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Library Boy

Legal research news from an Ottawa law librarian

Updated: 2017-04-24T18:30:45.549-04:00


Updated 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 updated some of its research guides:
  • Religious Legal Systems in Comparative Law - A Guide to Introductory Research: "Religious law in this guide is seen as a branch of comparative law and legal study. Further, it is argued here that comparative law itself may most usefully be seen as part of the tradition of legal philosophy. Far from being wholly academic, however, comparative law is a practical approach in the service of 1) legal education 2) the appreciation of treaty implementation and 3) choice of law in the new world of public/private international law known as transnational law. At the conclusion of this guide to sources is a brief discussion of this approach to comparative law (...) It is clear that in areas of private law such as family law, inheritance, and in come commercial transactions, several religious systems influence secular law or are incorporated as a regime which may or must be applied in those areas or to members of certain religious communities. As sources for legal research in these areas are inter-disciplinary and often less known in the world of legal research, an overview of the major world systems, and where and how they are implemented, is offered. "
  • Transnational and Comparative Family Law: Harmonization and Implementation: " 'Transnational' (or 'transactional') law is becoming a frequent phenomenon in the practice of law and now occupies a prominent place in the study of international and comparative law. Both academic and practitioner-oriented information sources point to ways to locate and connect national laws with treaties and regimes of harmonization; however, commercial and procedural rules have been, in general, easier to locate than substantive and harmonized law in the family law area. This guide points researchers to significant electronic and print sources in transnational and comparative family law.  The purpose of this guide is to indicate how these international conventions are implemented in selected jurisdictions with some indication of how to locate substantive national law under these same international regimes. An excellent resource on this topic is the Encyclopedia of Private International Law (Jürgen Basedow, et al., eds), Edward Elgar Publishing, 2017. It includes article/entries on the topics dealt with most often in international family law: adoption, child abduction, divorce, marriage, and trusts. "
  • International Commercial Arbitration: "International commercial arbitration is a means of resolving disputes arising under international commercial contracts. It is used as an alternative to litigation and is controlled primarily by the terms previously agreed upon by the contracting parties, rather than by national legislation or procedural rules. Most contracts contain a dispute resolution clause specifying that any disputes arising under the contract will be handled through arbitration rather than litigation. The parties can specify the forum, procedural rules, and governing law at the time of the contract. "

Canadian Forum on Civil Justice April 2017 Access to Justice Newsletter


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

The latest issue of the newsletter includes:
  • news about access to justice initiatives
  • a Working Data Document with results from a 125-question Justice Development Goals Survey
  • and more about expanding service to low-income citizens, the changing profile of self-represented litigants, and "Social Impact Bonds" and access to justice (these bonds are contracts between investors and public sector groups, where funding is provided for projects aimed at improved social outcomes)

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles


The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection from April 1 to 15, 2017 is now available on the Court website.

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

Five Ontario Universities in Shared Last Print Copy Repository Project


Five university libraries in Ontario (at the University of Ottawa, the University of Western Ontario, Queen's, University of Toronto, and McMaster) are participating in the Keep@Downsview partnership, which is a shared last print copy repository project:
"The project, called Keep@Downsview, aims to consolidate and rationalize low-use print materials held by the partner libraries and ensure long-term preservation of these important scholarly materials in Ontario, while still providing access via document delivery and ILL. In doing so, each of the partner institutions demonstrates its commitment to the stewardship of print collections for future generations while repurposing valuable space on campus. This paper describes the background, rationale, challenges, and lessons learned for this unique Canadian project that leveraged funding from the province of Ontario, the University of Toronto‘s high density preservation facility at Downsview, and the commitment of all partners to preserve the scholarly record in Ontario (...)

"(...) the five libraries also quickly established the goals of the project and agreed to four key principles:  
  • The project strives to save costs while maintaining access to a principal research collection by sharing in the responsibility of storing and maintaining one shared preservation print copy at the Downsview facility.
  • The project includes both journals and monographs.
  • All materials in Downsview are low-demand materials, as determined by the participating institutions.
  • All institutions share ownership of the materials they transfer. "
There has been some discussion (but less action) in relation to the idea of a "last print copy repository" in the case of legal materials, as can be seen in these 2 articles from recent years:

LexBox App Now Available on CanLII


The LexBox app is now available on the website of the Canadian Legal Information Institute, CanLII.

It allows users on CanLII to:
  • Save search queries
  • Set up alerts for new content matching a search
  • Create folders with saved results
  • See a trail of your research

Legal Information Preservation Alliance Webinar on Open Access Law Repositories


The Legal Information Preservation Alliance is offering a free webinar on the new Law ArXiv platform on Thursday, April 27 at 2PM Eastern Time.

