Here is a terrific resource for any of you practicing employment law in Ontario: The Employment Standards Act Policy and Interpretation Manual is now available for free, online, from anywhere you can get internet access. This is straight from the Ministry of Labour’s Employment Standards Program, so it’s good stuff.
As you can see, the latest update was just a few days ago. Typically, the manual is updated a couple of times per year. We hope this helps in your research work, and also in your budget for collecting quality legal research materials for your office.
A couple months ago we highlighted Sean Robichaud’s online and freely available Criminal Law Precedent Collection; well, they’re at it again! The firm has taken it upon themselves to compile courthouse information for all the courthouses in Ontario, including information on local (criminal) practice, resources, and contact information for key personnel in each area. This is an out-of-town counsel’s dream!
You can find the Local Counsel Insight Project here.
This is all made possible from submissions from local counsel in each area. If you have information about an Ontario courthouse and would like to contribute to their project, please fill out this form to help them out!
Precedents are easily the most common type of research material we are asked for here at the CCLA library. Earlier this year, we were very excited to hear that Sean Robichaud, Criminal lawyer in Toronto, was starting an ambitious project to upload and allow access to his firm’s Criminal Law Precedents Database (you can read more about their reasoning behind their decision here). As librarians, we love everything about this; from access to justice, to the power of open information, to the simple recognition of where a lawyer’s real value lies (also, extra points for the excellent use of the word ‘bastioned’).
As of writing there are currently 329 precedents available, representing only 3% of their internal database, with more gradually being added. You can browse the precedents by folder, or search by filename by clicking the magnifying glass in the upper right corner.
They also have a Twitter account that you can follow, which updates when new precedents are added to the database.
This is really a great initiative, and here’s hoping that it’s just the start of more of these types of projects cropping up!
The library staff is back from the CALL/ACBD conference, where we had several full days of great educational sessions and learned a lot about new features to the research products we use every day. We’ll be featuring some of these developments on the blog as they become available, starting with today’s entry on the HeinOnline special collection “Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law.”
Many of you already know that LSUC members have free access to HeinOnline, but this new collection from Hein is actually available for free of charge to anyone, and we’re sure many of you would be quite interested to look at the materials contained within. From their website:
“We have created the most comprehensive database available to date on the topic of slavery in the United States and the World. Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law brings together every statute passed by every colony and state on slavery, all federal statutes related to slavery, and all reported state and federal cases on slavery. The database also contains hundreds of books and pamphlets written about slavery. HeinOnline is dedicated to the dissemination of information and knowledge on this important subject. For the first time, we are making a HeinOnline database available to anyone in the world who would like access, at no cost! While there is no charge for access to Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law, we do encourage everyone who registers for access to the valuable material in this database to donate to the NAACP, the United Negro College Fund, or another charity of the user’s choice which supports civil rights, equality, or the advancement of people of color. Making a donation is voluntary, and is not required to access the database.”
To register for access to this database, you can click here. They are noting that registration will take a bit longer than usual due to high demand for this product, but we’re sure it will be worth the wait for such a rich and important collection.
Avoid A Claim is a site of which we often advise students when they are first starting out, but it is truly a valuable resource for legal professionals at all stages in their careers. The main attraction of the site is their highly informative blog, which details all the small (and large!) things about practice management you might not know but probably should.
The site also features, under the “practicePRO Resources” menu, links to a variety of all-very-useful resources for lawyers such as precedents, checklists, fact sheets and toolkits.
I especially like their Technology section, which has sample policies and links to great articles (some examples seen below) on a variety of technologies of interest to law firms.
All this and more, free! (I’ve never felt so much like a salesperson.) So check it out, and make sure to add their blog to your RSS readers!
We get research questions every now and then relating to foreign legislation or case law, and international legal materials are often difficult to find as most of our subscriptions do not cover much outside of Canada. So how do we go beyond the Google search to know what’s out there and what’s legitimate?
One of our favourite sites for International and Comparative law research is called GlobaLex, which is run by the New York University School of Law. From the homepage, click through to “Foreign Law Research”, and a list of each country will appear in alphabetical order.
Clicking on any one of these country links will bring you to the country overview, which includes a summary of the country’s legal system, the organization of its parliament and courts, plus links or references to secondary and primary sources.
This is a great place to start to get the lay of the land of a foreign jurisdiction, allowing you to follow through to other official links and resources from that jurisdiction. It’s a great first stop to doing international legal research!
Far and away the most reference questions we get are asking for precedents or forms of some kind. We don’t have many french precedents in our collection, but thankfully Jurisource.ca is here to help with that!
A project by the AJEFO, Jurisource provides free access to french legal materials, including forms, precedents, and helpful checklists. The site is easy to navigate, allowing either a site-wide search or a browse through one of eight category choices on the homescreen. You can then search for what you are looking for, and narrow down your search results using the filters on the left-hand side of the screen.
Their library of resources is quite extensive, including acts, court decisions, studies, precedents, checklists, and reports. We offer Jurisource training in the library periodically, so if you’d like to learn more about everything they have available, keep an eye out for when the next session will be!
I tweeted very excitedly (and not ironically!) last week when Jen casually linked me to LiPad – The Linked Parliamentary Data Project:
LiPad allows users to search through the Hansard debates with a Google-like search bar, while linking the debates with information about the parliamentarians. Though I have not used it much thus far, after a couple test searches from what I can tell it is easier to search than the other services I have used thus far.
The advanced search screen allows you to search by keyword, politician, party or date:
The results page from any search gives you a summary of where your terms can be found, and you can click through to the full Hansard entry from that day to get the contextual discussion. You can also view individual parliamentarians’ history or be linked through to their profile on PARLINFO.
As an added bonus, you can also find some pretty rad pictures of the old MPs, such as the one below; this mo/beard is one for the ages!
Last year I wrote a post on how to find free online access to American Case Law for us here in Canada. Well let’s add Ravel Law to that list!
While Ravel Law does operate as a subscription-based platform, some of its features, including its case law database, are available for viewing for free online (downloading the case is disabled unless you subscribe, however). It also offers additional features you would not get from the other free sources, such as the ability to visually map out references of a certain case:
Hovering over the different case circles will allow you to visualize which cases refer to which others. You can also narrow by date range or by court, and clicking through to the case on the right will open up the full text for you to view.
While some of its free features are limited, Ravel Law still seems to be a great source for those looking for free access to American case law, and its search visualization features are definitely fun to play around with!
Hands-down one of the most time-consuming legal research tasks is legislative research; that is, trying to trace the law to find out what it looked like in a certain year, updating it with amendments, finding copies of older orders-in-council, etc. It is mostly time-consuming because if you are interested in a year prior to the early 2000s, very little is available online and you will mostly be working with the bulky print volumes of statutes or regulations.
Fortunately, the Osgoode Law School at York University has made considerable strides in assisting in this area and now offers pdfs of Ontario Annual Statutes back to 1970, and Ontario Revised Statutes back to 1914. What is even better, as can be seen below (click to enlarge), is they are broken down into separate pdfs and fully browsable by the individual acts (goodbye 400+ page pdfs!):
So if you need a copy of an older Ontario Act, bookmark this site and have a look! I use it constantly in my legislative research here, even just to to get a cleaner-looking scan of a particular Act.