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The Great Library’s Oddest Law Book Titles

Law books are not generally known for having interesting titles. Most carry functional but yawn-inducing titles such as Business Law in Ontario. Typically, after a respectable number of editions, a legal author’s name is fused to the topic, as in Chitty on Contracts or Orkin on Costs. And sometimes successive authors of a legal treatise share space in the title – Coke on Littleton, Sullivan and Driedger on the Construction of Statutes, etc.

No such staid conventions exist in the world of non-legal book titles. There’s even an annual prize for the oddest non-fiction book title.

The Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year was first awarded in 1978. The prize was the invention of Trevor Bounford and Bruce Robertson, co-founders of the publishing firm, The Diagram Group. The two dreamed up the prize as a way to relieve boredom while working at the annual Frankfurt Book Fair.  The winner of this year’s prize, marking the 41st anniversary, was just announced last week.

The Oddest Book Title contest rules are simple: author and publisher of the winning title receive no tangible prize, only publicity. The nominator of the winning title however receives “a passable bottle of claret”.

To get an idea of what it takes to be a Diagram winner, here are a few recipients from past years:

1992 – How to Avoid Huge Ships (advice to pleasure boat sailors on the dangers of shipping lanes)

1993 – American Bottom Archaeology (an archaeological history of the Mississippi River Valley)

2004 – Bombproof Your Horse (techniques for training horses to be less easily spooked by the unexpected)

2010 – Managing a Dental Practice: The Genghis Khan Way (practice management tips on “how to build an empire in the dentistry field”)

Surprisingly, at least one legal book has won the dubious honour of oddest book title. In 2001, the prize was awarded to Butterworths Corporate Manslaughter Service, a serious guide for lawyers dealing with corporate liability for manslaughter and fatal accidents.

This discovery inspired Great Library staff members to seek out odd legal titles on our shelves.

Here are our staff’s top picks for oddest legal book titles in the Great Library’s print collection, arranged by category:

Best Alliteration or Rhyme

Best Horror

Best Self-Help

and Best Miscellaneous


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House of Bills: A Weekly Update on Ontario Bills

November 25 – November 29legend
42nd Parliament, 1st Session

Bill 6, Poet Laureate of Ontario Act (In Memory of Gord Downie), 2019

Considered by Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills, reported as amended (Nov 27)

Bill 116, Foundations for Promoting and Protecting Mental Health and Addictions Services Act, 2019

Second Reading (Nov 26 & 27)

Bill 123, Reserved Parking for Electric Vehicle Charging Act, 2019

Second Reading, carried on division (Nov 28)
Ordered referred to Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills (Nov 28)

Bill 132, Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2019

Considered by Standing Committee on General Government (Nov 25)

Bill 136, Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act, 2019

Second Reading, carried on division (Nov 26 & 27)
Ordered referred to Standing Committee on Justice Policy (Nov 27)
Considered by Standing Committee on Justice Policy (Nov 29)

Bill 138, Plan to Build Ontario Together Act, 2019

Second Reading, carried on division (Nov 25 & 27)
Ordered referred to Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs (Nov 27)

Bill 145, Trust in Real Estate Services Act, 2019

Second Reading, carried (Nov 25)
Ordered referred to Standing Committee on General Government (Nov 25)

Bill 149, Dyslexia Awareness Month Act, 2019

First Reading (Nov 26)

Bill 150, Ensuring Transparency and Integrity in Political Party Elections Act, 2019

First Reading (Nov 26)

Bill 151, Smoke-Free Ontario Amendment Act (Vaping is not for Kids), 2019

First Reading (Nov 27)

Bill 152, Occupational Safety and Health Day Act, 2019

First Reading (Nov 27)
Second Reading, carried on division (Nov 28)
Ordered referred to Standing Committee on Social Policy (Nov 28)

Bill 153, Long-Term Care Homes Amendment (Till Death Do Us Part) Act, 2019

First Reading (Nov 27)

Bill 154, Stop Cyberbullying in Ontario Day Act, 2019

First Reading (Nov 28)


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New Books: Winter 2019

Here are some recent additions to our collection:

New Titles

The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law by Herrmann. KF 300 H47 2019 / Circulating Collection, 2nd Floor.

