Petition: Our Law Library, vital to access to justice in the NWT

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36 signatures 36 online signatures
Lead petitioner Kathryn Paton
Petition target Legislative Assembly of the NWT
Start date Mon, 20 Jun 16
Closing date Wed, 29 Jun 16
Last signatories
  • Jessica McLeod
  • Tanya Krueger
  • Elizabeth Monroe
  • Steven Nitah
  • David Burger
  • Kim Sherritt
  • Jacqueline Vienneau
  • Aya Burshan
  • Shauna Minde
  • gaston saravanja
Signature information

Northwest Territories recently announced their plans to close M.M. de Weerdt Law Library by the end of fiscal year 2016, at which point the NWT would become the only region in Canada without a law library.

The NWT Court Library System consists of the library in Yellowknife and one satellite library in Hay River.

The public is petitioning the Department of Justice to continue to maintain the core library collection and keep the Law Library open to all members of the public.

Sign the petition now to ensure timely access to legal resource material, vital for access to justice in the NWT.

Background information

The NWT Court Library System provides essential legal resource materials in a fast and accurate manner to the Supreme Court, Territorial Court, and the Court of Appeal of the Northwest Territories.

Some interlibrary loans are used, but this provides slower access to materials.

This is the only resource for many lawyers in the NWT.

Cost saving measures--such as eliminating some costly subscriptions, proposed by the legal profession--do not appear to be carried out.

The journals and textbooks are a vital resource in areas of law relevant to northerners, such as:
• criminal law,
• aboriginal law,
• administrative law,
• family law and
• constitutional law.

The proposal by the government includes making “some” online resources available and interlibrary loans through libraries in Alberta, and no longer maintaining the core library collection for the public. The collection would be dispersed to private and/or government offices.

If the only public Law Library closes, each individual lawyer or firm must then maintain a separate library at a cost, or struggle to have timely access to necessary materials.

In consultation with the legal profession, the budget for a very reasonable law library could be developed and remain “within this government’s means.”

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