A Milestone for Canlii – the Odometer Clicks Over

Daniel Poulin just told me that Canlii will, this week, pass a momentous event – the millionth case will be added to Canlii.

We tend to take Canlii for granted – but it really has been a remarkably successful project, which should be supported by all Canadian lawyers, and cheered by Slaw readers. Public access is vital.

Now – a small challenge for those readers. What will the millionth case be?

A Newfoundland and Labrador trial decision? Or something from the Québec Commission de reconnaissance des associations d’artistes et des associations de producteurs? Which has the wonderful acronym, qccraaap.

Will they cherry pick a case? Or let the spill from the vast flow of decisions fall where they may?

Whatever. We applaud Canlii making it to seven digits.



  1. Well it surely will not be a decision from the CRAAAP since that tribunal was abolished in 2009

    In any case, congratulations to CanLII from all of us at SOQUIJ !

  2. Congratulations to CanLII! Thanks for sharing the news, Simon.

    I happened to give a presentation to a class of non-lawyers on CanLII just last night. (It was delivered in barely passable French – sufficient to debate all but two, maybe three of the NDP leadership candidates – so I know I didn’t do CanLII justice.)

    Two or three of the students had seen or used CanLII in the course of their work. The others did not know of it. I worked within the French interface, demonstrating federal legislation and case law collections. I also demonstrated CanLII’s hyperlinking and search accelerator tools.

    The class seemed genuinely impressed with CanLII’s functionality and vast collections. Significantly, the class marvelled that such a resource as CanLII exists at all, that it has the functionality it does, that it is freely accessible to anyone, and that it is financially supported by the profession.

    I agree with Simon that CanLII is a resource of which the profession should be proud, and which should lawyers, librarians, and supporters of access to justice should champion.

    – Kim

  3. I share in the good wishes to CANLII on its 1,000,000,000 case and wish it many more.

    If I could make one more wish along those lines it would be that CANLII would find the resources to number paragraphs in older decisions. As an allegedly mature thesis-writing graduate student I have occasion to look up a great many cases from before the time when paragraph numbering by the Court(s) began. I could, of course, take my laptop up to the law skule library and chase down pin point references in the bound volumes. Since the hard copy volumes do not come with search engines this would be very time consuming and take me well past my deadline (or greatly limit the time available for research).

    One competitor, Hein Online now carries reports that look like photocopies of the S.C.R. and its predecessors back since the Court was constituted. While this is the very service for which I have been praying it has two limitations: (1) I would prefer a Canadian source such as CANLII or LEXUM; and, (2) those two sources are available without the kind of hefty fee that can be afforded only by libraries at law skules or very large law firms.

    Mickey Posluns.

  4. my trick is to search CanLII for cases citing the older case I want and quoting the passage I want or words in the area of that passage. That’ll usually give me an “at page” cite.

  5. Mickey – I think you may have put three extra zeros on the number. The only way that Canlii could get up to a billion cases would be by taking over Westlaw and Reed Elsevier’s Lexis – which really would be a parallel universe.

  6. Don’t go putting ideas into my head, Simon!

    Taking over the ENTIRE Canadian legal publishing market is a little out of scope of the 3 year plan we released a couple weeks ago.


    Colin Lachance
    CanLII, President and CEO