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Library Boy

Legal research news from an Ottawa law librarian

Updated: 2017-02-23T12:17:13.895-05:00


Statistics Canada Article on Adult Ciminal Courts


The Statistics Canada publication Juristat has published a new article entitled Adult criminal court statistics in Canada, 2014/2015:
""This Juristat article presents information on the characteristics of criminal court cases involving adults (18 years and older). Using data from the 2014/2015 Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS), the article presents several key indicators of the adult criminal court process, and focuses on the number of completed cases (including the most common types of offences), the decisions made in cases, as well as the types and lengths of sentences that are imposed on accused persons who are found guilty. In addition, the amount of time it takes to complete adult criminal court cases and the factors which may influence case processing times are presented. Finally, this article briefly presents results by age and sex of the accused.""

"Over the years, decisions rendered by the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC), as well as a variety of initiatives that were put forward by different levels of government have influenced the volume of cases and the processing of those cases before the courts. The statistical trends presented in this report reflect, among other things, the progress made in implementing all of these practices and initiatives and are based on standardized reporting rules established with Statistics Canada’s various partners through the ICCS. However, it is impossible to identify a specific initiative as the source of the changes observed in the statistical trends; rather, the trends reflect the cumulative impact of these initiatives combined."

Policy Options Article on Faulty Logic of Sexual Assault Trials


Policy Options, the online journal produced by the Montreal-based Institute for Research on Public Policy, has just published an article entitled Tracking the faulty logic of sexual assault trials:
"We’re mining Canadian court transcripts to better understand how interrogation strategies used in the courtroom have an impact on decision-making in Canadian courts.  In sexual assault court cases there are usually two conflicting stories: she says 'rape,' he says 'sex.' Who is lying? The court must weigh the evidence and decide. But how do courts 'think'? (...)"
"We found repeated examples of three categories of illogical arguments used by defence lawyers in the cross-examinations of victim-witnesses. These arguments were largely accepted by the courts, were not objected to by Crowns and often appeared to be associated with an acquittal of the accused."
The four authors, Amanda Parriag, Edward Renner, Laura Park, and Wendy Hovdestad, had conducted a similar analysis of 105 sexual assault trials some 20 years ago and conclude that many of the same logical fallacies are being committed today.

2015-2016 Intake Report of the National Self-Represented Litigants Project


The National Self-Represented Litigants Project recently published its 2015-2016 report on the background of self-represented litigants (SRLs) in Canada.

This most recent report provides demographic data (age, gender, imcome, etc.) from 73 individuals.

Among the highlights (from a blog post on the Project website):
  • SRLs are clustered in the lower annual-income brackets (below $50,000 and especially under $30,000).
  • There are a significant number of SRLs who earn more than $50,000 a year... but are still unable to afford full representation – or these people began with a lawyer, but run out of funds.
  • In light of the above, it is unsurprising that we continue to see just over half (here, 56%) of all SRLs beginning with legal representation, but later reaching a point where they are unable to continue to afford full representation.
  • The pervasive myth that SRLs are only interested in their own cases, and that Access to Justice is not important to the Canadian public, seems to be rebutted by the 99% of respondents who ask to be added to NSRLP’s ongoing newsletters, blogs and other social media feeds. We continually meet former SRLs who want to work on Access to Justice issues long after their own case has ended, in order to make the SRL experience less frustrating for others whose circumstances will also require that they self-represent.
  • Finally – experiences of self-representation, with very few exceptions, continue to be reported as overwhelmingly stressful, disillusioning, and even traumatic.
The Project comes out of the work done by the University of Windsor's Julie Macfarlane and receives funding from the Law Foundation of Ontario and the University of Windsor.

Primary Research Group Report on Inter-Library Loan Services for Research University Faculty


New York-based Primary Research Group has just published a report called International Survey of Research University Faculty: Use of Inter-library Loan Services:
"The study presents data from a survey of more than 500 international research university faculty from 50+ universities in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland about their use of their academic library interlibrary loan service.  The study imparts data on incidence of use, extent of use, payments of fees, and satisfaction with a range of factors including speed of delivery, breadth of services, costs, and inter-library loan staff knowledge of a scholar’s field, among other factors.  Survey participants also volunteered what they like most and least about their library’s inter-library loan services.  In addition, the study looks at how faculty feel about article 'rental services' and how they compare to traditional inter-library loan."
Print and PDF versions are available for $109(US). Site licenses are also available.

Interview With Law Library of Congress Legal Reference Librarian Theresa Reiss


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 Theresa Reiss, Legal Reference Librarian:
Why did you want to work at the Law Library?
It may sound like a cliché, but working at the Library of Congress was a dream for me. When I began working at the Alexandria Law Library, I quickly took note of how often I referred patrons to the Law Library. I am not ashamed to admit I was envious of the Law Library’s massive collection.  So, I jumped at the opportunity to work here.

