CanLII Keyword Gems

The algorithm for generating CanLII keywords sure spits out some gems. Take this real CanLII keyword string, for example:

  • underwear — negligence — wearing blue acid washed jeans — defence — lawyer

How could one not link through to figure out what kind of negligence case could involve a pair of blue acid wash jeans? The fact that the word “underwear” comes before “negligence” makes this list of keywords even better. Could it be that negligence is now part of the “law of underwear”?

Here are some other goodies:

  • lifejacket — flip flops — cordless — daughter — bed
  • alibi — funny — floppy disk — email — evidence
  • want stuff like lazy starting — officials — workload — luncheon — services

Of course, I mean no slight to CanLII and LexUM. Proprietor and producer (of this 100% free service) may not like that their search technology has caused me a distraction, but my own view is that these are wonderful for the way they capture the imagination. Let me also say that I adore CanLII and find the keyword feature a true benefit, its humorous aspect aside.

Now that I’ve got the niceties aside, I’ll invite you to post your favorites below.


  1. Great minds etc. I thought of them as Very Short Stories. One that I liked was:

    caveat emptor — bulldozer — latent defect — leak — purchaser

  2. I did look one of these up – the intriguing one with “want stuff like lazy starting” in it. Turned out my imagined “very short story” was a good deal more fun than the straightforward discrimination case this one turned out to be. See for yourself – it’s 2008 CanLII 5615 (NB L.E.B.).

  3. as for me, a funny one I got was (in french)

    gratter — témoin — accusé — mère — carottes dans le salon

    If I translate freely it would be: “scratch – witness – accused – mother – carrots in the living room” ???

    this is taken off: LSJPA — 0659, 2006 QCCQ 23609 (CanLII) — 2006-03-02
    Court of Quebec — Quebec

    I must admit I laughed the carrots in the living room. But unfortunately, it was a sad case involving sexual assaults on kids… (weird keyword result…)

  4. A recent favorite is R. v. J.A., but I’m not citing the keywords here. You’ll have to look it up yourself and you’ll understand why.
    That’s just a bizarre case generally though.

  5. Imagine, though, if you lived there

    Some states in the US apparently have presumptions about the illegality of any person having in his or her possession more than a specified number of these devices. (In Texas, the number is 6. It may be less in other states. Texas does things “bigger”, so we’re told.)

    My “reCaptcha” words are “gutsy” and “volcano”. No comment needed.


  6. How about:

    R. v. Terrigno, 2008 ABPC 240 (CanLII) — 2008-08-20
    Provincial Court — Alberta
    breath mint — police — fuzzy slippers — vehicle — alcohol

  7. Susannah Tredwell

    sexual harassment — sexatary — biker mama — postcard — warning

    (from Franke v. Canadian Armed Forces, 1998 CanLII 3993)

  8. I confess myself to be a defective researcher. Where does one find these ‘short short stories’? I have gone to the cases to which people have provided links, but I do not find the key words anywhere. Do you come across them while searching for something else, or while searching for one of the words?

  9. Just do a word search John and you’ll find your hits are tagged.

    Not to close this off, but thanks everyone for contributing. Fuzzy slippers!!!

    I guess it’s better to just read the short, short stories and ponder than link though. The true stories will rarely be a laughing matter.


  10. You’re not. You were given inadequate directions (unlike the lady with GPS-related lawsuit.) The “keywords” appear on the main search screen under the case name after you’ve run a search. You won’t see them if you go to the link for the case, itself. The posters should have supplied the URL for the search results screen.


  11. A personal favourite of mine is Franke with “sexetary”. Just yesterday I found:

    Guaranty Trust Co. of New York v. The King, [1948] S.C.R. 183 — 1948-04-08
    Supreme Court of Canada — Federal
    usufruit — jouissance — rente viagère — fruits — usufruitier
    cited by 6 cases

  12. I submit for your consideration…..

    R. v. Williams, 2002 CanLII 35260 (MB P.C.) — 2002-04-15
    Provincial Court of Manitoba — Manitoba
    video — robbery — laughed — officers — police

    Moffatt v. Hugli, 1996 CanLII 7939 (NB Q.B.) — 1996-11-26
    Court of Queen’s Bench of New Brunswick — New Brunswick
    chest — accident — hunters — taxidermy — newspaper courier

    R. v. Bernard, 1999 ABQB 771 (CanLII) — 1999-03-08
    Court of Queen’s Bench — Alberta
    uh — em — possession — rifle in question — bedroom

    R. v. Melnychuk, 2001 CanLII 911 (SK P.C.) — 2001-05-14
    Provincial Court of Saskatchewan — Saskatchewan
    alcohol — vehicle — teeter-tottering — evidence — beyond a reasonable doubt

    R. v. Huppie, 2008 ABQB 539 (CanLII) — 2008-08-28
    Court of Queen’s Bench — Alberta
    ketamine — self-induced intoxication — started — know — thought

  13. And since I’m getting hungry:

    Di Spaldro c. 3478319 Canada inc. (Restaurant D’Aversa)

    convives — gastronomie — agneau — fromage — italienne

    It sounds like a ghastly meal:

    La Insalata Cesar était dotée d’un niveau de fadeur tel que pour fin de comestibilité, il fallu l’assaisonner fortement de sel de poivre et de fromage parmesan; les Melanzane Parmigianna contenaient de l’aubergine filandreuse; les Sella D’agnello alla Romana avaient un goût de lainage caractéristique à l’agneau de la Nouvelle-Zélande, alors que notre serveur attitré, Michel, a soutenu qu’il s’agissait d’agneau du Québec; l’Ossobuco Milanese était nappée d’une banale sauce brune; les Scaloppina Dello Chef étaient surcuites; enfin, le Tiramisu était confectionné sur la base de crème fouettée, plutôt que de fromage mascarpone.”

  14. These are all great fun but they do not always help with a search. If my search returns many cases, it is not always easy to find the case I want from the keywords. I’d prefer more useful ones like the nature of the claim, the issue before the court and the disposition. I hate the (former) practice in some reports of saying “whether …”. The actual result is often of crucial importance.

  15. On the other hand, in my preferred areas, the result as often as not bears no necessary or provable relationship to the judge’s statements (or understanding) of the law, even where the result is defensible.