According to an e-mail from NELLCO, an international consortium of law libraries:
"The LawArXiv mission is to empower the scholarly legal community and champion open access principles by ensuring community ownership of legal scholarship. The project has been in the planning stages for several months and is expected to launch within the next few weeks."
LawArXiv is an emerging collaborative initiative of the Legal Information Preservation Alliance, the Mid-America Law Library Consortium, the NELLCO Law Library Consortium, and the Cornell Law Library. Christine Iaconeta (Law Library Director, University of Maine) will moderate the program. Presenters are Jean Wenger (Chair, LIPA Board), Corie Dugas (Executive Director, MALLCO), and Tracy Thompson (Executive Director, MALLCO).

Meeting number (access code): 630 636 887
Meeting password: aACqXsQ2

Audio connection:
1-866-469-3239 Call-in toll-free number (US/Canada)
1-650-429-3300 Call-in toll number (US/Canada)

Interview with Colin Lachance, CEO of Compass/MLB, ex-CEO of CanLII


The Ross Intelligence blog has published an interview with Colin Lachance, the former CEO of CanLII (Canadian Legal Information Institute) and the current CEO of Compass/MLB, a new firm that has taken over the defunct Canadian case law publisher Maritime Law Book:
"In leading Compass/MLB, Colin is taking the helm of an online legal publishing company for a second time. From 2011 to 2015, he was CEO of Canada’s most used legal information resource (CanLII — a not-for-profit free law platform funded by all Canadian lawyers), and in that capacity was recognized as a Fastcase50 innovator in 2013, an ABA Journal Legal Rebel in 2014, and as among Canadian Lawyer Magazine’s Top 25 Most Influential of 2014. With degrees in business and law, including an LL.M. in law and tech awarded in 2013, he’s also held senior legal, policy, marketing and lobbying positions in the telecommunications industry, a field in which he still does a little legal work on the side."

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Webinar on Loom Analytics


The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is hosting a webinar on April 18, 2017

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Early Career Advice Survey


The New Professionals Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL/ACBD)  is looking for responses to an Early Career Advice Survey it has developed:
"The goal of this survey is to gather anecdotes, suggestions and words of wisdom from the CALL/ACBD community for new professionals on a variety of professional development topics. This survey takes less than 15 minutes to complete and responses remain anonymous."
The theme for this year’s survey is “the first 5 years” which includes questions such as the do’s and don’ts of the interviewing process and helpful networking tips.

Results from the survey will be posted to the SIG webpage by May 2017.

Supreme Court of Canada Calendar of Upcoming Hearings


The Supreme Court of Canada has published its calendar of appeal hearings for April 2017.

To find out more about any particular case, click on the docket number in parentheses next to each case name to find docket information, case summaries as well as facta from the parties.

New Additions to Free Quebec Law Online


This week saw two additions of free Quebec legal sources online.

1) CanLII (Canadian Legal Information Institute) and CAIJ (Centre d'accès à l'information juridique, the network of courthouse law libraries associated with the Québec Bar Association) have signed a deal to expand the coverage of Quebec administrative law on CanLII.

2) And CAIJ has a partnership agreement with Éditions Revue de droit de l'Université de Sherbrooke to make some of the University of Sherbrooke's textbooks available online on the CAIJ website.

Their material will be added to a collection that already includes full-text commentary and textbooks including the Développements récents (annual reviews of areas of law), the Collection de droit (Bar School materials), proceedings of the annual Quebec Bar Association congresses, a growing number of treatises from publisher Wilson & Lafleur, numerous annotated acts, case law, and a list of thousands of legal questions with their corresponding answers.

April 2017 Issue of In Session - E-Newsletter of Canadian Association of Law Libraries


The April 2017 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.

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles


The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection from March 16 to 31, 2017 is now available on the Court website.

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

Profile of Manager of Ottawa Public Library Alternative Services Alexandra Yarrow


The website has been running a series of profiles of Canadian librarians for a few years now.

The most recent one is a profile of  Alexandra Yarrow, the Manager of  Alternative Services at the Ottawa Public Library (OPL). Her duties include the Homebound, Bookmobile & Kiosk, and Accessibility Services.

"What’s your best time-saving shortcut?
There’s no one magic bullet, but I am really big on using the right format for the task (phone call, email, meeting, conference call). For instance, I schedule independent work times (we call it “heads-down” in my team). We operate in a very Outlook calendar-centric world, so I make sure to block off time far in advance for projects or reports, so that meetings don’t get scheduled and leave me running for the finish line at the last minute. When someone sends me an email about a piece of work such as a report, I move that email straight to the Calendar and throw together a to-do list in under a minute to get it out of my inbox. Everything in my Calendar (and lots of other places) is colour-coded by team name or audience. I get about 100 emails a day and usually reach inbox = 0 by Friday afternoon (...)"

