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Library Boy

Legal research news from an Ottawa law librarian

Last Build Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2017 22:01:53 +0000


Library Association Statements About Racist Violence in Charlottesville

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 22:01:00 +0000

In the wake of the racist marches by Neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend, American library associations have issued important anti-racist statements.

American Library Association
"The ALA expresses our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those lost and injured during this weekend’s protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. We will not forget their efforts to enlighten and safeguard their communities from bigotry while opposing racist, anti-immigrant, anti-GLBTQ, and anti-Semitic violence. We stand in solidarity with the people of Virginia as well as anyone who protests hate and fights for equity, diversity and inclusion."

"The vile and racist actions and messages of the white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups in Charlottesville are in stark opposition to the ALA’s core values. No matter the venue or the circumstance, we condemn any form of intimidation or discrimination based on culture, ethnicity, gender, nationality, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Our differences should be celebrated, and mutual respect and understanding should serve as the norms within our society."

"The ALA supports voices of hope as such actions mirror the library community’s efforts to abolish bigotry and cultural invisibility. As we recently stated, ‘we must continue to support the creation of a more equitable, diverse and inclusive society,’ and we will do this through the work of our members and through resources such as Libraries Respond."

"The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 57,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all."
 American Association of Law Libraries:
"The events of this weekend in Charlottesville called to mind our keynote speaker Bryan Stevenson's remarks at the 2017 AALL Annual Meeting in Austin, which called on all of us to change the narrative. As librarians and legal information professionals, we are in a unique position to help change the destructive narrative of bigotry and racial superiority that is currently taking shape in America. As an association, we stand by our core values and affirm our commitment to diversity and inclusion."

"We must keep doing what we have always done--provide information and knowledge in support of our constitutional democracy. No matter the setting in which we work, our efforts support the U.S. justice system and our democracy each and every day. There is no room for racial, or any other form of, discrimination. I take pride in knowing I am a part of a profession that brings knowledge to action. I hope all of you do as well."

"Sincerely, Greg Lambert

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 21:52:00 +0000

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection from August 1st to 15th, 2017 is now available on the Court website. 
It is possible to subscribe via e-mail to receive the list.

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 19:19:00 +0000

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection from July 16-31, 2017 is now available on the Court website.
It is possible to subscribe via e-mail to receive the list.

British Columbia Law Institute Blog Series on Wills

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 20:31:00 +0000

The British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI) has started a blog series on wills.

The texts will be written by Allison Curley.
The first post was published yesterday and is entitled Making Wills Half a World Over: Part One of the Wills Series.

The series will compare proposals for reform of the law of wills made last month by the Law Commission of England and Wales with the work done on the same topic by the BCLI over the past decade.

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

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 00:02:00 +0000

The August 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 the United States Redesigns Its Website

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 20:39:00 +0000

The Supreme Court of the United States has launched a redesigned website.

According to SCOTUSblog:
"The court’s Public Information Office boasts that the site update includes 'a more consistent menu structure, a more interactive calendar, faster access through Quick Links, improved page load times, and reduced page scrolling.' (...) "
"The homepage also provides access to transcripts, audio and other case information ... a new case-citation system, which lists internet sources cited in opinions, represents 'a good effort to fight linkrot'."

Law Commission of Ontario Releases Papers on Defamation

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 20:39:00 +0000

The Law Commission of Ontario has released four (4) background papers as part of its "Defamation Law in the Internet Age" project.

They are:

Little Overlap in Legal Research Database Results

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 20:32:00 +0000

Robert Ambrogi wrote an article earlier this week on the Above the Law blog entitled Legal Research Services Vary Widely in Results, Study Finds.

It is a useful reminder that no one database covers everything the legal researcher needs:
"Different legal research platforms deliver surprisingly different results. In fact, in a comparison of six leading research providers, there was hardly any overlap in the cases that appeared in the top-10 results returned by each database."
"This startling finding is the result of research performed by Susan Nevelow Mart, director of the law library and associate professor at the University of Colorado Law School, where she teaches advanced legal research and analysis and environmental legal research. Mart has published a draft of her research paper, The Algorithm as a Human Artifact: Implications for Legal {Re} Search, and she presented some of her findings in a program I attended at the recent annual meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries."

