CanLII Connects Launched

The newest offering from CanLII, CanLII Connects launched on Friday. The site is meant as a place to gather case commentary on Canadian court decisions. From the site:

CanLII Connects was created to make it faster and easier for legal professionals and the public to access high-quality legal commentary on Canadian court decisions.

We bring together lawyers, scholars and others with professional competency in legal analysis to share their insights and form collective opinions.*

The site is being launched with 27,000 pieces of content and is expected to grow significantly. To submit content, add comments, or vote up commentary and summaries on the site, you need to register. I like that related comments and posts pull up along with the main commentary.

Colin Lachance, President and CEO of CanLII, posted the following message sent to the CanLII LinkedIn group (you may need to be a member of LinkedIn and the group to see the full message):

Through this project, CanLII is taking the first steps in drawing out the goodwill of the legal community to share their insights on Canadian case law.

Lawyers and others routinely prepare and share summaries and commentary on the decisions of Canadian courts. You will find these insights in journals, magazines, blogs, newsletters, commercial legal search tools and many other places. But until now, you could not find multiple thoughts about a single case in one place, at the same time, at no charge to the user and directly linked to the full text of the case!

CanLII Connects launched on April 4th with nearly 27,000 documents covering cases from 11 of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories.

These contributions came from national law firms, major regional firms, academics, leading practitioners and legal bloggers, research specialists, commercial publishers and law societies. These contributors were invited by CanLII to help us launch with a bang, but starting April 4th, we are accepting contributions from anyone with a demonstrated capacity for legal analysis.

Over the coming weeks and months, we will continue to develop the site to be responsive to the needs of the legal profession and the public. This includes technical things like making sure the site responds well to the screen size of your device, as well as editorial things like pro-actively soliciting participation across jurisdictions and legal topic to make the site even more useful.

With support of the broader legal community, CanLII will make it faster and easier for legal professionals and the public to connect with high-quality legal commentary on Canadian court decisions.

It will be interesting to see what role this new offering takes in both the Canadian legal research and legal publishing landscapes. I hope others will share more once they have a chance to use it.

See also: “Show Me the Money – a Reply” by Colin Lachance (Slaw, March 24, 2014)

From the site:

All content is for information only. Nothing on this site is intended as advice to any person or advice on any topic. If you need legal advice, questions should be referred to the appropriate legal expert. CanLII will not respond to them.

Please consult your jurisdiction’s Law Society lawyer referral service for information about obtaining legal advice and legal assistance


  1. It would be really great if when you did a search for a case in CanLII and that same case had been summarized in CanLII Connects, that it would display in CanLII under the “Commentary” results.

  2. Thanks for posting about this project, Connie. We are quite excited to see how things will play out and we are very encouraged by the early reaction.

    • Over 1000 unique visitors and approximately 2,500 site visits in just the first 5 days
    • Average time on site of over three minutes per visit
    • over 200 approved members (65 more applications under review pending verification of credentials)
    • Over 50 new, unsolicited commentaries and summaries added by existing and new members and publishers

    To Elda’s question, within the next few weeks, when a user of the main CanLII site has opened a decision, the headnote will present the option of accessing the corresponding case page on CanLII Connects to look for or to add commentary.

    Sign-ups and new contributions from large and small organizations are outpacing our initial projections and more are very welcome. Nonetheless, starting in early May, we will begin our big push for contributions from more large contributors as well as from unaffiliated members (for example, solos and smalls whose contributions are not associated with a particular organization). Look for us at the CALL conference when we will have more news to share.

    Finally, we’ve received a great deal of valuable feedback and we welcome as much as you care to share. This will help us improve the overall experience and develop goals for a minor refresh around the back-to-school window this fall.

    I probably shouldn’t end on a sour note, but to those who have shared their concerns about CanLII Connects site performance on older browsers (like IE8 or older, or older versions of Firefox), I regret to advise that we will not be investing in making CanLII Connects run as well on those browsers as it does on Chrome and other new browsers. The costs of developing for and maintaining support for a dying browser can’t be justified.