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The blog of the Great Library at the Law Society of Ontario


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Indigenous Law Portal

The Indigenous Law Portal is a free resource for indigenous law researchers worldwide. The site contains a growing collection of primary documents relating to North and Central American Indigenous Peoples, and acts as gateway to the websites of national and international indigenous advocacy organizations.

The Indigenous Law Portal was launched by the Library of Congress in 2014. Last summer it was made publicly available on the LLMC Digital website. LLMC, a non-profit cooperative of libraries dedicated to preserving legal and government documents, has assumed responsibility for the project’s ongoing development.

The Portal is organized by broad region – Canada, the United States, Mexico and Central America, as well as a large section of international legal materials. Digital resources for Canada include treaties, settlement agreements, research guides and directories. Links to individual First Nations websites are provided for each province and territory.

This is a valuable and growing research tool that curates and makes historically significant primary documents publicly available. Click here to begin your search for global and regional documents.


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At your Fingertips: Proclamations and Annotations

When conducting legislative research, it’s important to remember that just because a statute has received royal assent, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of its sections have come into force. This is why it is so important to look through the commencement provisions of the statute in question to discern when the statute will be “fully operational” so to speak.

Unfortunately, deciphering coming into force dates isn’t always as straightforward as looking at these commencement provisions. While these provisions will sometimes neatly list the specific coming into force dates, other times they simply indicate that the statute will come into force “on a date to be determined by Proclamation”.

Proclamations are published in most jurisdiction’s official Gazettes. But luckily you don’t have to sift through piles of weekly Gazettes issues to find the proclamation you need. There are more efficient alternatives:

For Ontario, you can check the Table of Proclamations found on e-Laws, and for federal statutes you can check the coming into force dates in the Table of Public Statutes and Responsible Ministers on the Justice Laws website.

Another source which covers proclamations for all Canadian jurisdictions going back many years is the Great Library’s annotated statute volumes. We annotate our legislative volumes with coming into force information. This means we will actually pencil in the coming into force dates, along with the proclamation information, right next to the relevant provisions. Easy Peasy! Look for the volumes with the “Annotated” sticker on the spine to take advantage of this service, or alternatively, shoot us an email for coming into force information.

Ontario legislature building at Queen's Park, Toronto


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House of Bills: A Monthly Update on Ontario Bills

We have created a monthly recap of all bills that have moved through the Legislature in May. The Legislature met five days throughout the month of May, and discussed two bills. Details can be found below: 

Bill 190, COVID-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act, 2020legend

First Reading (May 12)
Second Reading, carried (May 12)
Third Reading, carried (May 12)
Royal Assent (May 12)

Bill 191, Workplace Safety and Insurance Amendment Act (Presumption Respecting COVID-19), 2020

First Reading (May 19)

 

 

Movie poster for "12 Angry Men"


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Law on the Big Screen

This being the end of COVID-19 week 10, we thought it might be a good time to update our blog post of a few years ago on great legal movies. If your pandemic entertainment has so far consisted of bingeing Netflix series or scrolling through memes, maybe it’s time to settle in and watch a good legal drama, comedy or documentary. 

Here are some “best legal movie” lists to help you remember all the classic courtroom dramas and discover a host of entertaining and thought-provoking new legal films:

The 25 Greatest Legal Movies: Expanding the Boundaries (American Bar Association, 2018) 

Top legal-themed films selected by a panel of experts (lawyers, law professors and a judge). Each selection has a brief synopsis and a bonus bit of trivia about the film. See also the ABA’s 25 More Great Movies: Honorable Mentions (2018).

All-Time List of Best Legal Films (LawyerFriend.com, 2020)

The best lawyer movies in chronological order, from 2019 back to the 1930’s. 

Law-Related Movies (Ted Tjaden, updated January 2020)

Almost 200 law-related movies organized by title, subject and genre.

Best Legal Movies of All Time (Oklahoma Legal Group, 2014)

Top 10 list accompanied by an infographic showing Academy Award data and Rotten Tomatoes rating for each film. 

Happy viewing!

*The picture used for this post, “12 Angry Men” by mdmdeals, is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0*

Trillium flower in a forest


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Online Only, Please!

A great legal research tool for finding secondary materials like texts, loose-leafs, websites and CPD papers just got better. Introducing the “Electronic Only” tab on InfoLocate! Thanks to the Great Library’s Technical Services team, researchers can now choose to filter search results from the library’s catalogue to retrieve only those resources accessible online. 

While previously InfoLocate allowed users to limit search results to only online resources (including books, loose-leafs and websites), or only Law Society CLE articles available on AccessCLE, we’ve never been able to combine these results to retrieve ALL online search results… until now. This new tab is an incredibly handy tool for all those working from home without access to the physical collection of their law library. 

The “Electronic Only” tab can be found on the InfoLocate results page immediately above the search bar:

Screenshot 2020-05-21 11.36.02

Portrait of Robert Baldwin


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Happy Birthday, Baldwin

Happy Birthday to Robert Baldwin, drafter of The Baldwin Act!