Mark Herrmann gives it to you straight in the second edition of his book The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law.  Committing to the character of the old and grumpy curmudgeon, Herrmann offers sound, practical advice on what to do and not to do to practice law successfully, including how to write persuasively, prepare for court, build a practice, and treat colleagues and clients with professional courtesy and respect.

Gerald Fridman and the Law of Obligations: Past, Present and Future, edited by Neyers et al. KF 385 G47 2019 / 1st Floor.

The late Professor Gerald Fridman was one of Canada’s most respected and prolific legal scholars. This collection of papers, written by both academics and practitioners and originally presented at a Western Law symposium last fall, celebrates and explores Professor Fridman’s  influence and contributions to the study of private law. The volume is divided into four parts, reflecting the primary fields of his scholarship:

  • Part I: The Law of Contract
  • Part II: The Law of Torts
  • Part III: The Law of Unjust Enrichment, Restitution, and Trusts
  • Part IV: Commercial Law: Sale of Goods and Agency

A Lawyer’s Guide to Working with Special Needs Clients by Courtney. KF 311 C68 2019 / 1st Floor.

This bookfills a fundamental need for basic information on planning techniques and legal strategies unique to representing clients with special needs. Chapters are included on special needs trusts, education, housing, and other financial and legal issues to consider. While this is an American guide, the book’s first two parts “Understanding the Special Needs Client” and “Understanding Special Needs Practice Issues” will be particularly relevant to the Canadian practitioner as they cover topics such as working with clients and their families, essential questions to ask clients, and managing ethical and practice risks.

Prosecuting and Defending Drug Cases: A Practitioner’s Handbook by Gorham et al. KF 3890 G67 2019 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

This text, which marks Volume 11 in Emond Publishing’s Criminal Law Series, presents practical and in-depth guidance for any practitioner litigating drug-related offences. It includes substantive chapters on bail, disclosure, trafficking, possession and sentencing, as well as advice on specific procedures, such as Garofoli applications. The book is balanced, providing guidance from both the prosecution and defence perspectives, and clearly laid out, with helpful charts and ample case references.

Real Estate Finance in Canada by Manzer & Porter. KF 695 M36 2019 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

This guide is intended for legal practitioners involved in managing and documenting financial transactions based primarily on the security of real property. The authors covers the fundamentals of real estate finance, as well as the specialized aspects involved, such as regulatory issues, construction, zoning, environmental risk and Indigenous rights. The practical value of the text is further enhanced by the inclusion of checklists, charts and precedent document clauses.

Researching Legislative Intent: A Practical Guide by Barker & Anderson. KF 425 B37 2019 / Reference Collection, 2nd Floor.

Highly anticipated by the staff at the Great Library, Researching Legislative Intent: A Practical Guide is just that—a practical, clear guide to the perplexing process of researching legislative intent.  Beginning with a foundational overview of the history of the use of legislative intent and of the legislative process in Canada, the book moves on to describe the various sources available to trace legislative history and assist in statutory interpretation. Perhaps most importantly, this comprehensive guide outlines how to use and apply those sources to research legislative intent. Other topics covered include statutory instruments and delegated legislation, researching the history of regulations, and interpreting treaties with Indigenous Peoples. 

Updated Editions

Canada

Branding and Copyright for Charities and Non-Profit Organizations, 3rd ed., by Carter & Goh. KF 3180 C37 2019 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

Education Law, 5th ed., by Brown et al. KF 4119 B76 2019 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

Estate Planning with Life Insurance, 7th ed., by Stephens. KF 750 S74 2019 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

Evidence: Principles and Problems, 12th ed., by Delisle et al. KF 8935 .ZA2 D44 2018 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

The Executor’s Handbook, 6th ed., by Greenan. KF 778 G74 2019 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

Inadmissible to Canada: Travel to Canada after a Conviction, 2nd ed., by Feil. KF 4483 .I5 F45 2019 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

Modern Trial Advocacy: Analysis & Practice, Canadian 4th ed., adapted for Canada by Tape & Rosenthal. KF 8915 L83 2019 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

The Privacy Officer’s Guide to Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, 2020 ed., by Banks. KF 1263 .C6 C36 P 2020 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

Trusts in Common-Law Canada, 3rd ed., by Pavlich. KF 730 P39 2019 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

U.K., U.S. & International

Brownlie’s Principles of Public International Law, 9th ed., Crawford. KZ 3225 .B76 P75 2019 / 1st Floor.