Updated Research Guide on Drafting History of International Agreements

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 21:38:00 +0000

GlobaLex, the online legal research collection at the New York University School of Law, has just published an update to its research guide À la Recherche des Travaux Préparatoires: An Approach to Researching the Drafting History of International Agreements:
"There are two good reasons why one would go in search of the travaux préparatoires to an international agreement (and/or ask for the assistance of a law librarian in doing so). Before we go into those reasons, what exactly are travaux préparatoires?"

"The phrase is of course French and translates literally as 'preparatory works.' Synonymous phrases in English are 'negotiating history' or 'drafting history.' (...)  "

"The first reason for seeking out travaux préparatoires can be called the interpretive reason. There is doubt or disagreement about the meaning of an international agreement. Those charged with interpreting the agreement - it could be a court, or an arbitral tribunal, or anybody who is interested in the meaning of the agreement, including scholars -- will want to consult the travaux préparatoires for insight into the 'common intentions and agreed definitions' of the negotiators (...)"

"There is another reason for consulting travaux préparatoires that has little to do with interpretation as a matter of law. We can call this other reason the genetic reason. There may be absolutely no doubt about the meaning of the treaty text; it is clear to every reader, even to a lawyer. Yet, we may take great interest in how the text of the agreement evolved into its final form. In other words, the evolution of the text has intrinsic historical interest."

Statistics Canada Article on Police-Reported Crime Numbers

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 23:43:00 +0000

Statistics Canada has published a new article on Police-reported crime statistics, 2016.

It examines trends in the volume and seriousness of police-reported crime for both violent and non-violent offences at the national, provincial/territorial and census metropolitan area levels. Specific violations, such as homicide, sexual assault, and breaking and entering are examined, as well as trends in youth accused of crime.

"The police-reported Crime Severity Index (CSI), which measures the volume and severity of crime, increased 1% in 2016 over the previous year. This marked the second consecutive rise in the index following 11 years of declines. Even with this increase, the index is still 29% lower than it was in 2006."

"The CSI is a measure of police-reported crime that reflects the relative seriousness of individual offences and tracks changes in crime severity. It indicates whether police-reported crime was relatively more or less serious than in previous years. For ease of interpretation, the index is converted to 100 for the base year of 2006."

"The rise in Canada's CSI in 2016 was primarily driven by a continued increase in the rate of fraud. In addition, increases were reported in rates of administration of justice offences (such as breach of probation), sexual violations against children, and child pornography. At the same time, fewer police-reported incidents of breaking and entering, mischief and robbery were reported. Together, these changes contributed to a slight increase in Canada's CSI compared with 2015."

Truth and Reconciliation Web Archive Launched at University of Winnipeg

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 22:11:00 +0000

Last week, the University of Winnipeg, the University of Manitoba, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), and Library and Archives Canada (LAC) launched the Truth and Reconciliation Web Archive that will document the work of and responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC):
"For six years the TRC documented one of the most vicious components of settler society’s colonial legacy of Indigenous erasure: the residential school programme. To trace the popular response to the TRC investigations, the University of Winnipeg, in collaboration with the University of Manitoba, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, and Library and Archives Canada has initiated a project to capture and record websites relating to the work of the TRC and responses to its Calls to Action. (...) Staff at LAC similarly archived websites of a national scope. These sites have been captured, described, and curated using the Internet Archive’s Archive-It service. This is a pilot project that envisions national participation. The NCTR will provide a hub to facilitate access to all current and future jurisdictions of the web archive."
Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:
  • National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Opens at University of Manitoba (November 5, 2015): "The Centre hosts a massive database of its collections including: the materials from the TRC / testimonials from survivors of the schools / millions of records from federal departments and from Library and Archives Canada (records detailing how the schools were created and run; school admissions; school histories; administration records; photographs; maps, plans and drawings) / records from churches that ran the schools (student records; photographs; school newsletters; cemetery records; religious records; administrative records)"
  • Agreement of Library and Archives Canada and National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to Safeguard Residential School Records (June 5, 2016): "Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) announced last week that they have signed an agreement to ensure the preservation of, and public access to, the records of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) on residential schools..."

