Library Tips

Post-Library Reno Update: Reserve Books

A few people have asked after our old “Reserve” collection – where is it now that we don’t have a row of shelves behind the front desk? The answer: we decided to do away with a large bookshelf wall behind the front desk, and have pared down what we wanted to keep in a Reserve collection. These are the most in-demand texts. All killer, no filler, you might say. As always, books aren’t to leave the courthouse, but if you need the most recent Criminal Code, Family Law Rules, civil practice, small claims guide, or the ever-popular Ontario Courtroom Procedure, stop at the front desk and we can get it for you.

Since we’re only keeping a small number of books in Reserve, this is a great opportunity for us to use our old barrister bookcase, which we had restored over the winter.


This sweet little shelf sat outside of Rick’s office. The metal mechanisms on the doors were all in terrible condition. Frankly, opening a shelf always felt like a bit of a dare – would this be the opening that broke the metal brackets or glass?! The finish had also turned a bit yellow with age.


How great does it look now? Fun fact: when the refinishers started work, red dye was coming out of the literal woodwork, telling us that this used to be a mahogany colour many years ago. We opted for a more natural wood colour, and couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. You can see our small Reserve collection in here for now. We may opt for something more industrial or modern (in keeping with the space) in the future, but for now we quite love how this looks, and the mix of old and new that it brings to the Library.

Information for 2018-2019 Articling Students

The CCLA is happy to welcome all of Ottawa’s new articling students for the 2018-2019 articling year! In this post, we’ve put together information for new students about library and other association services to hopefully assist you over the next year.

CCLA Library and Research Assistance Services

The CCLA is currently in the middle of a large renovation project. While it is expected to be completed this fall, we are unable to currently offer a Lounge in the courthouse. We are, however, very excited to share our new Library space with you. Located on the main (2nd) floor of the Courthouse, you can find us across from Courtroom 23. We’re staffed Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. You can also get in touch with us by email.So what do we have? How can we help? Here’s a rundown for you:Our library collection includes:

  • WestlawNext Canada and Lexis Advance Quicklaw, free in-Library use
  • JustisOne and ICLR Online, for British and other commonwealth case law, for in-Library use
  • DivorceMate, for those working in family law
  • Thomson Reuters ProView, for online books, free in-Library use
  • Wide variety of print resources covering almost all subject areas
  • Extensive legislative print collection, including City of Ottawa by-laws

Our services include:

  • Case retrieval
  • Assistance formulating a research plan or suggesting which resources you may want to look at
  • Legislative research help
  • Assistance with Quicklaw and Westlaw use
  • Forms and precedents retrieval

The library is also equipped with computers, printer/copiers, a fax machine, and scanning facilities, so if you need to do any of those while in the courthouse or during your research, we’re here! There is a charge for printing and faxing services, so speak with a CCLA Library staff member for more details on that. We’re a cash-less facility, but we accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, debit, and firm accounts.

Finally, CCLA members have access to free WiFi in the courthouse. Stop by the front desk of the Library for more details.

The most important thing to remember? We’re here to help!

Tours of the CCLA Library

If you would like a tour of the library, please get in touch and we will work to accommodate you or your group.

Additional Information

CCLA student memberships are available for your articling term! You do not need to be a member to use the CCLA Library, but you will need to be a member should you wish to access the library after hours. It also provides discounts at great member partners, offers discounted rates for CCLA programming, and connects you to our great local legal community. You can register online, or get in contact with our Membership Services Assistant, Sonia Morin.

The CCLA has a great weekly e-newsletter that is completely free and not connected to a membership. Every Wednesday, you’ll get a listing of all the freshest job postings, upcoming CPD, and other news of interest to the legal community. Please sign up for this here. You can modify your subscription preferences at any time.

Finally, follow us on Twitter! We’re also on Facebook and LinkedIn, if that’s more your speed.

International Materials on Quicklaw Advance

Looking for international materials? While we are quite fortunate here to have access to some great British databases, often times we are asked about American or Australian case law as well. Perhaps lesser-known is that our Lexis Advance subscription has some coverage of these countries also!

To access them, on the left side of the main screen’s search bar you will notice a country flag. By clicking on this it will bring you to a dropdown menu where you can select which country’s materials you would like to search.


After you enter a search term, you can also easily navigate between countries through the sidebar where you will see these flags again, for example in the screenshot below. Underneath there is also a nice breakdown of the different types of content available, so you can narrow down your results if you are only interested in a specific type.



As you can see from this very generic “wrongful dismissal” search, there is quite a lot of international content on there! It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for foreign materials.


