Legal Research Tools

The following resources can guide you in the process of investigating a legal issue as well as providing a starting point for your legal research.

For sources of Alberta case law and legislation, see the Laws of Alberta - Cases section.

For dictionaries, see the section Legal Definitions.


Suggested Resources

This tipsheet give an outline of how to tell if the legal information you are looking at is jurisdictionally correct, up-to-date, and provided by a reliable source,

Related legal topic(s): Legal research, Self-representation

Canada/Federal

This online resource is written and maintained by Catherine Best, a research lawyer with Boughton Law Corporation in Vancouver, British Columbia, and former Director of Legal Research and Writing at the UBC Faculty of Law. It features information on research essentials (strategy, methods and writing), electronic research (using free and commercial services), and statutory and jurisdiction research.

Related legal topic(s): Legal research

Subtitle: Legal Research Principles and CanLII Navigation for Self-Represented Litigants. This publication from the National Self-Represented Litigants Project is a guide to the use of the freely available online database of case law and legislation from the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII). The guide also provides an introduction to the Canadian legal system and the process of legal research. This PDF (48 pages, 2015) is available for free download.

Related legal topic(s): Legal research, Self-representation

The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) is a not-for-profit organization initiated by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. CanLII's goal is to make primary sources of Canadian law accessible for free on the Internet. CanLII seeks to gather legislative and judicial texts, as well as legal commentaries, from federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions on a single Web site.

Related legal topic(s): Courts and court judgments, Legal research, Legislative materials

This webpage from Ted Tjaden's Legal Research and Writing website provides access to information about and links to Canadian case law, as well as  links for those jurisdictions that provide online access to court dockets.

Related legal topic(s): Courts and court judgments

Ted Tjaden is a lawyer/law librarian working as the Coordinator, Information Services at the Bora Laskin Law Library at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, where he teaches legal research and writing to law students. His online guide provides information and links to print and online resources about the Canadian legal system, primary and secondary legal resources, legal organizations and publishers, and offers a section categorized by legal topic.

Related legal topic(s): Legal research

The Great Library serves the legal information needs of Law Society members and other legal researchers by facilitating access to an extensive collection of print and electronic resources, and by providing legal research assistance and instruction.

Related legal topic(s): Online legal journals

Human Rights in Canada: A Historical Perspective

The Canadian Human Rights Commission website on the evolution of human rights in 20th Century Canada. Explores the key court cases and laws that have shaped human rights in our country since 1900.

Related legal topic(s): Human rights, Legal history

This page from Justice Canada provides links to reference sources on the Canadian justice system, legislation, the courts, and other public justice institutions.
Related legal topic(s): Civil law

These online research guides are provided by the University of Calgary and include: University of Calgary Law Library Research Guides; Other Canadian Research Guides; Non-Canadian Legal Research Guides; Internet Research Guides; Abbreviations; and Legal Citation guides.

Related legal topic(s): Legal research

Legaltree.ca is a collaboratively built website with research resources maintained by the site administrators, and legal literature contributed by lawyers in the Canadian legal community. They also provide a directory of Canadian lawyers.

Related legal topic(s): Lawyers, Legal research

LEGISinfo is an essential research tool for finding information on legislation before Parliament. This tool provides electronic access to a wide range of information about each bill, such as:  details on the passage of the bill through the Senate and House of Commons; the text of the bill as introduced at First Reading and its most recent version if it is amended during the legislative process; votes; major speeches at second reading; coming into force data; legislative summaries from the Parliamentary Information and Research Service of the Library of Parliament; and government press releases and backgrounders (for government bills). LEGISinfo is a collaborative effort of the Senate, the House of Commons and the Library of Parliament.

Related legal topic(s): Legislative materials

From the Great Library of the Law Society of Upper Canada, this guide provides annotated links to case law as well as case-related services and information available mainly on the websites of Canadian courts and administrative tribunals.

Related legal topic(s): Courts and court judgments, Legal research

This guide, prepared by the Bora Laskin Law Library, explains how to conduct legal research in Canada. It is aimed at the first-time legal researcher and will be most useful if the steps and sources in the guide are followed in the order given. The "Where to Go" section is specific to Ontario, but the rest of the guide is appropriate for any jurisdiction.

Related legal topic(s): Legal research

Created and maintained by the University of Toronto Centre of Criminology Library, this database includes citations to academic and practitioner literature from 1970 to the present. It is updated and maintained on a regular basis and presently includes more than 1,400 records.
Related legal topic(s): Law libraries, Restorative justice

TERMIUM Plus® is the Government of Canada's terminology and linguistic data bank. It is a trilingual data bank that gives the precise English, French or Spanish equivalent to designate anything from a simple tool or a complex machine, to a disease or plant, association or committee. Almost every field of human endeavour is covered; a unilingual data bank that can be used to check the meaning of a specialized term or find the meaning of a term in a leading-edge field; and a writing assistance tool that provides access to 16 electronic resources.

Related legal topic(s): Classroom materials, Legal research

British Columbia Courthouse Library Society have some new video tutorials, which demonstrate research techniques. Learn how to trace federal legislation back in time, note up legislation, and research legislative intent.

Related legal topic(s): Legal research

International

This electronic resource guide, often called the ERG, has been published online by ASIL since 1997. Since then it has been systematically updated and continuously expanded. The chapter format of the ERG is designed to be used by students, teachers, practitioners and researchers as a self-guided tour of relevant, quality, up-to-date online resources covering important areas of international law. The ERG also serves as a ready-made teaching tool at graduate and undergraduate levels.
Related legal topic(s): International law, Legal research

GlobaLex is an electronic legal publication dedicated to international and foreign law research. Published by the Hauser Global Law School Program at NYU School of Law, GlobaLex is committed to the dissemination of high-level international, foreign, and comparative law research tools in order to accommodate the needs of an increasingly global educational and practicing legal world. The guides and articles published are written by scholars well known in their respective fields and are recommended as a legal resource by universities, library schools, and legal training courses.

Related legal topic(s): International law, Legal research

Research assistance, subject guides, and useful resources compiled by the NATO librarians. Use the tabs to navigate through the individual guides. Topics include: Arctic Security; Cyberspace Security; Maritime Security; Missile Defence; Women, Peace and Security; NATO's New Strategic Concept; Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan; and Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.

Related legal topic(s): International law, Legal research, Maritime law, Military law