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Library Boy

Legal research news from an Ottawa law librarian

Updated: 2017-03-25T10:05:13.969-04:00


Alberta Law Reform Institute Report Recommends Abolition of Perpetuities Law


The Alberta Law Reform Institute has published a report that recommends the abolition of perpetuities law in Alberta :
"The Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) recommends the abolition of perpetuities law in Alberta. Abolition has already occurred in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. Canada-wide abolition has been recommended by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada."

"The common law rule against perpetuities (RAP) originated in England in the 17th century as a way to prevent landowners from using future or contingent interests to tie up property for generations. RAP creates a perpetuity period for such interests based on the length of a life or lives in being in existence at the creation of the interest, plus 21 years. At common law, a contingent interest is void if there is any uncertainty at the outset whether it will vest within the perpetuity period. Over the centuries the courts expanded the common law RAP to apply to virtually all future or contingent interests in property, regardless of whether the interest is real, personal, legal or equitable."

"In 1972, Alberta enacted the Perpetuities Act (the Alberta Act) to reform the worst complexities and excesses of the common law RAP, based on recommendations from ALRI (...)"

"With court variation statutes governing trusts and non-trust interests available to address perpetuities issues, ALRI believes it is time to abolish the common law RAP and repeal the Alberta Act which reforms it. Other Canadian provinces have abolished perpetuities law without any apparent major problems resulting from that decision. ALRI’s consultation feedback, coming largely from the legal profession, judiciary and trusts and estates professionals, indicates majority support for abolition. While these results are not scientific, they do at least anecdotally suggest that many professionals working in the area are now comfortable with the idea of doing away with specialized perpetuities law."
The report discusses the situation in Alberta as well as the practices adopted in Manitoba, Nova Scotia, England and New Zealand.

Library Journal's Movers and Shakers 2017


Library Journal released its 2017 list of Library Movers and Shakers:
"Now in its 16th year, LJ’s Movers & Shakers provides an annual snapshot of the transformative work being done by those in libraries of all types and sizes and across the field. At a time when individual and collective actions matter more than ever, the 52 people profiled here reflect the outsize impact librarians can have through the services and programs they deliver, their deep community connections and collaborations with partner organizations, and their one-on-one interactions with patrons."
Winners were chosen in the following categories:
  • Change agents
  • Innovators
  • Advocates
  • Educatotrs
  • Digital developers
  • Community builders
The publication provides a map of all the Movers and Shakers from 2002 to 2017.

Toronto Star Three-Part Series on Trial Delays


This week, the Toronto Star has published a fascinating three-part series called "Justice in Turmoil" on the crisis of chronic delays in Canadian courts. The series discusses the fallout from the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2016 ruling, R v. Jordan, which set strict timelines to bring an accused person to trial.

Updated Research Guide on Investor-State Arbitration


The GlobaLex collection at New York University Law School has updated its research guide on International Arbitration Between Foreign Investors and Host States (Investor-State Arbitration):
"International arbitration between a foreign investor and a host State results from their agreement to solve their disputes in this manner. That agreement may take the form of a contractual provision (including those in a legal stability contract or a subsequent arbitral agreement), but increasingly it is the result of a foreign investor accepting a State’s standing offer to arbitrate disputes in international investment agreements (IIAs); primarily bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and free trade agreements with an investment chapter... "

"According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), there are over 3,286 IIAs in force. States often make information about IIAs. they are party to available online in order to promote investment and increase the transparency of their investment climate. Foreign affairs and trade ministries, relevant sectoral authorities and trade and investment promotion authorities are natural sources for this information."
Related Library Boy posts include:

Highlights from the 2017-18 Federal Departmental Plans


The website has published Highlights from the from the 2017-18 Departmental Plans.

Every year, the Treasury Board tables plans in the House of Commons on behalf of dozens of federal government agencies and departments.

They set out departmental/agency priorities, provide performance measurement indicators, and explain expected results.

Departmental Plans replace the former Reports on Plans and Priorities. has gone through this year's plans to find "highlights of interest to the Canadian library and information management community as identified by individual departments and agencies".

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles


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

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

Academic Law Library Statistics 2014–2015 Report


The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has released a new publication entitled ARL Academic Law Library Statistics 2014-15 (available for purchase: $170US).