"Do you find yourself always working on something? Or when you finish a project, do you take time to let your mind wander without concern for what’s next?
One project at a time? What world is this you speak of? I have nine on my departmental work plan, and those are just the ones that the rest of OPL is directly implicated in; my team is usually cooking up at least a few other small ones all the time. I let my mind wander when I am walking to work, on my bike, on a run, or in the shower. Those are the places where I get the best ideas. I’m pretty good at disconnecting, but I believe that everyone’s neocortex chews on things and spits out answers even when we think we’re resting."

Middle Temple Library Resources on Brexit


The library of the Middle Temple in London, England has compiled an annotated list of online resources regarding the United Kingdom's decision to leave the Euriopean Union, otherwise known as Brexit.

The resources include analyses and papers by the Bar, English law firms, and governments (UK, Scotland, Wales), as well as legislation, court cases on Brexit, EU documents, library & think tank collections, and news.

As the intro states: "Links will be regularly updated."

Middle Temple is one of the four "Inns of Court" which have the exclusive right to call students to the British Bar.

[Source: Off the Shelf, the Osgoode Hall Law School Library Blog]

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Letter On Eliminating Print Version of Statutes of Canada


Connie Crosby, President of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL), has written a letter to The Honourable Judy M. Foote, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada, explaining the many concerns law librarians have about the idea of discontinuing the paper publication of the annual Statutes of Canada.

The letter is in response to a CBC News report that the federal government might consider changes to legislation that requires that Canada's annual laws be made available in print.

In her letter, Crosby calls on the government to take care before any move to a digital-only policy, in particular when it comes to long-term access and preservation:
"Work with the Library and Archives Canada (LAC)—to ensure any electronic-only publications meet preservation requirements and are captured accurately and completely for future reference. Until that time, if a whole program of printing is not possible, perhaps a limited run of paper volumes printed in a different format and given to selected key repositories—such as LAC and the Library of Parliament— would be an interim solution until a more informed decision can be made. Although the government seems to fall back on the digital archiving that Library and Archives Canada is doing, please note LAC itself has gone through massive budget cuts resulting in constraints on what they are actually able to accomplish (...)

"If the government continues on the path towards 'digital only' publication of the Statutes of Canada, we would encourage you to REPLACE the Publication of Statutes Act with a comprehensive plan that considers:
  • maintaining a small print run for long-term preservation purposes;
  • the future of the Canada Gazette, and in particular the Canada Gazette Part Three which provides our only official online version of annual statutes, as well as the helpful Table of Proclamations;
  • the future of the Table of Public Statutes. This Table was published as a stationary publication in the Statutes of Canada each year. The online version on Justice Laws is not sustainable in its current format – an annual archived version could be contemplated;
  • what will be the official version of our Statutes of Canada moving forward in a digital age?
  • a way to maintain the side-by-side, English/French comparison, which can be an important part of some statutory interpretation exercises, while still meeting accessibility requirements."

Tomorrow is World Backup Day


Tomorrow is World Backup Day.

As the promoters write:
"This independent initiative to raise awareness about backups and data preservation started out — like most good things on the internet - on reddit by a couple of concerned users. Let’s make this happen!"
The website explains how to backup important files either on a USB device or in the cloud.

[Source: Blogue SOQUIJ]

Winter 2017 Issue of Law Library Journal


The Winter 2017 issue of Law Library Journal is now available online. It is published by the American Association of Law Lbraries.

Featured articles include:

Statistics Canada Article on Police Resources in Canada


The Statistics Canada publication Juristat has published an article on Police resources in Canada, 2016.

Among the highlights:
  • There were 68,773 police officers in Canada on May 15, 2016. This represents a rate of police strength of 190 officers per 100,000 population and a decline of 1% from the previous year. This marks the fifth consecutive year of decline in the rate of police strength.
  • The 28,422 civilians employed by police services across Canada on May 15, 2016 represented 29% of all police personnel. Civilian personnel as a proportion of all personnel employed by police services has consistently and gradually increased since the 1960s.
  • On May 15, 2016, women accounted for over 21% of all sworn officers. Women continued to be increasingly represented in the higher ranks of police services. They represented 13% of senior officers in 2016—the highest proportion ever recorded—compared with 6% in 2006 and less than 1% in 1986.
  • Year-end operating expenditures for police services in Canada in 2015/2016 totaled $14.2 billion in current dollars. Accounting for inflation, total operating expenditures rose by 1% from the previous year. Police spending increased annually from 1997/1998 to 2010/2011, but has since varied by less than 1% other than somewhat larger increases in 2012/2013 and 2015/2016.
  • When accounting for population and inflation, policing operational costs in 2015/2016 amounted to $313 per capita, almost unchanged from $312 per capita in 2014/2015.

