New Resource: Australian Law Reform Commission Library on HeinOnline

AustraliaOsgoode has always prided itself on innovative approaches to law and teaching. As host to the Law Commission of Ontario (LCO), Osgoode has a commitment to law reform initiatives everywhere. Better to support these research ideals, the Osgoode Library now subscribes to the Australian Law Reform Commission Library on HeinOnline.

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) is a federal agency that reviews Australia’s laws to ensure they provide improved access to justice for all Australians by making laws and related processes more equitable, modern, fair and efficient. The ALRC conducts inquiries—also known as references—into areas of law at the request of the Attorney General’s Department. Based on its research and consultations throughout an inquiry, the ALRC makes recommendations to government so that government can make informed decisions about law reform. ALRC recommendations do not automatically become law, however over 85 per cent of ALRC reports have been either substantially or partially implemented—making it one of the most effective and influential agents for legal reform in the common law world. The ALRC’s objective is to make recommendations for law reform that:

  • Bring the law into line with current conditions and needs
  • Remove defects in the law
  • Simplify the law
  • Adopt new or more effective methods of administering the law and dispensing justice
  • Provide improved access to justice

The Australian Law Reform Commission database in HeinOnline consists of more than 650 titles and 130,000 pages of material related to Civil Procedure, Discrimination, Intellectual Property, National Security, Indigenous Rights, and more. The Commission’s Reports fall into different classifications that include Reports, Working Papers, Discussion Papers, Issue Papers, and Reform.

The ALRC Library on HeinOnline can be searched full-text – or you can browse by Subjects such as:

  • Reports
    • Final project reports to the Attorney General in response to specific matters that the attorney general had instructed the Commission to investigate; each report includes the current legal status, areas for improvement, and recommendations for how to improve.
  • Community Law Reform Consultative Documents
  • Research Papers
  • Working Papers
    • Tentative proposals of the Commission; they encourage comments and criticism before the issuing of the final report.
  • Discussion Papers
    • Brief summaries of the preliminary findings of the Commission; they are also issued to promote comment and criticism of the Commission’s findings.
  • Issue Papers
    • Published in order to demonstrate the issues involved in specific areas as defined by the Attorney General.
  • Reform
    • A bulletin of law reform news, views, and information. It is designed to inform readers in an informal way of developments relevant to the reform of the law in Australia
  • New South Wales Law Reform Commission Reports
  • Sentencing Research Papers
  • And more

Canadian Legal Research and Writing Guide on CanLII

CanLII-logoMore great news from CanLII: Fans of the Best Guide Guide to Canadian Legal Research will be pleased to know that the site is now being hosted and updated by CanLII.

The Best Guide has been freely available on the Internet since 1998. The original author and publisher was Catherine Best. The site grew out of Catherine’s experience teaching legal research and writing, and her conviction that a process-based analytic approach was needed. She was also motivated to help researchers learn to effectively use electronic research tools.

Catherine Best retired In 2015 and has now generously donated the site to CanLII to use as its legal research guide going forward. Best says:

The world of legal research is dramatically different than it was in 1998. However, the site’s emphasis on research process and effective electronic research continues to fill a need. It will be fascinating to see what changes the next 15 years will bring.

The site has been renamed The Canadian Legal Research and Writing Guide, and it will stay at legalresearch.org. It will be maintained and expanded by a national editorial board of legal researchers.

The editorial board

  • Melanie Bueckert is Legal Research Counsel with the Manitoba Court of Appeal in Winnipeg. She has written several legal textbooks, teaches Advanced Legal Research at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law, and is also a contributor to Slaw.ca.
  • Maryvon Côté is Acting Head at the Nahum Gelber Law Library at McGill University in Montreal. He is active on the Canadian Association of Law Libraries executive and writes on legal research topics.
  • Yasmin Khan is the Head Librarian at the City of Toronto Law Library. She has just finished a Master’s of Science, Information and Knowledge Strategy from Columbia University.
  • Mandy Ostick is the Manager, Library Services at Bull Housser in Vancouver. She has had previous positions as the Law Librarian at Thompson Rivers University and Director of Library Operations at Courthouse Libraries BC.
  • Jennifer Taylor is a Research Lawyer at Stewart McKelvey in Halifax. She is a regular contributor of case comments for Stewart McKelvey Publications, CanLII Connects, and the CBA’s National Magazine blog, and has published several articles in legal journals and newsletters. She also presents on topics related to legal research within the firm and in the local legal community.