Remarks and Highlights from the 2017 Conference by New AALL President

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 21:57:00 +0000

Greg Lambert of 3 Geeks and a Law Blog fame is the new president of the American Association of Law Libraries which held its most recent annual conference in Austin, Texas.

Lambert blogged about some of the conference highlights and his inaugural speech as new leader of the association.

Reaction to Federal Court Decision on York University Fair Dealing

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 19:33:00 +0000

Earlier this month, York University in Toronto lost a case in Federal Court of Canada in its legal dispute with the collective licensing agency Access Copyright.

Access Copyright had sued the school, alleging it had been improperly reproducing and authorizing the copying of protected works.

The university argued that any portion of protected materials copied for course packs was covered by the “fair dealing” provisions of Canadian copyright legislation as interpreted by the Supreme Court of Canada and thus exempt from copyright fees.

York has not yet said if it intends to appeal.

Reaction to the decision includes:

Australian Law Reform Commission Discussion Paper on Incarceration Rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 22:03:00 +0000

The Australian Law Reform Commission has published a discussion paper on Incarceration Rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

From the Terms of Reference:
"It is acknowledged that while laws and legal frameworks are an important factor contributing to over‑representation, there are many other social, economic, and historic factors that also contribute. It is also acknowledged that while the rate of imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and their contact with the criminal justice system - both as offenders and as victims - significantly exceeds that of non‑Indigenous Australians, the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people never commit criminal offences.

Scope of the reference

  1. In developing its law reform recommendations, the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) should have regard to:
    1. Laws and legal frameworks including legal institutions and law enforcement (police, courts, legal assistance services and prisons), that contribute to the incarceration rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and inform decisions to hold or keep Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in custody, specifically in relation to:
      1. the nature of offences resulting in incarceration,
      2. cautioning,
      3. protective custody,
      4. arrest,
      5. remand and bail,
      6. diversion,
      7. sentencing, including mandatory sentencing, and
      8. parole, parole conditions and community reintegration.
    2. Factors that decision-makers take into account when considering (1)(a)(i-viii), including:
      1. community safety,
      2. availability of alternatives to incarceration,
      3. the degree of discretion available to decision-makers,
      4. incarceration as a last resort, and
      5. incarceration as a deterrent and as a punishment.
    3. Laws that may contribute to the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples offending and including, for example, laws that regulate the availability of alcohol, driving offences and unpaid fines.
    4. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their rate of incarceration.
    5. Differences in the application of laws across states and territories.
    6. Other access to justice issues including the remoteness of communities, the availability of and access to legal assistance and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language and sign interpreters."

Closer Look at the British Columbia Law Institute Report on Complex Stratas

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 21:12:00 +0000

The British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI) released a Report on Complex Stratas in June 2017.In British Columbia, a strata corporation is a legal entity with all of the powers of a natural person who has full capacity. This means that it can sue or be sued, enter into contracts and hire employees. There are residential strata corporations, commercial strata corporations.snd other categories."This report is the second published in BCLI’s Strata Property Law Project—Phase Two. BCLI’s work on strata-property law reaches back to phase one of this project, which concluded in 2012 with recommendations to examine the following seven areas: (1) fundamental changes to a strata; (2) complex stratas; (3) selected governance issues; (4) common property; (5) selected land-title issues; (6) selected insurance issues; (7) leasehold stratas." "Complex stratas is not a term found in the Strata Property Act. It’s an expression used to describe trends in the real-estate sector. Strata-property legislation was developed in the 1960s as a means to promote high-density residential housing. But the legislation has never restricted strata properties to just this form. Architecturally varied and mixed-use stratas began to spring up in the 1970s. At that time, the legislation gained three tools to manage the legal issues that arose in the wake of increasingly complex stratas: sections, types, and phases. This report marks the first comprehensive review of these three tools in a generation." "The report contains 68 recommendations for reform. The recommendations propose clarifying the procedures for creating and cancelling sections, spelling out section powers and duties, strengthening section governance, budgets, and finances, clarifying the procedures for creating and cancelling types and fine-tuning the operation of types, enhancing the oversight of the phasing process." In a series of posts, the BCLI blog has been "taking a closer look at three key recommendations in the report": “Should the Strata Property Act continue to require a strata corporation to hold an annual general meeting after the deposit of each phase in a phased strata plan other than the first phase?”“Should strata corporations be allowed to allocate expenses paid for out of the contingency reserve fund to types?” “Should sections be retained or repealed?”[...]

