CanLII’s Boolean Operators (Tip of the Week)

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By Alan Kilpatrick

CanLII’s Boolean search commands are displayed in a pop-up box when the cursor is placed over the question mark icon to the right of the search interface:


This is crucial as every online database has its own unique set of Boolean search commands. For example, CanLII’s Boolean search commands differ significantly from those in the Saskatchewan Cases Database. It is always helpful to review a database’s Boolean search commands prior to searching.


Boolean search commands help us search more effectively and efficiently. They can easily broaden or narrow a search by combining different concepts together. Six important Boolean search commands to note prior to searching CanLII are:

AND Narrow a search by combining concepts together
OR Broaden a search to include results that mention any
“” Narrow a search by searching for an exact phrase
( ) Group similar concepts together
/p Narrow a search by searching within a paragraph
/s Narrow a search by searching within a sentence


If you have any questions, ask a Law Society Librarian. We are pleased to provide high-quality legal research services to Saskatchewan members in person, on the telephone, or by email.


Call 306-569-8020 in Regina
Toll-free 1-877-989-4999
Fax 306-569-0155


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