An Act to provide, by one general law, for the erection of Municipal Corporations, and the establishment of Regulations of Police, in and for the several Counties, Cities, Towns, Townships and Villages in Upper-Canada, also referred to as the Municipal Corporations Act, 1849, a.k.a. the Baldwin Act, was Ontario’s first municipal statute. It was named after Robert Baldwin (1804-1858), who was co-premier and Attorney General at the time and at various other times lawyer and Law Society of Ontario Treasurer. The act was passed in 1849, came into force on January 1, 1850, and was described in The Municipal Manual, 11th ed, as “the Magna Charta of municipal government in Canada” (p 8).

The citation for the act is 12 Vict c 81, and it’s available electronically in the Great Library; if you need a copy, just ask.

Prow of a canoe on a lake


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Tracking Government Action on COVID-19

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, all levels of government have enacted new legislation, issued emergency orders and passed by-laws to protect the safety and well-being of their citizens, as well as address the many issues raised by the pandemic, from suspending limitation periods to regulating physical distancing.

With the daily changes and rapid accumulation of new legislative measures, it’s becoming a challenge to keep track. Here are 3 websites that will help you stay current on official government actions relating to COVID-19:

Government of Canada’s response to COVID-19 (Justice Canada)

  • provides the latest information on federal legislation, Charter Statements and orders and regulations

Emergency status on COVID-19 (Government of Ontario)

  • daily government updates, as well as a list of all Ontario emergency orders issued to date

COVID-19: Orders, Directives & Bylaws (City of Toronto)

  • current information on municipal emergency orders, health directives, by-law changes and enforcement. Check your local municipality website for similar webpages.
Image of Osgoode Hall


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Quicklaw Free Trial Extension

As the end of the initial 30-day Lexis Advance Quicklaw complimentary remote access approaches, LexisNexis Canada has announced that they are extending the program to May 31st.

In addition, LexisNexis will be upgrading their free trial to include Lexis Advance Quicklaw Comprehensive, a package which provides access to all texts and treatises currently available in electronic format through Quicklaw.

Interested LSO licensees can self-register through this link: https://signin.lexisnexis.com/lnaccess/UserRegistration?regCode=dsfckxh.

LexisNexis

Ontario legislature building at Queen's Park, Toronto


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House of Bills: A Monthly Update on Ontario Bills

We have created a monthly recap of all bills that have moved through the legislature in April. Due to COVID-19, the legislature was only scheduled to meet on April 14, and is not scheduled to meet again until May 12. On April 14, one bill moved through the legislature.legend

Bill 189, Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Protection Act, 2020

First Reading (April 14)
Second Reading, carried (April 14)
Third Reading, carried (April 14)
Royal Assent (April 14)

Stay tuned for more monthly recaps and any major updates on the activity of the legislature. 

Playground during the pandemic with caution tape draped over it


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Family Law Resources and COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis has given rise to urgent and evolving family law issues. To help you find current family law information, here are some key resources that address those legal issues directly related to the pandemic, such as access in shared child custody and what constitutes an urgent family law matter that will be heard by the courts.

This Week in Family Law (Franks & Zalev) on WestlawNext Canada – Family Source

Check this newsletter regularly to get the COVID-19 Update, a weekly recap of cases and commentary on new developments, and to access the Epstein Cole COVID-19 Case Chart which includes more than 40 family law cases that have dealt with COVID-19 related issues.

(Thomson Reuters is currently offering all LSO licensees free 30-day access to Westlaw Next Canada.)

Urgent Family Law Cases During COVID-19 (Kathryn Hendrikx) – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance on Lexis Practice Advisor

This source lists all current urgent family law motions heard in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice since March 18, 2020. See the accompanying practice note, Urgent Family Law Motions During COVID-19 for a discussion of procedure on urgent motions.

(LexisNexis Canada is offering a free a trial of Lexis Practice Advisor and free access to their COVID-19 Document Kit)

Lawyer’s Daily COVID-19 Updates

Legal news and updates relating to the corona virus for all practice area are freely accessible on the Lawyer’s Daily website. See for example, Determining urgency in family law during pandemic: Ribeiro v. Wright, by Alex Boland, Lawyer’s Daily, April 06, 2020.

Ontario Court Notices:

Setting out the scope and procedure for urgent matters:

Public Legal Information:

“Urgent” Court Cases and COVID-19, updated April 21, 2020 (NSRLP)

Guidance and recent decisions to clarify what the courts consider to be “urgent” during the pandemic.

Template Social Distancing Clauses for Parents, updated April 16, 2020 (NSRLP)

Sample clauses on social distancing undertakings for parents with shared custody arrangements.

COVID‑19 Family Law (CLEO Steps to Justice)

Answers for the public to questions about access, child and spousal support, family violence and going to court during the pandemic.

A note about library services:

Although the Great Library is closed, staff are working remotely. We are continuing to provide legal research assistance and document delivery service using our online resources. If we can help you in any way, please email us at refstaff@lso.ca.