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Wednesday, March 9th, 2016 technology  research  practice

A Research Tip

  • Research & Writing

In 2011 Shaunna Mireau wrote about the usefulness of CanLII as a monitoring tool for the latest decisions in an area of law. I’m updating that tip by highlighting the value added by LexBox for this sort of CanLII monitoring.

As Shaunna wrote, the basic approach to using CanLII for decision monitoring is a quick three step process.

  1. Compose a search that will retrieve the type of decisions you’re looking to monitor for.
  2. Sort your results by “most recent” rather than “by relevance”.
  3. Click the RSS button and copy and paste the provided URL into your feed reader of choice. (I like Feedly, but Outlook has RSS capabilities too.)

The only issue with this approach however is that CanLII RSS feeds have a 1-year expiry date built into them. For example, below is a CanLII RSS URL for a search of all Alberta decisions about contaminated sites:

That expiry date means your new RSS feed will actually stop delivering results after one year. (This is a normal bandwidth management practice on CanLII’s part – no knock on them!) So, what is the solution for long term case law monitoring?

I’ve turned to LexBox because it uses the CanLII API itself so that saved searches never expire. Just install their Chrome extension and then use the LexBox “Set up alert feed” option to save your CanLII search for long term monitoring.

lexbox screenshot

A big high five to Montreal’s Lexum for the development of LexBox! It’s a tool of many uses and this tip covers just one of the ways I leverage it on a daily basis. If you’re interested in learning more about LexBox, Nate Russell wrote a longer SLAW article about it in July 2015.

Bronwyn Guiton (@BronwynMaye)

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