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Free Access to Law in Canada1

  • Daniel Poulin

Today, the level of access to legal information in Canada equals or surpasses that of any country. Not only do several commercial publishers compete to sell their publications but, in recent years, legislatures, many courts and tribunals have built significant repositories on the web. However, the most spectacular advance has come through the creation of CanLII. In this paper, the Daniel Poulin looks at why and how the Free Access to Law (FAL) approach came about in Canada. He sketches the principles supporting free access, but he tries also to make the business case for establishing it.

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Canadian Legal Information Institute CanLII (2007). Annual Report 2007.
Committee on Relations with Information Vendors (2010). A Legal Publishers List: Corporate Affiliations of Legal Publishers, 2nd ed., American Association of Law Librarian.
Mokanov, Ivan, Moncion, Isabelle and Daniel, Poulin (2011). A sustainability model for Free Access to Law, Research Paper. Chaire en information juridique, University of Montreal.
Mokanov, Ivan (2008). 2008 survey: CanLII is the most frequently used electronic legal resource in Canada. CanLII's blog, 2 September 2008, Source:
Poulin, Daniel and Miller, Janine. (2000) CANLII Road Map. Virtual Law Library Committee Report, Federation of Law Societies of Canada.
Poulin, Daniel, Salvas, Bertrand and Pelletier, Frédéric. (2000) La diffusion du droit canadien sur Internet. Revue du Notariat 102, Éditions Yvon Blais, Cowansville, 189 54.
Professional Development and Competence Committee (1998). First Report of the Working Group on Long-Term Delivery of County and District Library Services. Library Services, Law Society of Upper Canada, August 1998.
Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor and United Nations Development Programme (2008). Making the Law Work for Everyone, Vol. I, United Nations Development Programme, New York, NY, 110 pp., available at: (accessed 29 April 2011).
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Legal Information Management
  • ISSN: 1472-6696
  • EISSN: 1741-2021
  • URL: /core/journals/legal-information-management
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