Consideration of a Statute

Following on last week’s theme, Today’s Tip is about judicial consideration of statutes.

CanLII: Navigate to the act that you are interested in and click the Noteup Tab.  This tool allows for a judicial consideration search for the whole act, or for a particular section.

CanLII very correctly offers this warning:

Results are highly sensitive to the manner in which citations to a specific section are formatted in the texts by their authors. Some of them are not currently recognized by CanLII.

This feature does not currently support subsections or other subdivisions of a section. Therefore you may search for a section number such as 43 or 231.7, but not for subdivisions such as 43(2) or 231.7(4)(f).

LexisNexis Quicklaw: Use the Noteup with QuickCite box on the main page to go directly to the noteup page for a section of an act.  This works best if you are noting up a current section, and when you have the citation entered exactly.  You can also navigate to a section of an act and clik the citator symbol or the Noteup with QuickCITE link.

Westlaw Canada: Use the Find/KeyCite a Document section from the main LawSource page, select the KeyCite radio button and enter the legislation title, section and jurisdiction.  This will find every noteup of that section of the named act, current and historical, but remember section numbers change over time.  Manslaughter in one RSC criminal code could be assault in the next.

As John Hedley commented about cases, it is also a good idea to follow noteups with a proximity search to identify full text decisions that may have been missed by the citation services.  I use this search:

Name [within 2] of [within 2] Act [within 10] section# (only the number)

Happy considering.


  1. Hi Shaunna,

    Quick comment regarding the note-up on CanLII. As a supplemental search method when noting up a statute, consider using the browser accelerator avail on the CanLII “tools” page.

    With this browser plug-in installed, you can quickly launch a search of a relevant text string from the section or subsection for which you are attempting to uncover judicial consideration.

    While it may not capture all instances, it should capture most as judges typically reproduce the text of the section relevant to the matter if something is going to turn on the words.

    So let’s say you want to explore consideration of the meaning of “natural person powers” from s.1(1)(t) of the Alberta Municipal Government Act. Searching that phrase with the accelerator (or even manually through copy and paste) will turn up 40 results; which can be quickly reduced to 20 through limiting the geographic scope to Alberta, 14 if limited to Alberta courts or 4 if limited to Alberta Court of Appeal.

  2. Thanks Colin, That is an excellent addition to this tip.

  3. You provided helpful tips for me for my research. I’m glad to have read this.

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