Month: January 2015
By Alan Kilpatrick
Are you familiar with the CPD Full-Text Search? This is a unique legal resource created by the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library. The CPD Full-Text Search allows you to locate full-text Saskatchewan legal articles.
Most legal articles published by the Saskatchewan Legal Education Society (SKLESI), Saskatchewan CPLED program, and the Law Society of Saskatchewan CPD seminars are available in full-text through this resource.
For example, let’s locate articles that discuss child support and the age of majority in Saskatchewan. You can find a link to the CPD Full-Text Search at the top of the library catalogue.
Let’s start by typing “child support” & “age of majority” in the Full-Text search box.
Our search located 44 articles. For example, the second search result is a 2011 Law Society of Saskatchewan CPD article, A Review of Adult Child Support in Saskatchewan. Selecting the link will allow us to read the entire article.
If you have any questions about the CPD Full-Text Search, Ask a Law Society Librarian. We are pleased to provide legal research assistance to Saskatchewan members in person, on the telephone, or by email.
Call 306-569-8020 in Regina
What did it take at the turn of the century to become a sleuth for hire in Saskatchewan? Before hitting the streets to gumshoe, a private detective license had to be obtained. An Act Respecting Private Detectives came into force in January 1913. It explained that,
No person shall engage or advertise the business of a private detective or indicate upon any letter, document or paper that he is engaged in the business of a private detective without having first obtained a license from the attorney general.
Private detective applicants were evaluated on the basis of their character and competency. An application fee of $100 had to be paid before the license was issued.
The attorney general upon such application and upon such further inquiry and investigation he may deem proper of the character and competency of the applicant…and upon receiving from the applicant the fee of $100 may issue and deliver to such applicant a license …to conduct such business…
Do you need help with historical legislation research? The Law Society of Saskatchewan Library carries a complete set of the Statutes of Saskatchewan from the 1870s to the present.
Call 306-569-8020 in Regina
The Library is excited to announce that we are hosting a booth at this year’s CBA Mid-Winter Meeting being held February 5-6 at the Delta Bessborough Hotel in Saskatoon. Please visit us to chat about our resources and services. We will also have bins of CANDY to help you through the sessions.
Please also check out the session, “Conducting Cost-Effective Research”, I’m co-presenting with Reche McKeague at 3:15pm Thursday afternoon.
We hope to see you there!
By Melanie Hodges Neufeld
PLEA has launched a new website, Family Law Saskatchewan, to provide information on a wide range of family law topics, such as grounds for divorce, child and spousal support and property division. The site is the first of its kind in Canada and PLEA states that there are three important features of the site:
- First there is comprehensive plain-language information on topics from child support, to dividing property, parenting plans and more.
- Second there is an interview-style questionnaire where we gather information about what the person needs to do (for example ask the court for a divorce or respond to papers served on them). The free Form Wizard then produces a unique Step-by-Step for that individual’s situation which breaks it down into manageable actions that are checked off one-by-one as they are completed.
- Third the Step-by-Step tells them what forms they need to fill out and sends them to a plain language questionnaire for each form. Their answers are used by the Form Wizard to create a completed court form that is ready to be served and filed. The Step-by-Step explains how to file and serve these documents.
- Throughout people are provided with help text and links back to relevant information.
For more information, please visit the PLEA website.
By Sarah Roussel-Lewis
Books from Irwin Law recently added to our collection:
Today, many human rights commissions are threatened or are no longer in existence. This book argues in support of our human rights institutions, including the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights. These arguments debunk current challenges to our human rights commissions and tribunals. Further, they chronicle the ways in which governments have backed away from the project of growing a culture of human rights, and of maintaining the role of human rights commissions to promote and protect human rights. In sum, this book will help readers to evaluate criticism of human rights institutions so that Canadians can strengthen current systems and ensure that they are responding to today’s problems in the field of human rights.
This book sketches a blueprint for reconceiving and retrieving social rights in diverse spheres of human rights practice in Canada, both political and legal. Leading academics and activists explore how the Charter and administrative decision making should protect social rights to health, housing, food, water and the environment; how homelessness and anti-poverty strategies could incorporate international and constitutional rights; how the federal spending power, fiduciary obligations towards Aboriginal people, and substantive equality for women and people with disabilities, can become tools for securing social rights; and how social protest movements can interact with courts and urban spaces to create new loci for social rights claims.
