Legal Glossary

The Vancouver Community College recently added Korean to its Legal Glossary.  The glossary contains 5000 Canadian legal and court-related terms in English Plain Language, plus their equivalents in six other languages (Chinese, (traditional and simplified), Farsi, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese).

The Legal Glossary was a result of a lack of consistency in comprehension and use of legal terminology among unaccredited court interpreters working in British Columbia courts, as identified by the Law Courts Education Society of BC and the Vancouver Community College Certificate Program in Court Interpreting. The glossary is aimed to benefit everyone participating in court or legal processes. It aims to explain Canadian legal terminology and to provide foreign language equivalents of those concepts related to Canadian law. Although restricted to 5000 terms, the glossary covers the following areas:  criminal law, court-related terms and street language heard in court for drugs and arms.

You can visit the Legal Glossary at:

You are encouraged to send your comments and suggestions on words and definitions to  and comments on the site and the way the dictionary works to

Supreme Court of Canada Judgments website

From Rosalie Fox, Director, Library, Supreme Court of Canada:

In cooperation with LexUM, the Supreme Court of Canada is pleased to announce that all the Supreme Court decisions which were published in the Supreme Court Reports dating back to 1948 are now available on the SCC Judgments website. All published judgments since 1876 from cases which were appealed to the SCC from the British Columbia Court of Appeal have been added to the database, courtesy of CanLII and the Law Foundation of BC. Appeals from the Ontario Court of Appeal, also dating back to 1876, were added to the SCC database last year.

The free availability of judgments dating back to 1948 on the web is one way the Supreme Court of Canada is celebrating the 60th anniversary of Canada's full judicial independence from the United Kingdom.

Following the adoption of the Statute of Westminster in 1931, which underscored the equality of the Dominion legislatures with that of the United Kingdom, Canada amended the Supreme Court Act in 1933, and again in 1949, first ending appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in criminal matters, and subsequently in civil matters.

Managing email

VALL members should find Allison Wolf's article "Email survival tips for the busy professional" very useful. She refers to a short article on the Harvard Business website on "How to Revise an Email So That People Will Read It" by David Silverman; Mr Silverman also wrote a helpful article on "4 Tips for Writing Better Email".

Creating your library's business plan

Book coverJan Wallace of UBC's David Lam Management Library has alerted VALL to a new book in the UBC library system: Creating your library’s business plan : a how-to-do-it manual with samples on CD-ROM by Joy H.P. Harriman. Jan gave a talk to VALL members on this subject several years ago.

The book can be borrowed from UBC; full information is at The book includes "more than 20 sample plans from academic, public, medical, and special libraries worldwide" as well as "templates, worksheets, case studies, and samples from a wide variety of libraries".

If you're interested in learning more on the subject of making a business case, this is the topic of this year's CALL pre-conference workshop on Saturday, May 23, 2009. 

Results of a Survey on Library Budgets

Louise Hamel of the Judges' Library, Ontario Courts surveyed Canadian law libraries on their budget perspective. Here is her summary of the survey results:

87 individuals responded to the survey. From some of the comments it may still be too early to say what the impact will be on law libraries.

1. Have you been informed of or do you expect a budget cut?

  • 15% still did not know
  • 30% indicated an impact for this fiscal
  • 15% indicated an impact for next fiscal
  • 12% both fiscals would be impacted
  • 29% indicated status quo

It appears from the comments that there is uncertainty over all. Only one commented on the annual impact of price increases as a budget cut.

2. What percentage of cut is expected?

The impact in this fiscal: 67% indicated that they were looking at up to 10% budget reduction, with various other responses for cuts greater than 10%; 11% indicated they still did not know.

The impact for next fiscal: 54% indicated cuts up to 10%; 35% indicated they had not been advised.

Winner of Peter Bark Bursary announced

We are delighted to announce that Andy Froese is the winner of this year's Peter Bark Bursary. Andy will be using the bursary to attend the SLA Conference in Washington DC in June 2009.

The Peter Bark Professional Development Bursary was established by VALL to commemorate Peter Bark and his contribution to VALL and law librarianship. The Bursary assists VALL members demonstrating financial need in attending meetings of the Canadian Association of Law Librarians or other law library associations, continuing education workshops or other professional development.

CanLII invites you to a user meeting in Vancouver

CanLII will be doing a presentation in Vancouver to demonstrate some of the new features on the site.  In particular they will show SATAL, the new point-in-time searching capability for statutes and the availability of the BC statutes on the site.

The presentation will take place on Monday April 20 at 5:30pm at the Law Society of British Columbia. For more information, see

VALL Lunch on April 16, 2009: Who's Lying and Who's Telling the Truth: How does a Judge Determine Credibility

Please join us as we welcome Madam Justice Susan A. Griffin, previously senior litigation partner with Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP. Madam Justice Griffin was appointed judge of the British Columbia Supreme Court on February 19, 2008. She joined FMC's Vancouver office in 1999, and served as Co-Chair of the firm's National Litigation & Dispute Resolution Group until her appointment to the bench. During that time, she developed a strong reputation as a skilled and highly professional advocate. Throughout her career, she has appeared before all levels of courts, and in a wide variety of practice areas. In addition to her courtroom experience, Madam Justice Griffin acted as counsel to a judicial commission, annually edited a leading manual for civil practitioners, taught every year at a respected advocacy workshop and has appeared as guest lecturer in courses designed for the education of the judges.

The deadline for registration and payment is Thursday April 9, 2009. (Note the change in date due to the Easter holiday weekend)

VALL announces Lifetime Memberships

The VALL Executive have decided to create a new category of member: that of Lifetime Member. Lifetime membership is complimentary and is open to VALL Members who have retired from the profession.

A lifetime member is entitled to:

  • a password that allows access to the online VALL Directory and VALL Review
  • receive luncheon and workshop notices by e-mail
  • be the guest of VALL at the December luncheon in the year they receive the Lifetime Membership.

Please contact the Membership Secretary if you are interested in becoming a lifetime member.

CANLII announces new point-in-time legislation

CanLII has announced that its new legislation publishing system (providing access to historical versions of statutes and regulations) is now live. Currently this new system covers Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and the Federal jurisdiction. The other provinces and territories will be added by the end of the summer 2009.

Benefits of the new system include:

  • Versions of statutes and regulations reflect real changes;
  • Legislative updates are carried out on a weekly basis;
  • Users can search a legislative text as it was legally binding on a particular date in the past. Historical coverage is approximately five years;
  • Users can compare two different versions of a particular document;
  • Users can noteup statutes’ sections;
  • RSS feeds are available to inform users about legislative changes of a particular statute or database.
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