Month: February 2015

LegalTrac & The Wheel of Topics (Tip of the Week)

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By Ken Fox

LegalTrac is an American-based index of journal articles, legal reviews, and news sources, including materials from the Commonwealth, EU, and elsewhere. As of February 27 it contains 1,810,147 records published from 1980 to 2015, including many full-text articles.

In Saskatchewan, LegalTrac can be accessed via the public library system. In Regina, go to the Regina Public Library site, navigate to E-Library Services, then scroll down to the list of “Categories” and find Law, and link to LegalTrac. You will need to enter your Library card number and PIN – contact the RPL for assistance.

For other parts of the province, access your regional library system and follow a process similar to the above. Ok, just to make things easy, here are the linking pages to access LegalTrac from each of Saskatchewan’s seven Regional Library systems:

I am in Saskatoon, so I will go through the Reference Databases page on the SPL site, and find Government and Law, then go to the LegalTrac login, and enter my library barcode.

Like most legal databases, LegalTrac provides a number of ways to search its vast contents. There is a general search, an Advanced Search, a Publication Search – but the one that really grabs me is the Topic Finder.


I decided to try and locate articles on the topic of spousal support. So in the Topic Finder search, I entered “spousal.” LegalTrac then visualizes the search results as a Wheel (or Tiles, if you prefer) –


So the database provides a graphic representation of all topics related to my search term. This has considerable advantages for occasions when I don’t know exactly what I am looking for, but have a general idea. The graphic brings up unexpected connections and conceptual relations.

In this case, the topic I am interested in, Spousal Support, appears as a separate heading – so I can bring up all the documents that include that phrase –


The top three results are Canadian articles, but the remaining nine are American, perhaps indicating that the database can rank results to suit the location of the researcher.

For more information on legal resources available in Saskatchewan, contact the library.

Don’t Forget CanLII Connects

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By Melanie Hodges Neufeld

It has been a while since we last highlighted CanLII Connects. The website has numerous legal commentary/summaries on a variety of Canadian court decisions, including thousands of Saskatchewan case digests provided by the Law Society Library. The top post on CanLII Connects last week was “Judges Speak Out About Self-Represented Litigants” . Other recent posts include:

Recent Saskatchewan posts include:

Nicholas Flood Davin, the Donald Trump of His Time and Place (Throwback Thursday)

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The first Leader Building, 1884 (

The first issue of the Regina Leader, now Leader-Post, was published on March 1, 1883, by Nicholas Flood Davin (1843-1901). Nicholas Davin was a lawyer, journalist and politician. He served as a war correspondent in the Franco-Prussian War before coming to Canada in 1872. Davin practiced very little law. The highlight of his legal career was the defence of George Bennett, a disgruntled Globe (now The Globe and Mail) employee who shot George Brown (Father of Confederation, founder of the Toronto Globe) in the leg. The injury turned gangrenous and George Brown died a few days later. Davin’s defence was unsuccessful and George Bennett was convicted and hanged in Toronto on July 23, 1880.
Image source: Canadian Poetry (

In 1882, Davin came west and ended up in Regina. He accepted the offer of $5,000 seed money from a group of prominent citizens to start up a newspaper. During the trial of Louis Riel in 1885, he disguised himself as a priest coming into the jail to give Riel his last rites. He got an exclusive interview with Riel in French right in front of the Anglophone guard.

“Davin was an infuriating mix of good and bad, enlightened and retrogressive.” [1] In 1879, he submitted his Report on Industrial Schools for Indians and Half-Breeds (known as the Davin Report) and advised Sir John A. Macdonald to institute residential schools for Aboriginal youth. In the 1880s, he argued for women’s right to vote, three decades before this actually arrived. Writer Ken Mitchell, whose play about Davin, The Politician, (opened in Regina Globe Theatre, 1978) called Davin “the Donald Trump of his time and place”.

Davin’s life entered a downward spiral in his late 40s. He was prone to bouts of drinking binges and was often embroiled in feuds with prominent citizens. In 1895, he sold the Leader to his former employee Walter Scott. In 1901, his wife was invited to the Government House to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York but Davin was excluded. Seeking a new start, he travelled to Winnipeg, but on October 18, 1901, he shot himself in a fit of depression.


