Online Services

New Icons Improve HeinOnline’s Usability

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By Alan Kilpatrick

HeinOnline is a popular online law library that provides over 2000 legal journals from Canada, the United States, and the Commonwealth as well as an impressive historical collection of case law and legislation from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Recently, HeinOnline launched a new series of “information icons.”  These icons make it easier to stay up-to-date with the details about a particular legal journal.  Located to the left of each title, the information icons will help you learn more about a journal and the last time it was updated:

Hovering over an icon with your cursor reveals that icon’s purpose.  It’s often challenging to identify information about specific journal titles in large electronic databases.  This is why HeinOnline’s new information icons are so helpful and appreciated.

Members can access HeinOnline through the Members’ Section of the Law Society website.



Zurawski, K. (2018, June 27). Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: Introducing our New Icons in HeinOnline. Retrieved from


HeinOnline: 18 Years in the Making

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By Alan Kilpatrick

HeinOnline, the extremely popular online law library, is turning 18.  Launched in the early years of the internet in 2000, HeinOnline positioned itself as an electronic pioneer.  Recognizing the potential of the internet to transform legal information services, HeinOnline aspired to become the world’s leading electronic law library.

The resource has grown dramatically over the past almost two decades.  The convenient “one-stop shop” platform now includes over 2000 legal journal titles from Canada, the United States, and the Commonwealth as well as an impressive historical collection of case law and legislation from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Fortunately, Saskatchewan members can take full advantage of this must-have resource.  It is available on demand at your fingertips and on your computer’s desktop in the Law Society Library Members’ Section.  The Law Society Library remains committed to providing members with access to online legal resources, wherever they may be in the province, in the latest and most convenient digital formats available.


Sources Cited

Sabo, S. (2018, May 23). HeinOnline Is Legal!. Retrieved from


Changes Underway at CanLII

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By Gregory Walen, Q.C.

Most members of the Law Society of Saskatchewan are familiar with the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII). For those not so familiar, CanLII is a not-for-profit organization whose sole shareholder is the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. Since 2001, CanLII has operated and maintained a website providing members of the legal profession and the public-at-large a virtual  Library of Canadian legal information.

At present, CanLII operates with a skillsbased, expert board of directors appointed by the Federation of Law Societies. Prior to the Federation moving in this direction, the board of directors was
comprised of representatives from all law societies. The Federation felt that a skills-based board of directors would be better suited to carry out their vision of CanLII’s future. Of note, Tom Schonhoffer, Q.C., our former Executive Director of the Law Society, was recently appointed to the Board.

The success of CanLII as an on-line research engine for lawyers cannot be overstated. This comment on its website sums it up:

“With one million documents across 200 databases, CanLII is closer than ever to achieving the dreams of its founders to become the best place for lawyers and all Canadians to consult Canadian law.”

Since its inception, CanLII has relied upon a company called Lexum, a software company delivering online management and publication of legal information. That legal information mostly consists of cases from all levels of court in every province and territory in Canada. Without Lexum and its proprietary software, many would argue that CanLII would cease to exist, at least in its present  successful state.

Of course, CanLII contracting with Lexum did not come cheap. The cost of contracting the services of Lexum was not an insignificant portion of CanLII’s annual budget. Ultimately, it is every member of every law society in Canada that funds CanLII through an annual levy which we pay through our law society membership fees. In the 2018 year, members of all law societies across Canada (excluding the Barreau du Quebec and the Chambre de Notaire) will pay or have paid a levy of $41.94 for CanLII’s operations.

Needless to say that over the years some of us have had concerns that CanLII’s future essentially rested with its ongoing contractual relations with Lexum, a company that also provided software solutions to other organizations. Those concerns appeared to have disappeared in the later part of 2017 when an opportunity arose for CanLII to acquire a 100 per cent interest in Lexum.  Negotiations took place over many months and, on February 28, 2018, the Federation announced that the deal was sealed and CanLII was now the owner of its own service supplier.

In announcing the acquisition, the Federation President, Sheila MacPherson said

“CanLII has grown from a pilot project to become the indispensable goto legal research tool for Canada’s legal profession…The acquisition of Lexum marks an important milestone in the history of CanLII positioning both to take on future challenges in a competitive legal information marketplace.”

So where to from here? It is my view that CanLII will move on to be the Canadian legal profession’s most utilized legal research tool, if it has not already reached that status. I suspect we may see a move towards publication of secondary sources such as digests and texts supplementing CanLII’s focus on primary sources of law.

[Originally published in Benchers’ Digest, Spring 2018]

Newsletters are being added to CanLII

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Repost with permission from CanLII

It is with great excitement (and we’ve been pretty excited recently) that we can announce that we have just published the first newsletters on CanLII. Thank you to Siskinds LLP and Native Law Centre at the University of Saskatchewan for contributing newsletters to this collection.

