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Legal Research Manual

This edition of Legal Research Manual builds on many previous editions. While the manual is designed principally for use with the first year legal research classes, upper year law students will also find it a useful reference.

WestlawNext Canada - KeyCite

Note Up a Case Name

  1. Click on the tab marked "Find and KeyCite by Name."
  2. Enter the name of the case.  Close matches will appear.
  3. Click on the citation treatment indicator (usually a flag or letter) beside the case name to display the history and citing references.

Note Up a Case Displayed on the Screen

  1. Click on the History tab for the case history; click on the Citing References tab for the judicial consideration.

You can also consult this tutorial on WestlawNext KeyCite.

Search for Judicial Treatment of a Case in a Full-Text Case Database*

*This method is imprecise and should only be used when the other methods do not work. It is best for new cases that may not yet have their judicial treatment entered into Keycite or for unreported cases that may be mentioned in other cases but are not themselves available on WestlawNext Canada.*

  1. On the "All Content" page, Click on "Cases and Decisions."
  2. Go to the Advanced Search template, then type the case name in the 'exact phrase' box. Because case names may be referred to differently in different places, consider variations or a distinctive phrase from the style of cause.
  3. Add a date restriction.  In the Advanced Search template, select All Dates After and enter the date of your decision. (You don't want any cases from before your decision is released, since you're trying to find cases referring to that decision)
  4. Your results will include any mention of the case name you selected. You will need to check your results to make sure they are not referring to a different case of the same name.

Case Treatment Indicators

The following symbols give an indication of the impact subsequent decisions have had on it:

The case may not be good law: the decision has been reversed or has not been followed within the same jurisdiction or by the SCC.

The decision has some negative history or treatment but has not been reversed or overruled.
A yellow flag is also displayed if a treatment has been recently added, and has not yet been editorially analysed.

The decision has some direct history but it is not known to be negative history.

The decision has no direct history, but there are treating cases or other citing references to the decision.

(from WestlawNext Canada)

Case Treatment

The following terms are used to classify how a subsequent case relates to the case being noted up:

Recently Added - Cited case discussed in decision(s) recently added to the service. (Temporary designation)

Followed - Principle of law in cited case adopted or decider's reasoning applied.

Distinguished - Cited case inapplicable because of difference in facts or law.

Not Followed - Cited case expressly overruled, not applied or judged to be bad law. Some consideration given to cited case.

Considered - Some consideration given to cited case.

Referred To - Cited case being referred to without comment.

(from WestlawNext Canada)

Case History

Westlaw Canada outlines the case's history with a graphic view to illustrate the case's progress through court levels.