Today’s Tip is a follow up to ”Buy the book“, read a book review. There are excellent book reviews available in the Canadian Law Library Review, the journal fo the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (available to members of the association as well as through subscription).
All Our Research Tips
Read a Book Review
Watch the Clock
Despite discussions about alternative fee arrangements and the changing times for the business of law, many clients and law firms still deal with compensation for legal work based on the billable hour. One thing that goes hand in hand with that are billable research hours, and the costs for services used that clients pay in disbursements.
Today’s tip is for the new summer law students and their articling peers: watch the clock.
Efficient gathering of information usually means less time overall spent answering a research question. Fast gathering usually starts with what an expert can tell you about an area of law (yes, a textbook whether it is online, eBook, or print). If your organization charges clients disbursements for using fee based research tools like LexisNexis Quicklaw and Westlaw Canada, make sure you know what model and method is used so that you can keep the gathering costs down.
EBook License Templates
This tip came from Christine Hiller and was shared with the Canadian Association of Law Libraries Conference in Montreal. In the Plenary today, Christine shared that there are eBook license templates and resources available! Check it it at OCUL .
Sometimes the only way to answer a research question is by asking a bunch of people for their opinions.
An example: Canada Post is asking Canadians about the kind of postal service they will need in the future. An important question, especially for those of you who like getting books in the mail. This question is in response to a Conference Board of Canada report on the future of the postal service. The Conference Board is an excellent place to look to see if someone has already answered your big picture type question.
I encourage you to give feedback to Canada Post. From the News Release that askes for input:
Canada Post has stayed relevant to generations of Canadians by understanding their changing needs and evolving to serve them. The options put forward by the Conference Board are the starting point for this important conversation with Canadians about what they value, what they expect from us going forward and what needs to change to get there.
As the news release states, you can send them feedback by mail:
THE FUTURE OF CANADA POST
2701 RIVERSIDE DR SUITE N0800
OTTAWA ON K1A 0B1
The news release also offers a visit to canadapost.ca with a suggestion to follow the link to The Future of Canada Post. The feedback form was not yet available on April 30, 2013. Check the site, or, send them a letter.
Update: Comment on the Future of Canada Post at http://www.canadapost.ca/ext/en/future/?page_id=2&cpage=20&sf12333662=1
Hat Tip to @canadapostcares for tweeting me the link.
Watch for New Sources
A Government of Canada news release reminded me to remind you to watch for new sources of information.
The Governments of Canada and of Alberta Launch New Online Portal for Accessing Oil Sands Environmental Monitoring Data and Information
OTTAWA, Ont. – April 22, 2013 – Canada’s Environment Minister, the Honourable Peter Kent, and Alberta’s Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Minister, the Honourable Diana McQueen, today announced that access to federal and provincial environmental monitoring data on air, water, land and biodiversity in the oil sands is now available through an online data portal (www.JointOilSandsMonitoring.ca). The new portal represents the next stage of progress for the Joint Canada–Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring announced in February 2012.
This new portal is a tool for legal research, well kind of new in that it is a collected jumping off point if you are looking for environmental monitoring information. The new part is the aggregated collection – quite useful if you are searching for this type of information to have a unified starting place. Check it out.
Today’s Tip: Be on the look out for new research sources and tools.
Do you have a new research tool to share? Suggest a Slaw tip about it.
Thank That Public Servant
The Federal Courts in Canada have a pretty good website. They also have a very nice docket search tool. Note that this search tool, although it is linked from the Federal Court website, offers a radio button for searching the Federal Court of Appeal docket as well.
Hat Tip to the Courts Administration Service for setting me to rights on that. Thank you especially to the Registry Officer who took the time to locate my email address and send some followup information after providing most of the answer to my question by phone. Above and beyond the call of duty and deserving of thanks. Given private thanks at the time, and now a public acknowledgment as well.
Today’s Tip: If someone goes out of their way to help you, especially when they are a public servant, thank them.
Things get so busy in law that sometimes we get behind. For instance, Research posts are supposed to appear on Wednesdays here at Slaw Tips. We all know that notes, tasks, and to do lists help us keep on top of the things we need to do. The same is true for legal research.
