Book Restored in Honour of Professor Margaret Somerville

In honour of Professor Somerville’s work and achievements, the Faculty of Law of McGill University has restored the 1773 edition of An Interesting Appendix to Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. This volume is part of the Rare Book collection of the Nahum Gelber Law Library, and its record will carry in perpetuity a notice in tribute to Professor Somerville on behalf of McGill University.img_0014

An interesting appendix to Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the laws of England. Philadelphia: Printed for the subscribers, by Robert Bell, 1773. This book is a collection of correspondence between William Blackstone, Joseph Priestley, and Philip Furneaux published as a reaction to the fourth volume of his Commentaries on the Laws of England, where Blackstone argued in support the suspension of legal penalties against nonconformists, and that essentially nonconformity remained a crime. The correspondence powerfully reveals and illustrates the philosophical, religious, and ethical tensions in the 18th century England. Priestley criticised Blackstone’s positions in the Commentaries relative to offences against the doctrine of the Established Church, while Furneaux in his letters on his Exposition of the Toleration Act offered powerful statement moral arguments against enforcing religious truths by civil penalties. After this public exchange of opinions, Blackstone made alterations to the subsequent editions of his Commentaries: he rephrased some offending passages, moderated his language in others, and corrected the errors and inaccuracies that had been pointed out by his correspondents.

img_0015Joseph Priestley (1733 – 1804) was English clergyman, political theorist, and physical scientist whose work contributed to advances in liberal political and religious thought and in experimental chemistry. He is best remembered today for his contribution to the chemistry of gases, while during his time day he was known also as a vigorous advocate of unitarianism and of liberal reform of government, education, and theology. Philip Furneaux (1726–1783) was an English independent minister, known for his work on behalf of the rights of nonconformists.

Five Puzzles and Counting

Having attended some presentations at conferences about the stress and mental health of university students, we decided on a new initiative at the Law Library. This fall semester we created a de-stress corner.

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Our first puzzle of 500 pieces was done in a week! We are posting the finished puzzle images on the Law Library FaceBook page, where it has created a lot of interest.

We are already on our fifth puzzle and students are loving it! Some students shared with us their questions and comments:

  • Where do you get this puzzles from?
  • The nice staff at the Gelber Law Library brings these from home or go to a thrift shop to buy these.
  • What do you do with them after these are done? Do you frame these?
  • We don’t frame the puzzles. We put them back in their boxes. We are also sharing the puzzles with an older man in his 80’s that lives in an Old Age Home Residence who loves to do puzzles and exercise his brain.

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Comments:

  • “I’m a puzzle person and it is such a good idea to have this at the Library. This last puzzle is difficult and fun!”
  • I spent an hour doing the sky and I enjoyed it very much!
  • This is becoming a social activity and bringing us to the Library. Thank you for doing this!

Our new puzzle has 1000 pieces. We all enjoyed seeing students working at it, and taking a well-deserved few minutes break from their studies.

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Nuremberg Trials Exhibition Goes Digital

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New digital materials have been added to the Law Library exhibition commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of the International Military Tribunal, the most known and the most important of the Nuremberg Trials. The exhibition includes now digital materials presented on an interactive touch-table.

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It features archival footage, photo documents, testimonies of the survivors of concentration camps, reproductions of archival documents, and visual materials illustrating Nazi crimes during the Second World War in Europe and the International Military Tribunal itself. You can browse through scanned documents, watch footage taken at the trials, and search through the collections of documents from the Harvard Law School Nuremberg Trials project, United States Holocaust Museum, and many others.

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The use of touch-table for this Law Library exhibition is a part of the McGill Library Innovation in Service project. The exhibition was curated by Svetlana Kochkina and Sonia Smith.

Provincial Statutes of Canada in HeinOnline

The Provincial Statutes of Canada are now available in HeinOnline. The Provincial Statutes of Canada contain public and private acts passed by Canadian provincial governments for all ten Canadian provinces:

  • Nearly 100 titles
  • Nearly 1,500 volumes
  • More than 850,000 pages

Within the collection there is a map of Canada. Select a province using the map view or the browse options to see the available content for each province: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan.

The content coverage varies by province as follows:

Current, Revised and Historical Coverage:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario

Revised and Historical Statutes only (published outside of Crown Copyright):

  • Manitoba
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan

 

Legal Citations Clinic: Unravelling the Mysteries of the Red Book

Are you sill mystified and baffled by the mysteries of the Red Book? By popular demand, we are bring back the Legal Citations Clinic.

coverWhen: Wednesday, November 9th, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

Where: Law Library Classroom

How: Two law librarians will be answering your questions for 1h and 20 min after a 10-minute introduction. First come first served. All law students welcome. Come and bring your citations questions!

 

 

 

De-stress Corner at the Law Library

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If you already feel stressed about all the amount of reading that you have to do or anticipate with trepidation getting your assignments graded on a curve, the law library now offers you some options that could help you relax and take your thought away from your troubles (at least for a little while). Come to our “De-stress Station” on the ground floor, right next to the Reference Collection, play a game of chess, colour some books, or make a puzzle, and feel better!

 

New Exhibition: Remembering the Nuremberg Trials: 70 Years Later

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New exhibition at the Law Library is commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of the International Military Tribunal, the most known and the most important of the Nuremberg Trials. The exhibition, curated by Sonia Smith and Svetlana Kochkina, features print materials, books, reproductions of archival documents, and visual materials illustrating Nazi crimes during the Second World War in Europe and the International Military Tribunal itself. We also have a selection of books on the subject that can be borrowed by our users (on the book truck next to the exhibition cases).

About the Nuremberg Trials:

The Nuremberg Trials were a series of 13 trials of accused World War II German war criminals held from 1945 to 1949 in Nuremberg, Germany. The first trial, the International Military Tribunal (IMT), held at the Nuremberg Palace of Justice, was prosecuted by the four Allied powers (Great Britain, France, United States, and USSR) against the top leadership of the Nazi regime in 1945-1946.

The defendants, among them Hermann Göring, Rudolf Hess, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Alfred Rosenberg, Julius Streicher and Fritz Sauckel, were charged under three categories of crimes:

  • Crimes against Peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurance.
  • War Crimes: namely, violations of the laws or customs of war.
  • Crimes against Humanity: namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhuman acts committed against any civil population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds.

In the other twelve trials held by the United States in the Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT) from 1946 to 1949, a variety of Nazi governmental, military, industrial, and professional leaders were prosecuted.

NYT page 1 Evening TelegraphThe post-World War II trials of German and Japanese war criminals were established to create a standard of conduct acceptable in time of war, to try cases of atrocities against humanity, and, most importantly, to document those atrocities so that a permanent historical record would be created. The American legal presence compiled a formal record of the trials consisting of captured German government records, evidentiary material, interrogations, correspondence, memoranda, briefs, and transcripts of the trials. Those involved considered it of paramount importance to preserve this documentation of the trials and of the purposes for which they were held.

The Nuremberg Trial was an early experiment in simultaneous translation. The Charter of the International Military Tribunal stated that the defendants had the right to a fair trial, and that all proceedings be translated into a language that the defendants understood. Because of the trial’s complexities, the subject matter, and the different languages spoken by the defense, prosecution, and the judges, it was decided that using a simultaneous translation system would work best.

The Second World War in Numbers:

The Second World War was the deadliest conflict in human history marked not only by the number of combat only but also by mass deaths of civilians, systematic extermination of people deemed “racially inferior”, death camps, killing of prisoners of war (POWs) on a massive scale, and use slave labor perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its allies and collaborators.

The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of 6 million Jews. Nazi authorities also targeted other groups because of their perceived “racial inferiority”: Roma, the disabled, and some of the Slavic peoples (Poles, Russians, and others), or on political, ideological, and behavioral grounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and homosexuals.

In 1933, the Jewish population of Europe stood at over nine million. By 1945, the Nazi and their collaborators killed nearly two out of every three European Jews as part of the “Final Solution,” totaling the number of death to more than 6 million men, women and children. Other victims of Nazi racial policy include some 200,000 Roma. At least 200,000 mentally or physically disabled patients, mainly Germans, living in institutional settings, were murdered in the Euthanasia Program. Close to 3 million Soviet POWs targeted as Slavic “sub-humans” were murdered or died of starvation, disease, neglect, or maltreatment. The Nazi forced into slave labor more than 7 million people from almost twenty European countries. Many workers died as a result of their living conditions with mistreatment, malnutrition, and torture being the main causes of death.

