Summertime and the Living…isn’t That Easy

Law commissions like to operate on a relatively regular schedule of making documents public, whether consultation papers or interim or final reports, especially given the insatiable demands of today’s websites. As with any organization, however, the ready excuse of “best laid plans…” naturally operates to throw off the timetable. A consultation paper scheduled to be released in April may be postponed until September for unforeseen reasons, for example. Difficulties finding a translator may mean a delay of a month in releasing a final report. Even building in some leeway in setting timetables doesn’t always address delays, just like thinking you’re giving yourself lots of time in getting to work. So I thought I’d provide a glimpse into at least one law commission’s less visible work, and activities that are only partially visible (and how they might become more visible in the future), focusing on this summer.

So far this summer, the LCO has released one consultation paper and issued Liaison (the LCO newsletter), both “visible” activities that we’ve added to our website and all public examples of how our work is progressing. The consultation paper is in our project on developing a coherent approach to the law as it affects persons with disabilities and the deadline for submissions (in a variety of formats) is August 28, 2009.

The consultation paper is obviously the culmination of much work and Liaison, too, really refers to events of the late winter and spring. Neither says too much about what we are doing in the present. Taking into account that our research lawyers and administrative staff are allowed to take summer vacation, here’s a list of some of the other activities that have occurred in the last couple of months and will take us to the end of the summer:

*we’re preparing consultation papers in four projects that should see the light of day over the early/mid fall period (these are are the family law, Provincial Offences Act, joint and several liability and vulnerable employees projects);
*we’re carrying out consultations in all our projects, as well as general outreach and organizing fall outreach and consultation (we may include news about consultations on our new website);
*we’ve developed an extensive stakeholder database that will be added to on a regular basis;
*we’re receiving three background papers we had commissioned for the older adults project and considering how to incorporate them into the on-going research and development of an interim report in that project (they will likely be posted on the website);
*we’re creating advisory groups for our larger projects;
*we’re planning a symposium for October in the joint and several liability and will be organizing a symposium for the electronic medical records project (a project being carried out in association with the LCO) for January 2009;
*we’re involved in on-going planning with other organizations for an elder law conference in 2010;
*we’re mentoring our students in their research and providing them with consultation and other opportunities;
*we’re beginning the process for hiring our fall 2009/winter 2010 students;
*we’re in the process of hiring a community outreach coordinator to help us carry out consultations more effectively;
*we’re preparing our Annual Report (really a “mid-term” Report) that will be posted to the website;
*we’ve had our financial statements audited;
*we’re beginning the process of evaluation of the LCO’s performance in preparation for our renewal process next year;
*we’re still redesigning our website with the expectation we’ll launch it in the fall;
*we’ll soon begin planning the fall Liaison;
*we’re working on our move to new space on the York campus in the fall.

I’ll leave it there. Much of the above will become “public” in one form or another and some, like our consultations, that are visible only to a small group, might be given a more public profile in the future. So for any particular person, summer may have its “easy living”, but for the institution itself, not so much.

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