Six degrees of Kevin Bacon – or how to link the actor to any court decision

Check out Wikipedia’s  article on the party game of connecting any 2 actors (one of which is typically Kevin Bacon) to each other through no more than six pairings.  The game has many variations, so why not one for Canadian law? 

Without typing a word and using less than six clicks of CanLII’s new search accelerator, can we connect Kevin Bacon to, for example, CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada, the 2004 Supreme Court of Canada decision on fair dealing in copyright material?

Yes.  Yes we can. 

Click 1.  Highlight the words “Kevin Bacon” from the Wikipedia page to reveal the accelerator option of launching the CanLII search of the highlighted terms. 





Click 2. The first click opened up a new tab with a case involving a different Kevin Bacon. Now, highlight and click the words “was responsible” from the snippet of the decision text included in the results from the first click.  Why choose “was responsible”?  No reason other than it seems like a good phrase that will link with a lot of other case results.  Kind of like using Morgan Freeman, Ben Stiller or someone who is in a LOT of movies when playing the regular Kevin Bacon game.







Click 3.  Ok, things get a little trickier here with 17 350 results.  We need to sift but to win the game we also need to economize our clicks.  One option is to not count clicks that narrow the results – such as by clicking “none” under “legislation” and under “boards and tribunals” in order to limit the results to court cases, and then to select only “CA” under jusrisdiction and “appeal” under “Courts” to further narrow the decisions to Federal and SCC appeals.  Sure, you could get the result faster, but it’s not in keeping with the spirit of the game unless these clicks count. 

While I could use my third click to sort the results according to “most cited” or “decision date” in the hopes that those decisions carrying greater judicial weight or the most recent top 25 showing on the page are more likely to provide useful jump off points to my destination, I refrain.  But I’m in luck!  I scan down to number 14 on the list and see the word “dealing” – that’s pretty close to “fair dealing” so I will make this my third click!!






Click 4.  O.k., I now have 193 654 results but I am undaunted!!! Why?  Because I smell victory!  Scrolling down the list of results there it is.  Right between Snow White at #16 and Sidoti at #18:


So with a triumphant 4th click, I reach my destination with 2 clicks to spare.

So let it be known based on the evidence before you that Kevin Bacon can indeed be linked to any Canadian court case in six clicks or less!

What GI Joe Taught Me About Access to Justice


Back in the 80’s – well before the availability of such innovative distractions and time wasters as the internet, Netflix, DisneyXD or PVRs – the late afternoon viewing options for pre-teen couch-potatoes were pretty sparse.  Worse still, most of what was available often tried to impart important life lessons to impressionable young minds.  Anyone remember the ABC After School Specials?

Some of those lessons must have stuck, because I can no longer hear someone say “now I know” (or some such) without reflexively adding the GI Joe inspired response:  “and knowing is half the battle!”

So it goes with access to justice and attempts to understand the law in times of need.  … [read the rest at]