Even though an exact number of casualties and victims is still unknown, the total is assessed between 40 and 50 million deaths with almost half of them civilians.  The European countries that suffered the biggest losses were: Poland that lost close to 15% of its population (about 5.8 million deaths (including 300 000 military only), the USSR with about 20 – 18 million deaths (including 7 million civilians) that makes 10% of its population, and Yugoslavia, with 1.5 million deaths (75% of them civilian) or close to 8% of the population.

Germany and Austria combined lost 4.4 million soldiers (with 3.5 million on the Eastern front) and close to 500 000 civilians.

From: Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopédie Larouss, Harvard Law School Library. Nuremberg Trials Project: A Digital Document Collection, and Holocaust Encyclopedia of the USHMM

 

AZIMUT / SOQUIJ: “Le roi est mort, vive le roi!”

À partir du 22 août les professeurs et les étudiants en droit inscrits au programme d’accès gratuit aux services de SOQUIJ, n’auront plus accès au service Juris.doc (AZIMUT). La Recherche juridique est dorénavant le seul moteur de recherche de jurisprudence et de doctrine offert dans le Portail SOQUIJ dans le cadre du programme.

Do not forget to note up your cases!

This admonition has been heard by countless law-students while they were initiated into the intricacies of legal research. But what is “to note up”? – a bewildered first-year law student may ask.

To note up is to look up the case’s history and to find if it was judicially considered in other cases. In the pre-internet time, law clerks and law librarians used to write the subsequent history of the cases on the margins of case reporters; thus, “noting up” the pages with references to the subsequent decisions. This is an example of an old noted up reporter from the Sir James Dunn Law Library (Halifax, NS). note up

We can trace back references to the practice of “noting up” to at least the 19th century, when The Law Times provided practitioners with “Notes for Noting Up,” and when proposals for legal textbooks included binding in a number of blank leaves specifically for noting up so that the textbooks could contain the latest law: “A member has suggested that the first text-book of the Society should be one which shall comprise the entire Practice of Law [….] It is further proposed that the volumes should be bound with blank leaves for noting up, and that in any digest of the Society a figure should refer to the page in the text-book in which the case or statute digested ought to be noted, so that the volumes should always keep pace with the existing law until a new edition is rendered necessary by the number of references” (Verulam Society, (1844) 3 The Law Times 275).

This post is derived from a discussion at the Canadian Association of Law Libraries listserv. Many thanks in particular to Lynne McNeill, Nikki Tanner, and Katie Albright for sharing their knowledge and to Natalie Wing to summarising the information for the benefit of CALL memebrs and for her kind permission to use it.

Beauty of Book Covers

We are not supposed to judge the books by their covers, but we cannot help admiring their beauty and the skills and quality of the workmanship of the book binders who created them hundreds of years ago. Book covers are an intrinsic part of the readers’ experience that can be used by the book producers or book owners to enhance the appeal or the importance of their contents, to market the book to a specific category of readers, or to produce a desired impression on visitors browsing the contents of a private library. These are some stunning examples from the Law Library’s rare books collections:

Corpus juris civilis (1612) in wooden boards, brown embossed calf leather, with fragments of clasps and metal corner-pieces.

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Collection of 16th century pamphlets bound in vellum manuscript waste

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Volumen parvum (Corpus juris civilis) (1588) in embossed pigskin

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Manuscript Institutions au droit françois (1715) in 18th century marbled paper

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Trois livres du domaine de la Couronne de France (1613) in brown calf with gold ornaments

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Praxis criminalis (1678) in limp vellum

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Liber qvintvs receptarvm sententiarvm integer (1604) in contemporary vellum with embossed ornaments and red leather label on the spine

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Les six livres de la republique de I. Bodin, soft leather covers embossed with fleurs-de-lys, coats of arms of France, Polland, and Henry III

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Controversiarum juris libri tredecim (1678) in contemporary vellum with embossed ornaments

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Enchiridion: ov Brief recveil du droict escript, gardé et observé ov abrogé en France (1606) in brown calf with gold ornaments

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