Isthatlegal.ca Mission Statement "To create and maintain exhaustive online Ontario and Canadian-based legal resources."
Happy New Year!I'm writing this on an ambiguous winter day, dark and only tentatively dipping below zero - no snow accumulation to speak of.
The brief history of the Isthatlegal website is that I started writing exhaustive legal 'Guides' (really, online textbooks) 30 years ago in the areas of my initial interests - which were social assistance, tenancy and employment law. The Guides eventually expanded to about 15 different topics, most of which are still being maintained. Then in about 2015 I started daily case-extracting from the main Canadian and Ontario appeal courts, something which has continued and expanded to date. Now, I regularly review all the cases from the four Canadian and Ontario appeal courts [Supreme Court of Canada, Federal Court of Appeal, Ontario Court of Appeal, Ontario Divisional Court] for interesting and useful 'dicta' from our hard-working and conscientious judges.
Over time, the natural process of organizing these dicta into topical categories has resulted in rich new resources - which is what you will largely find in the 190+ sidebar topics [see 'Topics']. What you have here is basically an extracted summary of what the appeal courts have considered over the past 5-8 years, growing daily. As well, two years ago I expanded case-extracting to include all legal topics from these courts - even things like patents, criminal law and much of the federal areas that I haven't practiced in regularly. I found legal thoroughness to be more satisfying, much more consistent with the innate obsession that drives most legal writers - and most lawyers for that matter.
Lately, I've started to include (and update) the related statutes and regulations in the major topics, for instance the 'evidence' and 'administrative law' topics - and now (in progress) the large 'civil litigation' topic, with the addition of the Courts of Justice Act and the key Rules of Civil Procedure. As well, given the ever-growing nature of administrative law I've got plans to integrate the many tribunals with their numerous rule-sources as well.
I cherish the law and it's role in preserving democracy, but as a legal professional feel shame that it is so undeniably inaccessible to our citizenry in wide swaths. So I'm likely going to continue in these 'megalomaniacal' legal paths for the foreseeable future.
Simon Shields, Lawyer
01 January 2024