It describes collections, expenditures, personnel, and services in 74 law libraries at ARL member institutions in the US and Canada.

Among the highlights from reporting institutions:
  • they held a median of  461,436 volumes
  • they spent a total of $217,487,754US
  • they employed a total of  1,770 FTE staff.
  • expenditures for materials and staff accounted for the bulk of total expenditures, at approximately 47% and 45% respectively
  • they reported spending a total of $15,633,813US in one-time resource purchases and $82,161,233US in ongoing resource purchases.
Canadian ARL members include University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, Université Laval, McGill, University of Ottawa, Queen's, University of Saskatchewan, University of Toronto, York.

University of Virginia Website on US Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch


The University of Virginia School of Law has launched the Gorsuch Project, a website devoted to the career of 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:
"Hearings on the nomination of the Honorable Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court are scheduled to begin March 20 and interest in the nominee’s judicial record is high. To assist researchers, we’re proud to announce the launch of the Neil Gorsuch Project, a website that assembles all of Gorsuch’s written opinions, as well as concurrences and dissents he either wrote or joined as a judge for the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Lists of published articles and speeches by Gorsuch are also included."

"The idea for the Gorsuch Project was born after law librarians from several universities and government offices faced a similar question from their patrons: 'Find as much information about the new Supreme Court nominee as possible'."
Earlier Library Boy posts about the nomination include:

Library of Parliament Exhibition of Documents That Shaped Canada


Last week  the Library of Parliament's main branch in Ottawa opened an exhibition entitled Foundations: The Words that Shaped Canada:
"Over the coming months, people visiting or using the services of the Library’s main branch will have the opportunity to view the following six documents on loan from Library and Archives Canada:
  • the British North America Act (1867);
  • Canada’s first Speech from the Throne (1867);
  • the North‑West Territories Proclamation (1869);
  • the Statute of Westminster (1931);
  • the Canadian Bill of Rights (1960); and
  • the Proclamation of the Constitution Act,1982.
As the title of the exhibit suggests, these documents mark important stages in Canada’s constitutional development. But it is worth noting that each one has its own story that deserves to be told (...)
The exhibit Foundations: The Words That Shaped Canada is an exceptional opportunity to see six of the most important documents in our history together in one place. Visitors can use touch screens to access additional information on the era, the circumstances surrounding the writing of the documents and their impact on Canada’s development." 

UC Berkeley School of Law Library Tackles Link Rot at US Supreme Court


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

The UC Berkeley School of Law Library has partnered with application developer Philip Ardery to host a service called U.S. Supreme Court Web Citations that will capture any web resource cited by the United States Supreme Court immediately after their opinions are issued.

This is intended to address the problem of "link rot", or hyperlinks that no longer work.

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Webinar on UN Treaties


The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is hosting a webinar on April 5, 2017 called Uncovering UN Treaties. It starts at 1PM Eastern time:
"This session will provide an introduction to the UN Treaty Website. Participants will learn about the main databases available from the UN Treaty Website: the UN Treaty Series and the Multilateral Treaties deposited with the Secretary-General, and how best to search them. Additionally, participants will be introduced to a few other UN publications and websites helpful in treaty research."
The speaker is Susan Goard, law librarian at the Dag Hammarskjold Library at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Eugene Garfield, Founder of Citation Analysis, Has Died Age 91


Dr. Eugene Garfield, who invented citation analysis in the field of library science some 50 years ago, died in late February at the age of 91.

Garfield founded the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) in the 1950s where he created many citation databases, first in the sciences and then in the humanities.

The co-founders of Google, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, cited his work as a foundation and inspiration for their PageRank algorithm that ranks web search engine results on Google.

The website infoDOCKET has provided links to an obituary, links to Garfield's writings as well as videos about his work.

Supreme Court of Canada Calendar of Upcoming Hearings


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

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Mentorship Program Applications Now Open


The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) Mentorship Program is accepting applications for mentees and mentors for the coming year.

