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Archive for ‘Legal Information’

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 Slaw.ca (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

Petition to Reinstate the Ontario E-Laws Detailed Legislative History Tables – RESPONSE RECEIVED!

Good news colleagues!

I have received a response from the Attorney General for Ontario to our petition to re-instate the E-Laws Detailed Legislative History Tables.

Please see her response below, which includes full details of the new approach
that the E-Laws team is working on.

We are encouraged to send our feedback to them.

Thanks to everyone for participating in this petition!

All the best
Annette

From: JUS-G-MAG-Webmaster [mailto:JUS.G.MAG.Webmaster@ontario.ca]
Sent: Tuesday, September 08, 2015 3:39 PM
To: Annette Demers
Cc: Spakowski, Mark (MAG); Merdzan, Susan (MAG)
Subject: Ministry of the Attorney General Response – MC-2015-5161

Our Reference #: MC-2015-5161

Ms. . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Legal Information

Stop Doing That

Ever since mid-August I have been thinking about what to stop doing. It is easy to write about eliminating low value asks from your work day but in practice it is really quite difficult. Does personally stopping something mean that I am passing that work to another? If stopping something is not delegating, but rather truly ending the service provided, how do I make a rational decision aboutwhat to NOT do.

Law librarians reading this will all know the sick feeling when someone asks for that textbook that they deselected, eliminated from the collection, recycled, tossed, weeded, in all otherways . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Fostering a Culture of Legal Literacy

I have had the good fortune of being involved in a number of groups and initiatives aimed at improving access to justice and reforming family law processes over the last several years – from pro bono advice clinics and rosters, to public legal information websites and Wikibooks, to the reconstruction of court rules and legislation – and have recently become plagued by the feeling we’re getting something wrong, that there’s something more fundamental at play I’m overlooking. Partly this stems from the observation in Meaningful Change for Family Justice: Beyond Wise Words (PDF) that despite the innovations and . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information

The Rights and Responsibilities of Self-Represented Litigants

A few years ago I was doing some work for a professional association on guidelines for dealing with litigants without counsel and I was struck by the extent to which some legal professionals regard litigants without counsel as interlopers who gum up the finely tuned, well-oiled machine that is their justice system. Some of the same attitudes are evident in the research on lawyers’ and judges’ perceptions done by Nicholas Bala and Rachel Birnbaum in 2012 and by the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family in 2013. By way of illustration, respondents to a follow-up national survey of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information, Practice of Law