If you have not yet seen our exhibit on HLS student organizations, Spicy Reforms and Crystallizing Clap Trap, now is the time. Due to a January filming project in the Caspersen Room, the exhibit must close on Friday, December 21. A sneak peek is available here, but there’s so much more to see in person. Take a quick study break and visit the Caspersen Room, fourth floor of Langdell Hall, daily between 9 and 5 to see it all!
I have spent a lot of time this semester learning and using the Zotero citation management software, which provides researchers with a way to store and organize resources for scholarly writing projects. Our LLM students often ask us about Zotero, so I decided to learn it myself and offer a class in it. I gave this class several times, and discussed the following:
- Installing and Configuring Zotero on Your Computer
- Using Zotero with Harvard’s HOLLIS Library Catalog
- Using Zotero to Generate Citations for Your Paper
The last topic was, of course, of the most interest to our LLM students, since many of them are foreign-trained lawyers who are unfamiliar with (and do not really want to learn the fine details of) the Bluebook. While I get that, I also want them to realistically know what Zotero can and cannot do in terms of Bluebook-proper citation. Spoiler alert: it handles some types of sources well and some others not so well, and unless you know the Bluebook you won’t be able to fix the automatically-generated citations that are incorrect according to the Bluebook rules.
I have posted the slides for the Zotero class I gave this semester in my Zotero Training for LLM and SJD Students research guide. You are welcome to check them out if you are interested in learning more about how Zotero works, and the benefits it can provide when writing a work of legal scholarship. If you are affiliated with Harvard, and use your Harvard email address when you create your Zotero account, you will have free unlimited storage.
On a related note, I just wanted to put in a quick word about a new app that I discovered recently, PaperShip. You can install this app on your phone to get immediate access to the sources you have stored in your Zotero account.
This is so great! I was doing some research yesterday for an article that I am working on, found some articles that would be helpful, and saved them to Zotero. Through PaperShip, I was able to call up the PDF of one of those articles in about 2 seconds, and read it on the train during my commute to work this morning. When compared to scrolling through political fights on Twitter, what a superior (and less aggravating) use of that time!
The free version of PaperShip provides access to your sources only. There also appears to be an add-on, available for purchase, that you can use to highlight PDFs and make notes in them. These annotations, it is claimed, are then synced right back up to your Zotero account. I am going to test out this add-on and report back on it. But even add-on free PaperShip is a productivity-enhancing winner as far as I’m concerned, and I recommend it.
In Ruhleben Camp follows the production schedule of the magazine created by prisoners at Ruhleben, an internment camp for British civilians in Germany during WWI. This special post by Marissa Grunes marks the centenary of Armistice Day (November 11, 1918).
The Ruhleben Camp Magazine was largely quiet in the second half of the First World War—as this blog series has been! In honor of Armistice Day yesterday and Veteran’s Day today, though, I wanted to offer a special post about the unusual end to the Great War for those passive participants, the British civilian internees at Ruhleben Camp outside Berlin.
In some ways the drama of Armistice Day was muted within Ruhleben Camp. Many internees had already been released, and those who remained were still busily engaged in camp cultural activities, with the last of the camp’s 128 theater productions opening after Armistice Day, as Davidson Ketchum notes (Ketchum, p. 240). The robust civic organization within the camp had also rendered the last year of the war comparatively gentle to Ruhlebenites. Thanks to the work of the Quaker peace activist Elisabeth Rotten and the Friends Emergency Committee, Ruhleben had access to a steady stream of books and scientific instruments as well as support funds, as the historian Matthew Stibbe relates (Stibbe, p. 144-6), and although the Ruhleben Camp Magazine seems to have closed its editorial offices in the summer of 1917, the Ruhleben Camp School (jocularly called Ruhleben University) remained in full swing (Ketchum, p. 198; In Ruhleben, p. 226). Meanwhile, “standardised” parcel delivery service, various clubs, and the civic administration were also still active (Ketchum, pp. 8).
This bureaucratic organization was in some cases life-saving. When the Spanish flu struck Germany, leaving 187,000 German civilians and thousands of POWs dead, Ruhleben’s civilian camp authorities leaped into action, imposing quarantines and closing off parts of the camp, including the theatre and cinema. As a result, Ruhleben lost only two men (Stibbe, p. 151).
Ruhleben was also one of the few places in the region with sufficient food: after living behind the Allied blockade for nearly four years, Germans were dying of starvation, yet food parcels continued to arrive at Ruhleben (Stibbe, p. 70). The difference was so stark that in October 1918, the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung carried a feature-length article claiming that a German businessman, one Herr Wittkowski, had asked the Ruhleben commandant to take his sons into the camp to be fed and receive an education (Stibbe, p. 149). One internee later recalled how he and his messmates, fearing that hungry Berliners might raid the camp, went so far as to bury a cache of food in what “was ostensibly a window-box…with emergency rations of canned beef, tripe, etc., and a few flowers planted on top.” He concludes gratefully, “We never needed it” (quoted in Stibbe, p. 153).
The upshot was that Armistice Day mattered less for the internees at Ruhleben Camp than did the chaos sweeping Germany. In early November 1918, German sailors in Kiel resisted orders to take to the seas for a final hopeless battle against the British. As the German imperial government crumbled, revolutionary sentiment spread, reaching Ruhleben on November 8, 1918, when the German guards followed the lead of their countrymen across Europe and deposed their officers. The guards then joined the prisoners in signing a “declaration of brotherhood” between the German and English people, and “hoisted the red flag before setting the prisoners free” (Stibbe, p. 16). The next day, the German republic was proclaimed by the socialist parliamentarian Philipp Scheidemann from the balcony of the Reichstag in Berlin: “That which is old and rotten, the monarchy has collapsed. Long live that which is new, long live the German republic!” Only a few hours later, a revolutionary admirer of Soviet Russia, Karl Liebknecht, walked up the stairs of the nearby imperial palace to instead proclaim a “free socialist German republic.”
This tension between the moderate and radical socialist revolutionaries cost Liebknecht his life weeks later and would persist throughout the years of Germany’s new Weimar Republic. Nevertheless, revolutionaries in 1918 hoped that socialism would inaugurate a new era in German history. Monarchism, it seemed, had torn the world apart, and socialism promised to heal it. Although this hope was short-lived, it glows from the declaration of peace and fraternity, signed by the inmates and guards at Ruhleben. I would like to conclude by reprinting the opening, as quoted by Matthew Stibbe:
“ENGLISHMEN! Brothers from over the Channel. It is tragic, deeply tragical, that a million dead on both sides were necessary in order to bring home to us that after all we are brothers, and members of the same race. Have Germans and British ever, until now, torn each other to pieces? From impressions gained in competent circles yesterday, it is our personal opinion that your release is only a matter of days. When you are at home again, let it be your task to make known that the German people, in spite of all its victories, still retained sufficient strength to take its destiny into its own hands and this time to keep it there. Let your aim be to make known that the German people, in this, its time of greatest need, which is also the proudest period of its history, instinctively casts its eyes across the water, looking for help.” (p. 155)*
* Jamie McSpadden kindly contributed his substantial expertise on modern German history to this post. Jamie is a Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC.
Bibliography & Further Reading
Ketchum, J. Davidson. Ruhleben: A Prison Camp Society. With a Foreword and Postscript by Robert B. MacLeod. Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1965. Foreword (Ithaca, NY, April 1964)
In Ruhleben: Letters from a Prisoner to His Mother. Edited and with an introduction by Douglas Sladen. Including “Civilian Prisoners: the Case for a Wholesale Exchange” by Sir Timothy Eden. London: Hurst and Blackett, Ltd. Paternoster House, E.C., 1917.
Stibbe, Matthew. British civilian internees in Germany. The Ruhleben camp, 1914-18. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2008.
Marissa Grunes is a PhD candidate in English Literature at Harvard University, focusing on transatlantic literature of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Her dissertation project explores frontier architecture in 19th century poetry, fiction, and non-fiction of the United States.
We’re expanding our Banned Books Week activities this year, and we look forward to celebrating our freedom to read with you!
Most Challenged Books of 2017 Exhibit
Yes, books are still having their places in libraries and on school reading lists challenged every year. Visit the exhibit case between Langdell and Areeda Halls to see what the most challenged books of 2017 were. You might be surprised!
Banned Books & Censorship Exhibit
The issue of banning books ties into other forms of censorship. Visit our bulletin board by the library entrance for some questions and reports on recent anti-free press actions, current issues in free speech, the big censorship stories of 2017, and private actors and free speech. Plus learn about some of the many organizations fighting censorship that you can get involved with!
3rd Annual Read-Out
Tuesday, September 25
Bring your lunch and join us in reading aloud passages from some of our favorite banned books. Are you part of the HLS community and want to join the reading roster? Please email Meg Kribble and we’ll addd you to the list!
A talk with James Tager, HLS ’13, PEN America
Friday, September 28
Co-sponsors: the HLS ACS and the Harvard Federalist Society
Last but not least, we’re so excited to welcome James Tager, HLS ’13, back to campus. James is Deputy Director, Free Expression Research and Policy at PEN America, and he’ll speak about contemporary issues related to banning books.
No RSVP necessary; lunch is available first come, first served!
Do you have a favorite banned book? Share it with us in the comments!
The Harvard Law School Library is excited to announce that it recently received a unique collection of material from the family of Harvard Law School (HLS) alumnus, jurist, and popular radio personality Neil Chayet (HLS ’63). Comprised of more than 10,000 individual transcripts and several thousand corresponding minute-long radio broadcast recordings, the collection represents almost the entirety of Neil Chayet’s “Looking at the Law” radio program which aired on various Boston and national radio stations from 1976-2017.
A native of Massachusetts and the son of a district court judge, Neil Chayet received his bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and his J.D. from HLS in 1963. His legal career focused primarily on medical law, and included work on several high-profile cases, including serving on the psychiatric task force for the Boston Strangler murders investigation, and as a lawyer representing inmates at Bridgewater State Hospital in the late 1960s. Chayet went on to become a faculty member of both the Harvard Medical School and the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts.
Neil began hosting “Looking at the Law” on April 1, 1976. Originally aired on Boston radio station WEEI, the daily program switched over to WBZ Radio 1030 (owned by CBS) sometime during the mid-to-late 70s, and was eventually broadcast nationally on various affiliated CBS Radio stations. Each episode of the program – all written and recorded by Neil Chayet – opened with the host stating: “this is Neil Chayet, looking at the law” (with the L’s drawn out for effect) followed by a rapid summary of an interesting (and usually fairly quirky) court case. The program gained popularity for Chayet’s ability to quickly distill the information in a friendly manner that was easy to understand for listeners, and each broadcast ended with a humorous pun summarizing the case. For example, the July 22, 2009 episode titled “The Surf’s not the City’s Turf” details a case in which a surfer sued the city of Cape May, New Jersey for injuries sustained while surfing during a hurricane, claiming that the city had failed to provide proper warning about the conditions for beach goers. The individual ultimately lost the case, and the episode ends with Neil Chayet stating: “So the net result is that the waters have closed over Bill’s case, and if the waves pull you under, the Courts won’t come to your rescue.”
The collection of material that HLS received includes the typed transcripts of nearly every episode of “Looking at the Law” (more than 10,000 in total), roughly 240 audiovisual objects (cassette tapes, CDs, DAT tapes, etc.) containing recordings of several thousand “Looking at the Law” episodes, and many gigabytes of born digital material (later episodes).
The goal is to provide researchers with robust digital access to this collection, something HLS staff members are working diligently to accomplish. We are currently preparing the paper material for digitization, the end-result of which will be viewing and full-text search capabilities for each typed transcript/episode online. The majority of the typed transcripts also include a citation to the legal case featured in that episode (you can see a citation toward the bottom of the transcript shown above). By collaborating with the Caselaw Access Project at HLS, we hope to provide links and/or other contextual metadata about the actual cases as well. The next phase of the project will involve digitizing the audiovisual recordings and creating links between the digitized transcripts for each episode and the related audio recording. Ultimately, the collection will be accessible to users via HOLLIS for Archival Discovery, as well as other possible locations.
So, “stay tuned” for future a future update about the project, including when the collection will be open to the public.
Post contributed by Chris Spraker, Audiovisual Archivist
Welcome to the nearly 200 LL.M. students who will be attending Harvard Law School this academic year!
Please visit the law library’s research services homepage to learn about all of the services the library’s research services team offers to the Harvard Law School community.
We are providing special library tours for LL.M. students over the next two weeks, and you can sign up for a tour on this page as well (under Upcoming Events).
Highlighting New Comparative Law Books in the Law Library’s Collection
Research librarians here in the law library spend a lot of time talking to LL.M. students about their paper topics every year. Because so many students decide to write their LL.M. papers on comparative law topics, I like to write posts for our library blog about comparative law titles that I find in our collection that might be of interest to them.
In this post, I am highlighting one of our newest books on comparative company law.
International Handbook on Shareholders’ Agreements: Regulation, Practice, and Comparative Analysis
Editors: Sebastian Mock, Kristian Csach, and Bohnmil Havel
Published by DeGruyter, 2018
View this book’s record in Harvard’s HOLLIS library catalog
According to the editors of this volume, shareholder agreements are “an integral part of company law and especially its legal practice.” They are “traditionally dominated by contract law and not by company law”; however, it is sometimes the case that contract law lacks the depth to provide sufficient legal regulation of what can be complex legal situations and relationships, especially “in the case of cross-border shareholders’ agreements including shareholders from several jurisdictions.”
This volume attempts to fill that gap. It begins with introductory chapters covering the differences between contract law and corporate law when it comes to shareholders’ agreements, the impact of shareholders’ agreements on how a company is managed, and as issues related to conflict of laws (private international law), corporate insolvency, and competition law.
The bulk of the book, however, is dedicated to reports on the relevant legal framework for shareholders’ agreements in the following jurisdictions: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, England/Wales, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United States. Some of these country reports include English-language excerpts of applicable statutory provisions.
Harvard Library Collection
This book is part of the DeGruyter Handbook series. Almost all of the other titles in this series that are in the Harvard Library collection are in German (DeGruyter is a German publishing company), and cover legal topics.
However, Harvard does have one other English-language title from this series. It is held by the Widener Library, Harvard’s flagship library. All LL.M. students have access and borrowing privileges at Widener, along with the other libraries at Harvard.
This other book actually has nothing to do with law at all:
Sign Languages of the World: A Comparative Handbook
Edited by Julie Bakken Jepsen, Goedele De Clerck, Sam Lutalo-Kiingi, William B. McGregor
Published by De Gruyter, 2015
View this book’s record in Harvard’s HOLLIS library catalog
I am a member of the law library’s Accessibility Design team, so one of my interests is learning more about how we can make the library accessible and accommodating to people with all kinds of disabilities. So I am actually really interested in having a look at this book sometime!
Using HeinOnline for Accessing Legal Journals
I am curious to learn more about how the various sign languages around the world have developed their legal terminology throughout history. In fact, just thinking about that led me to wonder about how issues related to deafness have been explored in the legal literature.
One of the best options for this kind of research is our HeinOnline subscription legal database. HeinOnline contains a very comprehensive collections of U.S. and foreign legal journals. I find this database to be an invaluable part of any legal research project that I am working on.
So I decided to try a proximity search in HeinOnline for articles about sign language and legal terms. Here is the search query I used:
“sign language legal terms”~50
This search query uses HeinOnline’s unique syntax for finding those four words within 50 words of each other.
When I did that search and limited the search results to articles from HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library, I got 77 results, covering various topics such as professional challenges faced by deaf lawyers, the representation of deaf clients in legal matters, the fitness of deaf defendants for trial, accommodating law faculty with disabilities, and more.
Perhaps one day an LL.M. student will write on deafness and law as well. Whatever our newest LL.M.s decide to write about this year, the law library’s research services team is eager to help them navigate our resources and research their papers.
We’re looking forward to seeing you in the law library!
Learning about Accessibility for Blind and Visually-Impaired Users (Accessibility Speaker Series #3)
On July 19, the HLS Accessibility Design team hosted a wonderful pair of speakers for a talk about accessibility for blind and visually-impaired library users. We were thrilled to welcome two colleagues from the library at the Perkins School for the Blind: Executive Director Kim Charlson, and Assistive Technology Specialist (and Perkins alumnus) Cory Kadlik.
The library at Perkins provides accessible reading materials to anyone with disabilities that prevent them from reading print books — not only the blind and visually-impaired, but also those who have double-vision, those who cannot read print because of severe migraines, those who cannot hold print books still or at all due to physical disabilities, and those who have reading disabilities.
Perkins library services are free to anyone who qualifies for it–the application form is available online.
Kim and Cory took us on a “lower tech to higher tech journey.” They started out by demonstrating an NLS Digital Talking-Book Player, which is the most widely-used device among Perkins Library patrons. This device is shown in the photo below. It looks like a cassette player and has just a few large buttons, which makes it relatively easy for people with many types of disabilities to use.
A book for this player is recorded on a flash drive, which is then housed in a hard plastic case that is about the same size as as an audio cassette. The Perkins Library collection includes many audio books for use with this reader that have been read by local volunteers.
They also showed us what they called a “stream device.” In the picture below, Kim is holding one of these devices.
Several different types of content are available through this device, including books from the Library of Congress, internet radio from iTunes and TuneIn, podcasts, and the Newsline service from the National Federation of the Blind, in which newspapers are read aloud. Interestingly, when Kim demonstrated this device to us, an article from the Boston Globe came up about technology for older disabled Americans, which was highly relevant to our discussion!
For more information about the NFB-Newsline service, visit the NFB-Newsline website.
Cory and Kim discussed a few text-to-speech options that can help users with computer-based research and writing, including Kurzweil software, JAWS, and NVDA for Windows computers, and the built-in screen reading capability, Voiceover, for Mac computers.
There are also Braille note-taking devices. Although advancements in audio technologies have helped blind people gain access to more information, Kim made it clear that it is also very important for blind people to still learn Braille because, by doing so, they also learn writing, spelling, grammar rules, and math. She stressed, in fact, that there is “no excuse for blind people not to learn it.”
Kim showed us her own Braille note-taker (shown in the picture below), which has served her well for more than 20 years.
She discussed the next generation of Braille note-takers, specifically mentioning the Orbit Reader, a relatively affordable new model that is compatible with iPhones.
Speaking of iPhones, Kim and Cory also demonstrated how blind people use touch-screen devices, since they cannot see the icons. There is a special setting on all major devices, including Apple and Android, that allows for this type of navigation. Swiping the screen will prompt the device to read the icon names aloud. To select an icon, the user taps once. To perform a function, the user taps twice. To use the keyboard, the user slides a finger around the screen to hear the letters read aloud, and then lifts up when he or she hears the desired letter (“drag and lift” technique).
Kim and Cory made several excellent points about how modern technological advances have really improved the lives of blind people. For example, accessible websites are easier to create now than ever if the W3C accessibility guidelines are followed. Cory pointed out that there is no reason you cannot have a good-looking website that is accessible if you work on it from the beginning.
Finally, they discussed virtual assistance options, like Siri for Apple devices and Echo/Alexa from Amazon. These technologies have completely transformed the lives of blind people, especially by making shopping so much easier for them. They no longer have to consider transportation barriers or other difficulties. Both Kim and Cory admitted, however, that the advantages these technologies have to offer to their community have overshadowed concerns they might have regarding data privacy.
This was such a rich and wonderful experience for the HLS Library colleagues who were able to attend! We learned so much about considerations that we should be making with regards to our blind and visually impaired patrons. We are very grateful to Kim and Cory for making the trip to the law school to offer us this excellent program.
I will be joining several of my colleagues at the annual American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) conference in Baltimore this year, which begins on Sunday. I missed last year’s conference, so I am really looking forward to connecting with my law library colleagues from all over the country. I’ll be posting about a few of the conference programs on the DipLawMatic Dialogues blog, which is maintained by AALL’s Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Special Interest Section (FCIL-SIS).
Before heading out to the conference, I wanted to write a quick post about a fascinating little book related to Bavarian historical law that I found in our collection recently:
Lex Baioariorum: Das Recht der Bayern
Roman Deutinger (Ed.), 2017
This is a bilingual Latin-German version of the Lex Baioariorum, which is the law that was in place in Bavaria during the early middle ages. As my Latin is a little, well, insufficient to get through a text like this, I am so grateful that Dr. Deutinger took the time to translate and publish this book.
This code is divided into 23 subjects, and has a total of 270 chapters. Its content includes “regulations for every possible aspect of human co-existence and the conflicts that could arise within it” (“Regelungen zu allen möglichen Bereichen des menschlichen Zusammenlebens und zu den Konflikten, die sich dabei ergeben können”) – everything from religious institutions and family relationships to personal injuries, criminal offenses, and the ownership of property.
