Sites Unseen

Sites Unseen: Avoid A Claim

Avoid A Claim is a site of which we often advise students when they are first starting out, but it is truly a valuable resource for legal professionals at all stages in their careers. The main attraction of the site is their highly informative blog, which details all the small (and large!) things about practice management you might not know but probably should.

The site also features, under the “practicePRO Resources” menu, links to a variety of all-very-useful resources for lawyers such as precedents, checklists, fact sheets and toolkits.

I especially like their Technology section, which has sample policies and links to great articles (some examples seen below) on a variety of technologies of interest to law firms.

All this and more, free! (I’ve never felt so much like a salesperson.) So check it out, and make sure to add their blog to your RSS readers!


Sites Unseen: GlobaLex

We get research questions every now and then relating to foreign legislation or case law, and international legal materials are often difficult to find as most of our subscriptions do not cover much outside of Canada. So how do we go beyond the Google search to know what’s out there and what’s legitimate?

One of our favourite sites for International and Comparative law research is called GlobaLex, which is run by the New York University School of Law. From the homepage, click through to “Foreign Law Research”, and a list of each country will appear in alphabetical order.



Clicking on any one of these country links will bring you to the country overview, which includes a summary of the country’s legal system, the organization of its parliament and courts, plus links or references to secondary and primary sources.


This is a great place to start to get the lay of the land of a foreign jurisdiction, allowing you to follow through to other official links and resources from that jurisdiction. It’s a great first stop to doing international legal research!



Sites Unseen: Jurisource

Far and away the most reference questions we get are asking for precedents or forms of some kind. We don’t have many french precedents in our collection, but thankfully is here to help with that!

A project by the AJEFO, Jurisource provides free access to french legal materials, including forms, precedents, and helpful checklists. The site is easy to navigate, allowing either a site-wide search or a browse through one of eight category choices on the homescreen. You can then search for what you are looking for, and narrow down your search results using the filters on the left-hand side of the screen.


Their library of resources is quite extensive, including acts, court decisions, studies, precedents, checklists, and reports. We offer Jurisource training in the library periodically, so if you’d like to learn more about everything they have available, keep an eye out for when the next session will be!


Sites Unseen: Lipad

Of course as soon as I posted about how to find Federal Hansard Debates, we discover another source that perhaps surpasses all the ones I listed previously!

I tweeted very excitedly (and not ironically!) last week when Jen casually linked me to LiPad – The Linked Parliamentary Data Project:


LiPad allows users to search through the Hansard debates with a Google-like search bar, while linking the debates with information about the parliamentarians. Though I have not used it much thus far, after a couple test searches from what I can tell it is easier to search than the other services I have used thus far.

The advanced search screen allows you to search by keyword, politician, party or date:


The results page from any search gives you a summary of where your terms can be found, and you can click through to the full Hansard entry from that day to get the contextual discussion. You can also view individual parliamentarians’ history or be linked through to their profile on PARLINFO.

As an added bonus, you can also find some pretty rad pictures of the old MPs, such as the one below; this mo/beard is one for the ages!



Sites Unseen: Ravel Law

Last year I wrote a post on how to find free online access to American Case Law for us here in Canada. Well let’s add Ravel Law to that list!

While Ravel Law does operate as a subscription-based platform, some of its features, including its case law database, are available for viewing for free online (downloading the case is disabled unless you subscribe, however). It also offers additional features you would not get from the other free sources, such as the ability to visually map out references of a certain case:


Hovering over the different case circles will allow you to visualize which cases refer to which others. You can also narrow by date range or by court, and clicking through to the case on the right will open up the full text for you to view.

While some of its free features are limited, Ravel Law still seems to be a great source for those looking for free access to American case law, and its search visualization features are definitely fun to play around with!

Sites Unseen: Osgoode Digital Commons

We always keep our eyes out for little-known or used sites that might assist in legal research, which we will feature in our new series: “Sites Unseen”. First up to the plate:

Osgoode Law School Digital Commons

Hands-down one of the most time-consuming legal research tasks is legislative research; that is, trying to trace the law to find out what it looked like in a certain year, updating it with amendments, finding copies of older orders-in-council, etc. It is mostly time-consuming because if you are interested in a year prior to the early 2000s, very little is available online and you will mostly be working with the bulky print volumes of statutes or regulations.

Fortunately, the Osgoode Law School at York University has made considerable strides in assisting in this area and now offers pdfs of Ontario Annual Statutes back to 1970, and Ontario Revised Statutes back to 1914. What is even better, as can be seen below (click to enlarge), is they are broken down into separate pdfs and fully browsable by the individual acts (goodbye 400+ page pdfs!):


Statutes are fully browsable by Act

So if you need a copy of an older Ontario Act, bookmark this site and have a look! I use it constantly in my legislative research here, even just to to get a cleaner-looking scan of a particular Act.

They also have digital copies available of all the old Ontario Law Reform Commission reports, something we get questions about as well.