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Archive for ‘Legal Information’

Should Search Engines Index Court Decisions?

In the days of electronic access, judicial decisions (and sometimes other court records that have always been public in principle) no longer benefit from practical obscurity. Court have had to wrestle with the consequences of this, including tailoring the way decisions are written to reduce the amount of personal information they contain.

The Canadian Judicial Council has published material on this, as have the federal and state courts in the US.

Recently a US lawyer proposed that databases of court decisions should block search engines from indexing the decisions – a block that is very easy to implement, with a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Supreme Court of Canada Updated Policy for Access to Court Records

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of Canada published its revised Policy for Access to Supreme Court of Canada Court Records. It took effect March 17, 2015 and replaces the policy dated February 9, 2009.

In addition to the hearing schedules, docket information, party information, case summaries, webcasts of appeal hearings and factums on appeal, the Court will begin to post memorandums of argument on applications for leave to appeal after they are granted.

The revised policy also introduces a Registered Access process for frequent users.This is for people who require regular access to multiple court records in one . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information

Canadians Create New Searchable Database of Edward Snowden Documents

George Raine, a recent graduate of the Faculty of Information’s Master of Information program at the University of Toronto, has created the Snowden Surveillance Archive, a searchable database of all the publicly released classified documents leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

The leaks reveal the widespread surveillance practices by security and espionage agencies in the US and allied countries.

Archive project partners are Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and the Politics of Surveillance Project at University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information. Funding came from The New Transparency: Surveillance and Social Sorting, a seven-year Major Collaborative . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Technology: Internet

Of Social Media Evidence Capture and WebPreserver

Vancouver is already headquarters to big names in the legal SaaS and social media software markets. Both Clio and Hootsuite are homegrown. For a couple of years I suspected that one of these—or perhaps an enterprising partner relying on the market reach and platform of one of these companies—would come along to knit legal and social media together in a product that served the unique needs of lawyers.

The unique need, to state it succinctly, is for an easy-to-use browser-based tool that captures posts (incriminating Facebook admissions, credibility destroying tweets, etc.) and preserves them with “evidentiary quality” . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Technology: Internet

Addressing Link Rot in Canadian Jurisprudence

Reading the latest edition of MIRLN, I was reminded again of the Perma.cc service for addressing link rot in journal articles and judicial decisions. I know the issue has been discussed a couple of times on Slaw. I was wondering what Canadian courts are doing to address the problem of link rot. Is there a Canadian equivalent to Perma.cc? Are any Canadian courts using or considering using Perma.cc? Is this a service that could one day be provided by CanLII, or are individual courts’ websites being used for this purpose already? . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology: Internet

Oscar Awards Databases

Film nerds can get all their Oscar-related facts from a series of databases supplied by the Margaret Herrick Library, the research library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Among the library’s many goodies are:

Enjoy tonight’s Awards show. Go . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Miscellaneous

Report on the Accessibility for Ontarians With Disabilities Act Review

Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure released the 79-page report on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act review to the public on February 13, 2015. Overall, the report indicates that although the government and public and private sectors have shown strong support and commitment to accessibility, the slow implementation of the AODA has resulted in rather modest improvements for persons with disabilities in the areas of jobs and access to goods or services.
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

UN Launches Database of Cases by Expert Committees on Human Rights

The UN Human Rights Office has launched a major public online database that contains all the case law issued by the UN human rights expert committees known as the Treaty Bodies.

The Treaty Bodies are committees of independent experts that monitor implementation of the core international human rights treaties. There are 10 of them including the Committee against Torture, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The database was developed using data from the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) at the Utrecht . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Magna Carta to Tour Canada in Its 800th Anniversary Year

In June of this year, the Magna Carta will be travelling to Canada.

Considered a foundational document outlining fundamental rights, it was signed in June 1215 by King John of England.

The Magna Carta, along with its companion document from 1217 known as the Charter of the Forest, will be exhibited in Ottawa/Gatineau at the Canadian Museum of History from June 11 to July 26, 2015, before making stops in Winnipeg, Toronto and Edmonton.

The Library of Parliament has prepared a “HillNote” on the Magna Carta‘s legacy:

“The idea that a legal document could

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

Trusting the System

By now, you have probably read that the Alberta Courts public facing judgments database is no longer an active search page, and instead redirects seekers to CanLII.

Bill Clinton is attributed with saying “The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.” Jack Welch advised, “Change before you have to.” Some other very clever person came up with, “People do not resist change. They resist being changed.”

My opinion on people resisting being changed is that there is far less resistance when there is trust. Trust that the change is not a change . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Of Digital Authoritativeness and the Age of Steam

Late last week fellow Slaw contributor John Gregory brought up some idiosyncrasies in his post about how web-sourced versions of laws stack up against more official looking books with laws printed in them. You know, the ones that only the law library has?

This brings up a pet peeve of mine—something that Ontario has solved, but which BC practitioners are technically still exposed to. The fact is that if you’re not producing photocopies of the official books with BC laws in them, you’re technically not doing your job for the court in BC. That’s ridiculous, right? Well, yeah. It is. . . . [more]

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

Seeking Nominations for the 2015 Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is accepting nominations for the 2015 Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing.

It honours a publisher (whether for-profit or not-for profit, corporate or non-corporate) that has demonstrated excellence by publishing a work, series, website or e-product that makes a significant contribution to legal research and scholarship.

Members as well as non-members of CALL can make nominations.

Nominations can be submitted to Cyndi Murphy [cmurphy AT stewartmckelvey.com], past president of CALL, before February 15, 2015.

The award honours Hugh Lawford (1933-2009), Professor of Law at Queens’ University and the founder . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing