Repost with Permission from The CanLII Blog
When I think of the time I lived in Saskatchewan, one of the things I remember most fondly is the can-do attitude. When Saskatchewanians want something they don’t wait around, they all get together and build what they need.
Many small provinces and territories in Canada have not been well served by commercial publishers, as their markets have not been big enough to support the detailed coverage that larger jurisdictions enjoy. The Law Society of Saskatchewan Libraries have done so much to step into the gap, and have been one of the largest publishers of Saskatchewan legal commentary for many years. The Law Society of Saskatchewan has also been one of CanLII’s biggest supporters.
This has come together to mean that Saskatchewan is one of the jurisdictions with the most commentary on CanLII. Now we are happy to get to share that we have just added two new titles from the Law Society of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal to CanLII’s commentary section:
Civil Appeals in Saskatchewan: The Court of Appeal Act & Rules Annotated, by Stuart J. Cameron, published by the Law Society of Saskatchewan.
With the expert knowledge gained over almost 34 years on the Court of Appeal, former Justice Stuart J. Cameron carefully guides users through the sometimes complicated legislation and rules of the province’s highest court. This welcome resource provides practical commentary on case law and legislation in one comprehensive, easy-to-use guide.
Saskatchewan Builders’ Lien Manual, by Collin K. Hirschfeld and W. Brent Gough, published by the Law Society of Saskatchewan.
Providing section by section analysis of the Builders’ Lien Act, the first edition of the Manual was authored by W. Brent Gough, Q.C. The Manual was updated by Collin Hirschfeld and released in 2014. The 2nd Edition incorporated changes such as The Builders’ Lien Amendment Act, 2014 that came into force March 12, 2014.
This is in addition to the substantial number of summaries of Saskatchewan case law the Law Society has contributed from their Digests Database. You can read them here.
The Law Reform Commission of Saskatchewan has also contributed their reports.
Thank you to all those organizations for seeing the value in free access to law!
Repost with Permission from The CanLII Blog
CanLII has a long term relationship with Canadian Association of Law Libraries – Association canadienne des bibliothèques de droit (CALL-ACBD). Besides being long term members of CALL, CanLII staff are actively involved in the association, including several conference presentations this year (you can see more information here and here), and an ill fated presidential run last year. This makes it more meaningful that we can announce that CALL-ACBD has agreed to publish the Canadian Law Library Review (CLLR) on CanLII.
The official announcement was made today at the CALL-ACBD annual general meeting by Michel-Adrien Sheppard, one of CALL-ACBD’s members-at-large and the liaison to the CLLR. For those who weren’t there, here is his announcement:
First, not everyone knows, but the CLLR became an open source publication this year and we hope this will lead to a major jump in readership numbers.
Secondly, issues of CLLR will soon be appearing in the Commentary section of CanLII’s website. CanLII has been aggressively adding to its collections of secondary materials in recent years. You might already know of the thousands of case commentaries on what is called CanLII Connects but CanLII has also started adding articles from journals and newsletters. CLLR will be in good company, joining a list of journals on CanLII that already includes the Alberta Law Review, the Canadian Bar Review, Manitoba Law Journal, Ottawa Law Review, the Windsor Yearbook on Access to Justice and many others. If you are involved in a journal you think would benefit from being on the CanLII platform, talk to CanLII’s Sarah Sutherland who is here at the conference. Thank you.
This addition enriches CanLII’s commentary on legal research and expands it to include law library professional literature, which brings a different perspective on the legal environment, including topics such as commentary on primary law, legal practice, and research instruction.
CALL-ACBD president Ann Marie Melvie says that the association’s executive is happy to have CLLR on CanLII.
Please join us in thanking CALL-ACBD for seeing the value that making openly CLLR available brings to the association and the wider community!
If you have legal commentary that you think would be a good fit for CanLII, please let us know here, we’d be happy to talk about it.
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]
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.
Repost with Permission from CanLII
It has been a long term goal for us to have a substantial collection of legal commentary on CanLII, so we are thrilled to be able to tell you about an expansion of CanLII’s secondary sources section to include law reviews.
Law reviews are often the only place a particular topic is discussed, and they often provide insight into the law for a particular jurisdiction where no one else does that make them invaluable for research.
In addition to being able to navigate within the commentary section by law review and issue, results from law review issues will appear in your search results. If all you want to see is commentary, you can limit your search results by clicking on the “Secondary sources” tab.
We would like to thank the generous contributors of content that will help enrich CanLII as a legal research tool. Here are the law reviews that are participating in our initial launch of this project:
- Alberta Law Review
- Appeal: Review of Current Law and Law Reform
- Canadian Bar Review (coming soon)
- Canadian Journal of Comparative and Contemporary Law
- Canadian Journal of Human Rights
- Dalhousie Journal of Legal Studies
- Justice As Healing (coming soon)
- McGill Journal of Dispute Resolution
- McGill Journal of Law and Health
- McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law
- Ottawa Law Review
- University of New Brunswick Law Journal (coming soon)
Currently we have loaded them back to 2015, but more law reviews and additional years of coverage will be added over time. If you edit or publish a law journal you’d like to see on CanLII, please feel free to contact us. We’d love to hear from you!
