Monday, February 09, 2009

New Superior Courts of BC Website

The BC Superior Courts (Supreme Court and Court of Appeal) recently relaunched their website. The new site is colourful, clean, and incorporates photos from courthouses across the province.

Some notable improvements and features:
  • Neutral search template right on the homepage
  • Decisions open in new tabs
  • User can choose to view the case as is or with search terms highlighted
  • Browse decisions by name, neutral cite, date
  • Advanced search template lets you search by judge/master, neutral cite, full text, date, registry, docket number, and court level
  • Boolean searches are supported; the default is a phrase search
  • Judge/Master field offers drop-down choices for last names
  • Advanced operators include wildcards (asterisk), proximity searching, Boolean (though you must spell out AND, OR, and NOT -- i.e., an ampersand for AND will not work)

All in all, the site looks fresh and modern. There's only one thing left on my wishlist: site search.

While the judgment search function has been greatly improved, there's still no site search. With such a wealth of information contained in the court's non-judgment subpages (for instance, FAQs, lists of judges, annual reports, links, practice directions, etc.), it's a shame that users are forced to browse, and don't have the option to search.

One last note: The new BC Courts site renders better in IE and Safari than in Firefox, but searching appears to work fine across all three.

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