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Archive for ‘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

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

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

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

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

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

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