Library Tip: eLooseleafs on Proview Now Included in WestlawNext Searching

We’d like to highlight a new(ish) feature for WestlawNext this week, in that they have added search integration with our Proview looseleafs! Now when you enter a search from the homescreen, hits from looseleafs available on the Proview platform will also show up in the search results, as you can see in the screenshot below:

Like other categories, you can click through the “View All” link to see other results from our looseleafs as well. Clicking on any of the titles will automatically link you over to the Proview platform so you can read the full title from there. Very useful in having one place that will search both platforms!

CCH Content Now on Lexis Advance Quicklaw

We’re happy to report that former CCH looseleafs have been added to our Quicklaw Subscription. You can now access the following resources in electronic format on our library computers:

  • Canadian Insurance Law Reporter
  • Ontario Real Estate Law Guide
  • Ontario Corporations Law Guide
  • Canadian Commercial Law Guide
  • Canada Corporations Law Reports
  • Canadian Estate Administration Guide
  • Canadian Family Law Guide
  • Canadian Employment Benefits & Pension Guide
  • Canadian Labour Law Reporter

The easiest way to get to these is to click on “Browse” in the top toolbar, and then click on Sources. From there you can browse or search for whatever you would like! There are now also a wealth of newsletters available that you can subscribe to, including Ontario Real Estate Developments, Canadian Family Law Matters, Accident Benefits Cases Summaries, Labour Notes, and many more.

Still feeling a little iffy about the new Quicklaw Advance inferface? Come join us for a free training session on March 22! All are welcome; please RSVP here.

Research Tip: Using Google to Site Search

In the course of online legal research (especially legislative) it’s not uncommon that you come across a website’s built-in search engine that refuses to cooperate with what you want it to do. Whether that be a lack of filters, spurious results, or just a bad user interface, there are many offenders (especially, sadly, on our government websites). This at best can lead to frustration and at worst to wasting hours of time not being able to find what you’re looking for. Fortunately, there’s a underused method to leverage Google’s search engines to assist, which I’ll detail below.

But let me start by giving an example. Say we’re looking for Hansard Debates or Committee Proceedings on the Ontario Legislative Assembly website that discuss the Police Services Amendment Act of 1997. I was able to pull up the page for the bill, as seen below, but I unfortunately soon discover that the Act was earlier than when they start directly linking out to any related debates or committee reports from that page.

Knowing, however, that they do have the Debates and Committee Documents online dating back to at least the 1970s, there must be a way to find them. You could try using their built-in search engine at the top right, or even their Advanced Hansard search, but by doing so I’ve usually found myself wading through multiple long documents, most of which do not pertain to what I am looking for.

Fortunately, there’s a quicker way, and Google can be used to do a lot of the heavy lifting here. You can easily narrow a generic Google search to search only a single website. To do this, in a regular google search just type in:

site: police services act 105

This will search all of the Ontario Legislative Assembly’s website for the keywords Police Services Act and 105 (I used the bill number to narrow it down from other amending acts). Voila, you can see below our more relevant results linking directly to committee reports, in the usual Google format we are familiar with.

You can do this with any website whose search engine might not be the best. Just use:

site:[url] [keywords]

And let Google do its thing.

Resource Spotlight: Bullen & Leake & Jacob’s Canadian Precedents of Pleadings

Once a month, Robeside Assistance will feature a resource that we purchase for the library that you might not know we have. Our collection is full of great books, databases, programs, and other materials, so definitely visit us in the library if you’d like to use anything mentioned here!


If pressed to name our favourite books in the library, Brenda and I would both include Bullen & Leake & Jacob’s Canadian Precedents of Pleadings in our top three. Tucked away in the civil litigation section, this gem of a title seems to always provide just what we need, when we need it. Based on the long-published British book of similar name (Bullen & Leake & Jacob’s Precedents of Pleadings, currently in its 18th edition), this book offers a huge selection of sample pleadings in a wide variety of legal areas. I find myself reaching for this book when asked for sample personal injury pleading examples, and Brenda has used this for the construction pleadings as well. You can take a browse through the impressively detailed table of contents here.  The book came with a CD-ROM, too, which has copies of the precedents contained in the book. No need to re-type – just let us know at the Reference Desk that you’d like to use the CD and you can take home copies of the precedents you that need, ready to be modified.

If you’d like to look through this excellent resource yourself, you can find it in our Texts section at KF 8868.1 B85 2013.

Research Tip: CCLA Conference Papers Database

It’s not surprising we get a lot of requests for conference papers from our own four annual cornerstone conferences: Family Law Institute, East Region Solicitors’, DCAO Criminal Law, and Civil Litigation Updated.

