Bullen & Leake & Jacob’s Canadian Precedents of Pleadings (Carswell, 2010)

Although my copy of the new Bullen & Leake & Jacob’s Canadian Precedents of Pleadings (Carswell, 2010, $299 CDN) arrived earlier this Fall, I am only now taking the time to review it in detail.

The Canadian version of the British classic litigation precedents title comes in a 612-page bound monograph. It is divided into different parts, by topic, with each part edited by a leading subject expert:

Part A: Class Actions (John A. Campion/Sarah J. Armstrong)
Part B: Construction Claims (Duncan Glaholt)
Part C: Defamation (Howard WInkler)
Part D: Employment Law – Wrongful Dismissal (Stuart Rudner/Erik Marshall)
Part E: Equitable Remedies (Harvin Pitch/Marvin Huberman/Mark Gannage)
Part F: Intellectual Property (Ron Dimock et al.)
Part G: Judicial Review (David Phillip Jones/Anne De Villars)
Part H: Personal Injury (Christine Pratt/Lindsey Miller/Randal S. Carlson)
Part I: Privacy (Kris Klein)
Part J: Professional Negligence (Christine J Pratt et al)
Part K: Surety Bonds (R. Bruce Reynolds)

A Foreword by the Honourable Frank Iacobucci, CC, QC, introduces the text. There is also a Table of Cases that contains (on rough count) around 400 cases. A CD containing the precedents comes with the book but has the typical, restrictive licensing conditions that one often sees in such situations. And although the book has an index, it largely mimics the Table of Contents and does not provide much value-add in the way of additional entry points into the content. For example, if I were interested in pleading limitation periods, the Index is not much help (although I was able to search on the CD by keyword for limitation period information).

The strength of the book, in my opinion, is the subject expertise brought by the editors, along with the Commentary at the start of each Part or topic. For example, in “Part B: Construction Claims”, Duncan Glaholt provides 7 pages of commentary, covering such topics as “Parties and Forms of Contract”, “Extra Work, Changed work, Defective Work” and “Insurance.” The Commentary is a nice “value-add” to put the precedents in context and alert the reader to leading cases or legislation or other drafting tips. This Commentary is then followed by Precedents, which for this topic, includes 13 precedents, ranging from sample Statements of Claims and other pleadings relating to construction claims.

My biggest concern for the title is the print/CD format. It has been years since I last used a Folio-based CD. For me to use this CD at my office, I of course first had to have someone from the IT Department install it for me, which is sufficient disincentive for any lawyer needing a precedent in a hurry. I therefore invite Carswell to comment on when they will make this content available online (the full-text of the commentary and precedents for the UK title is available on Westlaw Canada as part of the “International Comprehensive” subscription). In addition to containing the text of the precedents in the book, the CD also contains full-text judgments cited in the Table of Cases.

My other comment is the lack of a general editor. Although the Foreword by the Honourable Frank Iacobucci is nice, I would have liked to have heard from a general editor discussing the philosophy of the text, its influence by the UK text and the plans for the future – are additional topics going to be covered? How often will it be updated? (or will it be updated at all?).

There are several competing products for litigation precedents, some of which fall within the Thomson Reuters “reach” already:

All in all, I look forward to using this title for litigation precedents and think it is a welcome addition to the Canadian legal literature.


  1. Gary P. Rodrigues

    Plaudits to the publishing team at Carswell who have managed to produce a Canadian edition of the classic “Bullen and Leake” with such notable contributors.

    In past years, there was massive resistance and foot dragging in the UK to the idea that a mere Canadian could adapt such a notable work for the Canadian market. At one point, I recall being told that the preparation of a Canadian edition would necessarily have to be overseen by a “silk” in the UK to ensure that standards were maintained.

    Congratulations to everyone who made it possible.

  2. Thank you for the kind words Ted. We are thrilled to have been able to bring this product to the Canadian market with such a strong team of authors. Thank you also for your suggestions for improvements. They will be on our list for future development for sure. With regard to our plans for taking this product online – we do intend to do this but I am not sure of our timeline, although I anticipate (hope) that it will be sometime in the next 24 months.

    I wanted to also thank Gary for his positive comments. Many of us, having worked for Gary, receive his feedback a little like a performance review.

    I wanted also to acknowledge the team at Carswell who made the work possible – it was the cross-department effort of our team of Product Development Managers lead by Jilean Bell, our manager of New Product Development for the Legal group.

    Rachel Francis
    Carswell, a Thomson Reuters Business