Effective … When? (Tip of the Week)

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By Ken Fox

This is a sequel to last week’s tip. Since 1996 the Law Society Library has maintained a database of Saskatchewan Bills, which indexes amendments, status, and coming-in-force dates for all Saskatchewan statutes as they move through the Legislative process. You can search by Statute Name, Bill Name, Bill Number, Section Number, or do a keyword search of Justice Updates provided by the Saskatchewan Department of Justice. Read the rest of this entry »

Law on Film!

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By Ken Fox

We took an informal poll of our library staff, and the overwhelming favourite law-themed movie was Robert Mulligan’s 1962 To Kill A Mockingbird, with five votes in a staff of eight. movieOther films to receive nominations were 12 Angry Men (1 vote for each of the 1957 and 1997 versions), Anatomy of a Murder, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Cape Fear (1991 version), and legal comedies War of the Roses, Liar Liar, My Cousin Vinny, Trial and Error, and A Fish Called Wanda.

On his website, Ted Tjaden provides an index of 132 law-related movies. As well, the U of T law student newspaper Ultra Vires, produced its own Top 10 Cinematic Retrospective in 2012.

Do you have a favourite law-related movie?

How a Saskatchewan Farmer Scratched His Way into Legal History (Throwback Thursday)

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By Melanie Hodges Neufeld

“In case I die in this mess I leave all to the wife.” Cecil Geo. Harris

Any law student who has toiled in the College of Law Library since 1997 will be familiar with the tractor fender and pocket knife encased under glass amongst the stacks.HolographicWill The story of the Saskatchewan farmer who scratched his will into that tractor fender while trapped underneath is well known. However, an article recently published in the Saskatchewan Law Review, “An Analysis of Canada’s Most Famous HolographicWill3Holograph Will: How a Saskatchewan Farmer Scratched His Way into Legal History” by Geoff Ellwand (v.77), explores, as never before, the facts of the case and the legal work which led to the granting of letters administrations. This is a fascinating article that highlights the importance of this case:

This case is an example of not only Prairie practicality in extreme circumstances and the utility of holograph wills but also an instructive demonstration of the skilful, though at times idiosyncratic, handling of a rare legal circumstance by a hard-working country lawyer who appears to have realized immediately that he was dealing with something special.

Book Award Nomination for the QBRA

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By Melanie Hodges Neufeld

The Queen’s Bench Rules Annotated, 4th ed., published by the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library, is nominated for the Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing.
qbra3The award is granted annually by the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) to a publisher that has demonstrated excellence by publishing a work, series, website or e-product that makes a significant contribution to legal research and scholarship. The award will be presented at the 2014 CALL Annual Conference in May.

I am extremely proud of this resource and thankful for the hardworking annotators and staff who made the 4th edition possible.


Understanding “Information Literacy” – And Convincing a New Generation of Lawyers They Might Need Legal Research Training

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By Melanie Hodges Neufeld

A recent article in the University of Dayton Law Review[1] introduced me to the term ‘information literacy’. The authors define this term as the ability to “recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” This is a skill that is needed by all legal researchers and that many recent law grads may erroneously believe they possess. A number of studies indicate that the information literacy of students is declining. Yet the confidence of students in their legal research skills has increased. As the authors point out, students believe “that, since they are so conversant in technology, they must naturally know how to find and evaluate sources….” The authors point out several areas of concern with the research skills of recent grads including inefficiency, problems distinguishing among sources, preferences for easy access to sources, ‘satisfying’ (or doing just enough research to get by), and overconfidence in their research and writing skills.

The Law Society Library proposes that the need to gain and/or refresh legal research skills is not generational. With the ever-changing landscape of legal research and the multitude of online sources, legal research skills should be updated frequently, no matter the age or legal experience. We invite all out members to take part in our upcoming legal research webinars and seminars, and to contact us to arrange specialized legal research training.



1  Ellie Margolis and Kristen E. Murray, “Say Goodbye to the Books: Information Literacy as the New Legal Research Paradigm” 38 U. Dayton L. Rev. 117.

Uniform Law Conference of Canada

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Feature Blogger: Reché McKeague

The Uniform Law Conference of Canada (ULCC) is a national organization that promotes uniformity of legislation among the provinces and territories.[1] It has met annually since 1918.[2]  The ULCC comprises delegates from each of the provincial and territorial governments, the federal government, law reform agencies, the Canadian Bar Association, and other interested parties. It is divided into three sections: civil, criminal, and drafting. This post will focus on the work of the civil section, as that is the section to which I belong and am most familiar. Read the rest of this entry »