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The blog of the Great Library


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When One Door Closes, Another Opens

Being as old as it is, it is no surprise that the Great Library at Osgoode Hall harbours many secrets. As we usher in spring (if it ever comes) with our guided library tours and with the City of Toronto event Doors Open, we hope to prepare all those who venture into the Library for the many mysteries they may encounter—and to open some doors of our own.

As grand and as impressive as it is, the Great Library did not always encompass over 20 rooms on three floors. In fact, the library was first built to be contained in a single room. Over the years it became clear that this would not be enough space and so the Library expanded, slowly but surely taking over unused and unsuspecting spaces. Needless to say, most of the rooms which now make up the Library were not originally intended to be used for such a purpose. This is especially evident in the stacks room located on the first floor.

At first, it may appear unassuming—sure, the book stacks may zig-zag through some tight spaces, but nothing truly out of the ordinary. Until, that is, we reach a seemingly ordinary door located at the far end of the room which opens to…

…another door. Which opens to…

…you guessed it—another door.

Now, this last set of doors does not lead to another set of doors, but to a very cold room with a high vaulted ceiling featuring a wall lined with many rectangular compartments.

We can hazard a guess or two on the purpose this room may have served. If we revisit the fact that the room which harbours this mysterious nook was not always a part of the Library, and combine that knowledge with the other clues that the Law Society of Ontario’s curator has discovered and reviewed in her post “It was a Dark and Stormy Night”, we can guess this room may at one point have acted as the vault for a stamp office.

Currently, this room is vacant, and only used by staff when the pages from our loose-leaf materials go missing and the need for a holding cell arises.

Oh, did I say that we had reached the end of the long line of doors?

Not quite. But this is one door that this Librarian does not have the courage (or strength) to open.


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Je ne parle pas français: Tips for finding English versions of French language case law

Few things are more frustrating than finding your “golden case”—the case that will answer all your questions, solve all your problems and surely render opposing counsel speechless—only to realize you cannot understand a word of it because it’s been reported in French (and, well, you don’t speak French). While the search for English translations of case law reported in French is not entirely hopeless, it can be a challenge.

Unless the decision has been reported in an official court reporter or published in a bilingual jurisdiction, it is most likely the decision has only been reported in the language in which it was argued. Nevertheless, there are several pathways to take before admitting defeat.

To double-check if there is a translated version of a Canadian decision, search by style of clause (name of the case) on:

  • Lexis Advance Quicklaw
  • WestlawNext Canada
  • CanLII

If these resources do possess a translated version of the case in question, you’ll see an “English” link on the French case, or you’ll notice the case is shown as being reported twice in the same database (one in English, the other in French).

Another source worth consulting is SOQUIJ, the body that publishes Quebec judicial and administrative tribunal decisions.  Although limited in scope, its free database of Translated Decisions offers unofficial English translations of selected decisions from the Quebec Court of Appeal, Quebec Superior Court, Court of Quebec, Quebec Human Rights Tribunal, Quebec Professions Tribunal, the Ministère de la Justice of Quebec and the Financial Markets Administrative Tribunal.

Lastly, some of us at the Great Library have had luck searching for translated versions of cases by using CanLII on Google Chrome. When using CanLII and Google Chrome in tandem, a pop-up window which reads, “Translate this page?” appears. After clicking the “Translate” button, an unofficial English translation of the French case is presented.


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New Books for the New Year

Here’s a selection of new books in our collection – covering current issues from cannabis and liquor laws to expert witnesses and family arbitration:

Cannabis Law by MacFarlane et al. HV 5840 .C36 M34 2018 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor & 1st Floor.

  • This item, which claims to be “the first of its kind”, acts as a guide with which readers can navigate the plethora of uncharted legal issues newly relevant with the legalization and regulation of cannabis in Canada.

Charter Remedies in Criminal Cases: A Practitioner’s Handbook by Asma & Gourlay. KF 9655 A84 2019 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

  • The latest title in the Criminal Law Series covers breaches and remedies, as well as issues such as police misconduct and exclusion of evidence, from both defence and Crown perspectives. Includes checklists and ample case references.

Government Lawyering: Duties and Ethical Challenges of Government Lawyers by Sanderson. KF 299 .G6 S25 2018 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

  • This new text fills a major gap in the literature by explaining and analysing the unique ethical and practice issues facing lawyers working for the Crown.

Impaired Driving and Other Criminal Code Driving Offences: A Practitioner’s Handbook by Jokinen and Keen. KF 2231 J65 2019 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

  • With the repeal and replacement of all driving provisions of the Criminal Code in 2018, this item acts as a comprehensive handbook that analyzes and contextualizes the new provisions of the legislation replete with case law, strategy, and advice.

Liquor Laws of Canada by Bourgeois. KF 3919 B69 2018 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

  • This text serves as a comprehensive primer to the laws governing the regulation, manufacturing, distribution, selling and consumption of liquor across Canada while providing constitutional and economic context to Canadian liquor law.

Other recent additions to our Canadian Practice Collection:

The Expert Accountant in Civil Litigation, 2nd ed., by McAuley. KF 8968.15 Z53 2018 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

A Guide to Family Arbitration in Ontario by Grant and Preston. KF 505 .ZB3 G73 2018 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

Ontario Residential Real Estate for Practitioners by Wolf. KF 665 W65 2019 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

Quasi-Constitutional Laws of Canada by Helis. KF 425 H45 2018 / 1st Floor.

Witness Preparation: A Practical Guide, 4th ed., by Finlay et al. KF 8950 F56 2018 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

 and to our Circulating Collection:

The Class Actions Controversy: The Origins and Development of the Ontario Class Proceedings Act by Chiodo. KF 8896 C45 2018 / Circulating Collection, 2nd Floor.

A History of Law in Canada, Volume One: Beginnings to 1866 by Girard et al. KF 345 G57 2018 / Circulating Collection, 2nd Floor.

Truth and Conviction: Donald Marshall Jr. and the Mi’kmaw Quest for Justice by McMillan. KF 8205 M36 2018 / Circulating Collection, 2nd Floor.

 


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American Law Guides for Beginners (and Canadian legal researchers)

At the Great Library, we’re always looking for simple, accessible resources that can provide our users with a good starting point for their U.S. legal research. So we were happy to discover that the Law Library of Congress has produced a series of beginner’s guides to American law topics.

Topic choices are pulled from the library’s frequently asked questions, and the guides are designed to assist researchers get their bearings in an unfamiliar area of law. So, they are well-suited to the needs of non-US legal researchers.

The guides are published on the Law Library of Congress blog, In Custodia Legis. Each one offers an introduction to the area of law, some research tips and a well-researched selection of secondary, primary and free online sources. Here are a few examples:

Patent Law: A Beginner’s Guide outlines the U.S. patent process, provides advice on where to search for patent laws and cases, and gives the titles of leading texts, as well as links to online resources, patent organization websites and practitioner blogs.

The Administration of a Probate Estate: A Beginner’s Guide includes a list of useful secondary sources and provides direction to state probate codes where answers to common questions about the administration of estates can be found.

Federal Statutes: A Beginner’s Guide aims to de-mystify federal statutory research by explaining the statutory publication process and describing where each type of statutory publication can be found.

Check In Custodia Legis for a full list of Beginner’s Guides.


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Recent Arrivals

From drug-impaired driving and racial profiling to competition law and torts – here are some of our new titles and new editions:

Canadian Tort Law, 11th ed., by Linden et al. KF 1250 L562 2018 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

  • The 11th edition of this leading treatise provides a thoroughly updated analysis of all aspects of tort law, with details of important appellate cases from the last five years.

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