Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for ‘Legal Information’

DIY A2J 2: Work With Others and Others’ Work

In most urban centres, you can’t swing a stick without hitting a social service or social service connected agency. Most of these agencies are glad to have any legal materials they can get their hands on, and most are willing to share the materials they have. Most importantly, each of these agencies serves a specific target population with specific legal needs.

Groups like SUCCESS Settlement Services in British Columbia, for example, help newcomers to Canada overcome language and cultural barriers; groups like the Atira Women’s Resource Centre help women dealing with abuse through advocacy and education. Various other social service . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information

Incorporating Skills-Based Learning Throughout Law School

When we leave law school to become articling students and then junior associates, we will likely spend the majority of our time researching and writing memos. Knowing this, how is it possible that law students can leave school without a strong foundation in these skills?

All law students at UVic have at least some exposure to legal research and writing through taking Legal Research and Writing (LRW) in first year. However, this is our first introduction into legal research and writing. At this early stage in our education, it is difficult to fully appreciate and absorb all the material covered . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

DIY A2J 1: Create and Share Plain-Language Information About the Law

Information about the law and dispute resolution processes has been identified as a key barrier to justice in most of the major reports, although in two contradictory senses: a lack of information and a confusing surplus of information. The report of the the Family Justice Working Group (PDF) to the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters phrased the problem nicely:

There is a broad consensus in the literature that early information is enormously helpful to separating families, especially  but not only  where spouses are unrepresented. …

Considerable family law information is now available

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

A New Approach to Legal Research and Writing?

I have now taken the better part of two legal research and writing courses (though the term paper still looms) and on the whole I have found them to be a beneficial to my legal research both in other classes and in the workplace. However, if there is one thing that I find these courses a bit short on, it is direct feedback and a corresponding opportunity to put this feedback into practice, and observe and evaluate the end results.

While I was an undergraduate I had the opportunity to participate in a writing intensive class as both a student . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Learning to Keep a Proper Research Record

The Importance of Keeping a Record

When I registered for ALRW I thought the most important improvement in my research skills would relate to finding and locating relevant legal materials. However, learning to keep a detailed record of my research has been the most valuable skill I’ve developed.

I kept a record in the past but I didn’t give too much importance to it and it tended to be recorded a bit haphazardly. I kept track of the relevant cases, statutes, and principles I came across but did not keep a detailed record of search terms I used or the . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Should Advanced Legal Research and Writing Be Mandatory?

As I approach the last few weeks of my legal education I begin to ask myself: Am I ready? Am I a well-trained individual ready to take on any challenge thrown my way? Or at least a competent individual with the basic skills necessary to write my first “real” memo? I have spent the last seven years in university researching and writing multiple papers; is that enough?

Even in my third year I find myself turning to the student next to me, whispering, “Where would I find that?” or “How do I cite that?” As embarrassing as this is, I . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Law Blogs and Law Reviews: A Tale of Dialogue?

In October 2013, Adam Liptak—The New York Times’ Supreme Court correspondent—dismissed law reviews as repositories of irrelevant and un(der)-read legal scholarship that merely bolster the curriculum vitae of published authors and, presumably, the student editors.

Disagreement with Liptak’s bold assertion ran the gamut from the observation that students run law reviews for lack of an alternative to the rebuke that Liptak’s criticism overreached to taint law reviews with less problematic publication structures. Others focused on Liptak’s brief praise for legal blogging; Kevin O’Keefe celebrated the article for heralding law blogs as better sources of “valuable legal insight” . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Legal Information: Publishing

Thoughts From UVic Law Students

For the past two years I’ve taught Advanced Legal Research and Writing to upper year law students, and I’ve just begun a third session.

This is a small seminar course and the students are primarily final-year students. My day-one poll of the students generally suggests some feel uncertainty about their legal research and writing skills as they prepare to enter the profession, and they take the course almost as “remedial legal research and writing,” to borrow the words of a colleague.

To meet stated student learning needs, we generally focus in depth on the skills of researching case . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Canadian Librarians Track Down Fugitive Federal Government Documents

So-called fugitive Canadian federal government documents are documents that are available in print or on a website but that are not collected by an official depository program such as the federal Depository Services Program that maintains the Government of Canada Publications catalogue.

A few years ago, staff at 11 Canadian libraries launched the Canadian Government Information Digital Preservation Network (CGI DPN), an initiative dedicated to preserving digital collections of government information.

In 2014, the Network created the Fugitive Documents Working Group to develop strategies to collect fugitive documents.

The Working Group has created a spreadsheet to locate and report . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Of BCLaws.ca Buzz and One Less Pay Wall With Sensational Spelling

Fellow Slaw contributor Kim Nayer wrote about QPLegalEze’s imminent dismantlement back in April 2014. Her post, titled “Goodbye QPLegalEze; Welcome Open Law“, heralded an end to an era of embargoed legal information, and hinted at the promise of a more democratic trend—one where the government lets the law become knowable even in the absence of our wallets.

Some goodbyes take longer than others. 20-odd months later, however, it really does feel like the house has cleared out. The repository of BC’s laws (various enactments, historical tables, ministerial orders archives, and that sort of thing) which was once kept  . . . [more]

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

Trends in New Media Unionization

On December 15, 2015 Vice Canada, a growing (and very cool) digital news media company, announced that it was starting a union drive. This announcement comes on the heels of a growing trend in new media unionizing.

Although Canada has a long history of unionization within its major news organizations, digital or “new” media has been long been on the sidelines of union drives, particularly when compared to the US.

Since June 2015, a number of prominent American digital media companies have unionized without any significant conflict, including the Guardian US. The American branch of the British daily newspaper . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Quiet Demise of the Print Version

Attentive law librarians and those who read ‘about’ pages on websites and likely most Slaw readers will not be surprised that beginning in 2016, there will no longer be a print subscription available for the Alberta Hansard. The Legislative Assembly of Alberta is following in the footsteps of most other jurisdictions in Canada, which do not offer subscriptions for parliamentary publications. Many public bodies, for very sensible economic reasons, have ceased print subscriptions.

The Alberta Hansard remains the official report of the debates of the Legislature of Alberta, as it has been since it began in 1972. This well researched . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing