OTTAWA, Feb. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - There are now one million Canadian court
and tribunal decisions freely available over the internet, courtesy of
the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII). It has taken 12
years for this comprehensive online legal resource to reach the one
million mark, a total that includes judgments from more than 200 legal
The one millionth judgment loaded into the CanLII database was a
judgement from the Supreme Court of Canada.
CanLII is an initiative of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada,
the national umbrella group for Canada's 14 regulators of Canada's
100,000 lawyers and 3,500 Quebec notaries in the public interest. It
was launched in 2000 on a test basis to provide efficient and free
access to the growing number of judicial decisions and legislative
documents available on the internet.
In 2001, the Federation established CanLII as an ongoing, not-for-profit
service to support the legal profession's research needs while
providing the public with permanent, open and free access to the legal
heritage of all Canadian jurisdictions. Now guided by a skilled
independent Board of Directors, CanLII has recently released a document
establishing its strategic priorities for 2012 to 2014. Under its new
plan, CanLII continues the original mission established by the Federation but will also pursue content and
technological enrichment for the benefit of its professional and public
According to Colin Lachance, President and CEO of CanLII, "reaching the
million mark has involved adding both new and historical judgments to
the database". Mr. Lachance adds, "CanLII now grows by more than
120,000 judgments a year, approximately 20 per cent of which are older
cases that add depth to our collection." With an average of 25,000
individual users visiting the site daily, CanLII is clearly achieving
the objective of making the law available to an interested public.
"Adding these historical judgments has only been possible because of the
generous support and participation of various provincial law
foundations, and courts and tribunals across the country" the CanLII
President says. "Challenges remain in light of the evolving needs of
the legal profession, and the growing public interest in access to
legal information as a means of promoting access to justice. We
anticipate establishing wider alliances over the coming years with
groups and institutions focused on promoting understanding of the law."
The CanLII database is maintained under a services agreement by Lexum
Inc., a private Montreal-based company that started out as the LexUM
data laboratory of the Université de Montréal. Lexum, a leading
Canadian legal technologies provider and publisher of the Supreme Court
of Canada judgments since 1992, has been there since the beginning.
"This project started with less than 300 judgments" says Daniel Poulin,
President of Lexum Inc. and holder of the Legal Information Chair of
the Law Faculty of the Université de Montréal. "We have been looking
forward to celebrating this milestone for a long time."
The President of the Federation, John Hunter, Q.C., says from the
beginning CanLII existed for the purpose of making Canadian law freely
available via the internet. "CanLII is a non-profit organization
created by the Federation and Canada's law societies and it is funded
by all members of the legal profession through their law society dues",
Mr. Hunter noted.
Through the past 12 years, CanLII has also benefited from crucial
contributions from federal, provincial and territorial governments and
their official publishers who have all made their legislative texts
Access to the CanLII service is available at www.canlii.org, or through the web site of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada www.flsc.ca.
SOURCE Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII)
For further information:
Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII)
Director of Communications
Federation of Law Societies of Canada