Thank you also goes out to the team at Lexum who have worked with us to make this happen.
In the editorial team, supervised by Frédéric Pelletier:
- Maude Adam
- Consiglia Capone
- Claire-Marie Orhant
And on the tech side, working under the supervision of Francois Harvey:
- Noreddine Ben Jillali
- Valentin Bujanca
- Patrick Bourdon
And of course Daniel Poulin who adds another feather to his hat as pioneer of open law.
By Sarah Sutherland
Manager, Content and Partnerships
Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII)
Since CanLII’s founding, we have been working to make sure the law you need is available. As part of our project to add the Dominion Law Reports cases that have been cited in CanLII case collection that we announced last year, we are including historical cases that are foundational to understanding the context of Canadian law, including Browne v Dunn (1893), 6 R 67 (HL), which we are informed was the most requested case at the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Great Library (Thank you to David Whelan for letting us know this was the case and sharing the scanned copy from the Great Library’s print collection!).
As we transition into summer, we thought we’d take the opportunity to refresh your memory as to what’s new at CanLII.
New Board members
In November 2016, Professor Adam Dodek, Crystal O’Donnell, Shannon Salter, and Thomas Schonhoffer, Q.C. joined the CanLII board. The board will be chaired by Dominic Jaar, Ad. E. They will help us further our goal of making legal materials more accessible to the public.
More information on this can be found here.
We have made several changes on the main CanLII site and on CanLII Connects.
- LexBox is now fully integrated into CanLII: For those who haven’t used the LexBox extension that Lexum offers for the Chrome browser, LexBox allows users to save search queries, set up alerts for new content that matches a search query, create folders with saved results, and offers a trail of your research. Until now, users were required to download the extension to save search queries on CanLII. This is no longer the case. See here for more details.
- The blue “Headnotes” button at the top of each case is now dynamic: This means it alerts you with a warning sign ( ) when there are either related decisions in our database from the same level of court as the decision you are consulting, or we have found a related decision from a higher court. Previously, this information was only available after clicking the button.
- The highlighting (i.e. find in document) feature now allows you to change which words you want highlighted in a decision: Previously, the tool did not allow for changes mid-search. Now, you can edit your highlights by clicking on the little pencil at the top right of the document page.
- The ability to post multimedia content: We recognize that commentary comes in many forms, and as such we welcome content in forms such as podcasts or videos. If this form of legal commentary appeals to you, just pick the embed option when you are creating content and paste the html embed code from hosting sites such as YouTube or Vimeo in the text box.
- The ability to save searches and set up e-mails: This one is pretty self-explanatory, but basically, just save your search after you run it, and you will get a daily update of new content.
- The ability to indicate negative treatment on a case: This new feature is still in its early stages, but promises to be an exciting development on CanLII Connects. Each case present on CanLII Connects now has the ability to be flagged by verified users to indicate that the case has received negative treatment by another case. All verified users are active members of the legal community. We will keep you posted on further developments of this feature.
We expanded our content
In furtherance of our goal of access to justice and for legal content to be publically accessible, we have partnered with multiple entities to increase our content. Most notable include:
- New “Smart PDFs” from Lexum have allowed us to upload 16,000 decisions from the Dominion Law Reports (DLR). The DLR are the second most cited block of cases on CanLII after the Supreme Court Reporter. The strategically chosen cases from the DLR represent all the decisions that have been cited in the cases contained in the CanLII collection when we started this project. This is more or less equivalent to saying that we have all the decisions in the DLR that have been cited in approximately the last 15 years in Canada or in any earlier case in the Supreme Court Reports (SCR). Some Privy Council decisions were included in this set, so we also set up a new database for this content. More information on this can be found here.
- An expanded partnership with CAIJ, which allowed us to post thousands of decisions issued between 1980-2015 from Quebec administrative tribunals including: 36 500 decisions from the Commission d’appel en matière de lésions professionnelles (CALP), 41 500 decisions from the Commission des lésions professionnelles (CLP), 17 000 decisions from the Tribunal administratif du Québec (TAQ) and 28 000 decisions from the Commission de protection du territoire agricole du Québec (CPTAQ).
- We introduced a new way to publish commentary. CanLII has expanded to include some secondary materials on our website. Thanks to Lexum’s Qweri software which powers this new innovation, you can now read legal commentary in a more elegant format with content that is easier to search and navigate. Looking forward, we will have more ebooks later this year. If all goes well we will have law reviews, CLE materials, and law reform commission reports by the end of 2017. We are also working on a program to allow individual authors and organizations (or teams of authors) to submit long form commentary (books or articles) to be considered for publication on CanLII.org. To see more on this, click here.