Refining your noting up techniques

Have you ever wanted to find cases that deal with a specific section of a case, but don’t want to waste your time looking through all the cases that cite your case? Here are some tips to do just that:

If you want to note up a particular paragraph on CanLII, look for the text box to the right of the case paragraph that interests you.

The example below is taken from Dunsmuir v. New Brunswick, 2008 SCC 9.

The number in the box gives the number of cases that cite paragraph 9. Click on the box, and it will open up different functionalities. Click on "Citing documents" it will take you to the list of cases that mention paragraph 9.

On Quicklaw and Westlaw there is no automatic way to do this, but there’s a partial workaround. Select some consecutive words in the paragraph that are likely to be cited. The words should be distinct enough so as not to appear exactly in the same way in any other case and short enough that a search engine can handle the search. Try 5 to 8 words. Then do a phrase search in a full text database. In Westlaw select Cases, use the Advanced Search function and enter the terms in the "This exact phrase" search box. In Quicklaw select cases, use the Advanced Search function and put quotation marks around the phrase.

With thanks to CanLII's Sarah Sutherland and Ken Fox of the Law Society of Saskatchewan