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Library Boy

Legal research news from an Ottawa law librarian

Updated: 2016-10-24T17:57:57.581-04:00


Legal Regulation of Marijuana in Canada and Selected Other Countries


The Library of Parliament has just published 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.

Supreme Court of Canada Calendar of Upcoming Hearings


The Supreme Court of Canada has published its calendar of appeal hearings for the period October 31 to November 11, 2016.

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 facta from the parties. All you need to do is click on a case name.

Free Access to Thousands of Reports from the US Congressional Research Service


The research reports of the Congressinal Research Service (CRS) in Washington are usually not easily accessible to the public.

A new website called has been launched by a bipartisan coalition. The site currently includes 8,255 CRS reports including many in the areas of American Law, Crime Policy, Constitutional Questions and many others:
"CRS is Congress’ think tank, and its reports are relied upon by academics, businesses, judges, policy advocates, students, librarians, journalists, and policymakers for accurate and timely analysis of important policy issues. The reports are not classified and do not contain individualized advice to any specific member of Congress."
"Until today, CRS reports were generally available only to the well-connected.
Now, in partnership with a Republican and Democratic member of Congress, we are making these reports available to everyone for free online (...)"

"We redact the phone number, email address, and names of virtually all the analysts from the reports. We add disclaimer language regarding copyright and the role CRS reports are intended to play. That’s it."

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Webinar on UN Documentation System


The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is hosting a webinar on Thursday, November 17, 2016 called Uncovering the UN Documentation System. It starts at 1PM Eastern time:
"This session will provide an overview of UN documentation. Participants will learn about the main UN organs and the different types of documents they produce; learn about document symbols and how they are structured. The different databases, tools, and publications useful to UN research will be highlighted."
The speaker is a former colleague of mine: Susan Goard, law librarian and training coordinator at the Dag Hammarskjold Library at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles


The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period October 1st to 15th, 2016 is now available on the Court website.

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

Five Questions with Pam Borden, Law Society of PEI Library


The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) has been running a series of member profiles called Five Questions With...

The most recent interview is with Pam Borden, Library Manager of the Law Society of PEI Library in Charlottetown.

Many more profiles can be found on the CALL Blog.

Another interesting profile series consists of interviews by the Law Library of Congress in Washington with members of its staff.

Government of Canada Nominates Mr. Justice Malcolm Rowe to the Supreme Court of Canada


Earlier today, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the nomination of Court of Appeal of Newfoundland and Labrador Justice Malcolm Rowe to the Supreme Court of Canada:
"This is the first nomination by the Government of Canada under its new Supreme Court selection process, which was established to promote greater openness, transparency, and accountability."

"With today’s announcement, the members of the House of Commons’ Committee on Justice and Human Rights will be given a week to prepare for a special committee hearing, where the Minister of Justice and the Chair of the Independent Advisory Board will explain the process and why the nominee was selected."

"To further meet our commitment to openness and transparency, members of the House’s Justice and Human Rights Committee and Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee – as well as representatives of the Bloc Québécois and Green Party – will be invited to take part in a Q&A session with the nominee, moderated by a law professor, on October 25."
He will replace Thomas Cromwell of Nova Scotia, who retired Sept. 1.

Slaw Reader Survey

2016-10-13T17:36:41.269-04:00, Canada's major law-related blog, has released its first ever Slaw Readers Survey Report. I have occasionally contributed to the site.

The survey reveals details such as:
  • Who reads Slaw
  • Where readers come from
  • How frequently people visit
  • Why people come to the site
Full results are available in HTML or in PDF format.

New Law Library of Congress Reports on Encrypted Communications and Foreign Intelligence Gathering


In Custodia Legis, the blog of the Law Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., reported earlier this week on two recent comparative law reports published by the institution.

The first, Government Access to Encrypted Communications, "describes the law of 12 nations and the European Union on whether the government, pursuant to a court order or other government process, can require companies to decrypt encrypted communications or provide the government with the means to do so".

