Free Access to Westlaw Canada


by Katie Tribe

Jennifer, Amanda, and I are extremely pleased to announce that Westlaw Canada is now available in the CCLA Library! Pop by the library and sit down at any of the computers to check out this awesome (and free!) new resource. Westlaw is a powerful online legal database for locating case law, legislation, journals, articles, and commentary; it also contains a number of research tools that make finding these materials simple and easy.

We’ve scheduled a couple of training sessions to introduce you to Westlaw and help you learn to use it effectively. Lawyers, students, and legal support staff are all welcome to attend these free sessions, where a Westlaw specialist will walk us through the database and its tools. We’d love to see you in the library on the following days:

Thursday, April 15th, 2010 from 12:00 to 1:00 PM
Thursday, June 3rd, 2010 from 12:00 to 1:00 PM

As usual, the sessions take place right in the library over the lunch hour, and you are more than welcome to bring your lunch! The CCLA Library is located in room 2004 of the Ottawa Courthouse at 161 Elgin Street. Just email your Reference Librarian, Katie Tribe, (that’s me!) at ktribe@ccla-abcc.ca if you’d like to RSVP.

Here are just a few of Westlaw`s tools that we think you’ll find useful…

Use the Canadian Abridgment and Westlaw’s KeyCite feature to note up cases and legislation. Information includes case history and positive and negative treatments, along with references to cases and secondary sources that may have referenced the case, statute, section, or rule you are researching. Once you’ve noted up a case, search your results for key terms that are relevant to your issue. We think Westlaw’s ability to search the text of the materials found through a note up is pretty awesome.

Westlaw’s online version of the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest allows you to browse or search legal topics to find commentary and discussions of leading case law. While we still have the CED in print format, we find point and click browsing much easier than leafing through the set of giant print volumes. The online version is also updated much more quickly than its print counterpart.

Sources such as the Canadian Index to Legal Literature, Words and Phrases Judicially Defined, and a number of law reports and journals are also available on Westlaw, making finding commentary and secondary sources quick and easy. Search by title, author, publication, or key terms to find the information you need.

As a general rule, l try to remember that no source is ever complete; the more sources consulted, the more accurate research will be. We’re thrilled that this new resource will help to make your research at the CCLA Library more complete. Our online resource collection now includes free and unlimited access to Quicklaw, O’Brien’s Forms and Precedents, Criminal Spectrum, DivorceMate, and now Westlaw, with hopefully more to come!