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Use finding tools

After assessing and analysing the cases uncovered during your initial research, you need to review your characterization of the issues again and refine your research strategy.

You do not have to follow every step in this strategy for every issue. For some issues, you will discover the leading cases early on: the bulk of your time will be spent analyzing those cases rather than trying to find more cases. However, often you will need to continue searching for the most relevant cases using the next set of finding tools.

What are pure finding tools?

Most of the secondary sources described in the previous section are narrative sources, which perform the dual function of providing summaries and analysis of the law, and helping you to find other relevant primary and secondary sources. They are valuable as finding tools, but often are neither comprehensive nor current.

Reporter indices, digest servicescase citators and words and phrases sources are additional tools for finding relevant cases.  After reviewing commentary and conducting full text research in the case law, you may need to continue your research using some of these finding tools. These tools contain no commentary on or analysis of the law: they simply help you locate relevant case law.

Words and phrases research

Your research may turn on the meaning of a particular word or phrase in a statute or contract. There is a specialised body of research tools designed to assist with finding the meaning of words and phrases. The first tools to check are those covering judicial interpretation of words and …

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Case digests

Why use digests

Digests are best used after consulting commentary and performing some full text searches of the case law. They are particularly useful in the following circumstances:

  • To find cases with similar facts or dealing with a similar issue.
  • Where the topical sources for the subject area are poor.
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Case reporters and indices

Reporter indices

Reporter indices can be a useful research tool, although they have been largely supplanted by full text electronic databases.

  • You may want to review the subject index for a case reporter series where your electronic research has not yielded good results, or if you do not have electronic
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Topical case reporters

This list contains topical collections of case law in print and electronic format.  Those published in print format are displayed below with an abbreviation after the reporter name.  Availability in electronic format for each topical collection is shown in the right column.

Aboriginal Law

Aboriginal Law Cases QL Canadian Native… Read More