Canadian Legal Research and Writing Guide on CanLII

CanLII-logoMore great news from CanLII: Fans of the Best Guide Guide to Canadian Legal Research will be pleased to know that the site is now being hosted and updated by CanLII.

The Best Guide has been freely available on the Internet since 1998. The original author and publisher was Catherine Best. The site grew out of Catherine’s experience teaching legal research and writing, and her conviction that a process-based analytic approach was needed. She was also motivated to help researchers learn to effectively use electronic research tools.

Catherine Best retired In 2015 and has now generously donated the site to CanLII to use as its legal research guide going forward. Best says:

The world of legal research is dramatically different than it was in 1998. However, the site’s emphasis on research process and effective electronic research continues to fill a need. It will be fascinating to see what changes the next 15 years will bring.

The site has been renamed The Canadian Legal Research and Writing Guide, and it will stay at legalresearch.org. It will be maintained and expanded by a national editorial board of legal researchers.

The editorial board

  • Melanie Bueckert is Legal Research Counsel with the Manitoba Court of Appeal in Winnipeg. She has written several legal textbooks, teaches Advanced Legal Research at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law, and is also a contributor to Slaw.ca.
  • Maryvon Côté is Acting Head at the Nahum Gelber Law Library at McGill University in Montreal. He is active on the Canadian Association of Law Libraries executive and writes on legal research topics.
  • Yasmin Khan is the Head Librarian at the City of Toronto Law Library. She has just finished a Master’s of Science, Information and Knowledge Strategy from Columbia University.
  • Mandy Ostick is the Manager, Library Services at Bull Housser in Vancouver. She has had previous positions as the Law Librarian at Thompson Rivers University and Director of Library Operations at Courthouse Libraries BC.
  • Jennifer Taylor is a Research Lawyer at Stewart McKelvey in Halifax. She is a regular contributor of case comments for Stewart McKelvey Publications, CanLII Connects, and the CBA’s National Magazine blog, and has published several articles in legal journals and newsletters. She also presents on topics related to legal research within the firm and in the local legal community.

Though the Guide currently focuses on federal and BC law, over the coming months the editorial board will be updating the site and expanding it, with an emphasis on adding more geographically diverse content. One of our own Osgoode students submitted the following unsolicited praise for the Guide:

You should receive the Nobel Prize for your contribution to legal education for your legal research website. It’s awesome in the true sense of the word. At first glance, I was hoping to purchase a hard copy, but as I spent more time on the site it became clear that this was next to impossible — now I fully understand what Marshall McLuhan meant when he said that the age of electronic media spells the end of book. How you put all that information together is beyond comprehension.  It seems like a life’s work.

Many would agree. Ms Best’s work should be recognized and CanLII’s agreement to continue and host the Guide are laudable.