You may be familiar with Siskinds LLP’s class action newsletter already, which has been published for many years. They have generously offered to make it available for free on CanLII as the Siskinds Class Actions Review, with the first issue being published today. The Review will be published monthly and summarize recent noteworthy class actions cases.

We are also excited to include Justice as Healing from the Native Law Centre. The Justice as Healing newsletter was made a free electronic newsletter in 2015, and the Native Law Centre has kindly agreed to include it in CanLII’s commentary section too.

The newsletters will appear in CanLII search results and be browsable here.

We are excited to have so many organizations see the potential of making legal commentary available for free and look forward to making more announcements over time!

If you write a newsletter on Canadian legal topics that you think would be a good fit for publishing on CanLII or you’d like to start one, please contact us here.

Estates & Trusts Lawyers – You Asked for It, You Got It!

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By Ken Fox

For some time, Saskatchewan lawyers have been asking us to add Estates&TrustsSource to our suite of online products. It took a bit of time, but we are pleased to announce that the Law Society Library, in cooperation with Thomson Reuters, has now added E&T to our WestlawNext platform.

If you are a Saskatchewan lawyer, you will be able to access Estates&TrustsSource from the Members’ Section of the Law Society website. Sign in to the Members’ Section the usual way. Look for the WestlawNext Canada heading towards the bottom of the page, and the Estates&TrustsSource link below that, along with all of the other online sources. If you have any trouble logging in, please contact the library to get that sorted out.

When opening Estates&TrustsSource, you will notice near the top of the page a section called “Workflow Solutions” which is divided into three stages of estates law: Estate Planning, Estate Administration, and Estate Litigation. This area is intended to assist your practice, and for the most part duplicates content that is in other places.

Following that is Primary Law, which accesses the case law and statute databases of LawSource, but with an estates & trusts law filter.

Further down you will see Commentary, including the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest (again, filtered to include only the relevant titles), and twelve textbook sources. Of these, six are jurisdictionally-based estate admin manuals, and thankfully one of those jurisdictions is Saskatchewan. The Saskatchewan content includes six chapters of legal commentary followed by collections of 62 Precedents, 92 Special Instructions, 54 Letters, and a Words & Phrases index.

Other included texts are (with descriptions based on print versions):

  • Widdifield on Executors and Trustees – blue, single volume loose-leaf, comprehensive legal commentary with noted case citations
  • Waters’ Law of Trusts in Canada – very popular hardbound book with red cover
  • Schnurr, Estate Litigation – 2-vol loose-leaf, loaded with precedents and case law appendices
  • Histrop, Estate Planning Precedents – 3-vol dark blue looseleaf
  • Allen & Quinlan’s Estate Planning Handbook – a thin paperback volume of practical advice

The Commentary section also includes the Canadian Bar Association Concordances, which are organized by jurisdiction (including Saskatchewan), and consist of tables on all areas of estates law with three columns: Question, Answers, and Comments (usually giving the legal source of the answer).

The next section down is Forms and Precedents, and this section deserves your attention, despite the presence of copious forms and precedents in the Commentary Section, for two reasons. First, this content is not included in the global searching tool (note search bar at top of screen). Second, and most importantly, these forms are Word Docs – so will save you the trouble of retyping them.

Finally, there is a link to the Canadian Abridgment Digests. These were already available to you, but it is worth pointing out once again that you can save tons of time in searching for case law by taking advantage of the Abridgment’s exhaustive classification system.

As always, please contact the library if you have any questions are ideas for further resources we should acquire.


Take Note – New Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Resource!

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By Alan Kilpatrick, Librarian

Have you heard about MMS Watch? It’s a free mandatory minimum sentencing resource recently created by the experts behind Rangefindr – the popular criminal sentencing resource accessible in the Law Society Members’ Section.

MMS Watch provides a list of every mandatory minimum sentence in force in the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Sentencing Act. Additional explanation appears on the website: is an ongoing project by to monitor the constitutionality of each mandatory minimum sentence (MMS) in the Canadian Criminal Code and Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. All data are from the database. is free and will remain free.

We encourage you to check out MMS Watch! You can learn more from Matthew Oleynik’s guest post on


Air and Space Publications Now Available

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By Melanie Hodges Neufeld

HeinOnline, one of the useful resources we offer for members in our Members’ Section, recently added a new database: McGill Institute of Air and Space Law Publications. The McGill Institute is a leading authority on air and space law. With nearly 50 titles and 50,000 pages on this topic, HeinOnline invites you to check out their new fully searchable, user-friendly interface.

Please visit the Members’ Section to explore this new resource and the over 700 other legal periodicals available on HeinOnline.