Neale: Citation Analysis of Canadian Case Law

Thom Neale, JD, of the Sunlight Foundation has published Citation Analysis of Canadian Case Law, Journal of Open Access to Law, 1(1) (2013).

Here is the abstract:

This study uses simple statistical and functional analysis in conjunction with network analysis algorithms to examine the network of Canadian caselaw using data supplied by the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII). The analysis reveals that indegree centrality and PageRank scores of caselaw within the network are effective predictors of the frequency with which those cases will be viewed on CanLII’s website. Further, statistical and functional analysis of network rankings of each case over time suggest that cases typically cease to be cited in 3 to 15 years, depending on the jurisdiction, with the exception of Supreme Court of Canada decisions, which persist for 50 years. The study concludes that roughly 19% of Canada Supreme Court cases remain important despite the passage of time, whereas in all other jurisdiction, less than 3% of cases continue to be cited regularly over time.

Earlier this year CanLII published a technical report based on this research.

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