Thursday, September 17, 2009

New Legal Information Online Update

* From Legal Services Society:
- How Does a Court Order Affect Me? [2 pp PDF] June 2009
- How can you prove you are separated if you and your spouse still live together? [fact sheet on Family Law in BC website] August 2009

*New resources from the Clicklaw blog :
- The UBC Law Students Legal Advice Program (LSLAP) Manual , 2009 version, was added to Clicklaw on September 16. The Manual contains 23 chapters of legal topics, plus one chapter of referral resources.

- The BC Centre for Elder Advocacy & Support (BC CEAS) launched a new website in July which features their services such as the Seniors Help and Information Line, the Elder Law Clinic and an online Ask a Legal Question service. BC CEAS publications are also listed on Clicklaw, and include Fact Sheets on Abuse of Older Adults, Reporting Crimes to the Police and What Happens When You Make a Report, Where to Get Legal Help, Giving Other People Authority to Help You Manage Your Affairs, and Identity Theft: Now What Do I Do?

- People’s Law School added a series of animated videos and factsheets to Clicklaw in September. The series explores problems that arise with credit cards with the following video titles: What’s a Credit Card?, It’s Not Free Money!, Call the Company!, and Ask For Help! The four fact sheet titles are: What is a Credit Card?, What Does a Credit Card Cost?, Lost or Stolen Cards and Chargebacks , and What to Do When You Are in Debt.

* From lawyer blogs:
- The Non-Lawyer Agent: Can My Friend Represent Me In Court? , Shannon Salter's Rights & Remedies blog August 14, 2009.
- What Custody and Guardianship Really Mean, JP Boyd's Family Law Resource Blog August 7, 2009

* New resources on Ontario's include:
- Abuse is Wrong Department of Justice Canada [30 pp PDF] 2009
- Claiming Refugee Status in Canada Because of Gender-Related Violence [web page Q & A] Ontario Women's Justice Network, July, 2008

Thursday, September 10, 2009

LawMatters Project News: Evaluation Report and CLTP Online Course

* A recent report, LawMatters Summary of Activities and Evaluation Findings (9 pp, August 2009) is now listed on the LawMatters site [scroll down to Evaluation Reports]. The report includes training activities and results from the 2009 legal reference survey held in public libraries. Legal topics was one of the survey categories, and the findings showed that the most frequently asked legal questions in libraries consisted of real estate and housing issues, followed by family law, wills and estates, and immigration issues. Another survey will be conducted in January 2010 to compare the incidence and type of legal questions libraries receive.

* The LawMatters online course “Legal Information Sources” is available to any public library staff, and is offered in partnership with the Public Library Services Branch. There are still a few spaces left in the eight week course that starts in October 2009, and further information is available at the Community Library Training Program page. We hope to offer more online training options in the future, in the form of screencasts, podcasts and slide-share presentations.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Patron Story: Researching Case Law at the Public Library

The following story was sent to us from Jenny Fry [clearly a super-librarian!] at Surrey Public Library:

"An animated gentleman named Billy approached me at the Information Desk last night, clutching a bunch of papers. He was going to court in the morning to make a Charter argument and dispute a ticket because the statute of limitations had expired for the Crown to bring this matter to court. He wanted an example of a similar case.

I went to the Surrey Public Library website – Information Online – Popular Websites –
Law & legislation – and I chose CANLII. I selected the BC database, and typed: 'charter argument'.

I got a list of cases, looked for the keywords that most closely matched Billy’s situation and found 2 relevant cases within a couple minutes. I printed them off for him and he was absolutely thrilled and thoroughly appreciative.

So, thanks for making it quite easy for me to fill an urgent legal information request from a desperate patron, who had no chance of finding this information on his own – the court told him to go to the public library to get what he needed and he is computer-illiterate. He was profoundly grateful and his repeated thank-yous lasted almost as long as it took for me to find those two cases to answer his question."

And thank you Jenny, for sharing this story. We welcome any stories that show the impact of accessible legal information. It would be interesting to know if your patron was successful in presenting his case in court, but that may be a story for another day!