This book provides a comprehensive overview of legislation dealing with customs, customs tariffs, free trade agreements, anti-dumping measures, prohibited subsidies, Kimberley Process, cultural property, and other statutes regulating Canada’s international trade. Important illustrative decisions of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal and of the courts, as well as decisions of the NAFTA and WTO panels, are discussed to aid understanding of the interpretation by these bodies of statutory provisions. The book will be of special interest to importers, foreign exporters, customs brokers, trade law practitioners, and those engaged in international trade and commerce, as well as to Canada’s current and potential free trade partner countries.
How do lawyers get from the initial interview to a structured closing argument? Cases emerge in fits and starts — a fact here, a document there — and most of what lawyers learn about a case has no bearing on the outcome. How can lawyers begin to separate the wheat from the chaff? Case analysis, as outlined in this handbook, will teach you how to convert preparation into persuasion. Armed with case analysis, lawyers can plan and implement effective examinations, openings, and closings: start with the idea, then present the key facts in a manner that convinces — this is the critical path to persuasion.
Demonstrating professionalism is one of the most important courtroom skills for civil litigators. A collateral benefit of this skill is learning to establish rapport with the people in the courtroom, including decision makers, opposing counsel, clients, and witnesses. This book will help lawyers recognize and evaluate their courtroom skills, and develop the techniques to improve these skills. Professionalism—both how lawyers act and how they relate to others—should be the ultimate goal of this development.
Whether you are one of more than 200,000 Canadians who commute by bike, the parent of a child with her first two-wheeler, a veteran racer, or a recreational rider, the chances are you will need this book. In Every Cyclist’s Guide to Canadian Law, Craig Forcese and Nicole LaViolette, both law professors and avid cyclists, provide a comprehensive overview of Canadian law for bicycles — covering rules of the road, purchasing and using bicycles, what to do in the case of an accident or a stolen bike, starting up your own cycling club, racing your bike, and much more.
By Kelly Laycock
With recent events in the news, from the Dalhousie dentistry Facebook scandal to the charges laid against former CBC talk show host Jian Ghomeshi, the topic of gender equality (among other things!) has come to the forefront of our social consciousness. But it isn’t just in Canada; it is a concern on a global level. For those of you who haven’t seen this yet, take a look at Emma Watson speaking at the United Nations in 2014 about the importance of equality for women and a new global campaign called HeForShe. She addresses the misconceptions of the word feminism and expands on the need for male allies within the equality movement. We are all aware that inequality still exists (and not just between the sexes), and while progress has been made in some societies, equal rights is still a global issue that deserves discussion and solutions.
So what I’d like to discuss in this post is the role language plays in the debate and why it is so important to use unbiased language in our writing and speaking. I’m not talking excessive political correctness, where we find ourselves on pins and needles not to offend anyone, ever. What I’m talking about is making choices in our language that represent the reality we want to see. A society where our daughters and sons don’t feel the weight of being stereotyped into antiquated gender roles just because we didn’t take the time to reflect on the impact our choice of words and expressions has on our world view.
So what am I talking about? We don’t have to look very far to see the male dominance in English:
- human being
- Man, what a game!
These are all so ingrained, it may seem overly sensitive to mention them, but I was struck speechless when I found this generic use of the word man in Merriam-Websters Dictionary:
2b: the individual who can fulfill or who has been chosen to fulfill one’s requirements <she’s your man>.
Ouch! How far have we come, and we still use this kind of expression in everyday English? Were they trying to be gender neutral by using a feminine pronoun to show it is not specific to men?! That is perhaps even worse. But that’s nothing compared to some. Do these make you as uncomfortable as they make me?
- Man up.
- Be a man.
- Are you man enough?
- That’s a ballsy move.
- Grow a pair.
- You throw like a girl.
- Don’t get your panties in a knot.
Have you noticed how most expressions of strength involve masculine stereotypes? Perhaps the negativity is more obvious in the contrasting feminine stereotypes of weakness and hysteria. If you are having a hard time understanding why someone might take issue with these expressions (but by now I hope you see my point!), let’s look a little closer at the theory behind unbiased language. When gender-specific terms like he, him and man are used to describe gender-neutral situations, women become invisible.
- Man is a primate.
- All men are created equal.
Clearly, women cannot be seen as equal when they aren’t seen at all. As the Stanford University’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy points out in its article entitled “Feminist Philosophy of Language”:
…there is no doubt that a gender-neutral meaning is intended, but this meaning seems unavailable. As a result, the sentences seem ill-formed:
- Man has two sexes; some men are female.
- Man breastfeeds his young.
- Ask the candidate about his husband or wife.
Or how about terms that call attention to a woman’s presence in a position of authority?