A Litigator’s Guide to Building Your Best Argument, 2nd ed., by Kuhne. KF 8915 K84 2019 / 1st Floor.

Plain English for Lawyers, 6th ed., by Wydick & Sloan. KF 250 W9 2019 / Reference Collection, 2nd Floor.


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House of Bills: A Weekly Update on Ontario Bills

November 18 – November 22
42nd Parliament, 1st Sessionlegend

Bill 132, Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2019
Bill considered by Standing Committee on General Government (Nov 18, 21 & 22)

Bill 136, Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act, 2019
Second Reading (Nov 18 & 19)

Bill 138, Plan to Build Ontario Together Act, 2019
Second Reading (Nov 19-21)

Bill 140, Defibrillator Registry Act, 2019
First Reading (Nov 18)

Bill 141, Defibrillator Registration and Public Access Act, 2019
First Reading (Nov 18)
Second Reading, carried (Nov 21)
Ordered referred to Standing Committee on Social Policy (Nov 21)

Bill 142, Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Air Brake Endorsements), 2019
First Reading (Nov 18)
Second Reading, carried (Nov 21)
Ordered referred to Standing Committee on Social Policy (Nov 21)

Bill 143, Health and Safety at Work Day Act, 2019
First Reading (Nov 18)

Bill 144, Northern Health Travel Grant Advisory Committee Act, 2019
First Reading (Nov 19)

Bill 145, Trust in Real Estate Services Act, 2019
First Reading (Nov 19)

Bill 146, Stop Cyberbullying in Ontario Day Act, 2019
First Reading (Nov 20)

Bill 147, Public Safety Related to Dogs Statute Law Amendment Act, 2019
First Reading (Nov 20)
Second Reading, carried (Nov 21)
Ordered referred to Standing Committee on General Government (Nov 21)

Bill 148, Doored But Not Ignored Act, 2019
First Reading (Nov 21)


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Legal Research Survival Guide – Part 8: Deciphering Case Citations

Once you’ve mastered the art of deciphering case citations, you’ll find that what initially looked like a jumble of letters and numbers to you is actually very useful legal shorthand. A case citation, properly formatted, can tell you the names of the parties, year, jurisdiction, court level and where to find the decision, all at a glance.

Here’s a quick primer (or refresher) on the components and format of the three basic types of Canadian case citations you’ll likely encounter in your legal research:

“Traditional” Citations

Traditional citations refer to cases as they appear in printed law reports.

  1. Names of the parties (aka “style of cause”) separated by “v”, all in italics
  2. Year of decision in brackets (Why are some brackets round and some square? Read our post, Square or Round?)
  3. Volume number of the reporter
  4. Abbreviation of the reporter name (“DLR” stands for Dominion Law Reports. Look to our post “Know What You’re Looking For
    for tips on how to decipher abbreviations.)
  5. The series number of the reporter (Some law reports have different series to break up long runs of volumes.)
  6. Page number on which the case begins
  7. Abbreviation for the jurisdiction and court

Online Citations

Online citations identify decisions found in free or fee-based online sources, such as CanLII, Lexis Advance Quicklaw and Westlaw Next Canada.

  1. Names of the parties separated by “v”, all in italics
  2. Year of the decision
  3. Online database/publisher
  4. Decision number
  5. Abbreviation for the jurisdiction and court

Neutral Citations

Starting in about 2000, Canadian courts began to adopt neutral citations. Since this type of citation is assigned to a decision by the issuing court, rather than a legal publisher, it provides no direction to a particular case reporter or online database. It is neutral and easy to understand, consisting only of the party names and three basic pieces of information – the year, court or tribunal and decision number. Neutral citations should be used where available. Adding a parallel traditional or online citation is optional.

  1. Names of the parties separated by “v”, all in italics
  2. Year of the decision (without brackets)
  3. Court or tribunal abbreviation
  4. Sequential decision number assigned by the court or tribunal (This citation identifies the 1557th decision made by the Ontario Superior Court in 2019.)
  5. Pinpoint reference to paragraph number, if needed

For more in-depth guidance on proper legal citation, consult the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (aka the “McGill Guide”). It sets out standards for formatting citations to a range of legal materials from cases to blog posts. You’ll also find handy lists of jurisdiction, court/tribunal, case law reporter and journal abbreviations in the guide’s appendices.