Thanks to the great initiative of Louis Mirando, Osgoode Hall Law School’s Chief Librarian, anyone can now access any or all of the Ontario Law Reform Commission’s final reports on-line. (That link takes you to the report on the proposed adoption of the Uniform Wills Act, 1968.) You can also find some consultation papers, collections of papers and other related documents. They are on the Internet Library Archive, but will likely be “housed” on Osgoode’s site, with a link from the Law Commission of Ontario.
At the LCO, we often receive requests for OLRC reports which are highly regarded. We’ve never been able to oblige, but now this work will be easily accessible to law reform researchers, academics, government policy makers and others across the world. They are searchable, available in a variety of formats and platforms and accessed (mostly) in English and French. Already people have been accessing them. Louis Mirando pointed out that the number of people accessing the reports even within the first few days they were available far surpassed the number who had accessed hard copies the Osgoode library.
I picked a document at random. It turned out to be a collection of papers from 1991, Appointing Judges: Philosophy, Politics and Practice (a bit of an oddity for an OLRC publication). (It noted 14 downloads, one of which was mine). It will surprise no one that most of the issues addressed in this collection are still germane twenty years later, as we continue to struggle with the judicial appointment process. Given the current composition of the Supreme Court of Canada, one issue that seems to have progressed somewhat, at least, is “gender representation” – it seems not, as Linda Robertson’s December 6th post, Women on the Bench, discusses.
The LCO is pleased to have been associated with this project. We initially had in mind to make room for the complete set of OLRC reports that former Chair, John McCamus, brought over to our offices, grateful to move them out of his basement finally. Thanks to Louis Mirando and Tim Knight, the OHLS Library “point man” for this project, John’s commitment and his effort has had far more useful consequencesl. Thanks, too, to the Ministry of the Attorney General which provided copyright permission and to Janice Williams, the LCO’s Executive Assistant, who acted as our liaison with Louis and Tim.
The digitization of the OLRC has made a vital contribution to the historical development of the law in Ontario, but more importantly, has opened up for contemporary researchers all the wonderful work done for the some 100 final reports released by the OLRC before its demise in 1996.