Within the code, there are separate sanctions defined for offenses against “free people, liberated people, and slaves.” Penalties are defined in great detail. For example, hitting a free person on the nose results in a penalty of nine Schillings, whereas a strike to a free person’s ear meant only a three-Schilling penalty. The latter was one of a host of penalties related to the ears of free people: cutting off a free person’s ear meant a 20-Schilling fine, but that penalty was doubled to 40 Schillings if the action resulted in an injury severe enough to render the person deaf. If, however, you committed a similar action that resulted in a slave’s deafness, the fine was only four Schillings.
I spent my recent professional development leave at a university in what is today the German state of Bavaria, which is a beautiful area full of castles that has interesting and rich history and traditions. Unfortunately, I was not able to take a course on the legal history in Bavaria, which is a shame because I think I would have enjoyed it a lot.
In any event, I hope to explore our library’s resources related to Germany’s legal history in more detail in future posts.
Today the HLS Library’s Accessibility Design Working Group kicked off its summer lecture series with a presentation by Alicia M. Reddin, Director of Veterans Services for the town of Andover, MA.
Alicia, after completing her service in the Navy, graduated from Lesley University with her Bachelor’s degree in 2012. She is currently working toward a Ph.D., focusing on veterans services, also at Lesley.
During her talk, Alicia provided a number of helpful insights to the unique needs and challenges of providing academic and library services to military veterans.
Veterans Services Officers (VSOs) like Alicia have four priorities when it comes to offering support for veterans: (1) preventing homelessness; (2) assisting in finding gainful employment; (3) facilitating the receipt of government veterans benefits; and (4) preventing substance abuse.
VSOs like Alicia employ what is known as a “three-hat strategy” in meeting these priorities. The “Chapter 115 hat,” is named for for Chapter 115 of the Massachusetts General Laws, under which the state “provides a uniform program of financial and military assistance for indigent veterans and their dependents” (http://www.mass.gov/veterans/benefits-and-services/financial-medical-assistance.html). The “Referral Hat” represents the work that VSOs do to acquire local resources for the benefit of veterans. Finally, the “Grand Marshall Hat” represents participating in social events that celebrate the military and veterans, such as Memorial Day parades.
Alicia cited some sobering recent statistics about military veterans. Only 10% of current veterans are considered to be “post-9/11,” since it is a relatively recent trend for so many members of the military to serve multiple deployments. Alicia also reported that an estimated that more than 5 million veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (https://www.ptsd.va.gov/index.asp).
According to Alicia, approximately 773,000 students in higher education in the United States receive educational benefits from the post-9/11 GI Bill (https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/post911_gibill.asp), including financial support for housing, books, and supplies. However, Alicia stated that it is estimated that veterans graduate at 40% of the rate of traditional students. She believes this could be because veterans face a number of barriers to assimilating as university students, including social differences, lack of technological expertise, differences in language and speaking style, trouble in navigating scenarios that include numerous choices or too much confusing bureaucracy, and what is known as “imposter syndrome” (http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2013/11/fraud.aspx). In addition, veterans in academic communities may also hesitate to self-identify because of these and other differences between themselves and more traditional students.
How can academic librarians optimize their services for the benefit of veterans in our libraries? Alicia cited several factors to keep in mind in the work that we do with this community of users. Veterans may be suffering from PTSD, and may also be struggling with the effects of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Substance Use Disorders (SUD), migraines, and panic/anxiety episodes. Therefore, library users who are veterans may require a space in a low-traffic area to which they can retreat, in which they can control both light and noise, and that has comfortable seating, grounding elements, and water.
Also, many veterans are looking to make connections to patient people whom they can trust, from whom they can get reliable and non-confusing help and information, and to whom they can speak plainly and directly. Librarians may be ideal to provide this type of support in a university environment.
Among the questions Alicia was asked by the attendees was, “if we see a veteran in our library who seems to be in difficulty, what should we do?” Alicia’s response was plain: (1) ask them, simply, “Are you good?” and (2) if they’re not good, do not hesitate to get them some immediate help: call the Veterans Affairs Benefits and Services hotline at 1-800-827-1000 and press “1” for veterans.
The HLS Library’s Accessibility Design Working Group will be offering other lectures throughout the summer. Topics will include accessible space design and devices for blind and visually-impaired users.
Seven years ago when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (aka Prince William and Kate Middleton) tied the knot, we gave you an overview of the extra legal hurdles the royal couple were required to surmount beyond simply notifying the vicar or local register office.
