Using CanLII – Why Should you use CanLII?

The Benefits

CanLII is a free online service, and for this reason can be a desirable alternative to commercial service providers such as QuickLaw and WestLaw. Furthermore, unlike e-laws, CanLII also includes a feature which tells you how many cases have cited a certain piece of legislation, or the number of cases that have cited a particular decision.
The CanLII search template is also available in both official languages. In addition, the full-text versions of court decisions and statutes are fully searchable!

The Drawbacks

The main difference between an online commercial service provider and a free online database like CanLII, is that the former tends to have slightly more bells and whistles along with a more polished interface. The search functions also tend to be more advanced, providing different features to facilitate the user's search.

CanLII's statute and case citator is a useful tool. However, a similar tool available through QuickLaw and Westlaw also notes secondary sources citing the statute or legislation and will set out the treatment of the statute or decision by that judgment. The functions available to limit a search also tend to be more advanced in QuickLaw and Westlaw.

This being said, it is good practice to begin your electronic legal research with CanLII. Because it is a free service, using it will minimize research costs. The use of as many providers as possible also ensures that you are casting your "net” as thoroughly and completely as possible.