Thursday, December 17, 2015

English Law Commission Report on Firearms Control

The English Law Commission has issued its final report on the modernization of the British law regulating the possession and acquisition of firearms.

According to the press release:
"The existing law is confused, unclear and difficult to apply. There are over 30 pieces of overlapping legislation, some of the key terminology – such as 'lethal', 'component part' and 'antique' – is not clearly defined, and the law has fallen out of step with developments in technology (...)"

"Following extensive public consultation with police and prosecutors, in addition to groups representing the licensed firearms community, the Commission makes three recommendations in its report to clarify definitions:
  • There should be single, simple test to determine whether a weapon is lethal, based upon the kinetic energy at which it discharges a projectile.
  • What constitutes a 'component part' of a firearm should be set out in a statutory list and the Secretary of State be given the power to update the list.
  • Whether a firearm is antique should be determined by whether it uses an obsolete cartridge type or firing mechanism contained on an statutory list. Only those old firearms that no longer pose a realistic danger to the public should be on the list."

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

New Website to Find US Congressional Research Reports

For years, American open-government advocates have complained about the lack of direct access to reports prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the policy research arm of the U.S. Congress.

These reports are often very detailed overviews of a topic and the topics frequently touch upon international legal issues of interest to Canadian researchers.

Various non-governmental organizations, libraries and research groups have set up websites to archive CRS material and make it freely available to the general public.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that a new site has recently been set up that offers a free archive of thousands of CRS reports.

The site is called CRSReports.com.

The Washington Post explains that the new archive joins two other sites that attempt to make CRS Reports available to the public:
"It has competition, from the Federation of American Scientists and the University of North Texas, both of which have amassed impressive digital libraries of CRS reports (...)"


"But none of the three can claim to scrape the Internet for every one of the thousands of studies issued to members of Congress every year by experts on just about every subject that touches government. So it’s a race of sleuths to do the most exhaustive scans they can, from academic sites to postings by embassies and other groups."

[Source: Library Journal INFOdocket]

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Latest Annual International Library Automation Perceptions Survey

Library Technology Guides is collecting data for its most recent annual International Library Automation Perceptions Report
"The survey measures the levels of satisfaction that libraries have in their strategic technology products and their perceptions of the quality of service and support that they receive. The results of this survey provide valuable information to libraries as they formulate technology strategies and to vendors as they refine their support services and product development."

"The survey also probes at considerations for migrating to new systems, involvement in discovery products, and the level of interest in open source ILS. While the numeric rating scales support the statistical results of the study, the comments offered also provide interesting insights into the current state of library automation satisfaction."
The annual survey has been conducted every year since 2007.

The results of all previous surveys are available on the Library Technology Guides website, which is maintained by Marshall Breeding, a well-known library automation expert.

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New Zealand Law Commission Releases Reports on Victims of Sexual Violence and on Protection of Sensitive Information

The New Zealand Law Commission today released two reports.

The first is The Crown in Court: A review of the Crown Proceedings Act and national security information in proceedings. It has two parts: 
  •  Part 1, A new Crown Civil Proceedings Act, recommends replacing the Crown Proceedings Act 1950 with new legislation that enables people to seek effective legal redress when the Crown has breached a legal obligation.
  • Part 2, National security information in proceedings, makes recommendations around how information that might pose a threat to national security if released to the public should be dealt with in court proceedings. 
The second report is The Justice Response to Victims of Sexual Violence: Criminal Trials and Alternative Processes. It considers whether a non-criminal process is a viable alternative way of dealing with certain incidents of sexual violence, where that is desired by the victim, and puts forward a proposal to give effect to such an alternative.

Among other elements, the report proposes that:
  • All judges who sit on sexual violence trials should receive special training
  • A specialist sexual violence court should be piloted and future consideration should be given to whether proceedings in that court should or should not be heard in front of a jury.
  • Government should put in place a legal and policy framework to give effect to an alternative process that could operate entirely separately of criminal trial.
  • The process would provide for a victim to complete a programme that addresses the harm caused by the sexual violence and that facilitates discussion with and reparation by the perpetrator, if appropriate.

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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Canadian Forum on Civil Justice December 2015 Access to Justice Newsletter

The non-profit Canadian Forum on Access to Justice (CFCJ) publishes a monthly newsletter about Access to Justice.