Today’s Tip is to use a detailed ’sources consulted’ list. My personal preference is to put this list in the last section of a research memo. A Sources Consulted list can take the form of a bibliography (the texts you visited) or it can be more. I suggest using the sources consulted as your working notes for your research. Use it as a map for how you are going to approach the question.
- Which texts are you going to use
- When you use the texts, note which sections you visited and if you found something
- Which legislation tool are you going to use, what are your searches
- If you find legislation on your topic, which sections did you check for judicial consideration
- Which cases were useful of those you found
- What did the noteups of those cases reveal as the standard language search terms
- Did you look in the Abridgment, Halsbury’s Laws of Canada, the CED, another digest
- What you found that helped answer your research question
Embedding all of this information in your sources consulted keeps you stay on scope with your research project (that’s right you just read some legal project management language).
These notes can also form some of the text of your research memo or opinion. You can always cut them out later and save them in a different reference document if you need to. When these detailed notes stay with your research analysis, they make it really easy to reuse. They are also fantastic if at the end of the day you do not find an answer.
Don’t Make Things Up
Hat tip to BLG’s Neil Guthrie for his digest titled “Submitting a fake judgment: not a good litigation strategy”. The case reference is D’Souza v Linton, 2013 ONSC 70. The opening paragraph of this endorsement reads:
This matter came before me on July 31, 2012 as a motion to set aside an ex parte default judgment. The judgment, dated June 19, 2012, purports to bear my signature.
It is interesting to me that the word “purports” and its variations appears in 425 decisions – so far in 2013.
On another note, this case comment came to me via Lexology, one of several services for monitoring law firm newsletters.
Regulation and Act Section References
One of my colleagues asked a great question that makes for an excellent tip:
The definitions of the Minor Injury Regulation say in (g)(ii):
any insurer made a third party to the claim by the Court under section 635(14) of the Act
But there is no s.635(14) in the current Insurance Act. There was a s.635(14) before the July 1, 2012 amendments, which was Rights of Creditors. That section is now 579, 579(15) to be exact.
The question was “What am I missing”.
The answer is “Nothing” since the correct section number that should be referenced can be identified.
Regulations are not always updated when an act is revised. Last July, a major amendment to the Insurance Act for Alberta was brought into force that revamped section numbering. The context of the regulation making power in the act stayed the same, thus the regulations made under the previous act follow along, even when the section references do not line up.
For Alberta, this theory is dealt with by the Interpretation Act, see sections 36(1)(e):
(e) all regulations made under the repealed enactment remain in force and are deemed to have been made under the new enactment, insofar as they are not inconsistent with the new enactment;
At some point there will likely be a Regulations Act Regulation, or an Insurance Act Regulation that amends all of the section number referenced, but those administrative cleanup duties are likely lower on the priority list than substantive regulatatory changes.
Federal Bill Numbers
Today’s Tip is a caution about searching for federal bill numbers. Be careful that you understand what you are looking for.
I was asked to look for “Bill C-23″. I quickly used my bookmark for LEGISinfo, the Parialment of Canada’s research tool for finding information on legislation before Parliament, both current and historical (back to April 2006), to search by bill number for C-23.
The FAQ page reviews how bills are numbered, but it does not tell you about bills like C-23A.
My “blink” told me that there was a 2010 Bill that dealt with Pardons, but my initial search result for Bill C-23 showed only the initial 2010 bill that was replaced by C-23A. A detailed look at the Status for Bill C-23 will tell you that:
Pursuant to Order made by the House of Commons on June 17, 2010, the Bill was divided into Bill C-23A and Bill C-23B.
This tip could be divided into A and B as well.
A. Don’t simply look at a status list without expanding it further. Had I assumed that C-23 from the 40th Parl. 3rd. Sess. only made it to 2nd reading, my requester would have only had part of the information needed.
B. If someone asks you for a bill number, make sure you know some context. There is a Bill C-23 in nearly every session. A search for “pardons” in the bill title does show all the information needed for this particular research.
One further caution: A quick title search for ‘pardons’ doesn’t show bills with ‘pardon’ in its singular form. You may want to bookmark the LEGISinfo Advanced Search, which offers a Title and Content option.