School of Library and Information Studies

LIS 598 Access to Justice: Legal Information Resources and Services

LIS 598: Access to Justice: Legal Information Resources and Services
Winter 2016 Course Outline

 

INSTRUCTOR: Amelia Martin
Phone: 780-451-5285
Email: amartin@cplea.ca

Office Hours: by appointment only

Calendar Description: A current topic of significance to, or a special aspect of, library and information studies.

Course Objectives:

This course will provide an introduction (theoretical and practical) to both traditional and alternative legal information resources and services that can be used by library and information professionals to support a wide variety of audiences including legal professionals in both public and private sectors, law school faculty and students, self-represented litigants, and members of the general public. Students will learn how to increase access to justice through empowering people with reliable, accurate legal information no matter what the setting or resources available.

Measurable Student Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • Have a general understanding of the Canadian legal system and how it impacts legal information services
  • Be familiar legal research methods and reference tools used in the provision of legal information services to a variety of audiences including legal professionals, law school faculty and students, self-represented litigants, and members of the general public
  • Have an introductory understanding of primary and secondary Canadian legal resources, both print and electronic
  • Be aware of the challenges and responsibilities of information professionals who provide legal information services
  • Be more confident in their ability to answer basic legal information reference questions related to Canadian law
  • Have an introductory understanding of trends impacting legal resources and the provision of legal information services in Canada

 

Content:

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Introduction to the Canadian legal system, including the difference between legislation and common law
  • Legal research methods and reference tools available in public, private, and academic settings
  • Overview of legal citation practice
  • Primary legal resources in Canada and how these resources are used by different audiences
  • Secondary legal resources in Canada and how these resources are used by different audiences
  • Introduction to legal resource databases (Quicklaw, Westlaw, CanLII)
  • Introduction to legal information services providers in Alberta
  • How to identify reliable legal information sources in the digital age 
  • Legal information versus legal advice when assisting self-represented litigants and members of the public
  • Future of law librarianship and legal information services in Canada

 

Methods:

A combination of pre-readings, lectures, discussion, and assignments will be used.

Course Relationships: Participants should have successfully completed LIS 501.

 

Required Texts: None

 

Required Readings:

Ted Tjaden, Legal Research and Writing, 3d ed (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2010). Read the following pages: 6-11, 75-79, 94-98, 101-102, 110-111, 114-116. (available online and in print)

JE Cote & DJ MacGregor, “Practical Legal Research” (2014-15) 52 Alta L Rev 145, online: http://www.heinonline.org.login.ezproxy.library.ualberta.ca/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/alblr52&size=2&id=153

Amy Kaufman, “The Pro Se Patron in Canada” (2007) 32:5 Can L L Rev 220, online: http://www.heinonline.org.login.ezproxy.library.ualberta.ca/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/callb32&start_page=220&id=220

Canada, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Canada’s System of Justice (Ottawa: Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, 2015), online: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/csj-sjc/just/img/courten.pdf.

American Association of Law Libraries: Special Committee on Access to Justice, Law Libraries and Access to Justice (Chicago: American Association of Law Libraries, 2014), online: http://www.aallnet.org/mm/Publications/products/atjwhitepaper.pdf

American Association of Law Libraries, AALL Ethical Principles

http://www.aallnet.org/mm/Leadership-Governance/policies/PublicPolicies/policy-ethics.html


Recommended Readings / Resources:

Nancy McCormack, John Papadopoulos, Catherine Cotter, The Practical Guide to Canadian Legal Research, 4th ed (Toronto: Carswell, 2015).

McGill Law Journal, Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation, 8th ed (Toronto: Carswell, 2014).

Laurie Selwyn and Virginia Eldridge, Public Law Librarianship: Objectives, Challenges, and Solutions (Hershey, Pa: Information Science Reference, 2013).

Alberta Law Libraries Review Committee, Alberta Law Libraries Review: Final Report (Edmonton: Alberta Justice and Solicitor General, 2015), online: https://www.lawlibrary.ab.ca/attachments/Documents/ALLRC_Final_Report_September_22_2015.pdf

Nancy McCormack and Nicole Eva, “If You Could Do it All Again: Job Satisfaction and Law Library Workers in Canada” (2009) 34:5 Can L L Rev 241, online: http://www.heinonline.org.login.ezproxy.library.ualberta.ca/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/callb34&start_page=241&id=243

Canadian Association of Law Libraries, 2013 Salary Survey Report, online: http://www.callacbd.ca/Resources/Documents/Surveys/2013%20CALL-ACBD%20Salary%20Survey%20Report.pdf

University of Alberta Legal Research Subject Guides: http://guides.library.ualberta.ca/legal

Edmonton Law Libraries Association HeadStart Materials: http://edmontonlawlibraries.ca/headstart-materials

Best Guide to Canadian Legal Research: http://legalresearch.org

 

Assignments and Weighting:

Class participation – 20%

Legal resources assignment (to be handed out Friday, March 4 - due Sunday, March 6) – 20%

Written Take-Home Assignment – 60%

 

School of Library and Information Studies Grading Statement:

Grades reflect professional judgements of student achievement made by instructors. These judgements are based on a combination of absolute achievement and relative performance in class. The instructor should mark in terms of raw scores, rank the assignments in order of merit, and with due attention to the verbal descriptions of the various grades, assign an appropriate final letter grade. Grades are calculated in accordance with the SLIS Grading Procedure.

 

Academic Integrity: The University of Alberta is committed to the highest standards of academic integrity and honesty.  Students are expected to be familiar with these stands regarding academic honesty and to uphold the policies of the University in this respect.  Students are particularly urged to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Code of Student Behavior (online at http://www.governance.ualberta.ca/) and avoid any behaviour which could potentially result in supsicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresntation of facts an/or participation in an offence. Academic dishonesty is a serious offense and can result in suspension or expulsion from the University.

Students should also be mindful of the SLIS Copyright Policy (http://www.slis.ualberta.ca/Resources/~/media/slis/Documents/Resources/SLISPoliciesandDocuments/SLIS_Copyright_Policy.pdf).

 

Inclusive Language and Equity: The Faculty of Education is committed to providing an environment of respect for all people within the university community and to educating faculty, staff and students in developing teaching and learning contexts that are welcoming to all.  The Faculty recommends that students and staff use inclusive language to create a classroom atmosphere in which students’ experiences and views are treated with equal respect and value in relation to their gender, racial background, sexual orientation and ethnic background.  Students who require accommodations in this course due to a disability affecting mobility, vision, hearing, learning, or mental or physical health are advised to discuss their needs with Specialized Support and Disability Services.

 

Recording of Lectures:

Recording of lectures is permitted only with the prior written consent of the professor or if recording is part of an approved accommodation plan.

Policy about course outlines can be found in Section 23.4(2) of the University Calendar.