- doctor – lady doctor (apparently still common in the UK)
- manager – manageress (again, common in other parts of the world)
- actor – actress (this one is so accepted, perhaps it doesn’t bother anyone, but I find it follows the theory that these gender-specific terms minimize the stature of women in these roles)
What’s wrong with replacing some of these terms with more inclusive language (as suggested by Einsohn in The Copyeditor’s Handbook, page 411)?
- chairman ⇒ chair or chairperson (although chairperson tends only to be used for women, continuing the gender bias through a different word), presiding officer, president
- councilman ⇒ councillor, councilperson
- fathers (figurative) ⇒ founders, pioneers, innovators, trailblazers
- fireman ⇒ firefighter
- housewife ⇒ homemaker, householder
- mailman ⇒ mail carrier, postal worker
- salesman ⇒ salesperson, customer service representative, sales clerk
- workmanlike ⇒ skilled, expert
Or what about a few of the guidelines given in The Canadian Style. They suggest:
- Parallel treatment of names mentioned together:
- Knight and J. Philips or Joyce Philips, the engineer, and Alan Knight, the journalist, not Alan Knight, the journalist, and Mrs. J. Philips
- and Mrs. James and Irene Luciano or James and Irene Luciano not James Luciano and his lovely blond wife Irene
- Avoid personification:
- The area was hit by Hurricane Flora. It wrought havoc not She wrought havoc.
- Do not feminize occupations or add gratuitous modifiers:
- Executor not executrix
- Doctor and nurse, not lady doctor and male nurse
- Avoid using generic man to refer to people in general
- Average person not common man
- Ordinary people not man in the street
- Staff/operate/run a booth not man a booth
- Humanity, people not mankind
- Synthetic, manufactured not man-made
- Use woman not girls or ladies
- The men and women of the Administrative Division not the men and girls of the Administrative Division
- Seventy percent of the delegates were women not seventy percent of the delegates were ladies
- Do not suggest that men are the norm in certain situations and women in others:
- Parent and child not mother and child
- Professionals, their spouses and their children not professionals, their wives and their children
- The average worker or wage-earner not the average working man
As a colleague of mine pointed out, when it comes to filling in job applications, women are often still viewed as a minority, despite us being one half the population of the world. They ask you to self-identify as a woman (the same question usually asks if you also want to identify as a visible minority, an Aboriginal person, or a disabled person). I have always found this rather insulting. They call this equal opportunity employment, but what it really points out is the stark reality that women are underemployed in general (not to mention underpaid!) and in order to be considered on an equal footing to men, we are asked to highlight our “weakness” through a government initiative. Way to fill those quotas, ladies.
(Another issue with gender bias inherent in the English language is the lack of a gender neutral pronoun. We’ve talked at length about pronouns in a previous post, so if you are interested in the he/she, s/he, they debate, please click the link.)
Copyeditors (and other professionals in the publishing industry) have long been aware of the use and abuse of biased language. And it’s not all gender related. Einsohn highlights some issues with other biased terminology (page 410):
Copyeditors almost never encounter overt ethnic or racial slurs in manuscripts, but some authors will use derivative terms that may strike some readers as insensitive. Controversies abound: Are colloquial verbs like gyp and welsh (or welch) offensive? Do expressions such as Dutch treat, French letter, and Siamese twins (scientists now use conjoined twins) promote stereotyping? Or are phrases objectionable only when they attribute negative characteristics to the named group: Indian giver, French leave, Dutch uncle? Should writers avoid metaphors in which the adjective black is used to connote discredit (black sheep), illegality (black market), or exclusion (blackball, blacklist)?
She notes that “[p]roponents and opponents of these kinds of phrases are quick to marshal their arguments”, but she warns us that “perhaps it is better to err on the side of caution than to run roughshod over entire nationalities, cultures and social groups”. She aptly calls it “the power (or tyranny) of language”.
So should it come down to relying on a good copyeditor to properly captain the rough waters of inappropriate or insensitive language? Or should that be the prerogative of every conscientious person on the planet? We can’t change the history of language, so moving forward let’s at least make a conscious effort to address the practical ways we can use the power of language to reinforce equality rather than continue to highlight inequality.
The Canadian Style (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1997)
The Copyeditor’s Handbook by Amy Einsohn (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006), 410-411
By Melanie Hodges Neufeld
Slaw recently highlighted an interesting paper about lawyers’ incivility entitled “Judicial Sanction of Uncivil and Unprofessional Conduct”. As Slaw notes:
This paper is a practical guide to lawyer behaviours that Canadian courts have deemed uncivil or unprofessional, and to the kinds of judicial sanction – of lawyers and their clients both – that those behaviours have attracted.
Please visit Slaw for more information and a link to the full article.