There’s another royal wedding happening in just a few days, so we’re using this as an excuse to tell you about the new UK law that effected some changes after William and Kate’s big day, including a requirement that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had to follow in order for their wedding on Saturday to be lawful. The Succession to the Crown Act 2013 repealed the Royal Marriages Act 1772 doing away gender inequity, a religious requirement for royal spouses, and a cumbersome hurdle for very distant royal relations.
The first provision of the 2013 act was in the news just weeks ago: it instated absolute primogeniture rather than male-preference primogeniture in the United Kingdom. When William and Kate’s third child, Prince Louis, was born on April 23, his sister Princess Charlotte became the first British princess ever to retain her position in line to the throne and not be leapfrogged by a younger brother. She remains fourth in line to the throne after her grandfather Prince Charles, father Prince William, and elder brother Prince George.
In making this change, the UK joined Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Denmark, and Luxembourg in modernizing their monarchies. Fun side note: Belgium, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands all have one or more female heirs in direct line to their thrones! As we shared in 2011, the UK monarch is also the head of state in 15 Commonwealth realms (including Canada, New Zealand, and Jamaica). In order not to have different heads of state in these countries, during the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (aka CHOGM) held in Perth, Australia in October 2011, these nations agreed to update their laws to match, which they all did in 2015. Alas for any ambitions of Princess Anne–Queen Elizabeth II’s only daughter–the UK and Commonwealth laws were not retroactive and she remains in her place after younger brothers Princes Andrew and Edward.
The second provision of the Succession of the Crown Act 2013 removed the provision of the Act of Settlement 1701 that those in the line of succession who married Roman Catholics be disqualified from the line of succession. This provision was retroactive, and restored the Queen’s cousin, Prince Michael of Kent, and his children and grandchildren, to the line of succession starting in position number 46. Read about the history of why Catholic spouses were forbidden for heirs to the throne in our earlier post.
As for Harry and Meghan, the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 requires–as did the defunct Royal Marriages Act of 1772–that they seek permission from the Queen in order to marry. The big difference here is the number of other people the new act affects compared to the prior act. The Royal Marriages Act of 1772 specified that:
No descendant of his late Majesty, [King George II] (other than the issue of princesses married, or who may marry into foreign families) shall be capable of contracting matrimony without the previous consent of his Majesty, his heirs, &c.
This might have been reasonable at the time, but over 200 years later there are so many descendants of George II that even dedicated royal watchers won’t recognize some names of recent couples on the list of consents for marriages under the Act who had to seek the Queen’s permission in order to have a valid marriage.
The 2013 Act stipulates that “a person who (when the person marries) is one of the 6 persons next in the line of succession to the Crown must obtain the consent of Her Majesty before marrying.” Since Harry is currently 6th in line, his marriage is likely to be the last such instance of permission sought and granted for a good 20-30 years–presumably when his nephews or niece marry.
Harry and Meghan’s consent to marry was officially approved by his grandmother the Queen on March 14. They will also receive a hand-illuminated Instrument of Consent on vellum, suitable for framing, just as his brother and sister-in-law did. Although this aspect of the consent isn’t law-related, it’s both fun and strange as an American to see some of our symbols included on such a document in honor of Markle’s American and Californian heritage. The left side of the document contains traditional emblems of the realms of the United Kingdom, and Harry’s coronet. On the right is a leek–an emblem of Wales (as son of the Prince of Wales aka Prince Charles, Harry’s formal title until his grandmother gives him the job title upgrade to Duke on the wedding morning is Prince Henry of Wales)–surrounded by a heraldic-style rose (national flower of the United States since 1986), California’s golden poppies, and olive branches adapted from the Great Seal of the United States. Heraldry geeks may also note the labels on both sides featuring shells or “escallops” from the Spencer coat of arms, the family of Harry’s mother, Diana. Read more about the art and symbolism and get some closeups at ye olde royal website.
In addition to all the other things that will change in her life, there’s one more thing the formerly politically active American bride will have to get used to: not voting. Watchers of Netflix’s The Crown may have picked up on the requirement that the Queen be politically neutral, including not voting. This is a requirement that comes from tradition rather than law, and the rest of her family are presumed to follow suit. Read more about the Queen’s role in government.
Happy royal wedding watching to everyone who will be up at 4am this Saturday!