How Do Other Countries Regulate Marijuana


Now that it appears that the Canadian government will legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Canada by July 1, 2018, it might be interesting to look at what the policies are currently here and  how other jurisdictions have handled the issue of legalization/decriminalization.

Last year, the Library of Parliament produced two documents on the topic.

The first is a brief overview in its HillNotes blog entitled The Regulation of Marijuana under Canadian Law:
"Marijuana, otherwise known as cannabis, has been legally prohibited in Canada since 1923. The 2002 report of the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs noted that there was little debate surrounding this addition to the criminal law at the time; as such, the precise motivation for doing so remains unclear."

"Today, the prohibition of cannabis is found in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), which makes it an offence to possess, traffic, import and export, or produce cannabis."

"Penalties upon conviction for these offences range from a fine for the least serious possession offences to potential life imprisonment for the most serious trafficking offences. Sentences are more severe if the amount of cannabis involved is large."

"Mandatory minimum sentences apply if certain factors are present, such as the threat or use of violence or a weapon in the commission of the offence. A mandatory sentence need not be applied if an offender successfully completes a drug treatment program."
The article also looks at how marijuana is regulated in other jurisdictions such as the states of Washington and Colorado, Uruguay, Portugal and the Netherlands.

The second is a background paper on The Legal Regulation of Marijuana in Canada and Selected Other Countries:
"This document discusses the legal regulation of marijuana in Canada and in a number of other jurisdictions. After some material on marijuana itself, it provides an overview of the international drug control regime, including current debates surrounding the possible reform of this regime and the outcomes of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem, which took place in April 2016. The document then turns to the legal treatment of marijuana in Canada, including the prevalence of use of marijuana in this country. It then examines different regulation approaches - including legalization and decriminalization - in a number of jurisdictions."
Those jurisdictions include Uruguay, the United States, Portugal, Spain, and the Netherlands.

AMICUS National Union Catalogue to be Replaced Under Deal Between OCLC and Library and Archives Canada


Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has signed a deal with OCLC, the international non-profit library co-operative, to replace AMICUS.

AMICUS serves as a national union catalogue, helping users locate materials in hundreds of library collections across the country. It is often used for the purposes of identifying libraries that can provide copies of material via inter-library loan.

As LAC explains:
"LAC’s current system is outdated and no longer adequately meets the needs of Canadians. Following an in-depth analysis and consultations with key stakeholders in the Canadian library community, LAC concluded that it would be less costly to acquire these services than to build and maintain an in-house system."

"Implementation of LAC’s new library management system will take place over the next 24 months. LAC will continue to serve its clients using AMICUS while the new service is implemented. Once the OCLC system is fully operational in 2018, AMICUS services will be discontinued."

"To take advantage of OCLC’s world-class services, Canadian libraries must be members of the co-operative. Many Canadian libraries are already members of OCLC. In line with feedback from the Canadian library community, LAC has negotiated an agreement with OCLC whereby LAC will cover the interlibrary loan and copy cataloguing subscription fees for small public libraries and small libraries at post-secondary institutions (community colleges, CEGEPs and universities). In spring or summer 2017, LAC will let libraries know how they can apply for financial assistance in order to become members of OCLC."

"LAC will also work closely with Canadian libraries that are not OCLC members to resolve their interlibrary loan and copy cataloguing needs."

Twitter Town Hall With Chief Judge of British Columbia Provincial Court


The British Columbia Provincial Court’s Chief Judge Thomas Crabtree will host a live Twitter Town Hall on April 6, 2017.

People will be able to tweet their questions about the court and the judicial system using the hashtag #AskChiefJudge on or before that date.

Judge Crabtree will tweet his responses between 11am-1pm Pacific Time.

A similar event was held last year as part of Law Week activities,

New Caselaw Database for United Nations International Criminal Tribunals


The United Nations has launched a new version of its Case Law Database covering International Criminal Tribunals.

It provides access to the jurisprudence of the International Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT which has taken over various functions of the two other tribunals).

Among the features of the database:
  • Extracts of key appeal judgments and decisions
  • Case law from the establishment of each tribunal up until 31 December 2016
  • New search criteria allow users to tailor their findings to their own preferences according to key words, case names, time periods, relevant rules and more

Law Library of Congress Report on Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and War Crimes Jurisdiction


The Law Library of Congress's recently compiled report on Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and War Crimes Jurisdiction is now available online:
"This chart reports on 149 jurisdictions that have laws punishing at least one of the three crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes. It indicates, where information was available, whether those laws cover only nationals, foreign persons when the offense is committed within the territory, or foreign persons when the offenses are committed outside of the country’s borders. In cases for which it is known that the laws have actually been applied, that information is included in the far right column of the chart."
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.