Maritime Law Book (9766758 Canada Inc. operating as Maritime Law Book) is an independent, Canadian-owned and operated publisher of primary law. It receives decisions from Canadian courts and provides online research and integration tools to facilitate access to that content. In 2017, MLB will expand its primary law content to include decisions of Canadian tribunals as well as Canadian statutes and regulations.History
Founded in 1969 by Eric Appleby as Maritime Law Book Ltd., the company launched as an independent regional case law reporter. Over time, MLB added regional reporters in all provinces outside Quebec; it created important national reporter series; and it developed a unique and much-loved topical Key Number System covering all the content in its collection.
With many jurisdictions lacking official case law reporters, the following MLB collections were often treated, and occasionally explicitly designated, as “semi-official” reports. Reproductions of and citations to the MLB collections have been accepted by courts across the country, in most cases since the inception of each report series.
The MLB Key Number System applied Topic and sub-topic numbers to each case in the collection (e.g., Administrative Law with sub-topics specific to Natural Justice). This permitted topical Key Number-based searching within print and electronic collections.
No less creative on the digital side, MLB was the first to include digital diskettes of its reported case law in the cover of its print reporters; it was the first to transition to the world wide web as its digital platform; and it was the first commercial provider to make a substantial body of unedited case law available online at no charge through its Raw Law service.Present, Scope of Databases at 2016 and Future Plans
Operating under new ownership since November 1, 2016, Maritime Law Book is set to once again lead a revolution in case law access and legal research. It re-launched in December 2016 with a world-class legal information processing engine that leverages cutting edge natural language process technology to make research easier and more efficient.
Reflecting the changing expectations of users, one where researchers prioritize comprehensiveness over searching a curated collection built on an editor’s determination of cases deemed authoritative, Maritime Law Book has discontinued its case law reporters and will concurrently seek to dramatically expand the depth and breadth of its case law databases.
As of November 2016, the collection contained over 350,000 cases from all Canadian jurisdictions except Quebec.
As of November 2016, court coverage includes all provincial, superior, territorial and appellate courts with the exception of the B.C. Provincial Court and the Ontario Court of Justice (current and historical collections of both will be added in 2017).
As of November 2016, the collection also includes over 1,000 leading House of Lords, Supreme Court, and Privy Council cases from the United Kingdom.
In respect of Canadian English-language case coverage, we anticipate achieving parity with other common online databases. We note that for the courts we covered prior to 2017, we are already above 90% of parity with CanLII.
For new additions, we are discontinuing MLB proprietary citations in favour of adopting the neutral citation assigned by the court and identifying parallel citations as well where available. Where historical case law is added, only neutral and parallel citations will be provided where available. As the primarily utility of a citation is to provide a path to finding the referenced case, there is little value in carrying on the practice of developing proprietary citation in a world where online databases prevail and where the databases of each provider will eventually contain all the same cases.
Maritime Law Book believes that the value of a research platform should be measured by the ease with which it gets the user to the information they need. To that end, our future-focused approach is to develop a comprehensive collection of primary law that serves as a foundational element to all manner of legal research. Accordingly, beyond our work in serving users directly, through things like legal analytics, extensive metadata tagging and the creation of points of network and content interconnection, we are committed to working with and supporting players and innovators across public sector, public interest, and legal publishing and technology domains to integrate current and historical case law into the tools and services they create.