Wiki Wha Hae – the Scots Are Here

Today’s Glasgow Herald reports on a new service called CaseCheck, which is built on an open source blog platform. The service sprang from an innovative on-line dispute resolution service.

CaseCheck is a free online archive of decisions by the Scottish courts and industrial appeals tribunals launched on October 1. What makes it unique is the ability of readers to annotate the summary report of each decision, commenting on utility and coherence ((Family lawyers in Canada will remember that this was the service that the late J.G. MacLeod of UWO performed as he edited the RFLs)).

The next step is to introduce an Amazon-style facility where if you call up one case, it will suggest you might like to read connected cases, too.

With CaseCheck, unlike other case reporting services, however, which are more academic in nature, I’m aiming at those actively involved in interpreting and applying the law.


  1. I would trust MacLeod to lead me to “connected” cases; I’m not sure how many other people (Simon C always excepted) I would similarly trust. We all know that far too often the “catch-lines” of reported cases give a very inadequate or even distorted view of what the judgment deals with. Have you ever seen a catchline which refers, say, to the attitude that a judge brings to the interpretation of a contract? How do you search “attitude” on line? Yet of all the factors that bear on the process of interpretation, the attitude of the judge is probably the most important. Compare Iacobucci J. and Lord Hoffmann for an example of different attiudes.

    I see the development described by Simon as leading to the further balkanization of the law; real estate cases will only refer to real estate cases, and so on. No one will ever stand back and see that cutting across real estate cases, cases of sale of goods, employment, etc., are principles that illustrate what is really at stake. I have tried to argue, for example, that the approach of the courts to the oppression remedy has a lot to say to the problems of the general control of long-term contractual relations and the posssibilty of the abuse of power inherent in many of those relations. Similarly, employment cases often have a close affinity to administrative law cases where the concept of natural justice was fleshed out. If no one explores these kinds of parallel concerns, the law will develop haphazardly and lists of “connecting” cases will, I am afraid, seldom, if ever, do what has to be done to see the law as a whole.