Canadian Federation of Library Associations Appoints Executive Director

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:49:00 +0000

The Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA-FCAB) has apopointed Katherine McColgan as Executive Director commencing August 8, 2017:
"Based in Ottawa and fluently bilingual, Katherine will directly engage with federal government representatives to raise the profile of key issues and ensure that the voice of the Canadian library community is represented in policy decisions. CFLA-FCAB will continue to press the federal government for action on issues including support for Indigenous languages and cultures, digitization of and access to Canadian cultural content, and recognition of libraries as cultural institutions."
The Federation replaced the old Canadian Library Association with a new structure based on an association of national, regional and sectoral library associations.

Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:

Law Library of Congress Guide to Parliamentary Information Online

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 21:13:00 +0000

The Law Library of Congress has published a report on Features of Parliamentary Websites for some 50 different countries.

"In recent years, parliaments around the world have enhanced their websites in order to improve access to legislative information and other parliamentary resources. Innovative features allow constituents and researchers to locate and utilize detailed information on laws and lawmaking in various ways. These include tracking tools and alerts, apps, the use of open data technology, and different search functions. In order to demonstrate some of the developments in this area, staff from the Global Legal Research Directorate of the Law Library of Congress surveyed the official parliamentary websites of fifty countries from all regions of the world, plus the website of the European Parliament. In some cases, information on more than one website is provided where separate sites have been established for different chambers of the national parliament, bringing the total number of individual websites surveyed to seventy. "


"All of the parliamentary websites included in the survey have at least basic browse tools that allow users to view legislation in a list format, and that may allow for viewing in, for example, date or title order. All of the substantive websites also enable searching, often providing a general search box for the whole site at the top of each page as well as more advanced search options for different types of documents. Some sites provide various facets that can be used to further narrow searches."

"Around thirty-nine of the individual websites surveyed provide users with some form of tracking or alert function to receive updates on certain documents (including proposed legislation), parliamentary news, committee activities, or other aspects of the website. This includes the ability to subscribe to different RSS feeds and/or email alerts."

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 21:07:00 +0000

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

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

Primary Research Group Report on Use of Law School & Other Digital Repositories

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 22:07:00 +0000

New York-based Primary Research Group has just published a report called Survey of Law School Faculty: Use of Law School & Other Digital Repositories:
"The study defines how faculty use law school and other digital repositories, answering with hard data questions such as: what percentage of law school faculty have deposited a journal article into a repository? A book? Newspaper and magazine articles? Blog posts? Videos of classroom lectures? Other forms of intellectual property?  How do faculty use repositories in research and teaching? Do they use the repositories of law schools other than their own? General university repositories?"

"The study also gives detailed information on how faculty assess their law school and other repositories, including assessments of how well the repositories are marketed, how well they help faculty with obtaining permissions, how well they report usage data and other repository services to faculty."
Among the respondent were professors from the University of Alberta Law School.

Print and PDF versions are available for $139(US). Site licenses are also available.

Interview With Law Library of Congress Junior Fellow Dasha Kolyaskina

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 21:39:00 +0000

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 Dasha Kolyaskina, Junior Fellow:

How would you describe your job to other people?
I’m working with the Hispanic Legal Documents Collection that the Law Library acquired in 1941. The collection is an assortment of law related texts from Spanish-speaking countries from the 15th to 19th centuries. In total, there are 96 boxes of unbound legal manuscripts that include criminal suits, customs documents, public notices and official correspondences, among other subject areas. There aren’t many common threads between the documents, but there are clusters of documents from Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Peru, and Spain.

