Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Qatar Mall Fire

Qatar's posh Villagio Mall experienced a devastating fire this week claiming many dead and injured. This is a story that touches me deeply as my kids occasionally attended the nursery that burned. The fire claimed many toddlers and fine teachers. Two firefighters died trying to save the kids and many more were injured. My family participated in a remembrance vigil last night with about 100 others at the Pearl. Cherish your kids. Peace.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The First Issue of International Review of Law

At a press conference today Dr. Jon Truby, editor-in-chief of the new International Review of Law (IRL) based at QU College of Law, announced the availability of the IRL's first issue. The IRL is open access, bilingual in both English and Arabic, available electronically and soon in print. The focus of the IRL is international law topics not limited to a Qatari focus; for example one of the articles is on Hong Kong. All articles are published under a Creative Commons licence. QScience is the publisher and supported by the Qatar Foundation with the aim of bringing open access scholarship to the region. Many new Journals are being inaugurated at the QScience website developed with Bloomsbury.

The IRL Editorial Board is distinguished with The Right Honourable Lord Woolf of Barnes, PC (UK), Judge Sang-Hyun Song, President of the International Criminal Court (Netherlands), and H.E. Dr. Ali Bin Fetais Al Marri, Attorney General of the State of Qatar (Qatar) included.

I am glad to be part of this effort as the Citation Editor.

Here are some pictures from the press conference today:


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Future Energy Summit

Congratulations to Dr. Rudiger Tscherning, Director Extraordinaire of the Energy and Environmental Law Forum on the upcoming Future Energy Summit that will take place next week.  
From the announcement: 

"The summit is dedicated to the question of renewable and nuclear energy as future energy mix options for the Middle East.  The conference will involve presentations by our invited experts and we have also scheduled a number of panel discussions on the following topics:

  • Is Nuclear Energy the right fuel choice for the Middle-East?
  • National and regional institutions on nuclear regulation and renewable energy promotion and regulation.
  • The role of regional cooperation on future energy projects.
  • Incentives and mechanisms to promote renewable energy in the Middle East.   
The Forum has secured the participation of a distinguished set of local and international legal, policy and financing experts from KACARE, the World Nuclear Association, IRENA, Qatar Petroleum, Kingdom University in Bahrain, Pinsent Masons LLP and Herbert Smith LLP.  Our regional experts will join us from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain and we also have representatives from the Forum’s academic partners at the Energy Center in Austin/Texas and Southern Methodist University/Dallas joining us."   

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Subject Focus: Comparative Legal Ethics research and resources

One fascinating component of working in legal education in Qatar for me is to observe a country with blended legal systems. Qatar has civil, common, and sharia law depending on the subject and parties involved in a transaction or dispute. For example, a common law based court was created in Qatar for commercial litigation with authority to decide and enforce judgments. New tribunals like the Qatar International Court are bringing lawyers and major law firm offices to the region that collaborate with local bar members, so these ethics issues are becoming more important.  Law schools do not commonly have professional ethics courses in the region and bar associations are not engaged to encode or enforce. Accreditation practice visits identified this need and it is being responded to at QU.
At the recent Qatar Law Forum I met an international lawyer from the UK now based in Doha who described to me the practice of law here and really emphasized the difficulty of collaboration across jurisdictions and legal systems without a common code of legal ethics. For example, is it ok to coach a witness or how do you define a conflict of interest? The answers depend on the origins and professional ethics of the lawyers and any disagreement will probably result in a costly withdrawal from representation and impede successful collaboration.
Library resources at QU in this area are slim. There are two books on UK ethics in the library and no other local resources are collected. Westlaw International and LexisNexis Academic provide common law based material. Identifying this gap in our collection is an opportunity to add to the library’s ability to support interest in comparative legal ethics instruction and research. I am developing resources in this area based on resources at the International Association of Legal Ethics at Stanford,  the International Forum on Teaching Legal Ethics and Professionalism,  and conference materials from the International Legal Ethics Conferences.  Journals such as Legal Ethics will be added to the QU law collection over the next year. Fortunately, the International Bar Association has developed many ethical codes that are available in multiple languages.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ending Ceremony spectacular - World Book Day

The ending ceremony for QU led World Book Day was today and over 300 young people participated and some got awards. The US and Japanese Ambassadors attended to present book prizes and donate to the Japanese and American Corners in the QU Library. A book swap and reception followed with the Qatari Minister of Culture, President and Vice President of QU.

