I see from this week’s Ontario Reports that there is an advertisement from LexisNexis Quicklaw for their new free app in the iTunes store for the iPhone (but it also works on the iPad).
LexisNexis should be applauded for being first to the market in Canada with a case law database app.
However, in testing it just now on my iPad I think in most cases I would simply launch a Quicklaw session on my iPad’s web browser.
The app is fairly simple. I find the iPhone “size” too small but there was a feature, as is common for iPhone apps that work on the iPad, to double the size, which made typing on the app’s inbuilt keyboard easier.
There is an option to search by case name or by citation. When I searched on << lac minerals >> in case name, I got 65 hits. It was easy enough to scroll through the results to find the SCC decision I was looking for. However, in clicking on the link to the SCC decision there was an “error” message saying the download was too large and that I should consider viewing the case in a normal web session.
Searching by citation worked as well. In that situation, I typed in (at random) <<  scj 14 >> and was able to load the full-text of the decision after choosing the EN or FR version. However, I got an error message when trying to use the QuickCite button to note-up the case. On a second effort, I did get the QuickCite result but for some reason it changed the orientation on my iPad on its own while in a “portrait” position in my iPad stand.
There was a feature to reduce or enlarge the size of the text, which was useful (I found shrinking the text was a good thing to do since it let you get more text on the screen and resulted in less scrolling).
To be fair, those were only 2 quick examples, but as mentioned above, I would likely go straight to launching a pure “web” session on my iPad. As most iPad and iPhone users know, you can make any website an “icon” on your device, making it simple to launch a session.
I had earlier downloaded the free WestlawNext app for my iPad but that service does not yet work in Canada. As such, I also run my Westlaw Canada searches on my iPad in a web browser session, which seems to be fine for the most part.
I encourage the vendors to continue development on such apps since tablet use is the trend (and they should focus specifically on the larger sized tablets where more screen space makes the experience more practical – I realize this new free iPhone app is likely aimed at the lawyer in court with only an iPhone to provide basic access to cases).
I hope to develop my own free iPad app for conducting legal research on the Internet, focusing on freely available sources of law.