Though the Guide currently focuses on federal and BC law, over the coming months the editorial board will be updating the site and expanding it, with an emphasis on adding more geographically diverse content. One of our own Osgoode students submitted the following unsolicited praise for the Guide:

You should receive the Nobel Prize for your contribution to legal education for your legal research website. It’s awesome in the true sense of the word. At first glance, I was hoping to purchase a hard copy, but as I spent more time on the site it became clear that this was next to impossible — now I fully understand what Marshall McLuhan meant when he said that the age of electronic media spells the end of book. How you put all that information together is beyond comprehension.  It seems like a life’s work.

Many would agree. Ms Best’s work should be recognized and CanLII’s agreement to continue and host the Guide are laudable.

Quebec and Federal Content Enhancements to CanLII

CanLII has recently announced some significant content enhancements to their offerings of federal Quebec materials – and an exciting development for freely available legal information.

In collaboration with the Quebec Centre d’accès à l’information juridique (CAIJ), the following substantial caselaw offerings have been added to the Quebec databases:

Further, we should all be particularly excited that CanLII has now added Quebec and Federal annual statutes:

Again, thanks to their supplier Lexum‘s programmatic wizardry, CanLII not only hosts the annual statutes as static documents but integrates them dynamically to the rest of their legislation collections.

Let’s hope this is just the beginning, and that we will soon be able to see even more annual statutes for all provinces and territories on CanLII in the future.

We have also been able to add the following caselaw to our Quebec databases:

This is an exciting development for freely available legal information, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to work with CAIJ to leverage lawyers’ investments in both our organizations.

You can read the press releases from CanLII, CAIJ and Lexum.

New Legal History Journal Subscription

Jus Gentium Front CoverThe Osgoode Library now subscribes to JUS GENTIUM: Journal of International Legal History, the first issue of which has just recently been published. Jus Gentium is the first American journal dedicated to addressing the history of international law. Much of modern scholarship on the history of international law is preoccupied not with international law, but with international legal doctrine; the doctrinal writings of remarkably few individuals dominate the discourse while the rest remain unseen or overlooked. This journal will encourage further exploration in the archives, for new materials and confirmation of the accuracy of past uses, but welcoming the continued reassessment of international legal history in all of its dimensions.

Our subscription is online only and is available on the HeinOnline Law Journals Library.

American Law Institute (ALI) Library on HeinOnline

The Osgoode Hall Law School Library now subscribes to the ALI (American Law Institute) Library on HeinOnline, making all ALI publications available to our users in a comprehensive, searchable, online format!

The American Law Institute is the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and otherwise improve the law – a sort of Law Reform Commission for America. The ALI is made up of lawyers, judges, and law professors of the highest qualifications. It drafts, discusses, revises, and publishes the Restatements of the Law, model statutes, and principles of law that are enormously influential in the courts and legislatures, as well as in legal scholarship and education.

HeinOnline’s ALI Library includes everything from drafts to historical content. New content, including drafts, is added the library without delay as soon as it is approved by the ALI. Browse options have also been recently reorganized to align with the American Law Institute’s categorizations, including a new Current Projects subcollection.

HeinOnline ALI Content Includes:

  •  Restatements of the Law – Including Current Restatements
  • Principles of the Law – Including Current Principles
  • Linking to Current Case Law
  • Uniform Commercial Code
  • ALI Annual Reports
  • Proceedings of ALI Annual Meetings
  • ALI Annual Speech Meetings
  • The ALI Reporter
  • “Statement of Essential Human Rights” Archive
  • Model Penal Code
  • And much more!

Members of the Osgoode Hall Law School and York University communities can access the ALI Library from our standard HeinOnline link. For more information or for help using the collection, please consult any of the reference librarians.

CCH Online now available

As previously mentioned, the legal and business content of CCH Online has been acquired by LexisNexis and they are currently in the process of migrating the content to the LexisNexis Quicklaw platform.

These products contain expert commentary, case law, statutes, regulations, forms, topical newsletters, and more.

We are happy to report that for the 2015/2016 academic year you will continue to have access to these Law and Business titles via the CCH online site at www.cchonline.ca  or  under Quick Links on the Library’s home page, using a universal username and password.

For Osgoode’s ID and password for the CCH online Law and Business titles please ask at the Reference desk.

CCH Online supports Internet Explorer. It does not support Firefox, Safari, or Chrome.

There can be an unlimited number of concurrent users on the account at one time.