What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library?
I am astounded at how many hidden treasures are available in the Law Library’s collection of 2.9 million volumes.
The Law Library of Congress is the world’s largest law library, with a collection from all ages of history and virtually every jurisdiction in the world.

Program for WILU 2017 Library Instruction Conference


WILU stands for Workshop for Instruction in Library Use and is an annual Canadian conference devoted to research and innovations in the area of information literacy and library instruction.

The 2017 conference takes place May 23-25 in Edmonton, Alberta.

The preliminary program has just been published.

Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, 2015


The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics has released its most recent annual report on Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile:
"The 2015 edition of the report features an in-depth analysis of self-reported childhood maltreatment in Canada, using data from the 2014 General Social Survey on Canadians' Safety (Victimization). This featured section examines the nature and prevalence of self-reported childhood physical and sexual abuse in Canada, as well as the issue of children witnessing violence in the home. The analysis is based on adult Canadians’ recollections of child abuse they experienced before they turned 15 years of age, and includes incidents that were reported to police as well as those that were not. The featured section also provides analysis of the socio-demographic risk factors linked to child maltreatment and the impacts and consequences it has for victims."

"As in past years, this year’s report also includes sections dedicated to police-reported data on family violence in general, intimate partner violence specifically, violence against children and youth and violence against seniors."

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles


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

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

February 2017 Update from the Canadian Federation of Library Associations


The Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA) held its first annual general meeting recently in Toronto and has offered an update about its decisions and policies.

This includes:
  •  the new Executive and Board of Directors
  • the 2016 annual report
  • the endorsement of the January statement  by the American Library Association opposing various Trump administration initiatives
The CFLA replaced the old Canadian Library Association with a new structure based on an association of national, regional and sectoral library associations.

Legal Resources on the Trump Administration


The Osgoode Hall Law School Library Blog in Toronto has put together a series of Legal resources on the Trump administration.

It includes many links from the Oxford Public International Law collection as well as links to research guides from US universities.

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Webinar on US Legislation for Canadian Legal Researchers


The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is hosting a webinar on March 2, 2017 called US Legislation for Canadian Legal Researchers (Part One) . It starts at 1PM Eastern time:
"This webinar will cover the legislative branch of government in the US - its structure, its law-making powers, and its legal publications. Emphasizing the differences between Canadian and US legislative publications, this session will focus primarily on free websites which provide access to federal legislative work."
The speaker is Professor Penny A. Hazelton who has worked at the University of Washington, the US Supreme Court Library, and the University of Maine.

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


The February 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 Calendar of Upcoming Hearings


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

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.

More US Library Association Oppostion to Trump


This is a follow-up to the January 31, 2017 post entitled US Library Association Oppostion to Trump Continues.

That post referenced public statements by a variety of American library & information associations opposing the disappearance of public information from US government websites and the temporary ban on immigrants and refugees from 7 Muslim countries.

As the following post on the infoDOCKET (Library Journal) website shows, opposition continues.

Law LIbrary of Congress Materials on US Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch


This is a follow-up to Thursday's blog post entitled Comments on Trump’s US Supreme Court Nominee.

The Law Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. has prepared a bibliography on Neil Gorsuch, US President Donald Trump’s nominee to fill the vacancy left on the US Supreme Court by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016.

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles


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

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

Comments on Trump’s US Supreme Court Nominee


SCOTUSblog, the well-known American blog devoted to analysis of the United States Supreme Court, has been providing great coverage of US President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit) to fill the vacancy left on the top court of our Southern neighbour by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016.
Here are some links. Each of the SCOTUSblog posts below contains extensive links to news, commentary and analysis:

More on Supreme Court of Canada Link Rot


This is a follow-up of the January 26, 2017 posy entitled Supreme Court of Canada Tackles Link Rot With New Online Archive.

Today on, Nate Russell provided some statistical analysis of dead-end Internet links in SCC decisions and how the Court has tackled the problem.

And the website Motherboard published an article yesterday on the topic under the title Canada's Supreme Court Is Preserving Every Website Mentioned In Its Rulings.

US Library Association Oppostion to Trump Continues


This is a follow-up to the Library Boy post of 2 days ago entitled US Library Association Statements on Trump Government Crack Down on Free Flow of Information.