The other one is an updated version of an earlier report entitled Foreign Intelligence Gathering Laws that examines the legislation regulating the collection of intelligence in the European Union (EU) and Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, and the United Kingdom..

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.

Canadian Judicial Council Proposals for Reform to the Judicial Discipline Process


Earlier this week, the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) released a document outlining Proposals for Reform to the Judicial Discipline Process for Federally-appointed Judges.

The CJC was created in 1971. Its role is to improve the quality of judicial service in all superior courts in Canada. It is composed of the chief justices and associate chief justices of Canada's superior courts. The Council is chaired by the Chief Justice of Canada.

One of its essential functions is to examine misconduct allegations against federally-appointed judges.

One of the highlights is a proposal to allow the CJC to impose sanctions and remedial measures against a judge found to be at fault. At the moment, the CJC can only recommend removal from the bench as punishment.

Media coverage includes:

Cost of Justice in Canada Fact Sheets


The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice (CFCJ) recently published a series of fact sheets on Everyday Legal Problems and the Cost of Justice in Canada.

The fact sheets aim "at providing further detail on the incidences of the seventeen problem categories discussed in the [Everyday Legal Problems and the Cost of Justice in Canada] Overview Report."

The fact sheets cover topics ranging from consumer rights to immigration.

The Overview Report, published earlier in 2016,  measured the frequency and impact of everyday legal problems faced by members of the Canadian public.

The CFCJ is a national research and advocacy body promoting reform of the civil justice system.

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Webinar on Mentoring


The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is hosting a webinar on November 2, 2016 on Navigating the Mentoring Relationship. It takes place from 1 to 2:30PM Eastern time:
"Whether you’re new to mentoring or just looking to brush up your style, our expert panel of mentors and mentees will help you ensure that you have the skills to approach a mentoring relationship with confidence. Learn how to set expectations, give and receive constructive feedback, and build your professional network. After exploring the mentoring relationship from a variety of perspectives, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions. This webinar is free to CALL Student Members and CALL Unwaged Members."
The speakers are:
  • Tanya Davis, Provincial Law Librarian at the Law Society of New Brunswick Library
  • Steve Carroll, President of the Trillium Chapter of the Canadian Society of Association Executives
  • Martha Murphy, Library Manager at the Ontario Workplace Tribunals Library
  • Megan Siu, Community Development Specialist for the Legal Resource Centre of Alberta

September 2016 Issue of Connected Bulletin on Courts and Social Media


The September 2016 issue of Connected is available online. The bulletin covers news about the impact of new social media on courts.

The bulletin is published by the Virginia-based National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and the Conference of Court Public Information Officers.

In this month's issue:
  • Georgia Court of Appeals hosts state’s first Twitter Town Hall 
  • New Florida podcast personalizes judges
  • Buyer beware: Yelp not liable for unreliable reviews
  • American bulldog Diggy the Dog still smiling after winning court case
  • New app lets users solve courtroom case

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles


The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period September 16th to 30th, 2016 is now available on the Court website.

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

October 2016 Issue of In Session: Canadian Association of Law Libraries' e-Newsletter


The October 2016 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.

Irish Law Reform Commission Report on Harmful Communications and Digital Safety


The Law Reform Commission of Ireland has published a Report on Harmful Communications and Digital Safety that recommends the enactment of 2 new criminal offences to deal with posting online of intimate images without consent:
"The first is to deal with the intentional victim-shaming behaviour of posting intimate images without consent, often done after a relationship has broken down (so-called 'revenge porn'). The second new offence also deals with posting intimate photos or videos and is to deal with a new type of voyeurism, often called 'upskirting' or 'down-blousing'. "

"The Report also recommends reforms of the existing offence of harassment, to ensure that it includes online activity such as posting fake social media profiles; and that there should be a separate offence of stalking, which is really an aggravated form of harassment."

