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Government Law Libraries SIG Profile: The Supreme Court of Canada Library

10 Feb 2021 10:36 AM | Michel-Adrien Sheppard (Administrator)

Discover the Supreme Court of Canada Website

Krisandra Ivings and Emily Ann Da Silva, Reference Librarians, Supreme Court of Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada publishes a wealth of information about cases coming before it on its public website. Below, we describe where you can find information about upcoming hearings, SCC decisions, staying up to date with the Court, and connecting with the SCC Library.

Does your organization have a public website with content that may be useful to our legal research community?  If that is the case, contact Michel-Adrien Sheppard. 

Case information

As it becomes available, information about each case is added to the Cases > SCC Case Information section of the website. Search for a case using the docket/case number, name of a party, or file number from the Court appealed from. Selecting a case number will bring you to the case’s docket. Links on the left-hand side provide further details on the parties and counsel, as well as a summary of the case, memorandums of argument on the application for leave to appeal, factums on appeal, and a recording of the webcast when available.

Before an appeal is heard

Applications for leave to appeal

Most cases must apply for leave to appeal before they can be heard by the SCC. The Court can grant or dismiss this application. Decisions on applications for leave to appeal are available under Cases > Judgments in Leave Applications. The advanced search function allows you to filter applications by jurisdiction, subject, status, and more.

Scheduled hearings

Once an application for leave has been granted, or a case is otherwise permitted to be heard by the SCC, a hearing will be scheduled. The upcoming hearing schedule is available under Cases > Scheduled Hearings. Select the year and month to see a list of cases scheduled indicating whether a hearing will be webcast live and when. Shortly before the hearing, a link to the live stream will appear in the ‘Webcast’ column.

For more information on a scheduled case, click on the case name to view the SCC Case Information page.

After the hearing

Once judgment has been rendered in an appeal, the decision is published on the SCC website simultaneously in both official languages. Decisions are available under Cases > Reasons for judgment. Use the basic search to search by keyword or for additional filters, select Advanced Search and then Show more fields. Advanced search options include Citation, Date, Parties, Judges, Subject and more.

Creating alerts

To monitor new SCC decisions on a particular issue or area of law, create a free lexbox account (maintained by Lexum) and set up an alert feed notifying you when cases are published that match your search criteria. Set up an alert by creating a search using the options on the Advanced Search page, then selecting Set up alert feed on the lexbox menu and following the prompts.

Cases in Brief

Beginning in 2018, for each of the Court’s written decisions, a reader-friendly summary is prepared by the Court’s communications staff and published under Cases > Cases in Brief. The “Case in Brief” is also linked to from the full text of each written decision.

Supreme Court Reports

Several months after a decision is first released, an official print version will be published in the Canada Supreme Court Reports (SCRs) in a side-by-side bilingual format. Digitized versions of the print SCRs are available dating back to their inception in 1878. Search or browse the database of all SCRs under Home > Cases > Decisions and Resources > Canada Supreme Court Reports.

Internet Sources Cited in SCC Judgments

An archive of webpages cited in SCC judgments is available for decisions published between 1998 and 2016 under Library > Internet Sources Cited in SCC Judgments. Since 2017, a link to an archived version of each internet source is provided directly from the Authors Cited section of each judgment.

Staying up to date

Joining the SCC mailing list

Stay up to date by subscribing to the SCC mailing list under Media > News Releases, Decisions and Case Information. Subscribers receive news releases announcing upcoming judgments on leave applications, judgments to be rendered on appeal, and important updates such as practice directions and changes to the Supreme Court Rules. A news release is typically sent out a few days before a judgment is published.

Bulletin of Proceedings

Find out when new appeals may be headed to the SCC by consulting the weekly Bulletin of Proceedings in the searchable database found under Cases > Bulletins of Proceedings. The Bulletin provides details about rulings on motions. Bulletins also include a listing of notices of leave to appeal filed, applications for leave to appeal filed, judgments on applications for leave, and notices to the profession.

Statistics and Year in Review

For annual statistics, including a breakdown of leave to appeal applications filed by subject and jurisdiction, consult the annual Statistical Summary and Year in Review under Cases > Year in Review. New since 2018, the Year in Review presents a visually-based, reader-friendly summary of statistics, significant decisions, and important developments at the Court.

The Supreme Court of Canada Library

Anyone can search the SCC Library’s catalogue, available under Library > Library Catalogue. The catalogue contains all of the Library’s print resources and some electronic resources. Contact information for the SCC Library, interlibrary loan procedures, and more are also available under the Library section of the SCC website.

New Library Titles

Find out when new titles are added to the SCC Library’s collection by viewing the New Library Titles list under Library > New Library Titles and subscribing to our mailing list to receive semimonthly updates.

For more information, we encourage you to explore the SCC website, contact the Library, or take a remote tour of the SCC!

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