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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 05-05-2016, 12:57 PM
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Default What cases are posted on CANLII?

One of the strategies I employ when searching for a lawyer is checking the CANLII website for the cases involving that lawyer and see his/her success rate.

However, it's very confusing when I see a lawyer who has over 20 years of litigation experience appears only 2-3 times on CANLII.

Or another lawyer, who people say is very reputable, appears 10 times on CANLII and lost his case in 8 of them. 80% failure for a reputable lawyer - that's weird.

It looks like only few selected cases are posted on CANLII. Does anybody know how to obtain a full record for a particular lawyer?
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Old 05-05-2016, 03:32 PM
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Most cases don't make it to trial and are settled before. Of the cases that make it to trial only a small percentage are posted to canlii I believe. This would be why you are not finding many cases for particular lawyers.


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Old 05-05-2016, 09:44 PM
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a small percent of cases heard by judges make it to canlii.

if I were to evaluate a lawyer based on their canlii record (which I think is a good idea) I would look for their record when dealing with cases as similar as possible to yours, cases they have plead before your trial judge ...

I would also look at how many times they lose when representing women and how many times they win representing men because those are indicative of skill level. men losing and women winning in family court is the default so it doesn't say much
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Old 05-06-2016, 11:20 AM
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Follow-up...

Is there a Canlii on steroids? A place to find all court cases related to everything ever? Do I need to go to City Hall for this kind of database?
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Old 05-06-2016, 02:29 PM
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Thank you Links17. That's what I exactly do
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Old 05-06-2016, 02:32 PM
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I found their phone number and called yesterday. Indeed, not all cases make it to CANLII.
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:50 PM
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As other's have stated not all cases make it to CanLII. That said, looking at the 'win/lose' ratio isn't that helpful. This is for many reasons:

The facts are the facts. A great lawyer can help where there are difficult facts, but if the client has unreasonable expectations relative to those facts it's not going to matter.

Bad instructions tie the hands of some lawyers. Sometimes lawyers are very firm with how they handle bad instructions (they'll fire the client) other lawyer's proceed to trial knowing it's a foregone conclusion.


A better avenue would be to look for comments from the judge about the quality of the advocacy. If a judge notes that the lawyer was helpful or advocated with skill this is an excellent complement from the bench. The lawyer may have lost but his/her efforts were effective in the circumstances. Likewise if the bench criticizes a lawyer, you might want to heed the warning.

Of course judges are people too, so don't let comments alone decide who you work with, but 'winning' or 'losing' is too simplistic.
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Old 05-06-2016, 07:02 PM
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Also note that having a lawyer who is good in a courtroom does not mean they are good at the other stuff (negotiation, encouraging settlement, paperwork, communication etc). If you dont want to go to court or expect to end up in court then having that lawyer isnt great.
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Old 05-06-2016, 09:42 PM
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I will always believe that a person is smart to talk to people who have retained the lawyer in the past (win or lose).

I checked my lawyer out with the law school that he graduated from and talked to his peers in the profession. He was a young, relatively inexperienced lawyer but I managed to get a wealth of information prior to retaining him. I don't believe he even knows that I checked him out this thoroughly.

Retaining the right lawyer is one of the most important decisions one can make. Prior to retaining a lawyer I canvassed other women who had gone through divorces and asked their opinions on important things to look for. Many said that having a lawyer who returns your phone calls in a reasonable amount of time was important; others said that receiving monthly detailed bills (so there are no surprises) was important.

Before retaining the lawyer you should simply go to court and watch them in action. You can observe how they are received by the judge, how they present themselves and relate to the opposing counsel.

At the end of the day you will probably spend more money than you had ever dreamed of....
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Old 05-06-2016, 09:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ensorcelled View Post
Follow-up...

Is there a Canlii on steroids? A place to find all court cases related to everything ever? Do I need to go to City Hall for this kind of database?
Yes there is, these are what lawyers pay the big bucks for. Other cases which are even sometiems referred to in CanLii but they are in other resources. As time goes on canlii is pretty damn good and I think its vgetting better. Lawyers also pay for having all the "important" cases organized and pointed out.

In Quebec there is an organization that provides annual summaries of the "state of jurisprudence" points to all the current "standarrds"
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