"The Report also recommends reform of the existing offence of sending threatening and intimidating messages, again to ensure that it fully captures the most serious types of online intimidation." [from the press release]
The report also looks at how jurisdictions such as Scotland, England and Wales, and Northern Ireland deal with offences like cyber-stalking.

English Law Commission Consultation on Misconduct in Public Office


Earlier this month, the English Law Commission released a consultation paper on Misconduct in Public Office.

According to the project description
Misconduct in public office is a common law offence: it is not defined in any statute. It carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The offence requires that: a public officer acting as such; wilfully neglects to perform his or her duty and/or wilfully misconducts him or herself; to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder; without reasonable excuse or justification.

The offence is widely considered to be ill-defined and has been subject to recent criticism by the Government, the Court of Appeal, the press and legal academics (...)

The problems identified in the existing law clearly show that it would be undesirable either to retain the existing offence or to attempt to codify it in statute. All the options in the Consultation Paper therefore assume that the common law offence of misconduct in public office is to be abolished.

The underlying issue tying together the problems with the current offence is that it is not clear what mischief the current offence targets and therefore what form the offence should take.

In our consultation paper we conclude that a reformed offence, or offences, could address one or both of the following wrongs: breach of duty leading to a risk of serious harm; and corrupt behaviour – the abuse of a position for personal advantage or to cause harm to another.
Appendix F includes information on the legal situation in a number of other jurisdictions, including Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, Scotland and a number of Caribbean states.

Statistics Canada Article on Youth Court statistics


Statistics Canada has published an article on Youth court statistics, 2014/2015 that shows that the number of completed cases in youth courts was the lowest since the numbers were first collected more than two decades ago.

The rate of youth charged by police has also declined over the last decade.

Among the highlights:
  • Decreases in the number of completed youth court cases occurred in all provinces and territories, with the exception of Nova Scotia, which reported a 2% increase. Ontario, which reported the largest number of youth cases among the provinces and territories, had the largest absolute decrease in the number of cases (-3,340). This corresponds to 23% fewer completed youth cases in 2014/2015 compared to the previous year in Ontario. The Northwest Territories reported the largest percentage decline in the country, with a 40% decrease in the number of completed youth cases. Newfoundland and Labrador and Alberta reported the next largest decrease (-29% each) from the previous year
  • Property offences had the largest absolute decline (-2,791), followed by violent offences (-2,140), and administration of justice offences (-816). Proportionally, property offences had the largest decline (-21%), followed by administration of justice offences (-19%) and violent offences (-18%)
  • Five Criminal Code offence types made up 40% of all completed cases in youth court. These five offences were: theft (11%) common assault (8%), break and enter (8%), failure to comply with an order (7%), and mischief (6%) (Chart 2).These five offences have been the most frequent offence types in youth court cases for the past decade
  • In 2014/2015, more than three-quarters of accused persons in youth court cases were male (77%) (Chart 3). The proportion of youth accused that are male has consistently ranged between 77 to 78% for the past fifteen years
  • Generally, individuals accused of having committed an offence when aged 16 to 17 years old, regardless of sex, made up the largest proportion of accused in youth court in 2014/2015

Report on Inefficiencies and Ineffectiveness in the Canadian Criminal Justice System


The Ottawa-based Macdonald-Laurier Institute released a comprehensive review of Canada's criminal justice system earlier this week.

Entitled Justice on Trial: Inefficiencies and ineffectiveness in the Canadian criminal justice system, the report by Scott Newark looks how well the criminal justice system is performing in areas such as 
delays and length of trials:
"This paper recommends that the Criminal Code should be amended to create select hybrid offences with an option for a sentence of five years less one day, to reduce significantly the number of cases requiring preliminary inquiry. In addition, part XVIII.1 of the Criminal Code regarding mandatory case resolution procedures should be reviewed by the provinces to ensure it is practically achieving the intended result of expediting case processing and resolution."