[1] Leader-Post “Our past, your stories: Celebrating 130 years“, April 25, 2013




Free CPD

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By Melanie Hodges Neufeld

The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) is offering free webinars to CBA members this spring. All webinars qualify for CPD credits:

Competition Law Fundamentals: Abuse of Dominance
Presented by the CBA Competition Law Section
March 4, 2015
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm ET
Price: FREE for CCCA/CBA members
Register and learn more.

Pregnant Employees: The Risks of Reproduction
Presented by Stringer LLP
March 12, 2015
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm ET
Price: FREE for CCCA/CBA members; $50 for non-members
Register and learn more.

Price Maintenance: What’s New in Canada and the U.S.?
Presented by the CBA National Competition Law Section
March 19, 2015
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm ET
Price: FREE for CCCA/CBA members
Register and learn more.

Subsidiary Governance In-House Counsel Primer
Presented by the CCCA Ontario Chapter
March 25, 2015
11:45 am – 2:00 pm ET
Toronto, ON
Price: FREE for CCCA/CBA members who register before March 18.
Register and learn more.

Record Retention, eDiscovery and the Emerging Law
Presented by Gardiner Roberts LLP
April 1, 2015
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm ET
Price: FREE for CCCA/CBA members; $50 for non-members
Register and learn more.

Managing the Criminal and Civil Aspects of a Cartel Matter
Presented by the CBA Competition Law Section
April 8, 2015
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm ET
Price: FREE for CCCA and CBA members
Register and learn more.

Strategic Considerations for Directors and Officers During Litigations
Presented by Lenczner Slaght
May 14, 2015
Price: FREE for CCCA/CBA members; $50 for non-members
Register and learn more.


Space Copyright – Return of the Space Oddity

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By Alan Kilpatrick

spacecopyright3Several months ago, I wrote a post on Legal Sourcery about Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s popular rendition of Space Oddity.   Hadfield, who recorded the video while in orbit and in command of the International Space Station, posted the video on to YouTube in May 2013.  The video, which was widely shared and viewed around the globe, was suddenly taken down a year later.

The video’s removal from YouTube sparked confusion and frustration.  A passionate discussion about copyright law arose and many questioned why the viral hit had been removed so suddenly.  The Economist and The Globe and Mail both reported on the intricate framework of copyright law aboard the International Space Station.

To the relief of many fans, Hadfield’s video was reposted to YouTube late last year.  What exactly happened?   Hadfield explains the situation on his website,

“…it was with some regret that we took the Space Oddity video off YouTube last May. David Bowie and his publisher had been very gracious. They had allowed his work, his intellectual property, to be made freely available to everyone for a year, and had in fact worked with us and the Canadian Space Agency to make it happen. There was no rancour, and we removed it from YouTube to honour that agreement.”

Once the video was taken down in May 2014, Hadfield and the Canadian Space Agency began the process to obtain permission to repost the video.  Hadfield explains further,

“Bowie himself loved it, posting on Facebook that it was possibly the most poignant version of the song ever created. As a result of this, the recent reapplication of the legal process has been fairly straightforward.”

You can watch the video here.



Hadfield, Chris. (2015). Space Oddity. Retrieved from:


Training Offered by Library

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By Melanie Hodges Neufeld

In 2014, we presented five legal research webinars. If you missed them, recorded versions are available on the Law Society Continuing Education website:

  • It’s Yours! Use It! – Reap the Benefits of Your Law Society’s Investment in CanLII (Presenters: Melanie Hodges Neufeld,Director of Legal Resources, Law Society of Saskatchewan & Colin Lachance, CEO and President CanLII)
  • Legal Research Ethics (Melanie Hodges Neufeld,Director of Legal Resources, Law Society of Saskatchewan)
  • Navigating the Members’ Section: The Resources Available to Law Society of Saskatchewan Members (Melanie Hodges Neufeld,Director of Legal Resources, Law Society of Saskatchewan)
  • Researching Saskatchewan Legislation Online: Essential Legal Research with the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library (Ken Fox and Alan Kilpatrick, Law Society of Saskatchewan Library)
  • Researching Saskatchewan Case Law: Essential Legal Research with the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library (Ken Fox and Alan Kilpatrick, Law Society of Saskatchewan Library)

This year we plan on presenting at least four webinars (topics to be determined) and an in-person Legal Research Bootcamp in June. The Bootcamp will likely be offered in both Regina and Saskatoon, and will include hands-on training. Stay tuned for more information!

If you have any suggestions for webinars or in-person training, please contact Melanie Hodges Neufeld.