American library associations  have been speaking out against various initiatives of the new Trump administration in recent days:
  • Association of College & Research Libraries: "The recent disappearance of pages from the White House website and attempts to silence scientists and the media are of serious concern to our Association. We hope that all members of ACRL will join us in reaffirming our commitment to support students, faculty, staff, and the public we serve. We are committed to representing many backgrounds and advocating for social justice on campus and in our communities. We oppose actions used to suppress free expression, academic freedom, and intellectual freedom in academe and condemn the use of intimidation, harassment, bans on entry to the United States from Muslim-majority countries, and violence as means with which to squelch free intellectual inquiry and expression.."
  • Asssociation of Research Libraries: "President Trump’s recent executive order temporarily barring entry into the US by individuals from seven countries is contrary to the values held by libraries and presses, and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) stand unequivocally opposed to this immigration ban." 
  • American Library Association:  "Today American Library Association President Julie Todaro released the following statement responding to recent actions by the new administration and specifically addressing issues regarding access to information, discrimination and intellectual freedom. We are shocked and dismayed by recent executive orders and other actions by the new administration, which stand in stark contrast to the core values of the American Library Association (ALA). Our core values include access to information; confidentiality/privacy; democracy; equity, diversity and inclusion; intellectual freedom; and social responsibility."

Legal Community Reacts to Trump Immigration Executive Order


Last Friday, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning immigrants and refugees from 7 Muslim countries.The negative reaction from the legal community has been swift:Canadian Bar Association statement: "While the US government has now given high-level assurances that the order does not apply to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, it seems to be based on the national interest exemption in the order and determined case-by-case with no clear procedures. Individuals may still face issues at ports of entry. We also urge the government to examine the impact of the order on agreements and policies between Canada and the US, including the Safe Third Country Agreement."Canadian lawyers have important role following Trump immigration order (Canadian Lawyer magazine blog): "Canadian lawyers will have important work ahead of them as a result of a controversial executive order by U.S. President Donald Trump, says Sukanya Pillay, executive director and general counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association... The CCLA is calling on the Canadian government to take eight steps in the wake of the order, including boosting the number of refugees accepted into the country and implementing procedures to take applications from asylum seekers impacted by the ban."At least five judges block Trump's immigration order; more than 4,000 lawyers volunteer (ABA Journal): "Groups seeking to provide legal help, in addition to the ACLU, include the National Immigration Law Center and the International Refugee Assistance Project. In a conference call on Sunday, group officials said rotating shifts of lawyers are stationed at major airports, and another 2,000 lawyers have volunteered, according to the National Law Journal. Lawyers at the airports are holding signs in different languages offering help. Lawyers from top law firms are among those filing lawsuits on behalf of immigrants affected by the ban and providing pro bono assistance. They include lawyers from Mayer Brown, Kirkland & Ellis, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld."Federal law gives Trump broad immigration authority, but critics see these legal impediments (ABA Journal): "President Donald Trump cited a federal law giving him broad immigration authority when he issued his executive order on Friday that temporarily blocks refugees and immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries from entering the United States."Big Law Responds to Trump’s Immigration Executive Order (Bloomberg Law): "It’s a busy time to be a pro bono lawyer.After President Donald Trump issued an executive order Friday to severely limit immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations, lawyers across Big Law jumped in to help travelers, visa and green card holders, who faced uncertainty and deportation in the wake of the order that was soon followed by federal rulings staying parts of the action."The Airport Cases: What Happened, and What’s Next? (Just Security, online forum on U.S. national security law and policy based at the New York University School of Law): "In case you’ve had trouble keeping score (I know I have), I thought it would be useful to start the week with a brief post recapping the work of the courts (and the lawyers) on Saturday and Sunday, where things stand as we head into the work week, and what the big questions are for the next few days." Civil Rights Challenges to Trump Immigration/Refugee Orders (University of Michi[...]

Opportunities for Academic and Research Libraries and Wikipedia


The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) recently published a white paper on Opportunities for Academic and Research Libraries and Wikipedia explaining how academic and research libraries can cooperate with the famous online encyclopedia:
"IFLA has the opportunity to support libraries, library staff and library associations by enabling their members to engage with Wikipedia: through networking, skill development, and showcasing examples of successful cultural and knowledge collaborations that can act as models for potential future initiatives."

"This paper explores several ripe areas of mutual benefit and collaboration around crowdsourcing and community engagement: writing and reference, technical tasks, linked open data, project coordination, high-speed publishing, learning communities, and the support of teaching, learning, and research. There is also consideration of the challenges of pursuing this vital work together. However, the shared mission of sharing knowledge with the world, and the growing bridge that Wikipedia has created between libraries and other information and knowledge actors with the broader public, makes these collaborations broadly beneficial to both communities. Wikimedia and libraries’ collaboration strengthens the strategies, skills and tools available for both communities in their efforts to share knowledge with the world."
One example of collaboration took place at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia:
"Launched on January 15, the #1Lib1Ref campaign is uniting libraries around the world.
Supported by Wikipedia Library and a number of Wikimedia Affiliates, the campaign aims to make Wikipedia better for all by encouraging information professionals to add citations to Wikipedia entries."

