Deeper Free Online Coverage of Supreme Court of Canada Decisions

As has been discussed multiple times on SLAW and based on two emails over the past few days, it appears the first phase of adding of older Supreme Court of Canada decisions to the court’s website has been completed. This is great news. I like the fact that the PDFs are of the actual Supreme Court Reports version (i.e., a PDF of the print version). See, for example:

Trust and Loan Co. v. Ruttan (1877), 1 S.C.R. 564
PDF file (40 pages):

The message from colleague Rosalie Fox (Director of the SCC Library) to the CALL listserv was as follows:

The Supreme Court of Canada, in cooperation with LexUM – Université de Montréal, is pleased to announce major additions to the content of the Supreme Court of Canada Judgments website. We have added to the database some 2,500 judgments that the Court delivered between 1876 and 1985, including hundreds of the most cited decisions and all decisions that originated in Ontario.

The Court wants to thank the Law Foundation of Ontario, which financed the digitalization project required to make these decisions freely accessible to the public. The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) also made available hundreds of frequently cited historical decisions that were not freely available until now.

We anticipate further enhancements to the website over the next few months.

Bravo and well done!

[Additional comment: the citation on the foregoing case was edited by me – the original did not have the year in the correct place and used “vs.” instead of “v.” – I assume this can be corrected on the site – see:]

[Correction by me – the “citation” is more correct than I have indicated (in the green shaded part at the top, although one of the commas is wrong). The citation below that – in the white part – uses “vs.” which I assume perhaps comes from the (old) decision itself . . . .]


  1. Unfortunately, the pdfs themselves don’t seem to be searchable.


  2. It may seem churlish of me, but like Josh I would prefer a searchable PDF — of the sort that Hein Online uses. I realize that these are more work or require more expensive machinery to produce, but the end product is much more usable. The likelihood now is that these will by their very existence prevent an effort to produce searchable text in the future.