The latest issue of the newsletter includes:
  • the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and access to justice
  • a comparison of Canadian civil law needs surveys
  • a selection of must-read articles from this season

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:56 pm 0 comments links to this post

New International Law Research Guides From Globalex

GlobaLex, the electronic collection created by the Hauser Global Law School Program at the New York University School of Law, recently added two new research guides:
  • Cyberwarfare and Collateral Damages: "The purpose of this paper is to offer an introductory overview on the collateral damages of cyberwarfare. This paper offers an overview on cyberwarfare with focus on collateral damages and the role of victims. Cyberwarfare is a new type of warfare that poses numerous challenges. First, the article outlines basic definitions of cyberwarfare and cyber weapons proposed so far, and it outlines the international legal framework. Second, the article addresses collateral damages and the role of victims including illustrations of two paradigmatic cases of widely known cyberattacks."
  • A Review of the Progressive Development of International Human Rights Framework on Capital Punishment:"It has been widely recognized that the restriction of the death penalty has found its way into positive international human rights law. Although historically the death penalty was essentially a state's own choice of a suitable punishment for the most heinous criminal wrongdoings, it is no more restricted by transnational norms as well as domestic policies today. In some states, the death penalty has become primarily a human rights issue, in lieu of an exclusive criminal justice topic. As a general trend, the historical arch of the administration of the death penalty has bent towards human rights worldwide. The human rights standard-setting, as guarantee to protect the rights of those facing the death penalty, has become a now well-established area of international law. Human rights standards, guidelines and principles serve as principal forces which influence, curtail, and limit retentionists’ practices on the death penalty. The normative framework of the international human rights limiting capital punishment includes, among others, the UN-based human rights instruments, notably the International Bill of Human Rights, and the three regional human rights legal regimes. Important developments during the past few decades concerning capital punishment took place within intergovernmental organizations, international courts and human rights monitoring bodies. Excluding vulnerable groups of persons from the death penalty, restricting capital punishment to an ever-shrinking death-eligible offence list of “the most serious crimes”, enhancing due process safeguards for the administration of the death penalty, and securing the right to petition on clemency, commutation and pardon, inter alia, are the thematic constituents of this body of international human rights law. "

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Friday, December 11, 2015

Lawyers Who Have Won the Nobel Peace Prize

December 10th is the day on which the annual winners of the Nobel Prizes in various fields collect their awards in Oslo or Stockholm.

The Nobel Prize winners in literature, chemistry, physics, medicine and economics gather in the Swedish capital. The winner or winners of the yearly Peace Prize attend a ceremony in Oslo.

Law Library of Congress employee Jennifer Gonzalez has written a two-part post on the Library's blog In Custodia Legis about the many lawyers and law professors who have won the Peace Prize:
The list includes Oscar Arias (ending civil wars in Central America), Nelson Mandela, Cordell Hull (Secretary of State under FDR), René Cassin (UN Declaration of Human Rights), Dag Hammarskjöld (UN Secretary General) and Shirin Ebadi (Iranian human rights defender).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 11:19 am 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Irish Law Reform Commission Report on Search Warrants and Bench Warrants

The Law Reform Commission of Ireland has released a Report on Search Warrants and Bench Warrants that proposes that the 300 current laws on search warrants should be replaced by a single generally applicable Search Warrants Act, which would contain standard rules on applying for, issuing and executing warrants.

At the moment in Ireland, 143 Acts and 159 ministerial Regulations allow the police and regulators (such as the Central Bank, commercial regulators and the Environmental Protection Agency) to apply to the District Court for warrants to search premises and seize material in connection with suspected theft, drugs offences or corporate offences.

Among the details of the recommendations:
  • The proposed Search Warrants Act would apply to all indictable offences and to certain summary offences (notably those involving implementation of EU-derived law).
  • The general validity period for search warrants should be 7 days, which may be extended if needed (three extensions only). Emergency search warrants issued by the High Court should last for 24 hours only. Exceptional 30 day time limits for search warrants in, for example, the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act 2013 and the Companies Act 2014 should be retained because they are needed to investigate complex corporate offences.
  • Search warrants should, in general, be executed at reasonable times (usually, daylight hours), but may be executed at other times (so called “dawn raids”) if a case is made to the court that this is required.
  • Material reasonably believed to be evidence of or relating to an offence, not necessarily the offence to which the search warrant refers, may be seized if found during a search.
  • The admissibility of material over which privilege is claimed (for example, legal professional privilege) should be adjudicated by the High Court.
  • A Code of Practice on Search Warrants should be published by the Minister for Justice and Equality, which would contain practical guidance on the procedures to be followed in search warrants.
  • Failure to comply with the Search Warrants Act or the Code of Practice should not, of itself, affect the admissibility of evidence. The rules on the admissibility or inadmissibility of illegally and unconstitutionally obtained evidence will continue to be developed by the courts.
 The report also provides a history of warrants in the common law tradition.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Canadian Bar Association Legal Futures Round-Up

National, the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) magazine, recently started publishing Legal Futures round-up:
"Inspired by the CBA Legal Futures Initiative, which released its comprehensive report, Futures: Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada in August 2014, here’s our biweekly round-up of noteworthy developments, opinions and news in the legal futures space as a means of furthering discussion about our changing legal marketplace."
Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:

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

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Results from Survey on Future Canadian Library Federation

This is a follow-up to the Library Boy post of October 11, 2015 entitled Proprosal to Create Federation of Library Associations to Replace Canadian Library Association.

