick were those by SOQUIJ and Wolters Kluwer.
SOQUIJ, a Quebec para governmental corporation, presented its "Recherche juridique" legal research platform that is gradually replacing the existing Juris.doc suite of databases. Juris.doc is organized along the lines of separate databases for commentary, court decisions and tribunal rulings in labour law, occupational health law and various administrative law areas. Recherche juridique is based on an integration of all the available databases. In theory, a searcher will be able to simultaneously search in case law, legislation and commentary.
The new product is also based on a simplified interface with a range of filters on left of the search screen for date, court and jurisdiction, and topical area (based on the SOQUIJ subject classification system) and a keyword search box in the main part of the page. A searcher can use the filters and then   add keywords. Theoretically, an infinity of new lines of keywords can be added to refine the search. The number of search results is recalculated automatically with each search refinement (new keywords, new filters added) and instantly displayed onscreen.
The results page has also been greatly simplified. For example, when searching for case law, the  user can select tabs along the top of the results list to gain immediate access to a summary of any case, the full text, the case citator or the case history.
Legislation has not yet been connected to the new portal but that will be implemented over the summer. The final integration of legislation with case law and commentary will allow for a single search across all content (millions of cases, thousands of articles, hundreds of laws).
Wolters Kluwer, the purveyor of search products from the CCH family (in particular Canadian tax research databases) provided a demo of the IntelliConnect platform.
There is already a Google search plugin for IntelliConnect.
On the platform itself, again as in the case of SOQUIJ's new product described above, the user encounters a simple interface: in the lefthand column, a list of available CCH databases that can be selected individually, product news in the centre column, and training materials and videos on the right. Along the top, one finds a search box. One can search across all subscribed CCH products or narrow the search to a specific database or product using a drop-down list.
Results are sorted automatically by type eg legislation, commentary etc. The left side of the results page contains filters to drill down further. A drop-down at the top of the screen on the results page allows for further narrowing of the search by adding new keywords.
Users can also add notes inside documents and store them in research folders that can be shared with colleagues
SOQUIJ and Wolters Kluwer seem to have adopted an approach similar to what is found in products such as WestlawNext and Yvon Blais' La Reference (a Quebec law research portal): the implementation of a single interface that allows for searching across all subscribed content, with facets (usually on the left of the screen) to filter by document type, date, jurisdiction or subject heading. 

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:53 pm 0 comments links to this post

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Conference - Vendor Demo byJustis Publishing

Vendors presented new products this afternoon at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries taking place in Moncton, New Brunswick.
Here are a few highlights from the presentation by UK-based Justis Publishing.
On May 1, that is the day before yesterday, the new JustisOne platform was launched. It combines the Justis full-text product for reported and unreported cases and the JustCite citator in one platform. 
One interesting feature of the new product is that the same thematic classification structure applies to cases from the UK, Canada and Australia. In other words, the same structured vocabulary can be used for searching by topic across various jurisdictions.
Search results amalgamate metadata, including subject metadata, and the full-text of a case in the same display. Noting up cases to find subsequent judicial treatment is just one click away and can be restricted to a particular jurisdiction.
In the case of unreported judgments, what is used as metadata is the most cited paragraph extracted from the case.
Finally, when viewing the full-text of jurisprudence, any paragraphs that have ever been cited by subsequent judgments are highlighted. Clicking on a highlighted paragraph leads directly to the citing case.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:30 pm 0 comments links to this post

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Conference - Vendor Demo byHeinOnline

This afternoon, at the 2015 conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries, a number of vendors presented demos of their newest products.
I was able to see the presentations by HeinOnline, Justis Publishing, SOQUIJ and Wolters Kluwer. 
Here are some of the highlights for HeinOnline.
US company HeinOnline is known for its deep collections of digitized journals, laws and texts.
Among its new offerings and/or enhancements are:

Some 100 periodicals from the ABA Law Library (American Bar Association) are now available in full colour PDF format.
The World Treaty library now has copies of 180,000 treaties including full collections of UN, League of Nation, historical treaties back to 1648 among others. All treaty metadata fields are searchable such as signatories, date of ratification, date of entry into force etc. 
The company has created a new Women and the Law collection with biographical information, and texts on abortion rights, suffrage, feminism and legal theory, rights, employment etc. 
The Index to Foreign Periodicals produced by the American Association of Law Libraries has been adding  lots of Commonwealth content and hopes to soon combine with the well-regarded product Brill's Foreign Law Guide. 
New products in development include a new collection on Religion and the Law as well of  Canadian Provincial Legislation that will include Annual statutes and Revised Statutes. 
HeinOnline has also been updating many existing collections:
It now has more than 2000 unique titles in the Law Journal Library all going back in PDF to the first issue, with 93 percent being available up to the most current issue or volume. The collection includes 700 international journals from 40 countries. 
I am happy to note that there is no longer any embargo on the most recent issues of the Supreme Court Reports available through HeinOnline. They are fully up to date.
HeinOnline has also made a number of enhancements to its interface, such as integration with the online document storage tool Dropbox, the introduction of  Author portal pages - authors can upload bio info, and add links out to their articles on other platforms, and the creation of interfaces in other languages (Spanish now exists, and French, Chinese and Russian are coming).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:19 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, May 01, 2015

Canadian Association of Law Libraries 2015 Conference - Annual Reports from Special Interest Groups

This is a follow-up to yesterday's post called Canadian Association of Law Libraries 2015 Conference Annual Reports.