This is a unique opportunity for CALL members to grow professionally and network within the profession:
"The CALL Mentorship Program is an initiative intended to connect law library professionals pursuing new professional development with more experienced professionals. The program aims to foster positive relationships between members that will promote growth, leadership, and commitment to the profession. Mentees can come from any background in legal librarianship or even straight from a library program at the university or college level. There is no maximum number of years in the profession for mentees - if you feel that you would like to grow as a professional in your job or your new tasks, and would benefit from the guidance and support of another professional, then being a mentee could be for you. Similarly, mentors can come from any area of legal librarianship with no set minimum number of years in the profession. As a guideline, however, we suggest five years’ experience. Mentors have the opportunity to help in the professional growth of a colleague and, by extension, strengthen legal librarianship as a profession. Mentors may also find the partnership enables their own professional growth and heightens engagement in the profession and the CALL community."
A new addition to this year’s program is the offering of writing mentorship. Perhaps your job requires you to write/publish academically or you’re looking for some advice and coaching to develop your own writing portfolio. If so, CALL has mentors who would be happy to share their experience and offer guidance to interested mentees.

The deadline for applications is March 30, 2017. The application form is on the CALL website.

Canadian Government Plans on Eliminating Zombie Laws from Criminal Code


This week, the Government of Canada announced its plans to introduce legislation to remove or amend parts of the Criminal Code that have been declared unconstitutional by the courts:
"The removal of these provisions would eliminate the possibility that someone could mistakenly be charged, prosecuted or even convicted under provisions that are no longer in force."
These provisions that have no force of law but that still appear as part of the Criminal Code are often called "zombie laws".

Among the provisions targeted by Bill C-39 are a number relating to:
  • abortion
  • anal intercourse
  • spreading "false news"
  • vagrancy
  • impaired driving
  • credit for pre-sentencing custody

Law Commission of Ontario Final Report on Legal Capacity, Decision-Making and Guardianship


The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) has released its Final Report on Legal Capacity, Decision-making and Guardianship.

From the Executive Summary:
"Legal capacity, decision-making and guardianship laws affect thousands of Ontarians and their families every day. Most obviously, these laws affect the approximately 17,000 Ontarians who are currently subject to some kind of a guardianship order or the thousands of others whose capacity is assessed as part of obtaining consent to health care treatments, for admission to residency to a long term care home, or as part of the provision of many other services. In addition, every Ontarian who has ever granted or been given a power of attorney is affected by this area of law (...)"

"Does the System Reflect Contemporary Needs?
Over the years, Ontarians have developed increasingly nuanced and sensitive understandings of the needs and capabilities of the individuals, families, and others affected by these laws. The Final Report considers whether the system in Ontario reflects and responds to these understandings. The LCO considers needs from multiple perspectives, including persons directly affected, families, service providers and professionals, and others. The LCO also considers needs in light of demographic and social trends, changing family structures, and Ontario’s cultural and linguistic diversity."

"Is the System Working on the Ground?
The LCO’s Final Report discusses the legislative framework and objectives of Ontario’s capacity, decision-making and guardianship system at length. The Final Report considers whether Ontario achieves these objectives in practice. In other words, the project considers whether there is gap between the formal law – as expressed in statutes – and lived experience of the legislation. Understanding and addressing the “implementation gap” is an important theme in the Final Report."

"Are the System’s Legal Protections Adequate and Accessible?
Meaningful access to justice underpins the entire legal capacity, decision-making and guardianship system. Effective and appropriate mechanisms for dispute resolution and rights enforcement are therefore a priority in the Final Report."
The report makes a number of proposals that would reduce abuse of vulnerable individuals, including elder abuse and reduce misuse and abuse of powers of attorney though better education, transparency and monitoring. 

Quebec Legal Info Service CAIJ Adds Commentary From McCarthy Tétrault


CAIJ, the Centre d'accès à l'information juridique (the network of courthouse law libraries associated with the Québec Bar Association), has signed resource sharing agreements with many major law firms in Québec that make their legal commentary freely available on the CAIJ website.

This week, CAIJ announced that it will now feature texts written by lawyers from the firm of  McCarthy Tétrault.

Their matetrial 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.

There are now a total of 29 law firms that share material with CAIJ.

Alberta Law Reform Institute Report on New Trustee Act


 The Alberta Law Reform Institute recently released its final report on A New Trustee Act for Alberta:
"In 2007, the Uniform Law Conference of Canada (ULCC) undertook a project on trustee legislation reform. The goal of the project was to develop a modern trust statute that would be suitable for enactment across Canada."

