Quicklaw databases

Many lawyers have expressed concern about the message recently circulated by Canada Law Book regarding the removal of its databases from the Quicklaw service. The Vancouver Association of Law Libraries advises that most of the judicial decisions contained in those databases are still available online.

Cases released by the Canadian superior courts for publication will continue to be available on Quicklaw, LawSource and CanLII. However, there is a difference in historical coverage between these services that will affect access to some older cases that were available from the Canada Law Book database. Another difference is that, while the text of judgments will be the same, editorial enhancements provided by Canada Law Book, such as headnotes and pagination, will not be the same as those in the Canada Law Book database.

Coverage in these services is as follows:

  • LawSource – All cases from 1986, all cases reported by Carswell, and all other reported cases from 1977. Cases decided prior to 1977 that are not reported in a Carswell reporter may not be on the service.
  • Quicklaw – All cases from 1986, with a goal to publish all reported decisions from 1970, and all pre-1970 decisions that have been cited by the courts since 1970.
  • CanLII – coverage varies by jurisdiction, with BC starting at 1990.

The other significant area is the digest services published by Canada Law Book that were previously produced by Western legal Publications such as BC Decisions and the Weekly Criminal Bulletin. It is too soon to make any comparisons between services, but Quicklaw and LawSource each publish a significant collection of similar case digests.

Quicklaw is also enhancing its digest collection, and will be including digests of criminal cases and labour rulings in its core subscription while LawSource contains the Canadian Abridgment Digests.

Please direct any queries to your firm librarian or to the BC Courthouse Library.