News


Upcoming CPD: Social Media Social

To our out-of-town readers (and people already registered – thank you!), please forgive this small bit of promotion! There’s a really neat CPD program coming up in Ottawa next month, and we just had to write about it for the blog.

On April 4, the CCLA will be holding the “Social Media Social” – a gathering of some really excellent bloggers and social media pros from the Ottawa legal community (and also me – how did I get on this invite list?!). What started out as local lawyer Sean Bawden (author of the Clawbie Award-winning “Labour Pains” blog) tweeting “Hey, who wants to get drinks and talk about blogging?” has morphed into a half-day session on topics related to blogging, vlogging, and Twitter. You can take a look at the full agenda here. By my count, there are five Clawbie winners speaking that afternoon, so I think it’s safe to say we’ll know a thing or two about legal blogging! The session has been accredited for 1.25 professionalism hours and 1.75 substantive hours, too, so if you’re already getting to work on your 2017 CPD hours, you can snag a few here.

Registration for the session is available online. Brenda and I will both be there, so we look forward to meeting more of our readers in person!


State of Washington & State of Minnesota v. Trump

It’s hard to stay away from the news these days, but those closely following the appeal from Trump’s Immigration Ban in the United States might be interested to see that due to interest in the case, the 9th Circuit has put up a webpage for all of the related court documents. Some light reading for those inclined.

There’s been quite a legal flurry north of the border in response to the ban as well. Courthouse Libraries BC has arranged an upcoming webinar entitled “Canadian Lawyers and the Impact of the US Executive Orders (Muslim Ban)”, to take place on Monday, February 27th, 3:30-4:30 PM EST. BC lawyer Peter Edelmann will be joined by US attorney Nikhil Shah to discuss:

  • The EO and whom it affects.
  • The effects of the various injunctions (MA, NY, CA, etc.) and appeals and what this means practically for affected people seeking access to the US.
  • Legal procedure and rights at the US Border.
  • Some expectations/predictions re future banned countries.
  • Canada’s next possible moves (e.g. Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement).
  • Information about the Canadian and US lawyer alliances/participation in this crisis.
  • What you, the lawyer on the front lines (or who wants to get involved) needs to know, e.g. what you can accomplish v. what you should expect.

You can register for the webinar here.


Fighting the Good Link Rot Fight

One of the things that keeps librarians up at night is something known as link rot (don’t get us even started on “fake news” and information literacy). There was an article highlighting this issue in the NY Times a couple of years ago, but basically, link rot happens when you cite something on the web that ends up moving its URL, changing its form somehow, or being deleted altogether. As the internet grows naturally from its infancy and more things change, it becomes harder and harder to identify sources, and more and more links lead to dead ends.

This is happening in case law and the legal world as well as the scholarly one, and you can understand how this might be important when the footnotes and links are referring to the basis of legal precedent. The Times article identified that in 2013, a study found that 49% of their Supreme Court decisions links no longer worked. There have been a couple initiatives to try and rectify this since then, the largest of which being Perma.cc, which archives and gives permanent links to resources so that they will no longer change.

Today, the Supreme Court of Canada revealed a similar project they have been working on, their depository of Internet Sources Cited in SCC Judgments (1998 – 2016), which contains permanent links to documents referred to in SCC decisions. Here is their news release regarding the service:

January 26, 2017

OTTAWA – Recognizing that web pages or websites that the Court cites in its judgments may subsequently vary in content or be discontinued, the Office of the Registrar of the SCC has located and archived the content of most online sources that had been cited by the Court between 1998 and 2016. These sources were captured with a content as close as possible to the original content cited. Links to the archived content can be found here: Internet Sources Cited in SCC Judgments (1998 – 2016).

From 2017, online internet sources cited in the “Authors Cited” section in SCC judgments will be captured and archived.  When a judgment cites such a source, an “archived version” link will be provided to facilitate future research.

An important step forward. Hopefully we will see similar initiatives by other courts to help address this issue.


