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Alerts, RSS feeds and other tools

Recent judgments

The easiest way to stay current is to have relevant law pushed to you through alert services or RSS feeds.

  • CanLII users can subscribe to an RSS feed for individual courts, that will notify the user of all decisions released by that court as they are added to CanLII. They can also subscribe to an RSS feed for any query run on CanLII, that alerts them each time a document is added to CanLII which meets their search criteria. For example, you can track any cases added to CanLII that cite a particular case, or cases that deal with a particular issue such as waiver of tort.
  • The commercial publishers allow you to set up alerts that re-run a search at intervals chosen by you, and deliver new results. The benefit of these is that they are customized to respond to a particular research query. However, each time the search is run there is a notional charge.
Quicklaw LawSource CanLII
Case law Saved searches will periodically run search to check for new cases, based on parameters set by the user WestClip will periodically run search to check for new cases, based on parameters set by the user RSS feed for new cases that respond to saved search query, or for all cases from selected courts
Judicial consideration QuickCite Alert can be programmed to periodically check for new judicial consideration of cases or legislation, based on parameters set by the user KeyCite Alert can be programmed to periodically check for new judicial consideration of cases or legislation, based on parameters set by the user RSS feed can alert user to new judicial consideration

Another way to ensure your case law research is current, is to run a search in the full text case collections of LawSource, Quicklaw or CanLII. When you do this, be sure to rank your documents by date to ensure that the most recent ones appear first.

  • The default ranking method on Quicklaw is relevancy ranking, and it can easily be changed in your results list to rank by date, court or jurisdiction.
  • The default ranking method on WestlawNext Canada is relevancy ranking. Results can be re-sorted by chronological order.
    • Because of the “best match” method used by the search engine, the cases that appear at the top when using sort methods other than relevancy may be highly irrelevant. To avoid this, conduct a Boolean search within your results using the “Search with results” filter. That will narrow the results before you re-sort. That way you get the benefit of the plain language search for the relevancy sort, and can get better results from the other sort methods.
  • The default ranking method on CanLII is relevance, and it can easily be changed in your results list to rank by date or citation frequency.

Legislative change

For a more detailed consideration of currency in legislative research, see the section on Statutory Research.

CanLII Quickscribe Legislative Pulse
Free RSS feed for amendments to all legislation or selected statutes and regulations from all Canadian jurisdictions, and a compare feature to show changes between versions. Free RSS feed for amendments to all BC legislation or to selected statutes and regulations. Only subscribers can view the highlighted legislation. Subscription service for updating status of bills and changes to regulations.

Commentary

For commentary on the most recent case law, check the Canadian Law Firm Websites, Blogs & Journals or Fee Fie Foe Firm Canada, where you can search within the websites of leading Canadian law firms. Law firm newsletters often publish very timely commentary on notable recent cases.

The Bora Laskin Law Library Weblog publishes a monthly list of new Canadian legal periodicals with links to their tables of contents.

Other current awareness services

There are several Canadian publications and news sources to help keep your legal knowledge current.

  • The Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia publishes digests of British Columbia cases weekly through an Internet-based service.  This is a subscription service. The CLE website also includes commentary on recent decisions and announcements of important legislation.
  • Summaries of recent BC Court of Appeal judgments are available on the BC Superior Courts website.
  • Supreme Advocacy LLP publishes the SupremeAdvocacyLett@r, providing email summaries of recent decisions of the SCC.
  • Courthouse Libraries BC maintains current awareness services on its website, called The Stream and New and Notable, available through RSS feed.
  • LawSource provides to its subscribers recent case summaries from the Abridgment Case Digests in several subject areas.
  • Quicklaw publishes NetLetters in several subject areas. LawNet on Quicklaw contains recent significant cases, available through RSS feed.
  • Lawyer’s Weekly is primarily a print publication, but excerpts are available free of charge from the Lawyer’s Weekly website and can be subscribed to through an RSS feed.
  • The Canadian Bar Association publishes PracticeLink, available through RSS feed.
  • There are several Canadian legal blogs to which you can subscribe by RSS feed.
  • News feeds from federal government departments are available by RSS feed.
  • News feeds from the BC government are available by RSS feed.
  • Most Canadian legal publishers have an RSS feed listing their new publications. See LegalPubs.ca for an aggregation of those feeds.

 

References

Using RSS to Create and Enhance Current Awareness Services

10 Top Uses for RSS in Law Firms