Minutes of the 2006 CS-IVR Annual General Meeting

York University, Toronto
June 2, 2006


Minutes CS: IVR Meeting June 2nd, 2006

PRESENT: Bill Conklin (Windsor), Roger Shiner (UBC), Marc Ramsay (Acadia), Malcolm Thorburn (Queens), Susan Dimock (York), Alistair McLeod (Queens), Chris Tucker (Osgoode Hall), Jan Narveson (Waterloo), Sheldon Wein (St Mary's), Joe Ellin (W. Michigan), Nathan Brett (Dalhousie), Chris Gray (Concordia), Michael Giudice (York) {Note: this list may be incomplete.}

Prepared from notes taken by Marc Ramsay.

1. Agenda

Chris asked if there were other topics of discussion for the agenda. Chris noted that no elections were required this year. Nathan noted the need to set next year's meeting date. Alastair suggested the topic of membership expansion (including the question of whether we should attempt to bring lawyers into the group). Susan noted the website as a topic of discussion.

2. Executive Report

Nathan presented executive report. He noted that the minutes for the previous meeting had been posted to the website. Since there were no comments or corrections, Nathan assumed that the minutes were acceptable as posted. Nathan noted that dues have not yet been paid, and that the international IVR is somewhat relaxed about this. As soon as we have good count of due-paying members, the International dues will be paid. The roster was circulated with a request for payment of dues. Nathan also noted that that there was at this time $1500.00 in the society account. Nathan inquired concerning a motion to raise dues. No motion was put forward. Alastair inquired about the relationship between the payment of dues between the Canadian and other chapters. Roger noted that members of the Canadian Chapter receive a reduced rate for international membership, but that it has never worked the other way around. Nathan commented that, with our dues very low already ($20), he did not see a need to offer a discount.

3. Discussion moved to topics for 2007 meeting

There was a general discussion of topics for next year. Jan suggested international law and the criminal court of justice. He noted that this was just an example of a broader subject, global justice and international law. Susan supported this topic suggestion. Susan asked about upcoming Supreme Court decisions. Chris and Nathan noted the recent decision on social host liability. Joe and Sheldon suggested vicarious liability.

Susan suggested that this was a specific instance of the general question regarding legal agents. The general topic of legal agents could include issues such as those discussed in Malcolm's paper as well as constitutional questions. Bill suggested that we might have an in depth discussion of a particular philosopher. Susan suggested recent work by Raz. Bill asked about a specific recent book by Raz and noted the difficulty of reading Raz.

Roger, Susan Bill all noted the recent flourish of output by Raz. Nathan also suggested recent work by Sen, but did not have a specific text in mind. Bill noted recent Cambridge editions by prominent authors. Susan suggested the topic of constitution making. Nathan suggested legal causation, noting recent work by Vaughan Black. Nathan noted that the executive would finalize the list before the call for papers. Jan also suggested recent work by Russell Hardin. Nathan noted the standard general category of "works in progress."

In the end, the decision was to go with the following topics:

4. Discussion of the date of the 2007 meeting

Nathan asked whether we should continue the practice of meeting one day after the CPA and suggested the possibility of meeting the day before the CPA. Marc noted that he would experience some conflict with the CPA Board meeting that occurs the day before the CPA, but supported the move. Sheldon supported the move to the day before the CPA noting that many people are getting tired as the CPA draws to a close. Alastair noted (with concern) that we no longer attempt to set the meeting up in order to facilitate participation by other groups. Nathan noted that the executive would have to make the final decision. There was further discussion of the groups that might be accommodated by a shift in meeting date. Roger supported moving the meeting to the day before the CPA. There appeared to be no objection to this switch. Nathan noted that this would be the default position on the meeting date, and that it would be adjusted by the executive, if necessary.

5. Discussion of length limits on submissions.

Chris suggested the possibility of imposing word length limits on submissions. Bill noted that he had asked for guidelines on this matter previously. Sheldon and Bill both recommended setting some guidelines regarding ideal length. Jan and Chris also suggested the notion of a ballpark recommendation for length. Jan suggested that longer papers be accompanied by some guidance regarding the most important sections for reading. Roger noted that the Analytic Legal Society (which he recently attended) imposed the limit at 75-80 pgs. However, he noted that this conference had a different format and that papers longer than 40 pages were unlikely to be read. Roger also noted that the conference in question dedicated 2.5 hours to each paper, not the 20 to 40 minutes typical of CS-IVR sessions. Nathan suggested 30 double-spaced pages an ideal length limit. Sheldon and Nathan again raised the issue of an ideal limit. Malcolm noted that different assumptions about appropriate world lengths apply in different formats. This conference format does provide the opportunity to present longer work than one present if the paper was being read by the author. Joe mentioned that authors might simply move text into the footnotes. Roger noted that the 10,000 word limit is increasingly typical amongst journals. Susan supported the 10,000 word limit but also floated the idea of 8-12 thousand word guideline. Chris questioned whether journals provide an appropriate baseline of comparison, suggesting the ideal word length would be shorter for the conference. Nathan asked whether there was general support for the 10,000 word guideline. (Sheldon suggested moving up the submission deadline to provide more reading time. Nathan asked whether he meant the de jure deadline, noting lack of compliance with the stated deadline.)

Susan made a motion for a recommended maximum of 10,000 words for submissions. Roger seconded.

Motion passed with support from all save one who voted against the motion (noting his preference for shorter papers).

6. Discussion of the website.

Webmaster: Chris also asked whether anyone would be willing to take over Bob's position as Webmaster. Nathan mentioned the note he had circulated in which Bob offered to stay on as Webmaster if he were granted a (no dues) lifetime membership in the CS:IVR.

Marc moved that this offered by accepted. Chris seconded the motion.

The motion was unanimously approved.

Sheldon also noted a problem with the website. Attempts to access the new site through links have sometimes led to the old site. Is it possible to make the new URL more accessible to Google?

Newsgroup: Chris raised the question of adding a newsgroup feature to the website. He noted that this would not be worthwhile unless a certain critical mass of members were interested in using this feature. Chris, Susan and Marc all noted that they would make use of this feature. Malcolm asked if this would be a standard e-mail list. Chris distinguished e-mail lists from newsgroups, noting that newsgroups posts are stored on someone else's server. Posts stay up once made, but they have access restricted to members. Sheldon asked whether Bob would be willing to manage this service. Chris responded that he did not know whether Bob would be willing to do so. Jan asked how much work this would involve. Chris noted that once the group is established, the manager need only monitor to ensure that inappropriate postings are deleted. Nathan asked whether we would be able to find someone else to handle this task if Bob was unwilling. Nathan noted that someone in addition to Bob could be given the password for managing the newsgroup. Jan referred to this person as a "blog bouncer". Chris supported this description and noted that we could simply give someone access to the server to perform this role. Chris noted that he would be willing to do so and that this matter could be handled by the executive at a later date.

Abstracts: Sheldon noted that other societies post extended abstracts for papers (example: the Canadian Society for Practical Ethics presents 500 word abstracts that can be accessed by non-members). Nathan expressed support for this practice. Sheldon noted that we might consider posting abstracts for this year's papers. Chris noted that abstracts also help with longer papers, and he suggested that a call for an abstract be attached to the word length recommendation.

7. Discussion of the possibility of expanding the membership

Alastair expressed strong support for expanding the membership. He suggested that CS-IVR use an expanded email list to attract new members (and possibly draw back old members). He expressed concern that many interested persons are not receiving information on the society. Nathan noted that he already employs a long list and that this list has been pared down only to accommodate those who do not wish to receive emails. Susan noted that only the general material is being sent and that material on this meeting was not available. Alastair emphasized the importance of making additions to the membership and speaking to person with potential interest in the subject matter taken up at the CS-IVR's meetings. Nathan expressed some hesitancy about efforts to expand the membership, noting that we already had a full agenda and that we would need to change our format to accommodate many more. Sheldon noted that next year's meeting locale (Saskatchewan) might result in diminished attendance. Nathan noted his agreement.

Bill said that it might be difficult to attract law professors to the group, noting what he described as a decline in the number of law professors working in analytic jurisprudence. He also noted what he described as a rise in corporate specialization: few lawyers care much about the abstract problems that our group deals with. Alastair questioned the claimed decline of analytic jurisprudence, describing six new faculty in the Queens University Faculty of Law as analytic scholars. Alastair again emphasized his support for the expansion of membership and a "non-exclusive" CS-IVR.