Friday, January 30, 2009

Training Opportunities in Legal Information

The following courses in legal information are available for all staff who work in public or Aboriginal libraries in BC, through the BC Public Library Services Branch :

*2 hour webinar on QP LegalEze Feb. 23, Mar. 11
*1.5 hour webinar on Family Law in BC Feb. 24th, Mar. 25th

You can register here for these webinars.

We expect to offer the 8 week online course Introduction to Legal Information Sources as part of the Community Librarian Training Program in October 2009.

A series of in-house LawMatters workshops are just now being planned in various locations. Watch for a workshop titled Legal Jeopardy for Librarians: Using Clicklaw and LawMatters to Answer Legal Reference Questions at the BCLA conference in April, and possibly the Beyond Hope conference in Prince George in June. Come test your knowledge of legal information sources in a game show format!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Some Q & A's on the new BC Laws website

We received some questions from a public librarian about the new BC Laws website, and decided to share the answers from a Courthouse Libraries BC reference librarian.

Q: BC Laws vs QP LegalEze . They both seem to be up-to-date. Is there any advantage in staff using QP LegalEze over BC Laws?

A: QP LegalEze has the better search engine (this is the big advantage). BC Laws only has a current consolidation of the statutes & regulations, so does not provide older consolidations, bills, hansard and tables of legislative changes. For a complete description of the differences, see #16 of BC Laws FAQ’s .

Q. Both QP LegalEze and BC Laws have the "unofficial" version of statutes. Does this still mean printouts would be inadmissable in court?

A. It depends. Currently, the Evidence Act states that copies must be made from the bound volumes, however a judge may accept a copy of a consolidated act from an electronic source in some circumstances. Since we don’t give legal opinions we can’t say for sure what is and what is not admissible in court. You can refer people to the Supreme Court Self-Help Centre website for information regarding preparing for court. The electronic version may become official eventually, but we cannot say when.

Q. What is the easiest way of tracing back legislation? We have some early annual volumes, then the looseleaf versions of 1960 and 1970 Revised Statutes of BC.

A. It depends on how far back you want to go; QP LegalEze has some old consolidations of acts [see the Table of Contents page]. The easiest thing to do is to simply look for a consolidation before the date you are interested in, and then check the next consolidation to see if there have been any changes. If the consolidation before the date and the consolidation after the date read the same then you know it hasn’t changed and you know how it read on the date you care about. I should warn you that when you are looking at the consolidations from 1991-1996, the acts from this time period may have a different title, and the section numbers may be different from a current act. For example: The current Local Government Act was known as the Municipal Act pre 1996.

If you have compared two consolidations and notice a change, you can try looking for the amendment if it was 1996 or later. For amendments before 1996 you need to refer to the bound annual volumes. As usual, you can call Courthouse Libraries BC for help (1-800-665-2570, or 604-660-2841 Lower Mainland).

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Legal Information Online Update

* Service and Staff Changes at Legal Services Society press release January 13, 2009.

* Courts of BC explains the structure of the three Courts of British Columbia, and the types of cases that are heard.

* provides an introduction to administrative law, a directory of tribunals, a glossary, and links to educational speakers.

* Criminal Justice Reform displays links to Criminal Justice Reform updates and projects in BC.

* Information on Custody and Access for Women with Children [28 pp PDF] is now available in six more languages: Chinese, Farsi, Korean, Punjabi, Spanish and Vietnamese from YWCA Vancouver's page Information on Women Leaving Abuse . 2008.

* Protecting Retirement Savings from Seizure by Miriam Maisonville, President of the Canadian Bar Association, B.C. Branch. November 25, 2008.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

LawMatters Evaluation Reports

"... the combination of “intimidating” (legal) materials and an unfamiliar form of access (i.e. computers and web-based materials), plus a difficult emotional situation (e.g. custody/divorce/access issues) made it very difficult for some patrons to effectively access web-based materials. "

The above quote is from a LawMatters report of a focus group of public librarians held November 21, 2008. The group provided valuable feedback and ideas for future LawMatters programs. We have also published summaries of training participant assessment forms on the LawMatters site [scroll down to Evaluation Reports], which include these comments about LawMatters workshops:

"Nice review of web resources, valuable handouts. Indicated where to start and to keep a broad framework in mind.

Search strategies – (It is) always good to get a reminder of how to approach reference questions. I don’t do this type of reference question often and the subject can seem overwhelming. Hints about where to start and how to break it down are useful."

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Legal Information Online Update

* The new BC Laws site is now available. It provides free public access to the current laws of BC, as well as a glossary and FAQ's. However, it does not provide a table of legislative changes, and the search function is minimal, compared to the features of QP LegalEze [available from every public and courthouse library in BC]. BC Laws does provide a listing of unofficial current consolidation of BC Statutes and Regulations, and is updated as new and amended laws come into force.

* New editions and resources at People's Law School :
- Learning About the Law: British Columbia’s Laws and Legal System 10th ed.[54pp PDF] December 2008
- Abuse Of People With Disabilities 2nd ed. [8pp PDF] December 2008
- Abuse Of People With Disabilities For Service Providers 2nd ed.[8pp PDF]December 2008
- Animal Protection Law In BC in Chinese [8pp PDF] September 2008
- Animal Protection Law In BC in Punjabi [8pp PDF] September 2008
- Animal Protection Law In BC in Spanish [8pp PDF] September 2008

* Clearing the Path to Justice is a public forum occuring January 28 2009 featuring the Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. Sponsored by the Law Society of BC, the forum is put on in partnership with the Western Canada Society to Access Justice, the Legal Services Society, SUCCESS and the CBC. Location is the Wosk Centre in Vancouver, and email registration is available through the forum web page above.