At the Law Bod, we are used to that look of concentrated abstraction as our readers digest what they have read and then distil all that wisdom – spiked with their own original thought – onto their page or laptop! But when it comes to the birds, it is the sight and sound of Canada geese flying overhead which allows those of us sitting near windows an excuse for a (short) break from matters jurisprudential!
So we’ll use the sixth day to look at 6 important Canadian electronic resources.
OU students are usually unaware that the two subscription databases which they turn to regularly for UK material do also give them access to a considerable number of Canadian sources and titles. Indeed thanks to the rather baffling way both Lexis®Library and Westlaw UK seem to have decided to hide away their libraries of international and foreign law (surely it would be more sensible commercially to shout it from the rooftops?) means that for many it comes as a complete surprise that these databases contain anything beyond UK & EU law.
To see what Canadian (indeed other foreign and international material) is available in Lexis®Library you start by clicking on the Sources tab on the home page
Then, on the next page, change the country to Canada (via the drop down menu) – with or without limiting this to either federal or a province – and then clicking on the various hyperlinked letters of the alphabet
To navigate to the foreign and international material from Westlaw UK’s homepage, you have to click on Services first, then Westlaw International
Once through into the international section, the page tabbed Westlaw International has the International Directory where you can discover the Canadian material on offer.
Both Lexis and Westlaw include the Index to Canadian Legal Literature service – greatly appreciated by anyone without a reading list telling you which articles in which law journals need to be read!
That HeinOnline should include Canadian journals seems perfectly logical – once you have been told! But it now also has a library of Canadian Supreme Court decisions (though not the most recent).
Those are the three subscription databases which are accessible to anyone with an Oxford Single Sign On username and password.
To try to help students find their way between these databases, the Law Bod’s website has the Search our Law Reports and Journals tool. Copy and paste in the full title of either a journal or a report series – and this database should give you both the shelf mark (if the Law Bod has the print version) and which database has it online. It is also possible to use this tool to find out which national law reports are available in the Law Bod even if you know no titles thanks to the jurisdiction option.
Canada has a very strong and successful free access to law movement so there is no shortage of candidates to supply 3 more online sources to make up 6. It is hard to argue against giving CanLII (Canadian Legal Information Institute) top spot, with its wealth of legislation and case-law databases and excellent portal. But after that it seems invidious to select just 2 more! If we limit the range to federal legislation, while acknowledging the usefulness of both the Canada Gazette website (a source of official texts of statutes and other regulations), and LegisInfo (part of the Canadian parliament website which enables users to track the progress of bills and see the legislative history behind acts), we shall promote Justice Laws, a Dept of Justice website which offers among other things, consolidated legislation. For the final candidate, although the Maritime Law Books Raw Law site means that the intellectual content of their reporting series are available to all, we feel that the student of Canadian law (especially if a “native” in exile in England while completing a degree) is as keen on commentary and current awareness as primary sources so we’ll promote the blog portal Canadian Law Blogs List were you can pick and choose across a wide variety of topics, from both the world of practitioners and academia.
A colleague has just completed an online guide to Canadian law for users of the Law Bod which we hope will encourage you to explore this jurisdiction further.
One final link between 6 & Canada: 6th December is their National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. (We hope this counters any impression from our previous post that we don’t treat real domestic violence seriously.) It is a timely reminder of the need constantly to defend human rights and monitor social justice levels even in a wealthy democratic nation in time of peace. The Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki- moon started in 2011 a worldwide Campaign called UNiTE to End Violence Against Women. The fact that this a problem still without a solution is an uncomfortable message to end with – but Christmas should be a season of hope and re-commital to the goal of peace on earth!