Canadian Legal Sites and Resources

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Canadians generally hate to be thought of as a mere adjunct of the USA and their Internet presence is distinctly different from that of their southerly neighbour. Their sources are much less "pretty" than US ones but the basic legal materials are nevertheless well advanced. Note, incidentally, that all official legal material is provided in both French and English.

The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) is a non-profit organization managed by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. CanLII's goal is to make Canadian law accessible for free on the Internet. Their website provides access to court judgments, tribunal decisions, statutes and regulations from all Canadian jurisdictions, both federal law and from the individual states. There is a useful list of all the other Legal Information Institutes (all sharing similar goals) here, which include AustLII and Bailii.

The Department of Justice of Canada supports the dual roles of the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada. Under Canada’s federal system, the administration of justice is an area of shared jurisdiction between the federal government and the provinces and territories. The Department supports the Minister of Justice in his responsibilities for 49 statutes and areas of federal law by ensuring a bilingual and bijural national legal framework principally within the following domains: criminal justice (including youth criminal justice), family justice, access to justice, Aboriginal justice, public law and private international law. The Department also supports the Attorney General as the chief law officer of the Crown, both in terms of the ongoing operations of government and of the development of new policies, programs and services for Canadians. The Department provides legal advice to the Government and federal government departments and agencies, represents the Crown in civil litigation and before administrative tribunals, drafts legislation and responds to the legal needs of federal departments and agencies.

The site provides a starting point for Canadian resources:

  • Point-in-time access to consolidated Acts and regulations
  • An advanced search engine that allows the use of complex search patterns, including word proximity and wildcard operators
  • Regulations listed alphabetically on the new 'Regulations by Title' page
  • Amendments "Not in force" and "Related provisions" links
  • Side-by-side, bilingual PDFs of the Frequently Accessed Laws list.

    The Parliamentary Site covers ongoing Bills in the House of Commons or the Senate and information generally about Parliament and MP's.

    The Supreme Court of Canada is Canada’s final court of appeal with the Chief Justice and eight puisne judges. The site includes Judgments since 1907.

    The Canadian Bar Association has branches in each of the provinces and three territories. The site provides a comprehensive set of links to legal resources in Canada, including State resources.

    A Canadian QC called Judith Bowers provides a wonderful compendium page of links to all the most significant Canadian resources.

    Research lawyer Catherine Best has provided a site called Best Guide to Canadian Legal Research. As the site says "This guide can help you develop an effective Step-by-Step Legal Research Process, learn when and how to use particular resources, and better understand statutory research and electronic searching. Links to free online resources and lists of leading publications can help you conduct your research. Material on writing and analysis can help to improve your legal writing and reasoning." She is also an Adjunct Professor with the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia and this site shows a desire to assist researchers and show them how to find what they want.

    Slaw is a long standing Canadian blog and co-operative which now has has a crew of 24 bloggers and 60 columnists. Whilst based in Canada, Slaw covers legal resources from around the world.

    Bankruptcy Canada is an organization that brings together trustees to provide impartial information on bankruptcy. There is a Q & A blog (anonymous) which has helped answer thousands of questions that Canadians have about bankruptcy in Canada since 2005. There are three bankruptcy experts answering these anonymous questions daily.

    Canadian personal injury and disability law blog contains over 60 free case summaries of recent personal injury and disability cases throughout Canada. The blog is provided by lawyer Mehran Yazdani of Yazdani law office, a firm which specialises in disability law.

    The Access to Justice Network (ACJNet), partially funded by the Department of Justice of Canada, provides the public with legal information and educational resources from across the country.

    Centre de recherche en droit public offers a collection of documents useful to the legal community and all those interested by Canadian Law.

    American Law Sources Online is a useful new source of law for the USA, Canada and Mexico. There are sections offering federal, state or province law sources, as well as commentaries and practice aids.

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