What more people don’t know is that we post the papers on our website in CCLA Conference Paper Database afterwards! So even if you aren’t able to attend, you can check out what sessions were held and keep up to speed on the current issues in the profession. They are also useful for specific practice directions for the East Region, or summaries of recent local cases and precedents.

The easiest way to search is by author. For example, I’m looking for Justice Mackinnon’s papers here:

When I hit search, I’ll get a results screen with all of her papers:


And now I can browse and download whichever ones I am interested in by clicking on the link next to the PDF icon. If I do not know the author, I can also search by subject. Additionally you can search by specific conference and year by clicking on the “Advanced Search” button on the main search screen.

It’s a great way to keep apprised of the work of the local bar!

As always, we’re here to help, so let us know if you have any difficulties finding papers from our events and we’ll see if we can send them to you. The database goes back to 2001, but we are often able to scan and send papers from prior to that as well!


Online Texts at the CCLA Library

If you’ve been into the CCLA Library in the last couple of weeks, you may have seen some new labels on various text books and looseleaf binders. As more and more of our print materials are either being replaced with or accompanied by an online version, we wanted to make it easy for library users to recognize what they can find on our computers. Here’s a quick run-down of the new labels, and what they mean:

ProView Thomson Reuters ProView

ProView is an online platform for reading legal texts that are published by Carswell. Quite a few of looseleaf binders that we subscribe to in print are also available on ProView, which makes it easier for you to search through content, and email or print excerpts for your research. The list of titles available on ProView is continually expanding, so something that’s not on there today could very well be next month. We’re working on a blog post to describe how to use ProView and a full list of what we have available in the library, so stayed tuned for that.

Westlaw WestlawNext Canada

Within the CCLA’s subscription to WestlawNext, we have both the CriminalSource and FamilySource add-on packages. Each of those services provides access to several popular Carswell looseleaf titles (and some titles that we had to cancel in print form years ago due to cost concerns). If there’s a WestlawNext sticker on a looseleaf you’re looking at, you want to access our Westlaw subscription on the computers to look at the e-version. My personal favourite? You can find Ewaschuck’s Criminal Pleadings and Practice in Canada on CriminalSource.

Quicklaw LexisNexis Quicklaw

For electronic access to several very popular text books published by LexisNexis (such as Sopkina on Evidence, as pictured here), you can turn to our Quicklaw subscription. Currently, we have texts in four different areas of law: criminal, family, employment, and general litigation.

For all of these online versions, you do need to come to the library in order to access them. Our licensing agreements do not currently allow for remote access, so you’ll need to be in the library, and on our computers. The upside to this, however, is we’re here to help! If you need any assistance in finding the e-titles on our Westlaw, Quicklaw, or ProView subscriptions, just let any of the library staff know and we can show you where to find them.

Research Tip: American Case Law

American case law is sometimes quite difficult to track down, as most of the time our basic Canadian database subscriptions do not cover other jurisdictions. (That’s why we added British case law database JustisOne to our subscriptions; check out our introductory post if you haven’t had the chance yet!)

So where can we find free access to American Case Law?

1. Google Scholar is always the first place we look. With a clean interface and a large collection of cases from state and federal courts, it’s a fantastic place to start. From the main search screen, select “Case Law” (or articles/patents if you are looking for those), and enter your search terms. Your results page should look quite familiar to you; you can click through to open a case. Note that you can also click on the “How Cited” link at the top to see any articles or cases that refer to it. Often times even if Google Scholar does not have the case you are looking for, it will still contain a reference to the case as well as alternative citations that you can try elsewhere.


2. Findlaw houses a lot of case law as well, as well as commentary and links to the state and district courts. To search for case law, you can enter a party’s name in the “Search for a Case” box, or alternatively, click on “Advanced Search” to enter in any other information you know. (This is where docket numbers can come in handy!) Results will bring you to a summary page, where you can click on the “Read” button to be linked to the full decision, although sometimes this will be behind a paywall.

3. Justia also offers free access to online American case law, as it brings together decisions from the Federal Courts and many of the district courts websites as well. You can search using the bar at the top right, or browse through the different courts below.

4. Casetext is the CanLIIConnects of the United States, as it features case law and added commentary by members of the legal community.

5. If you happen to know at what court the decision was made, you can often head directly to the State or District Court website to browse a database of their own decisions. Often times these are also included in the databases mentioned above.

6. Let us know! We have access to other libraries and their collections as well, so if we can help track down the case(s) you’re looking for, send us an email!