Have You Read 2014’s Top Cases?

For the past few years (2011, 2012 and 2013), I’ve had the pleasure of sharing two “top 10” lists of the most consulted cases on CanLII with Slaw readers. One list is of all cases consulted and the other pertains only to consultations of cases decided within the year.

I’m very pleased to present the results for 2014.

I invite readers to weigh in with their thoughts on the significance of any case appearing on either list.

Top 10 most consulted cases of 2014

  1. Morland-Jones v. Taerk, 2014 ONSC 3061
  2. Meads v. Meads, 2012 ABQB 571 (holding at 2nd place from 2013)
  3. Dunsmuir v. New Brunswick, 2008 SCC 9 (holding at 3rd place from 2013)
  4. Hryniak v. Mauldin, 2014 SCC 7
  5. Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, 2013 SCC 72
  6. Baker v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 1999 CanLII 699 (SCC), [1999] 2 SCR 817 (down from 5th place in 2013)
  7. Moore v. Getahun, 2014 ONSC 237
  8. R. v. Grant, 2009 SCC 32 (down from 6th place in 2013)
  9. Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, 2014 SCC 44
  10. Jones v. Tsige, 2012 ONCA 32 (down from 7th place in 2013)

As of December 15th, our top case attracted a mind-blowing 88,059 views.

That’s over 421 views every day since its release on May 20th.

That’s roughly once every 3.5 minutes since its release on May 20th

Big numbers. And these don’t even take into account views of this same decision through the news websites that posted PDF versions using Scribd and other online sharing tools.

It also continues the multi-year trend of the top case offering more smiles than value in the form of binding precedent. Last year, R.v. Duncan, 2013 ONCJ 160 attracted 47,598 views, eclipsing both the 19,149 consultations in 2012 of Langevin, 2012 QCCS 613 and the 18,641 peak established in 2011 by Bruni v. Bruni, 2010 ONSC 6568. I can only wonder what we will see in 2015!

Among cases decided in 2014, the top 10 looks like this:

  1. Morland-Jones v. Taerk, 2014 ONSC 3061
  2. Hryniak v. Mauldin, 2014 SCC 7
  3. Moore v. Getahun, 2014 ONSC 237
  4. Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, 2014 SCC 44
  5. Sattva Capital Corp. v. Creston Moly Corp., 2014 SCC 53
  6. Reference re Supreme Court Act, ss. 5 and 6, 2014 SCC 21
  7. Bhasin v. Hrynew, 2014 SCC 71
  8. R. v. Spencer, 2014 SCC 43
  9. R. v. Summers, 2014 SCC 26
  10. R. v. Hart, 2014 SCC 52

If you’re curious, but don’t have time to read the full case, or if you want to dig deeper into the implications of these cases, summaries and commentaries for nearly all of them are available on CanLII Connects.

Background and miscellanea:

  • CanLII’s operations have been continuously funded by Canada’s provincial and territorial law societies (and by extension, Canada’s lawyers and notaries) since 2000 to allow legal professionals and the public to access primary legal information at no direct cost. Weekday traffic to the site consistently exceeds 30,000 daily visits and total visits for 2014 will approach 9.5 million.
  • The database holds over 1.3 million judgments across 258 case collections, as well as tens of thousands of legislative documents from all Canadian provincial, territorial and federal jurisdictions.
  • Our 2012 survey of Canadian lawyers and Quebec notaries disclosed that nearly 9 in 10 have used CanLII in the past 12 months and that 56% begin their case law research on CanLII.
  • Monthly unique visitors are routinely over 230,000, a number that indicates extensive site use by individuals outside the legal profession. Consequently, the cases cracking the top ten lists might be considered as representing a mix of public interest and legal significance.
  • A “view” or “consultation” of a document is measured as the interaction of an individual with the case URL. Mere appearance of a case in a list of search results will not constitute a view, but opening it to inspect it will. Similarly, where a user subscribes to RSS feeds and a case appears in the list, the case view does not take place until it is opened.
  • Results above aggregate views for a given decision across formats (PDF or HTML) and across French and English.
  • Certain decisions were excluded from consideration where consultation counts appeared to be artificially inflated by automated links or other means that suggested page views were generated by automated process and not initiated at the request of an individual user.
  • Standings measured as of December 15th. If significant shifts occur over the final few weeks of the year, I will provide an update in the comments.

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