"Libraries of all types and sizes are hosting activities and the Dalhousie Libraries is no exception. Lindsay McNiff (information management specialist librarian) and Margaret Vail (systems developer) hosted a ninety minute Wikipedia Edit-a-thon for the Dal Libraries on January 24."

Bora Laskin Law Library Reading List for Reconciliation With Canada's Indigenous Nations


The Bora Laskin Law Library at the University of Toronto has created a list of resources called Reconciliation through Reading:
"With the start of a new year the Faculty of Law’s Indigenous Initiatives Office (IIO) challenged each student, faculty and staff member to make and keep a reconciliation resolution. A reconciliation resolution is an action that will help the country move towards a better relationship with Indigenous people and the IIO suggest committing to three over the year."

"One of the suggested activities includes reading and learning more about Indigenous people in Canada and the resolution process. With that in mind, here are some resources that can help you fulfill that resolution."

US Library Association Statements on Trump Government Crack Down on Free Flow of Information


In the wake of the disappearance of public information from US official websites and of orders from the new US administration silencing federal government experts and scientists from agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, American library associations have been raising their voices in the past week:
  • The Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association: "Amidst reports of the Trump administration’s attempts to order media blackouts of federal agencies, it’s important that we resist any attempt to use the power of government to stifle the very agencies charged, like libraries, with the dissemination of information (...) To restrict citizens’ access to information essential to their health because it fails to agree with the political viewpoint of a particular administration is blatant government censorship. Rather than returning power to the American people, such strategies endanger us."
  • American Association of Law Libraries: "[AALL President Ronald E. Wheeler Jr.]: As legal information professionals, law librarians rely on accurate, timely information to serve government officials, judges, the bar, legal scholars, and members of the public. We urge the new Administration and Congress to support an open and transparent government in which all people have access to official, trustworthy information produced by all three branches of government (...) As James Madison once wrote, 'A popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives'."

Supreme Court of Canada Tackles Link Rot With New Online Archive


To combat link rot, the Supreme Court of Canada today launched an online archive of Internet Sources Cited in SCC Judgments (1998 – 2016). Link rot refers to broken URLs or to URLs that direct to the original site but whose corresponding document has been removed or relocated without any information about where to find it. From the Terms of Use:“The Office of the Registrar of the SCC, recognizing that web pages or websites that the Court cites in its judgments may subsequently vary in content or be discontinued, has located and archived the content of most online sources that had been cited by the Court between 1998 and 2016 in order to preserve access to them. These sources were captured with a content as close as possible to the original content (…)”“Since 2017, online sources cited in the ‘Authors Cited’ section in SCC judgments have been captured and archived. When a judgment cites such a source, an ‘archived version’ link is provided.”Earlier Library Boy posts about link rot include:Most Recent Issue of Law Library Journal (November 5, 2010): "Among the articles that attracted my attention: ... Breaking Down Link Rot: The Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archives Examination of URL Stability: 'Ms. Rhodes explores URL stability, measured by the prevalence of link rot over a three-year period, among the original URLs for law- and policy-related materials published to the web and archived though the Chesapeake Project, a collaborative digital preservation initiative under way in the law library community. The results demonstrate a significant increase in link rot over time in materials originally published to seemingly stable organization, government, and state web sites'."Fifth Annual Link Rot Report of the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group (May 3, 2012): "The Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group has just published its 5th annual study of link rot among the original URLs for online law- and policy-related materials it has been archiving since 2007 (...) In 2012, 218 out of 579 URLs in the sample no longer provide access to the content that was originally selected, captured, and archived by the Chesapeake Group. In other words, link rot has increased to 37.7 percent within five years."CBC Radio Interview about Link Rot in Court Decisions (October 28, 2013): "The most recent episode of the CBC Radio show Spark includes an interview with Harvard Law School researcher Kendra Albert who co-authored an article about link rot in US Supreme Court decisions (...) In the case of the URLs in US Supreme Court decisions, the authors found a link rot rate of 50%. The Spark researchers checked URLs in Supreme Court of Canada decisions and found many broken links to texts from the Canadian Association of Journalists, the Law Society of Alberta and the Uniform Law Conference of Canada, among others."Georgetown University Symposium Searches for Solutions for Link Rot (March 16, 2015): "Retired Supreme Court of the United States librarian Judith Gaskell published an article today on called Link Rot: the Problem Is Getting Bigger, but Solutions Are Being Developed. The article describes a symposium in the fall of 2014 at Georgetown University that examined emerging solutions to the problem of link rot.." Profile Article About Inventor of Anti-Link Rot Web Tool (September 27, 2015): "The ABA Journal last week published a [...]