Annual Report 2010/2011

  • June 30, 2011

Submitted by Section Chair Susan MacFarlane

Summary of Activities

Number of Meetings Held: 8

September 23, 2010
Guest Speaker: Frederick Irvine
Synopsis: Overview of the new British Columbia Supreme Court Rules. This meeting was made available to remote attendees via teleconference.

October 22, 2010
Guest Speakers: Mr. Keith Hamilton, QC
Synopsis: Presentation on public policy research. This was a joint meeting held via webinar with the Public Sector Lawyers Section based in Victoria.

November 17, 2010
Guest Speaker: Drew Jackson, Susan Peirce, Alex McNeur and Nate Russell
Synopsis: Courthouse Library Research Resources: a presentation covering Courthouse resources and online tools for organizing research, including a computer demo using Powerpoint. This meeting was made available to members by webinar.

January 20, 2011
Guest Speaker: Mr. Albert McClean, QC
Synopsis: Update on Canadian decisions on the law of trusts and fiduciaries, with overview of the key texts in the area. 

February 17, 2011
Guest Speaker: Lindsay Lyster
Synopsis: Formerly of the Human Rights Tribunal, Ms. Lyster discussed submissions, protocols, and research expected by the Tribunal. This was a meeting where members of the Human Rights Section were invited to attend.

April 21, 2011
Guest Speaker: Sheila Tucker
Synopsis: Research in Labour Law: Ms. Tucker presented an overview of the arbitral and judicial framework for adjudicating and appealing a labour matter, and how it differs in other provinces. This was a joint meeting with the Labour Law Section, and was presented via webinar to remote attendees. 

May 19, 2011
Guest Speaker: David Bilinsky
Synopsis: Conflicts and Ethics Issues for Research Lawyers: Mr. Bilinsky provided a Powerpoint presentation identifying concerns in re-using research and the dangers of electronic records that retain privileged or sensitive information. This session was available via webinar for remote attendees.

June 23, 2011
Guest Speaker: Catherine Best
Synopsis: Update on Electronic Research: Ms. Best provided a Powerpoint presentation showing screen shots and discussing the new features and relative advantages of various online research tools. This session was made available to remote attendees via webinar.

Reports and Resolutions

The Section discussed the criteria and process for maintaining a list of freelance legal researchers. After taking comments and hearing no dissent from the members, the Executive decided to include some disclaimer language and allow it to be posted both online at the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch Sections page and online at the Courthouse Library website, with discussion to follow on criteria for inclusion in the list. 

Comments and Observations of the Chair

This past year has been an active one for the Section. We had a large number of meetings (8), several of which (3) involved outreach to other Sections either through joint meetings or by distributing our notice of meeting to their members. Most of our meetings were accessible remotely via webinar, thanks to the tremendous assistance and resources provided by the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch. Our topics covered a wide range of issues and our meetings were well attended: in my experience in past years, a typical Legal Research Section meeting would draw about 10-12 section members, and our meetings this year all drew well by comparison. 

This is a Section that has some long-standing members who are very senior in the legal research community, and they seemed to attend and to be satisfied with the meetings. As well, each meeting attracted new faces, young lawyers, and lawyers attending by Privilege Pass, so the meetings reached a large constituency. 

On a less positive note, we have not been able to get our minutes distributed to our members. We have provided the minutes to the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch usually within a week of the meeting. This Section has in the past used the minutes to notify members about current events, courses, job postings, calls to comment on legislation, and other time-sensitive items of interest. We tried e-blast without success, and struggled to get minutes distributed in both the fall 2010 and the spring 2011, but they were months late. Eventually we had to abandon our practice of including time-sensitive announcements to our members. We hope that next year the problem with minutes will be rectified.