"Finally, this paper makes a series of recommendations intended to deal with repeat offenders and administration of justice offences:

  • Creation of the Criminal Code offence (s. 145) of breach of a condition of conditional release under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA);
  • authorize the Parole Board of Canada to order electronic monitoring of offenders on conditional release;
  • amend the CCRA to restrict statutory release eligibility to first time federal offenders and require earned parole for repeat federal custody offenders; and
  • amend the CCRA to expressly restrict parole for convicted non-citizens serving a federal sentence for the purpose of immediate removal from Canada."
The report is a companion piece to the the Institute's Report Card on the Criminal Justice System released last week.

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Webinar on Reducing Stress Through Play


The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is organizing a webinar called Play to Reduce Stress and Increase Cognition on October 13, 2016 from 1 to 2:30PM Eastern:
"Law schools and law firms are stressful environments which can lead individuals to feel overwhelmed, anxious or depressed, potentially resulting in destructive behaviour.  Universities and professional legal associations have developed wellness and mental health programs to assist individuals develop coping mechanisms.  Librarians can supplement these programs by offering fun-filled, playful activities which will reduce stress in and increase the cognitive abilities of their patrons." 
"In recent years, researchers have extolled the emotional, psychological and physical benefits of adults partaking of childhood games.  Libraries are perfectly situated to provide students, lawyers and staff with opportunities to play.  Self-paced “take-a-break” games and activities, for example, allow individuals to spend a few minutes having fun and becoming re-energized.  Planned events can be useful in creating a positive social environment by bringing students, lawyers and staff together to have fun or engage in playful competition."
The speaker will be Kim Clarke, Head of the Bennett Jones Law Library and an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Calgary.

CALL/ACBD Member: $40 + $5.20 HST = $45.20
Non-member: $60 + $7.80 HST = $67.80
Student Rate: $25 + $3.25 HST = $28.25

Supreme Court of Canada Hearings Calendar for October 2016


The Supreme Court of Canada has published its calendar of appeal hearings for October 2016.

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 facta from the parties. All you need to do is click on a case name.

Directory of Quebec Law Blogs


Édith Guilhermont, a legal scholar at the University of Sherbrooke in the province of Quebec, has created a directory of Quebec law-related blogs.

It lists blogs that deal with law applicable to Quebec an whose main audience is the Quebec legal community.

Guilhermont's recent research has been trying to answer the question of whether law-related blogs can be included in the category of "doctrinal literature" (scholarly commentary) alongside traditional formats such as treatises, seminar/conference papers, theses, etc.

Two New Canadian Association of Law Libraries Awards


The Canadian Association of Law Libraries announced at its 2016 annual conference in Vancouver that Thomson Reuters is funding  two new prizes launched in memory of members the Association lost in 2015.

The Gisele Laprise Prize will recognize an outstanding contribution to the understanding of civil and common law systems in Canada and the Michael Silverstein Prize will recognize an outstanding contribution to the understanding of primary law and legal taxonomy.

Applications/nominations for both of these awards will open in early December 2016 and close in February 2017.  

The winners will be announced at the annual conference in Ottawa (May 2017). 

September 2016 Issue of Governance and Recordkeeping Around the World


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

The September 2016 issue has just been published.

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

Canadian Bar Association Legal Futures Round-Up: September 19, 2016


CBA National, the magazine of the Canadian Bar Association, publishes a regular feature entitled Legal Futures roundup that tracks "noteworthy developments, opinions and news in the legal futures space as a means of furthering discussion about our changing legal marketplace."

The most recent instalment includes items on, among other things, legislative reform of the legal services industry in England and Wales, Norton Rose’s acquisition of Bull Housser in Vancouver, whether lawyers ought to have a monopoly on delivering legal services, access to justice in rural communities, Justice Robin Camp’s disciplinary hearing in front of the Canadian Judicial Council over remarks he made during a sexual assault trial in Alberta, a survey about legal services outsourcing, the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses of the Trans Pacific Partnership, and more.