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Archive for ‘Legal Information’

Of CanLII Quirks and Hacks for Noting Up Supreme Court Family Rules in BC

Apologies to other Slaw readers in advance. This post is mostly for BC lawyers interested in using CanLII to note up specific Supreme Court Family Rules. I shared these tips recently in a paper for a CLE and thought the general principle or method might be helpful to a broader audience too.

I’ll preface this post to say that 95% of the time, CanLII is a simply phenomenal tool. Deeply customizable search operators and a clean interface/search template. It’s a killer app for lawyers and others seeking to know the law. It is, however, strangely ill-suited to note up specific . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Internet

International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems

JURIX 2015 takes place next week at the University of Minho, Law School, Campus of Gualtar, Braga, Portugal. This is the 28th International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems providing a “forum for academics and practitioners for the advancement of cutting edge research in the interface between law and computer technology.”

This event begins with a day of workshops followed by two days of papers corresponding to the following agenda:

  • Evidence and Facts in Law
  • Case Law and Citation Networks
  • Law for Legal Concepts
  • Linked Data
  • Data Retrieval and Analysis
  • Deontic Logic
  • Argumetation, Legal Decision-making
  • Legal
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

What Does It Really Mean to “Free the Law”? Part 2

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”


Attributed to Nelson Mandela, that quote fits the experience of groups around the world that sought over much of the past 20 years to make the law freely accessible on the internet. Beginning today (November 9th), dozens of members of the Free Access to Law Movement (FALM), along with other supporters, are meeting in Sydney, Australia where AustLII is hosting the 2015 Law via the Internet conference. Some countries attending are currently at the “impossible” stage and look to achievements in Canada and elsewhere for inspiration of what is possible. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Opens at University of Manitoba

Earlier this year, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its findings after its years-long investigation into the many abuses against Aboriginal children at Church-run Indian Residential Schools in the 19th and 20th centuries.

This week, a grand opening was held for the new National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation located on the grounds of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. The Centre is the permanent home for all statements, documents, and other materials gathered by the TRC.

As the Centre’s director Ry Moran explains:

On this site and at our centre, you will find a vast collection of documents,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

What Does It Really Mean to “Free the Law”? Part 1

A fantastic development out of the United States last week – Harvard Law School and Ravel Law plan to make access to the school’s entire library of reported U.S. case law available for free on Ravel’s website. In a multi-year effort and at a cost said to be in the millions (exact details not known), some “40,000 books containing approximately forty million pages of court decisions” are being digitized and uploaded to Ravel’s platform, where anybody will be able to search, read and use the material at no cost. This is an incredible advance in open access to law and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

Of Wikibooks and the Impossible Trinity of Information

Poo-pooing Wikipedia’s citeworthiness has a rich and honoured tradition, and not just among academics. The authoritative quality of crowd-sourced wisdom is a well-flogged heel for those in legal circles too, often trotted out in judgments like some Karl Von Hess to be beaten up by proper prudent legal authority. Wikipedia was first knocked about in Canadian jurisprudence in Bajraktaraj v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2005 FC 261, a decision of the Federal Court which set the tone for dealing with the pariah:

… the quality of the sources relied upon by the applicant, including an article

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Technology: Internet

Reminder: New Quebec Code of Civil Procedures Effective January 1, 2016

Quebec lawyers are reminded that they need to prepare for upcoming changes to the Quebec Code of Civil Procedures passed into law on February 20, 2014. These significant changes are in effect January 1, 2016, and will improve overall access to justice. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Justice Issues, Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Tracking Supreme Court of Canada Cases

I’m sure many of you keep track of cases pending before the Supreme Court of Canada. What is your preferred method for doing so? I had been hoping to find an RSS feed (or something similar) on the SCC docket page. I suppose I could use a website tracking tool to track the particular docket page that I am interested in. But I was hoping there would be a nice easy-to-use tool already set up for me to do that! I tried QuickLaw and came up with a somewhat clunky work-around (I set up a scheduled search for the SCCA . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology: Internet

Elder Law Conference Coming to Vancouver in November: Save the Date!

The Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, Canada’s leading providing of continuing professional training for lawyers, and the Canadian Centre for Elder Law are hosting the Canadian Elder Law Conference on 12 and 13 November in 2015. The conference is open to anyone with an interest in the legal and other issues affecting Canada’s elder population, but will be of most interest to lawyers, financial planners and mental health professionals.

The conference is extremely timely, given Statistics Canada‘s recent report showing that there are now more Canadians who are older than 65 than those who are under . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Canadian Bar Association 2015 Election Engagement Kit

With the federal elections coming up on October 19th, many organizations have been producing lists of priorities, demands and positions on issues relevant to them and canvassing the major political parties to respond.

The legal community is no exception.

The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) has produced an Election Engagement Kit that will “put equal access to justice on candidates’ radar and publicly call for enhanced federal leadership in this area”.

The Kit includes tips for members on how to:

  • Ask questions when candidates come knocking on your door.
  • Attend and raise these issues at all candidates’ meetings.
  • Contribute to the
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

US Supreme Court Justices Prefer Shakespeare

According to a recent article about the favourite literary references used by current US Supreme Court justices in their judgments, Shakespeare and Lewis Carroll top the list.

This was followed by:

  • George Orwell
  • Charles Dickens
  • Aldous Huxley
  • Aesop
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky, William Faulkner, Herman Melville and J.D. Salinger (equal number of references)

This reminds me of one of my posts on (way back in 2006!) on Popular Song Lyrics in Legal Writing. Oklahoma City University School of Law professor Alex B. Long did a study of citations to pop music stars in law journals.

In descending list of “popularity” . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Role of Libraries in Access to Justice Initiatives

Many local public libraries as well as law libraries are actively involved in access to justice initiatives.

In a recent post entitled Justice at your library? on the website of PLE Learning Exchange Ontario, Michele Leering, the Executive Director with the Community Advocacy & Legal Centre in Belleville, Ontario, writes about one such project, the Librarians & Justice partnership in southeastern Ontario.

She also provides a link to a page about PLE for librarians [PLE = public legal education]:

“Library staff in Ontario are ideally placed to serve as key intermediaries in distributing legal information and referrals to library

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Libraries & Research