April 23rd is World Book Day because many famous authors died on that day, including in the year 1616 Cervantes, Vega and Shakespeare. Many other authors were born on April 23rd, for example Nabokov.

Read books! This month I am reading The Arabian Frontier of the British Raj by James Onley, from our new books collection.

Here are some pictures from the World Book Day event:

Dr. Sheikha Abdulla Al-Misnad presenting a book prize

Qatari Minister of Culture (in white),
US Ambassador (in blue) and Japanese Ambassador (middle)

Katia Medawar, Head of Public Services

Monday, May 7, 2012

Externship Fair

QU Law Students: please attend today the first-ever law Externship Fair, Monday 8:30 - 1:30 in room C219. My LRW II are requested to go! I was an extern for a US Judge and highly recommend volunteering for an externship. This is a great opportunity. Thanks

Sunday, May 6, 2012

QU Libraries improving and growing

As the year comes to an end I am proud of what the library team has achieved. Qatar University library services and collections grew significantly the academic year ending May 2012. Additionally, the move to a new facility helped improve average faculty satisfaction with library services and collection from 48.2% last year to 68.4% this year. The numbers for student satisfaction increased from just 31.1% to 61.6% in one year!  Here are some highlights I pulled from the Library Annual Report:
·         Staff includes four MLS-qualified professional librarians  and 14 staff with B Sc / BA- in library and other social sciences
·         Uploaded a total of 75,000 e-books and 1400 e-reference sources into the  library’s  online catalog (OPAC)  and made these resources accessible from on-and off-campus
·         Uploaded (4,500) Arabic records from Arabic Union catalog
·         Added an average of 2,610 new titles per month (including 155 law titles)
·         8 New Databases and Electronic Journals added
·         2,933 books catalogued
·         Now over 20 Lib Guides with  20,651 hits on the web from students and faculty. Many such  guides are in both Arabic and English.
·         Conducted 18 library tours of the new library for 277 participants
·         Answered 7426 reference questions
·         Books circulated 52,640
·         Gate count 84,993
·         Inter library loans 25
·         LexisNexis usage per month: 3,037
·         Westlaw International usage per month: 2,283
·         English print books: 55,420
·         Arabic print books: 45,296

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A week on the job as QU law librarian with a Royal visit

How I spent my week: Teaching dominated the week with five one hour lab sessions of Legal Research and Writing. The classes use primarily Westlaw International to find US cases in tort subjects such as IIED and defamation required for the open memos - very similar to any law school legal writing program.  On Tuesday, Qatari Royalty was touring the new library and we had a spontaneous drop-in by Sheikha Moza in one of my classes. She joined us for a Westlaw session in the new instructional lab for about a minute. I was teaching IIED searches in cases and she seemed entertained. A TV crew was following her and I hope to get a clip. Also, the International Review of Law (IRL) and two law faculty asked for citation checking and sourcing for articles so I am working on this after teaching. We use ALWD here at the College of Law and I am liking this citation style more than I ever thought I would after years of working with ‘Bluebook’ law schools, journals and law reviews. The IRL is close to finalizing the first issue of the new journal so we are anticipating great things. Additionally, law students are asking right now for access to primary materials in English, particularly the Qatari copyright code and treaties relating to domestic violence protection from countries in the region including Jordon, Egypt and Turkey.  I am recommending Eastlaws and UNESCO databases for these research requests. QU law is in the process of drafting model legislation for domestic violence and I am glad to help as I can. Lastly, this weekend I will attend the Qatar Law Forum on the Rule of Law  (May 4-6th, 2012).  This event is international in scope and law school Deans, Judges, Lawyers, and Government Officials are attendees/presenters. For example, the Prime Minister of Qatar is giving a plenary talk at the conference on Sunday. I look forward to seeing Lord Woolf again and meeting new people.