In recent months,  representatives from the Canadian Library Association (CLA) as well as other regional and sectoral library associations have been meeting to discuss the CLA's dissolution and its replacement by a new national structure that would take the form of a federation of library associations.

As part of the process, various participating associations surveyed their membership,

The CLA has just released a summary of the results:
"The results of  the surveys demonstrate broad support across the respondents for a  significant  change for the national association and support for the proposal in general.  Within the survey results, some specific themes emerged that did not occur across the  majority or even a strong minority of  the responses, but were flagged by the Working  Group as important to address for the final version of the proposal (...)"

"While we will never create the 'perfect' proposal that meets every single interest expressed by every individual, institution, and association that comprises the library sector in Canada, we do  believe we can get to a proposal that is most definitely 'good enough' to get us started along a new path in Canada for a unified national voice for the library communities that make up this country."
A final proposal is scheduled for December 18, 2015

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Monday, December 07, 2015

Statistics Canada Report on Attitudes Shows Police is Most Trusted Public Institution

Statistics Canada today released results from its 2013 General Social Survey that measured the degree of confidence Canadians have in various public institutions.

The survey shows that  76% of Canadians have some or a great deal of confidence in the police, making it the institution with the highest level of public confidence.

At the same time, around 6 in 10 Canadians were confident in the school system (61%), banks (59%) and the justice system and courts (57%).

In contrast, a minority of Canadians expressed confidence in the media (40%), Federal Parliament (38%) and major corporations (30%).

More specifically, the majority of Canadians believe police were doing a good job across the six categories examined in the study.

These categories were:
  • being approachable and easy to talk to (73%)
  • ensuring the safety of citizens (70%)
  • promptly responding to calls (68%)
  • treating people fairly (68%)
  • enforcing the laws (65%)
  • providing information on crime prevention (62%).
Canadians' perceptions of police have become more favourable over time, as more Canadians believe police are doing a good job in five of the six categories compared with 2004.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:40 pm 0 comments links to this post

Seeking Nominations for the 2016 Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is accepting nominations for the 2016 Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing.

It honours a publisher (whether for-profit or not-for profit, corporate or non-corporate) that has demonstrated excellence by publishing a work, series, website or e-product that makes a significant contribution to legal research and scholarship.

Members as well as non-members of CALL can make nominations. Nominations can be submitted to Annette Demers, Past CALL President, until February 15, 2016. She can be reached at ademers AT uwindsor.ca.

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

The award will be presented to the recipient at a reception during the 2016 CALL Annual Meeting in Vancouver in May.

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Friday, December 04, 2015

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 November 16-30, 2015 is now available on the Court website.

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

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:00 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Registry of Digitized Canadian Government Information

Margaret Wall, a University of Toronto librarian currently on research leave, wants to develop an online registry of Canadian government information digitization projects.

In a post shared with various e-mail lists, including the listserv of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries, Wall wrote:
"My goal is for the registry to be a resource for both the library community and for researchers. For researchers, it will function as a centralized access point for digitized government documents and publications. For the library community, it will also function as a resource for confirming whether a particular publication, document or serial has been digitized, so that we are making the best use of limited resources for digitization by reducing duplication. I hope to also add functionality which would allow libraries to find partners for digitization projects if they have resources to share or require resources that others may be able to provide."
She will be documenting her research on a new blog she has created.

Interested parties can share comments with her via the blog.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:14 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

December 2015 Issue of In Session: Canadian Association of Law Libraries' e-Newsletter

The December 2015 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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Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Nominations Open for 2015 Canadian Law Blog Awards

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2015 Canadian Law Blog Awards known as the Clawbies.

As the organizers explain:
"It’s our celebration of excellence in law-related blogging in Canada (and beyond). We want to honour the very best of the Canadian legal blogosphere: the most interesting, timely and helpful law or legal-industry-related blogs on the internet. The Clawbies are a crowdsourced effort that relies on the enthusiastic participation and support of Canada’s legal social media and blogging communities." 
 The deadline for nominations is December 23, 2015 and the winners of the 2015 Clawbies will be announced on New Year’s Eve.

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