Canada’s First-Ever Legal Website


Legal professionals are both creators and users of legal information. To practice their profession properly, these professionals must have up-to-date and reliable access to the decisions of the highest jurisdiction in the country.

The Challenge

Prior to the early 1990s, Supreme Court decisions were available either in hard copy from the Court Registry or by subscribing for a fee to the Canada Supreme Court Reports, often published with a delay of many months, or, alternatively, by subscribing to costly commercial online services. The information was not making it to end users in a cost-and time-efficient manner.

Lexum partnered up with the Supreme Court to provide users, including legal professionals, with easier, more affordable access to the Court’s decisions. At a time when accessing a decision online could cost several hundred dollars, Lexum designed a website that would offer access for free. This site has been operating now for over 20 years and, thanks to constant delivery of first-rate material, has become a highly trusted source of legal information across the country.
Today, Lexum’s site for the decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada is published with the permission of the Court.

“The Supreme Court of Canada has long valued its partnership with Lexum, which has placed us at the forefront of appeal Courts which make their judgments available via the Internet. We are pleased with Lexum’s responsiveness to upgrading the website and improving the ability to link between judgments, and look forward to a long and productive relationship with Lexum.”
– Supreme Court of Canada

The Solution

Lexum developed a Supreme Court of Canada decision website that provides free access to all recent Supreme Court decisions. Over the years, the historical scope of the decision database has been extended to include all Supreme Court of Canada judgments since its creation in 1875 and judgments in leave applications since 2006. Decisions are made available in HTML and PDF formats. Advance search features provide users with a number of search fields to locate decisions, news releases and bulletins. The most recent documents are made accessible directly from the home page, where side boxes post new additions to the site. Decisions can also be browsed by Supreme Court Report volume, date, neutral citation, case name and subject matter.

The Supreme Court of Canada decision website was at the forefront of the Free Access to Law Movement in Canada. Launched in 1992 and maintained by Lexum to this day, the Supreme Court of Canada decision website was one of the first of its kind and helped change the way legal information would be accessed in Canada in the years that followed. Today, lawyers, judges, students and the general public alike benefit from boundary-free access to the information they need.

Since 2012, the website has been run using Decisia, Lexum’s software solution for online publishing of court and tribunal decisions.