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Archive for ‘Legal Information’

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

Of Family Law Flowcharts and Guided Pathways

It’s the hap-happiest season of all.

And for some—family law practitioners in particular—the crackling warmth of hearth and home will be interrupted by the rustling sound of short leave applications, affidavits of unspeakable length and one or two clients’ Ghosts of Marriages Past. I have heard of counsel that dislike dealing with last minute Christmas custody conflicts so vigorously that they write office closure hours for the month of December directly into the retainer agreement. This is all said by way of making the point that family law and mid-December have a long history together. We should be reminded on . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology: Internet

Hypothes.is and Annotation

Law has a lot to do with the analysis and exegesis of texts. It’s usually helpful to learn what someone else has thought about a particular passage in a statute or judgment, and especially valuable to encounter a discussion among commentators. CanLII Connects takes us much of the way there, though it seems as though there’s little back and forth via the comments function. It may be that a newcomer to the commenting field will prove to be useful.

Hypothes.is is an annotating facility. Run by a not-for-profit organization aimed at democratizing discussion, it allows anyone to annotate any web . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Canadian Government Publications: What Has Been Digitized?

Law librarians are used to receiving requests for help in locating government documents and reports, with requesters often expressing a preference for materials in digital format.

Relatively recent materials should not be too hard to locate. In fact, there are new portals that have been created for the very purpose of tracking down digitized government documents. One example is GALLOP, launched a few years ago by the Association of Parliamentary Libraries in Canada.

When it comes to earlier materials, documents, if they have been digitized, may pop up in any number of places, such as HeinOnline for federal statutes. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

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