Friday, September 4, 2009

Patron Story: Researching Case Law at the Public Library

The following story was sent to us from Jenny Fry [clearly a super-librarian!] at Surrey Public Library:

"An animated gentleman named Billy approached me at the Information Desk last night, clutching a bunch of papers. He was going to court in the morning to make a Charter argument and dispute a ticket because the statute of limitations had expired for the Crown to bring this matter to court. He wanted an example of a similar case.

I went to the Surrey Public Library website – Information Online – Popular Websites –
Law & legislation – and I chose CANLII. I selected the BC database, and typed: 'charter argument'.

I got a list of cases, looked for the keywords that most closely matched Billy’s situation and found 2 relevant cases within a couple minutes. I printed them off for him and he was absolutely thrilled and thoroughly appreciative.

So, thanks for making it quite easy for me to fill an urgent legal information request from a desperate patron, who had no chance of finding this information on his own – the court told him to go to the public library to get what he needed and he is computer-illiterate. He was profoundly grateful and his repeated thank-yous lasted almost as long as it took for me to find those two cases to answer his question."

And thank you Jenny, for sharing this story. We welcome any stories that show the impact of accessible legal information. It would be interesting to know if your patron was successful in presenting his case in court, but that may be a story for another day!

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