"This Report recommends that the Uniform Trustee Act, 2012 [Uniform Act] be adopted in in Alberta. However, certain aspects must be enhanced, tailored and clarified to reflect Alberta’s particular needs (...)"

Youth Correctional Statistics in Canada


Last week, Statistics Canada published an article on Youth correctional statistics in Canada, 2015/2016.

It provides a statistical overview of youth under correctional supervision in Canada in 2015/2016. Average counts, intakes, admissions and the characteristics of youth in the correctional system (such as age, sex and Aboriginal identity)  are discussed.

Adult Correctional Statistics in Canada


Last week, the Statistics Canada publication Juristat published an article on Adult correctional statistics in Canada, 2015/2016.

It looks provides a statistical overview of adults admitted to and released from custody and community supervision in Canada in 2015/2016.

Among the highlights:
  • In 2015/2016, there were on average 120,568 adult offenders on a given day, in either custody or in a community program. This represents a rate of 438 offenders per 100,000 adult population, a decrease of 3% from the previous year and a decline of 16% compared to 2011/2012.
  • On a typical day in the federal correctional system in 2015/2016, there were 22,956 adult offenders being supervised, representing a rate of 79 per 100,000 adult population. The federal rate was down 1% from the previous year and down 6% compared to five years earlier.
  • A large majority of adults (80%) under correctional supervision in the provinces and territories in 2015/2016 were under community supervision such as probation and conditional sentences.  
  • The adult incarceration rate for Canada, which represents the average number of adults in custody (sentenced custody, remand and other temporary detention) per day for every 100,000 adults in the population remained stable in 2015/2016 at 139 inmates per 100,000 adults.
  • On a typical day, in 2015/2016, there were 14,899 adults held in remand, awaiting trial or sentencing, in comparison to 10,091 adults in sentenced custody in the provinces and territories.
  • Consistently over the last decade, the remand population has exceeded the sentenced population with adults in remand accounting for 60% of the custodial population in 2015/2016.

Using YouTube for Teaching Legal Research


In late February, we hosted a focus group at my place of work to ask staff lawyers what they thought of our library reference services.

One of the questions had to do with our ongoing program of "Tips and Tricks" training sessions.
Once a month, we organize quick 15-20 minute meetings where we show how to research a topic (public international law, Quebec Civil Code, criminal law, UN Treaties, etc.).

We demo databases or websites and prepare a nice, clean, readable PDF handout for attendees. We also publish all our training PDFs on our library Intranet. We have created a few dozen topical handouts so far.

But the lawyers at the focus group became very excited when one attendee suddently suggested that everything be available on demand in audiovisual format, a sort of "library Netflix".

Well, this week, by chance I came across the YouTube channel created by the Education and Reference Department of the Boston College Law Library.

The channel includes many videos related to topical legal research courses offered at the College. Quite impressive.

I wonder if any Canadian law libraries have created online training videos like these.

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles


The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection from February 16 to 28, 2017 is now available on the Court website.

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

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


The March 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 Statistics 2006-2016


The Supreme Court of Canada has published a statistical overview of its work for the decade from 2006 to 2016.

It provides data on the following:
  • "Cases Filed"
  • "Applications for Leave Submitted"
  • "Appeals Heard: by type, by origin
  • "Appeal Judgments": the number of judgments rendered each year, how many were unanimous
  • "Average Time Lapses"

Updated Research Guide on Subject Law Collections on the Web


GlobaLex, the electronic collection created by the Hauser Global Law School Program at the New York University School of Law, recently updated its research guide entitled Foreign Law - Subject Law Collections on the Web. The majority of the sites listed are available for free on the web with a few exceptions (subscription databases). The guide covers: General Multi-Subject ResourcesAnimal LawAntitrust/Competition LawBankruptcy/Insolvency LawCommercial Law (including arbitration, business entities, securities, trade, banking, and taxation)Constitutional LawCriminal Law and ProcedureElection LawEnvironmental LawHuman Rights (including child law, disability law, family law, gender law, health law, LGBT law, and refugee / asylum law)Intellectual Property LawLabor and Employment Law (including occupational health / safety and social security)Legal Profession and PracticeMaritime and Air and Space LawMilitary/Armed Conflict/Terrorism LawProperty LawPublic Administration LawReligion and LawTechnology / Data LawTort Law [...]