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is beginning its 2015 annual conference this weekend in Moncton.

Annual reports of committees and special interest groups (SIG) have been submitted in anticipation of the general meeting.

Here are summaries of some of the reports:

Prison Libraries SIG:
The SIG has worked with the Canadian Library Association and the CALL executive to draft a position statement supporting the rights of offenders to access quality libraries and library services in their prisons. Here is an excerpt from the statement (Position Statement on the Fundamental Right of People who are Incarcerated to Read, Learn and Access Information):
"As correctional institutions in Canada continue to face population management pressures, a growing population with complex needs, and a lack of program capacity the CLA and CALL/ACBD recognize the importance of prison libraries within all levels of correctional institutions."

"Literacy and the prison library play an important role inside institutions as well as in reintegration planning. The prison library has the opportunity to mirror the outside world and help prepare the incarcerated person for release."

"People serving their sentences have not given up the right to learn and to access information, including legal information. Inmates should therefore have access to materials, services, and opportunities to develop literacy skills, pursue personal and cultural interests, and engage in life-long learning that properly-resourced prison libraries provide."

"Qualified, trained and paid staff should work with the collections to meet the education, recreation and rehabilitation needs of the prisoners. The CLA and CALL/ACBD are calling for a renewed focus and reallocation of resources to allow libraries in prison to provide access to books, information, and related relevant programming that can contribute to safety and success both within and outside correctional institutions."
Academic Law Libraries SIG:
The SIG submitted three proposals to the Moncton CALL Conference, all three were accepted:
  • Law Libraries’ Response to the Wave of Social Media: Developing Effective Solutions in New Economic Realities
  • Collection Issues in Changing Times: Development or Maintenance?
  • The Ethos of Guide on the Side: Developing Online Tutorials to Teach Legal Research and Writing
The SIG has remained one of the more active groups throughout the last year with its own dedicated listserv and through CALL’s In Session e-newsletter.

Student SIG:
The SIG successfully advocated for a lower membership fee for students. Several members noted that the previous cost was prohibitive but that the new fee of $15 per year is quite affordable.

It also advocated for more of a CALL presence at universities and helped hold various events, such as webinars, tours and guest speaker sessions to interest students in law librarianship and CALL.

One interesting idea from the SIG is that of exploring the possibility of more incentives to attend conferences. For example, the Canadian Library Association (CLA) has a Student-To-CLA program which covers the costs of attending the conference for several students every year. Students granted the awards each contribute a brief statement about their experiences to be published in the CLA newsletter.

Access Services and Resource Sharing SIG Subcommittee on Classification:
One highlight last year was the fact that the Library of Congress created a new subclass KIA-KIX (Law of Indians and Indigenous Peoples) in the LC subject headings system as well as a parallel expansion of KF8200-KF8228 into KF8200-KF8576.

The KF Editorial Board had just completed its own expansion of KF8200-KF8228. This posed a challenge to the Editorial Board as it had to find ways to harmonize these new developments with the existing arrangement in KF Modified. The Committee had been working on the new development which will be discussed at the CALL KF Modified meeting at the conference.

Government Libraries SIG:
The SIG has been continuing with its update of the resource Law Libraries in Canada. A description of law libraries for a number of jurisdictions has been completed and posted on the SIG’s pages of the CALL website.

The downsizing of collections has also been a major concern for the SIG which has discussed the need to cut collections due to increasing costs and decreasing budgets. The group also discussed the challenges that arise from moving to online content (licensing, costs, technical issues, etc.) and trying to continue to serve the information needs of clients with a smaller collection.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:24 pm 0 comments links to this post

Library of Parliament Analysis of Mandatory Minimum Sentences and on Anti–Money Laundering Rules

The Library of Parliament this week published two (2) posts on its HillNotes blog that refer to recent Supreme Court of Canada cases:
  • Mandatory Minimum Sentences and Section 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: "On 14 April 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in R. v. Nur, a case that challenged the constitutionality of mandatory minimum sentences for the possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition. In a split 6–3 decision, the Court found that the required sentences of imprisonment for three years for a first offence and five years for a second or subsequent offence violated section 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the protection against cruel and unusual punishment. This case offers an important perspective on how the Supreme Court will consider future cases regarding the mandatory minimum sentences adopted by Parliament."
  • Canada’s Anti–Money Laundering and Anti–Terrorist Financing Regime: The Legal Profession’s Obligations: "On 13 February 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that certain provisions of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act that impose obligations on lawyers violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The decision, in Canada (Attorney General) v. Federation of Law Societies of Canada, confirmed that legislation cannot enforce obligations on lawyers that would undermine solicitor–client privilege. In exempting lawyers from the Act, Canada – like the United States and Australia – is among the few Financial Action Task Force members that do not impose obligations on lawyers as part of their anti–money laundering and anti–terrorist financing regime. According to the Task Force, criminals may use lawyers to facilitate illegal financial transactions, particularly when they are acting as financial intermediaries."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:56 pm 0 comments links to this post