Annotated Civil Code

LexUM has released a digital, annotated version of the Quebec Civil Code. With this release the Code for the first time obtains a hyperlinked table of contents, which even the version on the LexUM supported CanLII lacks. But the new LexUM version offers much more: each section is seeded with caselaw annotations extracted from CanLII and may be further annotated by viewers; there’s an “[add]” button at the bottom of the screen that in good AJAX fashion opens out a form to receive the relevant data about a case. As well there’s an “[annotate]” button allowing the viewer to add text commentary about a particular case annotation.

At the moment, according to LexUM’s Ivan Mokanov, all viewer annotations and comments are going to be moderated. It hasn’t been decided whether this filtering will continue. And they’re also considering whether to continue allowing anonymous annotations or to require annotaters to sign in.

This is a welcome experiment beautifully executed. LexUM/CanLII continues to be the centre of innovation in using the web to provide open access to our law.


  1. What a wonderful resource! I played around with it; it is a bit hard to understand at first, but soon becomes clear.

    It seems to me that there is great potential for law students to become involved in annotating here. Would LexUM consider coming into first-year classes at UdM, McGill, UQAM, and the other law faculties to demonstrate how to annotate? For professors to then pick up the ball and encourage their students to do so, would surely help yield a legal resource of great value to members of the bar but, also, to members of the public — to whom this would provide the means to be much more nuanced or circumspect and, potentially, helpful in the legal “readings” they bring to us as clients!

  2. Fascinating. Congratulations (again) to LexUM.

    Is the law susceptible to being a wiki, though? I know there are some legal wikis, like jurispedia, but for a quasi-official or at least highly reputable site like LexUM, can it afford the risk of aberrant or malicious annotations? I would think moderating and comments by name (though without much authentication, I suppose) would be prudent. What do you suppose is the minimum number of frequent readers that one can leave annotations open and hope that inaccuracies will be spotted sufficiently promptly?

    On further thought, I guess it’s not really a wiki in that existing content can’t be amended; the question affects only additions and annotations … but even there, the reputation of a commentator will be a help to other readers: is this person worth reading, sound, creative, or …? But perhaps a ‘market discount’ will apply to anonymous comments – readers in a hurry simply won’t read them because their quality will be unknown.