The CanLII Primer

The CanLII Primer

The NSRLP is proud to launch our latest resource for SRLs

NSRLP CanLII Primer V1 English

NSRLP CanLII Primer V1 French

The CanLll Primer: Legal Research Principles and CanLII Navigation for Self-Represented Litigants is the result of innumerable hours of research and drafting by NSRLP Research Assistant Tamara Thomas, who worked with Julie to develop the Primer. Tamara says this about what she learned from the experience, and what motivated her to spend so much time and passion on this project.

“The CanLII Primer aims to help SRLs develop a basic understanding of how to operate CanLII in a straightforward and effective way. CanLII is a wonderful resource because it is open to anyone to use – no fees, no commitments – but it can also be frustrating to operate. Of course, I say that coming from the privileged position of having taken classes specifically on legal research and writing in law school…

I realized fairly quickly into this process – and I got a really good appreciation of this as a result of creating the Primer – that the legal system is one created by and dependent upon inaccessible and unintuitive language, and trying to access and understand the legal research process without properly understanding that language throws up yet another barrier to SRLs. Writing the Primer required that I completely deconstruct everything that I knew in a way that we are not taught in law school. ”How do I explain this in a way someone without a legal education can understand?’ ‘What does this term mean in every day language?’ ‘What do I need to first explain before I can explain what this other term means?’ Every question gave birth to five more, and the hardest part was knowing when and where to stop.

It was a challenging task – but if the CanLII Primer can help even just one person navigate the legal research process with a bit more ease, if it can take away even just a little of the stress that SRLs experience when going through the legal process…well, then it has done its job. And that makes it all worthwhile.”

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