End of Year Round-Up

It’s hard to believe it’s almost 2017! (And really, good riddance 2016.) With our Clawbie noms out yesterday, we’re wrapping things up this week before the holiday break. We’re very happy with what we achieved this year with the launch of Robeside Assistance, and we’re excited to go into the new year with a whole bunch of ideas for new content. In the meantime, though, here’s a quick look back at our favourite posts that we made this year.

By far our most popular series are the Recently Published Ottawa Decisions and the Blog Rolls, so we won’t be including those, but here are some others worth a read!

  • How to Find Unreported Decisions – In our technologically-antiquated Ontario court system there’s no real good way of going about finding decisions that were never published, but here we present your best options for getting your hands on those difficult-to-find decisions.
  • Tools We Love: Doodle – We love free things that make our lives easier! Using Doodle to schedule meetings does both of those things, and here’s a quick tutorial to show you how great it is.
  • Sites Unseen: Lipad – In the Sites Unseen series we featured legal research sites and tools that might be lesser known. A newcomer on the scene and one of my favourite new resources is Lipad, which is a new interface for accessing the Federal Hansard Debates.
  • #ThrowbackThursday: Somerset House – We had so much fun researching old Ottawa photos and history for our Throwback Thursdays, and when the Somerset House came into the news this was a perfect opportunity to do so!

Thanks so much for your support and readership this year; it’s been a blast. Wishing you all the very best of holidays and a Happy New Year!

 


The 2016 Clawbie Awards: Our Nominees!

Clawbies Logo

It’s the most exciting time of the year for Canadian law blogs – the Clawbies! A quick recap: the Clawbies have been awarded each year since 2006 to Canadian law blogs for their work over the previous year. Nominations come from the blogging community itself, in posts like these or on Twitter (look for the hashtag #clawbies2016).

We’re super excited to name our three nominees for the Clawbies this year. We’ve kept in mind the key characteristics of a legal blog (practical, genuine, conversational, and improving the legal system), and we also wanted to pick some of our local favourites. We’re only allowed to pick three (but we love all of you, Ottawa, we promise!), so here they are:

 

Michael Spratt
Michael Spratt (Abergel Goldstein & Partners) / @MSpratt

We became huge fans of Michael’s work when he started doing episode recaps of the Netflix show “Making a Murderer” on his podcast The Docket.  As the old saying goes, come for the Wisconsin true crime, stay for the interesting, thoughtful, and provocative posts on the Canadian legal landscape.  Michael’s dedication to the criminal justice system inspires us, and his blog has become essential reading. 

Some of our favourite blog posts this year:

 

Labour Pains
Sean Bawden (Kelly Santini LLP) / @SeanBawden

Sean’s blog has been an inspiration to us for a long time. His analysis of recent labour and employment decisions and the ramifications for the reader as either an employer or employee are well written and incredibly useful. Also, we love a punny name (obviously). 

Some of our favourite blog posts this year:

 

Anne-Marie McElroy
Anne-Marie McElroy (McElroy Law) / @ammcelroy

When Brenda does her Ottawa Blog Roll posts, Anne-Marie’s posts are always among her favourites. Don’t tell the others, but this is the first blog name she yelled out when nomination time came! 

Some of our favourite blog posts this year:

 

 


CCLA Compendium of Damages Awarded in Personal Injury Actions Across Ontario – October 2016 Update

This one is hot off the press! Just this morning, we were sent the latest update to our Compendium of Damages Awarded in Personal Injury Actions Across Ontario. This guide has been produced for the CCLA for several years, with the assistance of students from the University of Ottawa law school, and under the leadership of The Honourable James Chadwick. This year’s update was prepared by Caleb Timmerman – we thank him tremendously for his work on the project!

To check it out, please click here. For your future reference, you can find this publication on the CCLA website under our “Civil Litigation” practice portal.

Also, if you’re looking for the CCLA’s Compendium of Costs, our most recent update is from 2013 – you can find that here.


Preview: 2016 CALL/ACBD Conference

Next week, Jen and Brenda will be attending the 2016 CALL/ACBD Conference in Vancouver, BC. This is the leading professional development opportunity for legal information professionals in Canada, and is an excellent opportunity to meet and learn from other people working in firm, academic, government, and courthouse libraries across the country. It’s also where we learn about new products coming out from vendors, and notable legal developments.

