Monday, July 21, 2008

Getting court documents when they are first filed

I was on vacation all last week. It was great not to worry about work, and doing my own thing, but all things must come to an end!

Anywas, a couple of weeks ago, just before I went on vacation, we had an interesting question being put to us at the reference desk. The question was how to get court documents that have just been filed in court. An example of this would be a statement of claim from the recently publicized Beirut Canada bank case. We tried to figure this out, and then we asked our chief law librarian, who has experience working at one of the big downtown Toronto firms. He said that in Ontario, there really is no way to get these sorts of things online when they are first issued. What normally happens is that you have to go down to the courthouse to get it. Most of the big firms have people who will run down to the courthouse to get the documents. Apparently, Quebec is one of the few places that have their documents online. You can get them on Azimut/Soquij, I believe. (if you can speak French, well and good!)

It works well for law firm libraries, which is fine as they would really be the only ones who need it most of the time. However, sometimes professors would like to see them as they write about them in articles and other papers. It would be nice if Ontario followed Quebec's lead, and for that matter, all of Canada.

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