My work this summer has been to collect data points for each document in the collection–such as jurisdiction, time period, names of parties to proceedings and others–in order to create a finding aid for the collection, which would make it more accessible.

What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library?
I had no idea that the Law Library’s collections were so focused on jurisdictions outside the United States. More than half of the collection items are in languages other than English. The collections for foreign jurisdictions here are sometimes more complete than any collection in the countries that the documents come from, so the Library is able to serve as a reference to those governments.
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.

Statistics Canada Article on Self-Reported Sexual Assault in Canada

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 19:43:00 +0000

The Statistics Canada publication Juristat today published an article on Self-reported sexual assault in Canada, 2014.

It uses self-reported data from the 2014 General Social Survey on Canadians' Safety (Victimization) to present information on sexual assault in Canada, including sexual attacks, unwanted sexual touching and sexual activity where the victim was unable to consent. This article examines the characteristics of sexual assault victims and their perceptions of safety, and the characteristics of sexual assault offenders and incidents. The emotional and physical consequences of sexual assault, in addition to reporting sexual assault to the police and the reasons for not reporting, are also discussed.

Among the highlights:
  • there were 22 incidents of sexual assault for every 1,000 Canadians aged 15 and older in 2014. This represented approximately 636,000 self-reported incidents of sexual assault.
  • the rate of self-reported sexual assault in 2014 remained unchanged from 2004.
  • a higher risk of sexual assault was noted among those who were women, young, Aboriginal, single, and homosexual or bisexual, and those who had poorer mental health.
  • among the three types of sexual assault measured, seven in ten self-reported incidents were unwanted sexual touching, two in ten were sexual attacks and one in ten was sexual activity where the victim was unable to consent.
  • overall, sexual assault offenders were most often men, acting alone and under the age of 35. Just over half of victims knew the person who sexually assaulted them.
  • most often, offenders were a friend, acquaintance or neighbour, then a stranger. Of all sexual assault incidents perpetrated by someone other than a spouse, one in twenty was reported to the police, compared to one in three incidents of other types of crime measured by the General Social Survey on Victimization.
  • most commonly, sexual assault victims reported feeling angry, or upset, confused or frustrated after the incident. One in four victims reported that they had difficulty carrying out everyday activities because of the incident. Further, one in six victims reported experiencing three or more longer-term emotional consequences, indicating the possibility of post-traumatic stress disorder.

List of Fastcase 50 Legal Innovators for 2017

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 22:29:00 +0000

Fastcase, an American-based provider of electronic versions of U.S. primary law (cases, statutes, regulations, court rules, and constitutions), has unveiled its list of Fastcase 50 winners for the year 2017.

"Created in 2011, each year the Fastcase 50 award honors a diverse group of lawyers, legal technologists, policymakers, judges, law librarians, bar association executives, and people from all walks of life. In many cases, honorees are well known, but in many others, the award recognizes people who have made important, but unheralded contributions."
There are a number of Canadians in the list:
  • Rian Gauvreau, Co-Founder and COO, Clio
  •  Monica Goyal, Founder, My Legal Briefcase and Aluvion Law; Adjunct Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School
  •  Thomas G. Martin, Founder, LawDroid; Co-Founder, Vancouver Legal Hacker 
Simon Fodder, the founder of, Canada's preeminent online legal magazine, was recognized as one of the Fastcase 50 in 2014.

Podcast Interviews With Finalists for 2017 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 19:23:00 +0000

This is a follow-up to the Library Boy post of May 13, 2017 entitled Vote for the 2017 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.

The ABA Journal awards the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction every year to recognize a work of fiction that best exemplifies the role of lawyers in society.

In the most recent episode of the podcast Modern Law Library, the three finalists for this year's prize are interviewed.

They are:

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

Tue, 04 Jul 2017 16:03:00 +0000

The July 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

Tue, 04 Jul 2017 15:58:00 +0000

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection from June 16th to 30th, 2017 is now available on the Court website.

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