Canadian Legal Research Blog

Supreme Court of Canada search results in CanLII Beta

CanLII has always kept Supreme Court of Canada decisions together with Federal Court decisions in search results refined by jurisdiction. A drawback was that a researcher could not easily refine a search to limit the results to the courts of the researcher’s own jurisdiction plus SCC jurisprudence.

Given the rules of stare decisis, a researcher will often want to start with a review of the jurisprudence from the researcher’s own jurisdiction and the SCC, to look for binding authority.

The CanLII Beta makes this task much easier.

  • When you select a jurisdiction from the Jurisdictions drop-down filter that appears after a search is run, SCC results are included no matter which jurisdiction is selected. This allows you to easily restrict your search results to decisions from your province or territory, plus decisions of the SCC.
  • Once you have reviewed relevant decisions from your jurisdiction and the SCC, another useful filter is the Appeal Courts filter under the Courts and Tribunals heading. This will restrict your results to appellate level decisions from across Canada.
  • Alternatively, you can sort your search results by court level to see appellate decisions first. This is a quick way to ensure that you are aware of all of the SCC decisions containing your search terms.
  • Try a variety of sorting methods for the same search, to see the most recent decisions, most relevant decisions, most cited decisions, and highest court level decisions.
  • The filters and sort method that you have selected appear bolded, providing a useful reminder of which filters are active. There is a “Clear filters” link that will remove all of your filters.

There are a lot of great changes in the CanLII Beta. These changes will make my work easier, faster, and better on a daily basis.

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