Research Tip: Thousands of Canadian Legal Articles Free!

[Reposted with permission from Legal Sourcery, by Ken Fox]

No, I am not talking about HeinOnline. The Law Society of Ontario’s AccessCLE site hosts, at the time of writing, 9,543 CPD articles dating from 2004 to 2019.

Here is an overview of the browsable collection.

With this many articles available at a single source, best bet might be to use search rather than browse – and my preference would be to bypass the single-line command search and go straight to the Advanced Search.

Advanced Search allows you to select searching fields (Title, Author, Full-text, etc) using drop-down menus, and to search multiple fields at once. If I am looking for articles on resulting trusts, I might use the drop-downs to select Article Title, then place my terms in separate boxes. So I am searching for articles that include both words – “resulting” and “trusts” – in the title.

The far right searching column (not appearing in the screen capture here) allows you to select the AND or the OR operator. In this case, I am searching for terms that are complementary, so I use AND. If I were searching for terms that were synonyms or antonyms (e.g. “resulting trusts” and “constructive trusts”) – then I might use OR.

My search has retrieved four hits. Don’t be dissuaded by the low “Relevance” ratings. Clearly these are four articles that feature Resulting Trusts as a principal topic. The latest article is from 2017 and the oldest one is from 2007. And, of course, the PDF buttons in the View column on the far right enable you to view the full-text article.

Not all documents in this database are actually “articles.” Some are PowerPoint presentations or checklists. But after briefly perusing the results of this search and a few others – it looks to me like AccessCLE contains a great wealth of predominantly full-text, substantial legal articles.

Manitoba Legal Blogs

A monthly round-up of blog posts from the Manitoba legal community for the months of September and August

Toronto firm charges $170k in fees
Clarke Immigration Law

Threading the Needle: Structural Reform & Canada’s Intelligence-to-Evidence Dilemma by Craig Forcese
Robson Crim Legal Blog

Can I Be Charged For Using A Canoe, Kayak, Or Paddle Board While Impaired?
Matt Gould

The Legal Check-Up
Raymond P. Oakes

THE EXACT WORDING IN AN INDEMNITY MATTERS
Edward D. Brown Pitblado Law

MORE ON SECTION 8 OF THE CANADA INTEREST ACT AND SOMETHING ABOUT THE “INDOOR MANAGEMENT RULE”
Edward D. Brown – Pitblado Law

Risky Business: SK Court of Appeal Finds Ag Contract Not “Grossly Unfair”
Jason Mohrbutter MLT Aikins

Manitoba Reports are now on CanLII

[Guest author Sarah Sutherland. Cross-posted from The CanLII Blog.]

Over 9,500 decisions from the Manitoba Reports have been added to CanLII! 

CanLII is grateful to have received a grant from the Manitoba Law Foundation to add decisions from the first and second series of the Manitoba Reports to CanLII.org. 

For the last year we have been doing research into what gaps there are in legal research for jurisdictions across Canada. In Manitoba we discovered that there was a gap in access to historical caselaw for the province. Following this we applied for a grant to help fill that gap.

We have added around 4,500 decisions from the first series and 5,000 from the second series of the Manitoba Reports. You can find them on CanLII using this search query

Thank you to Karen Dyck, Erin Wilcott, and the staff at the Manitoba Law Foundation for making this grant possible, and Karen Sawatzky at the Manitoba Law Library for helping us identify local needs.

Happy researching!

New Book Display: Legal Research and Writing


Finding relevant information and leading cases can be difficult as the law is constantly changing, as well as how it is recorded and delivered.

These titles, ranging from 1987-2019 to give a brief overview of the changes in legal research and writing.

Print Resources Available in the Library:

How To Use A Law Library 2nd ed. by Jane Dean and Philip Thomas

On Using A Law Library 5th ed. by Margaret Banks

Legal Research Handbook 3rd ed. by Douglass MacEllven

Guide To International Legal Research 2nd ed. by The George Washington University Journal of International Law and Economics

Strategic Legal Writing: Preparing Persuasive Documents by Law Society of Manitoba Education and Competence Department

The Practical Guide To Canadian Legal Research, 4th ed. by Nancy McCormack et al.

Electronic Legal Research For Luddites! by Law Society of Manitoba Education and Competence Department 

 The Comprehensive Guide To Legal Research, Writing & Analysis by Moira McCarney

Legal Writing and Research Manual by John A Yogis

Legal Research Boot Camp by The Law Society of Manitoba

Electronic Resources

Online

The CanLII Primer: Legal Research Principles And CanLII Navigation For Self-Represented Litigants / The National Self-Represented Litigants Project (2016)

The Canadian Legal Research And Writing Guide, 2018 – CanLII

desLibris (available behind the Law Society’s Member’s Portal)

Legal Research and Writing 4th ed. (2015) by Ted Tjaden

Guthrie’s Guide to Better Legal Writing by Neil Guthrie

Using Resources Differently

Legal literature studies show that lawyers usually read texts in chunks, finding the specific section that is relevant to the issue they are researching, and ignoring the rest. The finding aids (Table of Contents and Index) are invaluable in determining which part of the text is important.

There’s another way to discover relevant information, by applying critical thinking to the content. For instance, a frequent visitor to the library told me that in reviewing one of our e-books, Prosecuting and Defending Drug Cases: A Practitioner’s Handbook, he realized Ch. 2, Bail Hearings in Drug Cases was applicable to almost all bail hearings. This is good information for me to be able to pass on to others, especially when I don’t have another text solely on bail to rely on.

In my own law firm experience, I would often receive requests for information on easements. The leading text on real property law, Anger and Honsberger: Law of Real Property has a section on easements in Ch. 17. We had an electronic library catalogue which included the table of contents, but wasn’t detailed enough to capture this section, so I added a note indicating this text had a significant chapter on easements. That way, if you did a search of the catalogue with the keyword “easements”, it would come to the top.

Book reviews are another source of information, particularly in subjects I’m not familiar with. Reviewers typically describe not only the content but the format of the book from a personal perspective that can resonate with me. For instance, in this review of The Fundamentals of Statutory Interpretation Erica Anderson, Manager, Digital and Web Content at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, comments that she recently attended a hearing at the Supreme Court of Canada and:

was amazed to hear the judges and lawyers separately mention or quote the modern principle of statutory interpretation in their arguments, questions, and comments. In particular, an SCC judge commented that they had looked at the second reading of Hansard and committee debates for indication of legislative intent.

2019 CLLR 44-3, p. 27

The hardest part for me is retaining these little nuggets for the next time someone asks for a resource on that particular subject.

How do you use resources differently?