Of all of the sessions coming up over three days, here are some of the topics we’re most excited for:

“Webinars: Doing it Right” – Brenda will be attending this pre-conference half-day session, which is timely and highly relevant to us here at the CCLA, since we’ve finally made the plunge into providing legal research webinars. She is very excited to get some great tips on how to make our webinars top notch.

“Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About US Legal Research But Were Afraid to Ask!: US Legal Research for Canadians” – There’s plenty we’d like to know but have been to afraid to ask, so this session is perfect! Currently, the only things Jen knows for sure about US law is that Louisiana follows a Civil Code (much like Quebec), and that you can find US decisions on Google Scholar. Ready to take lots of notes during this session!

“Research in the Real World” – This session is all about the collaborative program Research in the Real World that was conducted in Calgary, between academic, firm, and courthouse law librarians for summer students to develop practice-focused legal research skills. Sounds right up our alley!

“Computers in Legal Research” – Brenda is really excited to attend this discussion on the future of Watson-type AI in the legal world, and the extent to which computers might be capable of replacing lawyers in the future (and the inevitable Skynet uprising of course!).

Librarians love to live tweet events, so if you want to check in on the conference, look for #CALLACBD2016 on Twitter.


Welcome (back) to Robeside Assistance! 2

Since we started posting Ottawa decisions round-ups in 2010, we’ve had hundreds of visitors to our blog every month. Recently, we started compiling blog posts from legal folks in the Ottawa area, which our readers have responded enthusiastically to as well. So thank you for reading!

Through all this, we’ve never found the name “CCLA Library Blog” to be very inspiring. We decided it was time for a facelift and a new name. Robeside Assistance is a phrase we’ve been toying around with for a long time, and it finally occurred to us that it was perfect for the blog. The CCLA Library is your courthouse library, and we’re here to help you in your legal research (whether you’re gowned or not, of course!). Legal research is expensive and time consuming. Let us assist you – save time, save money, and get access to some of the best legal research products on the market. We’ll use this space to talk about legal research and products, upcoming training, tips and tricks, and of course, the popular decisions and blogs compilations.

We’ll be sticking to a more regular publishing schedule, so feel free to subscribe to the blog by email, or follow us on Twitter to catch posts as they happen. We’ll also continue to include many of our posts in the CCLA News email newsletter every Wednesday.

Thanks for reading, and we hope you enjoy the new look and name of our site!


Compendium of Damages Awarded in Personal Injury Actions Across Ontario, Updated to Oct. 2015

Every year a team under The Honourable Justice Chadwick publishes a table of damage awards in personal injury actions across Ontario. We are pleased to provide this year’s copy of the compendium, updated to October 31, 2015. You can download the compendium here, or on the CCLA website’s Civil Litigation Practice Portal.

Many thanks to Justice Chadwick and Gwendolen Boyle, law student at the university of Ottawa, for compiling the updated list!


JustisOne: New British Case Law Subscription

One of the most frequent services we provide here in the library is the locating of old case law, quite often old British cases that are not available on the basic Lexis or Carswell subscriptions. We have been keeping our eye out for an affordable solution to having to trudge through and scan the old British case reporters, and after demoing JustisOne for the past month we are pleased to announce it as a new subscription available for use here at the CCLA library!

JustisOne

With JustisOne we now have electronic in-library access to a wealth of British case law and legislation, including noted up links to Canadian case law as well.

Beyond the access to British materials, JustisOne also re-envisions the case law search, eliminating boolean searching in favour of a category searching system that gives more applicable and refined search results. Some of my other favourite features include the Precedent Maps, which visualize how the case law has been treated, and the Key Paragraphs, which eliminates the guesswork of noting up by directly linking to the paragraphs that have been quoted in subsequent decisions.

JustisOne-s

We’ve greatly enjoyed playing around with this new software, and we are excited that it is now available for library users as well! If you need access to British materials you can feel free to come and try it out yourself, or as always you can get in touch with us and we will be happy to send them to you.