CanLII has just launched CanLII Connects — a fantastic new platform that works like a charm and holds a lot of promise for open access to legal information.
It allows publishers – including National, but also law firms, lawyers and academics – to link case summaries and commentary with specific case law and legislation.
According to Colin Lachance, CanLII’s president and CEO, CanLII Connects offers a way for legal publishers to share their content through the site.
“There is a huge amount of valuable legal information being generated on a pro bono basis by lawyers, academics and others,” he says. “Nearly all major publishers or primary or secondary legal information currently provide free access to a certain number of case digests prepared by their editors. You can find these on their websites, newsletters and magazines,” he said. Sharing that content through CanLII Connects, he says, is way for them to demonstrate that they are acting in the interest of open access to legal information.
Among the publishers that have already agreed to share some of their case summaries and commentaries through the site are Lancaster House and Maritime Law Book. “We believe that others will follow their lead,” Lachance told National. “After all, if the majority of lawyers carry out their primary law research through CanLII, it seems that a platform like CanLII Connects would be a very good place to showcase the value of their secondary sources.”
Visitors can leave comments and there’s even an “I concur” feature to rate the relevance of the post.
Since CanLII's inception in 2000, says Lachance, the goal was to "become the best place to consult Canadian law" and the potential was recognized that CanLII represented what could be "the beginning of a complete and interconnected law network."
According to Lachance, CanLII connects is the next logical step in CanLII’s evolution.
“The time has come to build the resources that will create free access to secondary sources and drive the same benefits to the profession and the public that came with free access to primary law.”
Yves Faguy is the senior editor of National Magazine. / Yves Faguy est le rédacteur principal du magazine National.