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Archive for ‘Legal Information’

Curation Over Creation: Getting the Most Out of Existing Legal Information

This summer, with the support of a Donner Foundation fellowship, I developed web pages for Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) that connect Ontario nonprofits to existing legal information on incorporation, maintenance, and governance. This article is about the process of creating those pages. My hope is that others will use the process in areas of law where legal information exists online, but is: overwhelming in quantity, difficult to find, and/or scattered.

Pitching the Project: The Pragmatic and Philosophical Justifications of Curation

Before anyone can start the project, somebody needs to be convinced it’s worthy of scarce resources. Why not . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Publishing

2017 Annotated Quebec Civil Code Available for Free on CAIJ Quebec Legal Info Portal

The 20th edition (2017) of the Code civil du Québec annoté by Jean-Louis Baudouin & Yvon Renaud is now available on the website of the CAIJ.

CAIJ is the Centre d’accès à l’information juridique, the network of courthouse law libraries associated with the Québec Bar Association.

The annotated Civil Code includes:

  • links to caselaw and commentary on each section
  • links to section-by-section explanations produced in 1993 by the Quebec Ministry of Justice as the new Code was making its way through the National Assembly
  • links to parliamentary debates in the early 1990s
  • concordances for the Civil Code of Lower Canada
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

A Model Open Access Journal Publication Agreement

There’s a relatively new online journal focusing on open access and scholarly communication called The Idealis. The Idealis was introduced in April this year and as Lee Skallerup Bessette put it, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, it’s a “resource for librarians looking for high-quality, open-access library and information science research.”

Each week their team of experts, led by founding editors Stacy Konkiel and Nicky Agate, work to “liberate research” by recruiting the “very best scholarly communication literature from across the Web, working with authors to make their research available, ensuring that librarians are connected to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Courthouse Libraries BC’s Open Invite in UX Testing “Sprint” to Improve Website

The key to improving ease of use is to erase assumptions. 

That’s important when aiming to improve website usability, generally, but it’s not always easy when you’re dealing with an esoteric culture of users (such as lawyers) who are used to finding information according to old patterns.

Luckily, tools like Treejack, offer “tree testing” as a “usability technique for evaluating the findability of topics in a website.” This is a structure . . . [more]

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

vLex Canada Open for Business

Well, the wait is over. Just in case you haven’t been watching, Maritime Law Book is now Compass and Compass introduced vLex Canada. There are some interesting and useful delighters with vLex Canada Open.

Delighter #1 – No barriers to entry
It is easy to sign up with no cost via two clicks by selecting your Google or Facebook credentials. Some content, like the ability to search using the MLB topic number, is available for paid subscriptions only. This makes sense. It highlights that there is value to adding information.

Delighter #2 – Look and feel
A clean screen . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

An AI to Make Me Smarter

At Kobo last week, we had a guest-talk about machine learning by Sheldon Fernandez of Infusion.

After with a good grounding in deep learning systems, which mimic the human brain to a degree, we got to the interesting stuff: inscrutability, hidden factors and confounding variables. All of these pose problems to people trying to use AI, and illustrate reasons why others fear it.

Inscrutability in AIU is exactly what it is in people: an AI often cannot tell us how it arrived at a decision, or it’s description is so convoluted that it is almost worthless.

When we dig in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Technology

Primer to Legislative Research Across the Provinces and Territories

Alan Kilpatrick, a law librarian with the Law Society of Saskatchewan (LSS), wrote earlier this month on the Legal Sourcery blog about a new Primer to Legislative Research Across the Provinces and Territories published by the Vancouver Association of Law Libraries (the linked version is a reprint by the LSS).

From the text of the Primer:

“This primer to legislative research is arranged by province/territory, with each table providing answers to seven questions.

  1. Do you have a centralized resource for Court Rules (either print or online)?
  2. Do you have any resources that help you with Provincial Point-In-Time Research?
  3. What is
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Legislation

LexisNexis Seeks to Turn Lawyers Into Data Analysts

We often discuss here on Slaw the future of legal publishers, especially in a digital era. Although some of them have tinkered in-house with their own technological and big data solutions, none have independently brought anything revolutionary to the market to date.

Instead, what we might expect is that these legal powerhouses will either partner up with startups, such as with Thomson Reuters and Blue J Legal last year, or will simply purchase them outright.

In some ways, these patterns are not unique. Quicklaw was first created by the late Hugh Lawford at Queen’s University in 1973. Steven McMurray . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Québec National Assembly Guide on History of the Civil Code

The website of the Québec National Assembly has created a thematic guide to the history of the Civil Code of the province from its origins in France’s Napoleonic Code of 1804 t0 today.

The guide outlines the major amendments and repeals up to and including those affecting the new Civil Code of Quebec that came into force in 1994.

For each change, the guide provides a detailed historical description with associated documents (bills, parliamentary debates, briefs or “mémoires” submitted by stakeholders in front of parliamentary committees etc.)

All the documents mentioned are available from the legislative library of the National . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Legislation

Petition to House of Commons to “Fix” Crown Copyright

University of Alberta Copyright Librarian Amanda Wakaruk is asking people to sign the petition she started to get the Canadian government to fix Crown copyright.

Her text has been shared widely in the past few days on social media and on various librarian discussion lists:

“Canada is one of many countries stating a commitment to Open Government. It is also, conversely, one of a decreasing number of countries to retain a legal provision that gives the government the sole right to reproduce and distribute works produced for public consumption. For example, the vast majority of federal US government works

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Legislation

Table of Concordance for Ontario Child and Family Services Act and Bill 89

Prepared by Windsor Law Student Lois Boateng, this Table of Concordance sets out a side-by-side comparative view of Part III (Child Protection) of the Child and Family Services Act, RSO 1990, c C 11, and Part V (Child Protection) of Bill C-89, An Act to enact the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, to amend and repeal the Child and Family Services Act and to make related amendments to other Acts (41st Parl, 2nd Sess) Ontario (2017).

A very helpful tool for anyone who is interested in quickly seeing the proposed changes to this Act. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Substantive Law: Legislation

The Case for Redesigning Caselaw

To a jurist or a legal draftsperson, caselaw probably looks like a reliable, elegant way to record what legislation really means, in context.

To a programmer, it looks like a collection of bugs, for a program that was badly written in the first place and isn’t being maintained by its authors any more.

The programmer then goes looking for the bug-tracker for the criminal code and there isn’t one. At this point their head explodes.

Introduction

When a statute fails to deal with an unexpected situation, the courts fix it. This is a lot like fixing bugs in programs, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing