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Recent judgments

The easiest way to stay current is to have relevant law pushed to you through alert services or RSS feeds.

  • CanLII users can subscribe to an RSS feed for individual courts, that will notify the user of all decisions released by that court as they are added to CanLII. They can also subscribe to an RSS feed for any query run on CanLII, that alerts them each time a document is added to CanLII which meets their search criteria. For example, you can track any cases added to CanLII that cite a particular case, or cases that deal with a particular issue such as waiver of tort.
  • The commercial publishers allow you to set up alerts that re-run a search at intervals chosen by you, and deliver new results. The benefit of these is that they are customized to respond to a particular research query. However, each time the search is run there is a notional charge.
Quicklaw LawSource CanLII
Case law Saved searches will periodically run search to check for new cases, based on parameters set by the user WestClip will periodically run search to check for new cases, based on parameters set by the user RSS feed for new cases that respond to saved search query, or for all cases from selected courts
Judicial consideration QuickCite Alert can be programmed to periodically check for new judicial consideration of cases or legislation, based on parameters set by the user KeyCite Alert can be programmed to periodically check for new judicial consideration of cases or legislation, based on parameters set by the user RSS feed can alert user to new judicial consideration

Another way to ensure your case law research is current, is to run a search in the full text case collections of LawSource, Quicklaw or CanLII. When you do this, be sure to rank your documents by date to ensure that the most recent ones appear first.

  • The default ranking method on Quicklaw is relevancy ranking, and it can easily be changed in your results list to rank by date, court or jurisdiction.
  • The default ranking method on WestlawNext Canada is relevancy ranking. Results can be re-sorted by chronological order.
    • Because of the “best match” method used by the search engine, the cases that appear at the top when using sort methods other than relevancy may be highly irrelevant. To avoid this, conduct a Boolean search within your results using the “Search with results” filter. That will narrow the results before you re-sort. That way you get the benefit of the plain language search for the relevancy sort, and can get better results from the other sort methods.
  • The default ranking method on CanLII is relevance, and it can easily be changed in your results list to rank by date or citation frequency.

Legislative change

For a more detailed consideration of currency in legislative research, see the section on Statutory Research.

CanLII Quickscribe Legislative Pulse
Free RSS feed for amendments to all legislation or selected statutes and regulations from all Canadian jurisdictions, and a compare feature to show changes between versions. Free RSS feed for amendments to all BC legislation or to selected statutes and regulations. Only subscribers can view the highlighted legislation. Subscription service for updating status of bills and changes to regulations.

Commentary

For commentary on the most recent case law, check the Canadian Law Firm Websites, Blogs & Journals or Fee Fie Foe Firm Canada, where you can search within the websites of leading Canadian law firms. Law firm newsletters often publish very timely commentary on notable recent cases.

The Bora Laskin Law Library Weblog publishes a monthly list of new Canadian legal periodicals with links to their tables of contents.

Other current awareness services

There are several Canadian publications and news sources to help keep your legal knowledge current.

  • The Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia publishes digests of British Columbia cases weekly through an Internet-based service.  This is a subscription service. The CLE website also includes commentary on recent decisions and announcements of important legislation.
  • Summaries of recent BC Court of Appeal judgments are available on the BC Superior Courts website.
  • Supreme Advocacy LLP publishes the SupremeAdvocacyLett@r, providing email summaries of recent decisions of the SCC.
  • Courthouse Libraries BC maintains current awareness services on its website, called The Stream and New and Notable, available through RSS feed.
  • LawSource provides to its subscribers recent case summaries from the Abridgment Case Digests in several subject areas.
  • Quicklaw publishes NetLetters in several subject areas. LawNet on Quicklaw contains recent significant cases, available through RSS feed.
  • Lawyer’s Weekly is primarily a print publication, but excerpts are available free of charge from the Lawyer’s Weekly website and can be subscribed to through an RSS feed.
  • The Canadian Bar Association publishes PracticeLink, available through RSS feed.
  • There are several Canadian legal blogs to which you can subscribe by RSS feed.
  • News feeds from federal government departments are available by RSS feed.
  • News feeds from the BC government are available by RSS feed.
  • Most Canadian legal publishers have an RSS feed listing their new publications. See LegalPubs.ca for an aggregation of those feeds.

 

References

Using RSS to Create and Enhance Current Awareness Services

10 Top Uses for RSS in Law Firms

Statute revisions

Traditionally, a general revision of the Alberta statutes takes place every 15 to 20 years. Alberta’s statutes were last revised in accordance with the Statute Revision Act, RSA 2000, c S-19, in 2000.

The purpose of a revision was to consolidate all amendments to the statutes since the last revision and to improve clarity in numbering the statutes. This is done by making non-substantive changes in wording, style, and organization. The Statute Revision Act now grants the Legislative Counsel Division broad powers to update as necessary.

Statutes introduced between general revisions were cited by reference to the year in which they were enacted (e.g., SA 1968) until they became incorporated in a general revision (e.g., RSA 2000). Statutes introduced after the revision in 2000 are still referenced by the year in which they were enacted (e.g., SA 2016).

Finding statutory provisions

There are many different tools for locating relevant statutory provisions. These include:

  • conducting an electronic search of the text of the statutes
  • reviewing text books, encyclopedias, and periodical articles on your topic
  • reviewing commercial statutes compilations on your topic, which may have detailed indices
  • finding references to statutory provisions within relevant cases
  • scanning the names of the statutes

There are several electronic versions of the Alberta Statutes, which can be accessed by full text searching.

Queen’s Printer (free access to the statutes): The Alberta Queen’s Printer contains a searchable current consolidation of the Alberta statutes and regulations, publishes legislative history tables, and provides links to previous versions of some legislation. The Alberta Queen’s Printer home page links to legislative research tools on the Legislative Assembly website, including Hansard (from 1906), bills (from 1906), and bill status tables (from 1989).

CanLII (free access to the statutes): CanLII.org contains the amended updated consolidated statutes of Alberta, with amendments back to February 2003. It is updated regularly from the Queen’s Printer website. The legislation can be searched in full text, and earlier versions can be compared side-by-side with later versions to identify changes made during amendments. There is also an automatically generated note-up feature created using Reflex.

Quicklaw: Quicklaw publishes the current consolidation of Alberta’s statutes with regulations in Alberta Statutes and Regulations. It also includes detailed legislative history information. QuickCite includes judicial consideration of legislation.

WestlawNext Canada: Westlaw publishes the current consolidation of Alberta’s statutes and select regulations. KeyCite includes judicial consideration of legislation with extensive historical coverage.

QP Source Professional:  QP Source Professional is a paid subscription service that includes statutes, regulations, and rules of court. It includes annual statute volumes since 1996 and point in time statutes back to Jan 1, 2002.

Our Future, Our Past: The Alberta Heritage Digitization Project: Our Future, Our Past: The Alberta Heritage Digitization Project is an initiative of Alberta libraries and the Law Foundation of Alberta provides free access to historical legislation from 1877 to 1990.

LLMC Digital: LLMC Digital Law Library is a paid subscription service that publishes electronic versions of older revisions of the Revised Statutes of Alberta.

HeinOnline:  HeinOnline is a paid subscription service that publishes electronic versions of older revisions of the Revised Statutes of Alberta.

Finding amendments

Once you have located a statutory provision, you must ensure that it is current. There are a variety of ways to find amendments to an Alberta statute.

  • Your first step should be to check the date to which the consolidation you are using is current. If you are using an electronic version of the statutes, always check the scope note for the electronic version.
  • Use the Alberta Queen’s Printer to check the information table for the statute in question. It will list amendments and provide information about whether and when the amendments came into force.
  • QP Source Professional highlights recent amendments to statutes.
  • To receive notification of amendments to Alberta legislation, subscribe to an RSS feed. CanLII allows you to subscribe to a feed for an individual statute or regulation, or for all amendments. QP Source Professional also offers RSS feeds, through a paid subscription.

Finding legislative history

To conduct effective research, and particularly to look for judicial consideration of a statutory provision, you need to know its prior year, chapter, and section numbers. You can usually obtain this information (back to the last revision) from historical notes at the end of each section of the revised statutes. This is the system employed in all prior Alberta revisions and in other Canadian jurisdictions.

This legislative history information is published in information tables on the Alberta Queen’s Printer site, in the older print consolidations of the legislation, and directly under the section by commercial publishers such as Quicklaw. To see legislative history information about a statute on the Alberta Queen’s Printer site, locate the statute in the alphabetical listing, then click on the Information Table link for the statute. These information tables generally stretch back to the 1989, and include information about any subsequent amendments. QP Source Professional includes a Table of Public Statutes showing all Acts in the Revised Statutes of Alberta 2000 and all amendments that were enacted or came into force starting Dec 31, 2000. It is also possible to order printed copies of the current consolidation of the Alberta statutes, regulations and sessional volumes from the Alberta Queen’s Printer.

To learn more about the legislative history of a provision, look for Hansard debates of the bill while it was in the process of being enacted.  Hansard can be searched back to 1958 on the Legislative Assembly website. An excellent resource for Hansard research dated prior to 1958 is the Alberta Scrapbook Hansard Collection at the University of Alberta Rutherford North Library, located on the 2nd floor, which contains newspaper clippings that cover all the legislature proceedings dating back to 1906.

Citing a statute

The citation for a statute varies depending on whether you are citing to a revision, or to a sessional volume. For a citation to the Revised Statutes of Alberta, you would use the term “RSA”. If you are citing to a sessional volume, you would use “SA”. If you are citing section 1 of chapter A120 of the 2000 re-enacted statutes, the citation is as follows:

The Arbitration Act, RSA 2000, c A120, s 1.

If you are citing to the version of that Act that was passed in 2016, after the re-enactment in 2000, the citation is as follows:

The Arbitration Act, SA 2016, c 4, s 1.

Instead of RSA (for Revised Statutes of Alberta) you use SA (for Statutes of Alberta). The year and chapter number are both different. In this case the section number is the same, but often the section numbering will change.

There is often confusion about whether you need to cite all amendments when you cite a statutory provision. The Interpretation Act specifies that any citation to an enactment in legislation is deemed to include all amendments to that enactment. The Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation provides that citations are presumed to be to the statute as amended. It is therefore not necessary to include amendment information in court submissions. However, if a specific amendment is relevant to a point being discussed, it should be cited. Different rules apply to statute citations in contracts, as the court generally looks to the parties’ intention at the time the contract is made.

Statute revisions

Traditionally, a general revision of the Manitoba statutes took place every 15 to 20 years. However, there has not been a general revision since Manitoba’s statutes were re-enacted in 1987, in response to the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Re Manitoba Language Rights, [1985] 1 SCR 721.

The purpose of a general revision was to consolidate all amendments to the statutes since the last revision, and to improve the statutes by making non-substantive changes in wording, style and organisation. Now that consolidation occurs on an ongoing basis (known as the Continuing Consolidation of the Statutes of Manitoba, or CCSM), and legislative counsel have been given broader powers to make editorial corrections, general revisions will likely occur less often.

Traditionally, statutes introduced between general revisions were cited by reference to the year in which they were enacted (e.g., SM 1968) until they became incorporated in a general revision (e.g., RSM 1970).

Finding statutory provisions

There are many different tools for locating relevant statutory provisions. These include:

  • conducting an electronic search of the text of the statutes
  • reviewing text books, encyclopedias, and periodical articles on your topic
  • reviewing commercial statutes compilations on your topic, which may have detailed indices
  • finding references to statutory provisions within relevant cases
  • scanning the names of the statutes

There are several electronic versions of the Manitoba statutes, which can be used for full text searches of the statutes and regulations.

Manitoba Laws free access to the statutes: Manitoba Laws contains a searchable current consolidation of the Manitoba statutes and regulations, and also publishes legislative history tables and provides links to previous versions of some legislation. In respect of some content, the Manitoba Laws home page links to legislative research tools on the Legislative Assembly website, including Hansard (from 1958), bills (from 1999), and bill status tables (from 1999).

CanLII free access to the statutes: CanLII.org contains the Continuing Consolidation of the Statutes of Manitoba, with amendments back to June 2003. It is updated regularly from the Manitoba Laws site. The legislation can be searched in full text, and earlier versions can be compared side-by-side with later versions to identify changes made during amendments. There is a note-up feature but it is not comprehensive. Users can subscribe to RSS feeds to be notified of changes to legislation.

Quicklaw: Quicklaw publishes the current consolidation of Manitoba’s statutes, with regulations, in Manitoba Statutes and Regulations. It also includes detailed legislative history information. QuickCite includes judicial consideration of legislation back to 1992.

WestlawNext Canada: Westlaw publishes the current consolidation of Manitoba’s statutes and regulations. KeyCite includes judicial consideration of legislation with extensive historical coverage.

LLMC Digital: LLMC Digital Law Library is a paid subscription service that publishes electronic versions of older revisions of the Revised Statutes of Manitoba.

HeinOnlineHeinOnline is a paid subscription service that publishes electronic versions of older revisions of the Revised Statutes of Manitoba.

Google Books:  Some older revisions of the Revised Statutes of Manitoba, along with a selection of older sessional volumes, are available through Google Books.

Finding amendments

Once you have located a statutory provision, you must ensure that it is current. There are a variety of ways to find amendments to a Manitoba statute.

  • Your first step should be to check the date to which the consolidation you are using is current. If you are using an electronic version of the statutes, always check the scope note for the electronic version.
  • Use Manitoba Laws to check the information table for the statute in question. It will list amendments and provide information about whether and when the amendments came into force.
  • To receive notification of amendments to Manitoba legislation, subscribe to an RSS feed. CanLII allows you to subscribe to a feed for an individual statute or regulation, or for all amendments.

Finding legislative history

To conduct effective research, and particularly to look for judicial consideration of a statutory provision, you need to know its prior year, chapter, and section numbers. You can usually obtain this information (back to the last revision) from historical notes at the end of each section of the revised statutes. This is the system employed in all prior Manitoba revisions and in other Canadian jurisdictions.

This legislative history information is published in information tables on the Manitoba Laws site, in the older print consolidations of the legislation, and directly under the section by commercial publishers such as Quicklaw. To see legislative history information about a statute on Manitoba Laws, locate the statute in the alphabetical listing, then click on the Information Table link for the statute. These information tables generally stretch back to the Re-enacted Statutes of Manitoba, and include information about any subsequent amendments.

The Great Library, the Legislative Reading Room, and the E.K. Williams Law Library have print copies of the current consolidation, along with previous revisions and sessional volumes.

To dig further into the legislative history of a provision, look for Hansard debates of the bill while it was in the process of being enacted.  Hansard can be searched back to 1958 on the Legislative Assembly website. An excellent resource for Hansard research is the Legislative Reading Room where print copies are available to be consulted in the Legislative Building in Winnipeg.

Citing a statute

The citation for a statute varies depending on whether you are citing to a revision, or to a sessional volume. If you are citing section 1 of chapter A120 of the 1987 re-enacted statutes, the citation is:

The Arbitration Act, RSM 1987, c A120, s 1.

If you are citing to the version of that Act that was passed in 1997, after the 1987 re-enactment, the citation is:

The Arbitration Act, SM 1997, c 4, s 1.

There are several changes. Instead of RSM (for Re-enacted Statutes of Manitoba) you use SM (for Statutes of Manitoba). The year and chapter number are both different. In this case the section number is the same, but often the section numbering will change.

The move to continuous electronic consolidation of statutory changes is starting to affect citation rules.  In Manitoba, given lawyers’ long-standing reliance on the Continuing Consolidation of the Statutes of Manitoba, often Manitoba court decisions and documents will only refer to the CCSM citation for statutes.  Thus, The Arbitration Act may be cited as The Arbitration Act, CCSM c A120.  However, section 2.1.6 of the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation indicates that the CCSM citation is not sufficient on its own, though it may be included as an additional citation (e.g., The Arbitration Act, SM 1997, c 4, CCSM c A120, s 1).

There is often confusion about whether you need to cite all amendments when you cite a statutory provision. The Interpretation Act provides that any citation to an enactment in legislation is deemed to include all amendments to that enactment. The Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation provides that citations are presumed to be to the statute as amended. It is therefore not necessary to include amendment information in court submissions. However, if a specific amendment is relevant to a point being discussed, it should be cited. Different rules apply to statute citations in contracts, as the court generally looks to the parties’ intention at the time the contract is made.

The Best Guide to Canadian Legal Research has been freely available on the Internet since 1998. The original author and publisher was Catherine Best. The site grew out of Catherine’s experience teaching legal research and writing, and her conviction that a process-based analytic approach was needed. She was also motivated to help researchers learn to effectively use electronic research tools.

Catherine Best retired In 2015 and she generously donated the site to CanLII to use as our legal research guide going forward. Best says: “The world of legal research is dramatically different than it was in 1998. However, the site’s emphasis on research process and effective electronic research continues to fill a need. It will be fascinating to see what changes the next 15 years will bring.”

The site will be maintained and expanded by a national editorial board of legal researchers.

The editorial board

Melanie Bueckert is Legal Research Counsel with the Manitoba Court of Appeal in Winnipeg. She has written several legal textbooks, teaches Advanced Legal Research at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law, and is also a contributor to Slaw.ca.

Maryvon Côté is Acting Head at the Nahum Gelber Law Library at McGill University in Montreal. He is active on the Canadian Association of Law Libraries executive and writes on legal research topics.

Yasmin Khan is the Head Librarian at the City of Toronto Law Library. She has just finished a Master’s of Science, Information and Knowledge Strategy from Columbia University.

Mandy Ostick is the Manager, Library Services at Bull Housser in Vancouver. She has had previous positions as Law Librarian at Thompson Rivers University and Director of Library Operations at Courthouse Libraries BC.

Jennifer Taylor is a Research Lawyer at Stewart McKelvey in Halifax. She is a regular contributor of case comments for Stewart McKelvey Publications; CanLII Connects; and the CBA’s National Magazine blog, and has published several articles in legal journals and newsletters. She also presents on topics related to legal research within the firm and in the local legal community.

Over the coming months the editorial board will be updating the site and expanding it, with an emphasis on adding more geographically diverse content.


Here is some of the unsolicited feedback that users of the site have sent to Catherine over the years:

From the library manager of a national Canadian law firm:

“Your site is wonderful. I appreciate the clean layout, the easy navigation, and the pleasant visual experience. Substantively, the site is brilliant. The coverage of US and UK materials was the perfect amount to guide me in the sessions I gave on these topics.  I especially appreciate the time you have taken to discuss the differences and similarities between QL, WL and CanLII.”

From a professor teaching legal research:

“Just a little note from Montreal to tell you how fabulous your legal research website is. Keep up the good work, it’s extremely useful and appreciated!”

From a law librarian at a large national law firm:

“I’m a relatively junior law librarian with just about four years under my belt. I came across your two guides online today and they were already helpful for me. You’ve done such a great job on these guides and I just want to thank you for these because if they help me, I know they must be helpful for others too.”

From a law student:

“Thank you so much for posting such an informative site. I fortunately discovered it in first year and expect to be using it throughout the rest of my studies and career.”

From a lawyer in Nova Scotia:

“Your website is excellent!  I found it very informative, comprehensive and one of the best constructed websites I have found for legal research.”

From the head of a paralegal program at an Ontario college:

“I teach a Legal Research course to second year students in the … College Paralegal Program. Your materials are so clearly written and replete with valuable links that I know my students would have far fewer difficulties than has been the case when I have used a print required course text.”

From a law professor in Pennsylvania:

“I am presenting a Class in Environmental Law at … University, Pennsylvania, which includes an introduction to legal writing skills.  I found your work to be clear, succinct and accurate and would appreciate your permission to use the information at “Best Guide to Canadian Legal Research” in my class.”

From the Coordinator of the Legal Support Group of a Federal government agency:

“Our unit provides Legal Support, including research, preparation of court documents, etc., to the lawyers of the Agency who provide advice to the Agency, its staff, and when necessary, represent the Agency before the Courts. I personally have used your website over the years to assist me with various legal research questions and have found it to be a great resource.”

From an Osgoode Hall law student:

“You should receive the Nobel Prize for your contribution to legal education for your legal research website. It’s awesome in the true sense of the word. At first glance, I was hoping to purchase a hard copy, but as I spent more time on the site it became clear that this was next to impossible — now I fully understand what Marshall McLuhan meant when he said that the age of electronic media spells the end of book. How you put all that information together is beyond comprehension.  It seems like a life’s work.”

The nature of regulations

Subordinate legislation includes regulations, orders, directives, tariffs, bylaws and proclamations.

The Statutory Instruments Act governs federal regulations. Section 2 of that Act distinguishes between regulations and other types of statutory instruments. Regulations are defined as a statutory instrument “made in the exercise of a legislative power conferred by or under an Act of Parliament”, or a statutory instrument “for the contravention of which a penalty, fine or imprisonment is prescribed by or under an Act of Parliament”.

Regulations are cited using SOR and other types of statutory instruments are cited using SI.

The governing statute sets out the scope of the regulatory power. The governing statute also sets out who has the authority to make the regulation or order.

How regulations are made

A regulation is made in the following way.

  1. The ministry responsible for the governing statute produces a draft regulation.
  2. The draft regulation is reviewed by the Clerk of the Privy Council in consultation with the Deputy Minister of Justice.
  3. Proposed regulations are published in the Canada Gazette Part I, together with a Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement. This provides an opportunity for public comment on the proposed regulation.
  4. If necessary the regulation is revised by the ministry and returned to the Clerk of the Privy Council for review.
  5. Once the regulation is in final form a draft Order in Council is prepared for signature by the Governor General.

Before the regulation can come into force, it must be registered by the Clerk of the Privy Council. The regulation is then published in Part II of the Canada Gazette, as required by the Statutory Instruments Act.

When you review an Act, note whether it contains a section authorising the Governor in Council or another entity to make regulations. If so, you should check to find out whether any regulations have been passed.

Citing a regulation

A regulation is cited by year and number.

A sample citation is Trade-marks Regulations (1996), SOR/96-195.

“SOR” stands for Statutory Orders and Regulations. “96” stands for the year 1996, and 195 is the number assigned to the regulation. Inclusion of the title of the regulation is optional. If the statutory instrument is not a regulation, it is cited as SI/92-133.

Regulations published in the 1978 consolidation are cited to that consolidation. The citation includes the title of the regulation.

A sample citation is Air Cushion Vehicle Regulations, C.R.C., c. 4.

Finding regulations

Use a consolidated version of the regulations to locate the regulations enacted under a statute. Current consolidated versions of the federal regulations are available electronically through

Additional sources are CCH publications or other commercial consolidations of legislation on your topic.

Regulations are published in final form in the Canada Gazette, Part II. The Internet version of Parts I, II and III of the Canada Gazette has official status as of April 1, 2003. Each print issue has an index listing regulations by number and by name. A cumulative index is produced at the end of each calendar year, and the issues for the year are bound with the index.

The last time the federal regulations were consolidated in print format was 1978. Although the regulations published in that consolidation are still in effect, most of them have been amended, and there are many new regulations not included in the consolidation. Rather than starting with the 1978 consolidation, you should start your research with a current consolidation of the regulations.

There are two consolidated indices to the federal regulations.

The federal Queen’s Printer publishes the Consolidated Index of Statutory Instruments, as part of the Canada Gazette, Part II.

  • This index contains a list of all regulations and amendments to them, organised by statute.
  • Look up the title of the enabling Act, and review the list of regulations passed pursuant to it. This will give you the information you need to locate the full text of the regulation and amendments to it in either print or electronic sources.
  • Because this publication is only published semi-annually it will often be less current than the consolidated electronic versions.

Carswell publishes the Canada Regulations Index, a commercial consolidated index to the federal regulations.

  • The coloured pages filed at the front of each volume update the white pages. The coloured pages list regulations passed since the period covered by the white pages, but do not provide detailed information about those regulations.
  • The white pages contain a detailed index to all regulations passed since the 1978 consolidation, including the table of contents for each regulation.

If you are researching an Act with several regulations, this publication may help you to quickly narrow your research to the most relevant regulations. Depending on the timing of new releases, it may also be more current than the Consolidated Index published by the government.

Updating regulations

The consolidated version will contain amendments up to the date of the consolidation. Look for the date of the consolidation, and check for amendments from that date.

For new regulations and recent amendments:

  • Check the index pages in all issues of the Canada Gazette Part II published since the most current Consolidated Index
  • Subscribe to Canadian Legislative Pulse by CCH
  • Subscribe to the CanLII RSS feeds for amendments to regulations of interest to you.

Legislative history

If you need to conduct historical research on the regulations, rather than just study the consolidated version, the Consolidated Index will provide you with citations to all regulations, and amendments to them, since 1955. You can then find the original versions in the Canada Gazette, Part II.

Statute revisions

Every 15 to 30 years, a revision of the federal statutes takes place. The last revision occurred in 1985. The purpose of a revision is to consolidate all amendments to the statutes since the last revision, and to improve the statutes by making non-substantive changes in wording, style and organisation. The mandate of the revision committee, and the effect of the revision, is set out in the Legislation Revision and Consolidation Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. S-20.

Finding statutory provisions

There are many different tools for locating relevant statutory provisions. These include:

  • conducting an electronic search of the text of the statutes
  • reviewing text books, encyclopedias and periodical articles on your topic
  • reviewing CCH publications or other commercial statutes compilations on your topic, which often have detailed indices
  • finding references to statutory provisions within relevant cases
  • scanning the names of the statutes
  • checking the Table of Private Acts

There are various electronic versions of federal legislation, which can be used for full text searches of the statutes and regulations:

Finding amendments

Once you have located a statutory provision, you must ensure that it is current. There are a variety of ways to find amendments to a federal statute since the last revision.

  • The revision itself is updated regularly to include amendments passed during earlier legislation sessions. Your first step should be to check the date to which the consolidation you are using is current. If you are using an electronic version of the statutes, always check the scope note for the electronic version.
  • The version on Quicklaw is usually the most current electronic consolidation, and is annotated regarding legislative changes.
  • The Department of Justice version is updated weekly and is now an official version.
  • The CanLII version is updated from the Department of Justice version, and is generally less current than QL and the Department of Justice but more current than LawSource. It publishes RSS feeds to notify users of legislative amendments, and has a compare feature showing changes between versions.
  • The Table of Public Statutes contains a list of legislative amendments since the previous revision. Check the currency date for the Table to determine the extent to which you need to update the information in the Table.
  • Bills are available on Parliamentary Internet.

CCH publishes Canadian Legislative Pulse, an electronic subscription service that tracks the status of federal and provincial bills and regulations.

Carswell publishes Annual Legislation as part of the Canadian Abridgment. You can use Annual Legislation to track legislative amendments and new legislation in all Canadian jurisdictions.

Amending legislation will be listed in these sources either by year and chapter number, or by bill number. Locate a copy of the amending legislation, using the print or electronic sources described above.

Finding legislative history

To conduct effective research, and particularly to look for judicial consideration of a statutory provision, you need to know its prior year, chapter, and section numbers. You can obtain this information (back to the last revision) from historical notes at the end of each section of the revised statutes.

A sample reference to the predecessor provision to section 123 of the Bills of Exchange Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. B-4, appearing immediately below that section, is R.S., c. B-5, s. 124. This means that in the 1970 revision of the federal statutes, this section was cited as Chapter B-5, section 124.

The Table of Public Statutes is a useful resource for checking legislative history.

If you want to trace the references to a statutory provision back to the 1952 revision, you would look in the 1985 notes to find the 1970 section number, and in the 1970 notes to find the 1952 section number. If there are references to amendments between revisions, you find the text of the amendments by looking in the sessional volume for the year of the amendment. For example, a reference to S.C. 1997, c. 13, s. 2 refers you to section 2 of Chapter 13 in the sessional volume for 1997.

Hein Online contains PDF versions of the Revised Statutes of Canada (1886, 1906, 1927, 1952, 1970, 1985 revisions) and the sessional volumes of the federal statutes (from 1792). Access is freely available to members of the Law Society of BC from their desktops through the Reading Room at Courthouse Libraries BC.

If you need to dig further into the legislative history of older provisions, look up the name of the statute in the relevant issue of the Canada Legislative Index and find the bill number for it. You can then get references to parliamentary debates, and to other information about the bill, such as whether it was amended in committee. An excellent source of information for more recent federal bills is LegisInfo.

Citing a statute

The citation for a statute varies depending on whether you are citing to a revision, or to a sessional volume. If you are citing to section 6 of chapter S-20 of the 1985 revision, the citation is:

Statute Revision Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. S-20, s. 6.

If you are citing to an Act that was passed after the 1985 revision, the citation is:

Proceeds of Crime Act, S.C. 1991, c. 26.

When you are citing to a sessional volume, then instead of R.S.C. (for Revised Statutes of Canada) you must use S.C. (for Statutes of Canada).

There is often confusion about whether you need to cite all amendments when you cite a statutory provision. Section 40(2) of the Interpretation Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. I-21 provides that any citation to an enactment in legislation is deemed to include all amendments to that enactment. The Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation provides that citations are presumed to be to the statute as amended. It is therefore not necessary to include amendment information in court submissions. However, if the amendment is relevant to a point being discussed, it should be cited. Different rules apply to statute citations in contracts, as the court looks to the parties’ intention at the time the contract is made.

Statute revisions

Traditionally, a general revision of the BC statutes has taken place every 15 to 20 years. The last general revision occurred in 1996.

The mandate of the revision committee, and the effect of the revision, is set out in the Statute Revision Act, RSBC 1996, c 440. The purpose of a general revision is to consolidate all amendments to the statutes since the last revision and to improve the statutes by making non-substantive changes in wording, style and organisation. Now that consolidation occurs on an ongoing basis, general revisions will likely occur less often.

In addition to general revisions, the Statute Revision Act contemplates limited revisions. This will apply when a particular act is replaced by a new act.

Traditionally, statutes introduced between general revisions were cited by reference to the year in which they were enacted until they became incorporated in a general revision. Now, following a 2013 amendment to the Statute Revision Act and the Interpretation Act, a new Act can be assigned a revised statute citation. Once this occurs, the new act can be cited either to the SBC citation assigned when the new Act was first enacted, or to the RSBC citation assigned in the annual volume.

For example, the citation for the new Insurance Act as enacted is Insurance Act, SBC 2012, c 37. However, the statute has also been assigned a limited revision chapter number, and can be cited as Insurance Act, RSBC 2012, c 1.

Research for judicial consideration of legislation is often citation-based. Where there has been a limited revision, and a provision in a new statute could be cited either to the SBC or RSBC citation, researchers should check for both versions when noting up – unless they are satisfied that the note-up service will resolve either citation to the same results.

Finding statutory provisions

There are many different tools for locating relevant statutory provisions. These include:

  • Secondary sources on your topic: text books, encyclopedias, and periodical articles. Secondary sources are a good starting point for locating relevant statutory provisions, due to the difficulty of identifying keywords to search statutes.
  • Review commercially published consolidated statutes on your topic, which may have detailed indices. Try searching a law library catalogue to locate published statute consolidations on your topic.
  • Look for references to statutory provisions within relevant cases.
  • Conduct keyword searches of statutes.

There are several online versions of the BC statutes, which can be used for full text searches of the statutes and regulations.

BCLaws: BCLaws.ca includes:

  • current consolidations of British Columbia statutes and regulations plus tables of legislative changes
  • private, special, and local acts
  • regulations bulletins
  • BC Gazette Parts I and II
  • Orders in Council (from 1872)
  • archived consolidations of statutes and regulations.

The BCLaws home page links to legislative research tools on the Legislative Assembly website, including Debates of the Legislative Assembly (Hansard) from 1970, and archived Journals from 1851.

CanLII: CanLII.org contains the 1996 revision and regulations, with amendments back to January 2009. Statutes are updated frequently from the BCLaws.ca site. Earlier versions of statutes and regulations can be compared side-by-side with later versions to identify changes made during amendments. There is a note-up feature but it is not comprehensive. Users can subscribe to RSS feeds to be notified of changes to legislation.

Quickscribe:  Quickscribe publishes the 1996 revision with regulations, and includes many value-added features to help subscribers navigate amendments, bills, orders-in-council, current, and archived versions of BC legislation. Quickscribe includes some early consolidations of statutes not yet in force as well as repealed legislation. Quickscribe also includes alert services to notify users of legislative changes.

Quicklaw: Quicklaw publishes the current consolidation of the 1996 revision and regulations, plus annual statutes back to 1997 and historical legislation back to 2000. Quicklaw includes some point in time coverage back to 2000 and detailed legislative history information.  QuickCite includes judicial consideration of legislation back to 1992.

WestlawNext Canada LawSource: LawSource publishes the current consolidation of the 1996 revision and consolidated provincial regulations including new and revised regulations. KeyCite includes judicial consideration of legislation with extensive historical coverage.

HeinOnline: HeinOnline’s Provincial Statutes of Canada includes many historical revisions and statutes of British Columbia.

LLMC Digital: LLMC Digital Law Library publishes selected historical BC statutes and proclamations.

Finding amendments

Once you have located a statutory provision, you must ensure that it is current. There are a variety of ways to find amendments to a BC statute since the last revision.

  • Your first step should be to check the currency date of the source you are using.
  • Quickscribe includes tools to help researchers identify amendments to a statute within a selected timeframe.
  • You can use BCLaws.ca to find information about amendments to your statute and and whether they are in force: check your statute’s Tables of Legislative Changes.
  • To receive ongoing notification of amendments to BC legislation use CanLII RSS feeds or Quickscribe RSS feeds or email alerts. Quickscribe alerts are more current than CanLII.

Finding legislative history

To conduct effective research, and particularly to look for judicial consideration of a statutory provision, you need to know its prior year, chapter, and section numbers. You can usually obtain this information (back to the last revision) from historical notes at the end of each section of the revised statutes. This is the system employed in all prior BC revisions and in other Canadian jurisdictions. However, the 1996 revision as published by the Queen’s Printer includes this information in a separate table at the end of each Act.

The historical reference will appear in a year-chapter-section format. For example, 1979-38-2 refers to section 2 of Chapter 38 of the 1979 revision.

This legislative history information is published in separate tables in BCLaws.ca and in the print consolidation of the legislation, and directly under the section by commercial publishers such as Quicklaw and Quickscribe. To see legislative history information about a statute on BCLaws.ca, look at the Historical Table for the statute. The Historical Table will include a reference to the section from the previous revision, as well as any amendments up to the 1996 revision coming into force. There are also separate Tables of Legislative Changes that show amendments since the 1996 revision came into force.

If you want to trace the references to a statutory provision back to the 1960 revision, you would look first in the 1996 notes to find the 1979 section number, and then in the 1979 notes to find the 1960 section number. If there have been amendments between revisions, find them by looking in the sessional volume for the year of the amendment. For example, a reference to 1985-2-18 refers you to section 18 of Chapter 2 in the sessional volume for 1985.

Tables of concordance can be helpful to researchers who need to update an older statutory provision or trace a current provision back in time, particularly if the statute has a complex history, or if you need to find similar statutory revisions in different jurisdictions.

Examples of tables of concordance include:

  • Sectional table of concordance for the Revised Statutes of British Columbia 1996, published by the (BC) Office of Legislative Counsel or the Sectional table of concordance for the Revised Statutes of British Columbia 1979, published by the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia (these tables are not available online, but your library might have a copy). These tables show the relationship of a section in a statute in one revision (RSBC 1996) with the previous revision (RSBC 1979).
  • The BC government publishes unofficial tables of concordance between the Local Government Act and the Community Charter.
  • WestlawNext Canada includes tables of concordance to federal, provincial, and territorial legislation for topics such as family law, personal property security acts, and securities acts.
  • Some books (in print and online) include tables of concordance as research tools: for example, the British Columbia Corporations Law Guide (LexisNexis) includes a table of concordance between the Company Act, RSBC 1979, c 59 and the Company Act, RSBC 1996, c 62 and the Company Act, RSBC 1996, c 62 and the Business Corporations Act, SBC 2002, c 57.The Wills, Estates and Succession Act Transition Guide (Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia) includes a table of concordance between the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, SBC 2009, c 13, and source enactments dealing with similar subject-matter.

To dig further into the legislative history of a provision, look for Hansard debates of the bill while it was in the process of being enacted. Hansard can be searched back to 1970 on the Legislative Assembly website. You can look up your bill in Hansard Indexes online and in print. Legislative Assembly pages for recent sessions include a List of Bills with Hansard Debates to make it easier to find debate on specific bills.

Citing a statute

The citation for a statute varies depending on whether you are citing to a revision, or to a sessional volume. If you are citing to section 5 of chapter 484 of the 1996 revision, the citation is:

Water Protection Act, RSBC 1996, c 484, s 5.

If you are citing to the version of that Act that was passed in 1995, prior to the 1996 revision, the citation is:

Water Protection Act, SBC 1995, c 34, s 5.

There are several differences. Instead of RSBC (for Revised Statutes of British Columbia) you use SBC (for Statutes of British Columbia). The year and chapter number are both different. In this case the section number is the same, but often the section numbering will change in a revision.

The move to continuous electronic consolidation of statutory changes is starting to affect citation rules. For example, s 43 of the Interpretation Act, RSBC 1996, c 238, has been amended to permit an Act that is a limited revision to be cited either to its chapter number in the sessional volume for the year when it was enacted, or as a Revised Statute for that year. See the Legislative Assembly of BC website for a list of Revisions Pursuant to the Statute Revision Act.

There is often confusion about whether you need to cite all amendments when you cite a statutory provision. The Interpretation Act provides that any citation to an enactment in legislation is deemed to include all amendments to that enactment. The Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation provides that citations are presumed to be to the statute as amended. It is therefore not necessary to include amendment information in court submissions. However, if the amendment is relevant to a point being discussed, it should be cited. Different rules apply to statute citations in contracts, as the court looks to the parties’ intention at the time the contract is made.

 

Wikis

A wiki is a website that is created collaboratively using software that allows individuals to add and edit content. One of the best known research sites created this way is Wikipedia. Just as when evaluating the content on web sites, care must be taken when relying on content published in a wiki.

Legal Tree is a Canadian website using wiki technology to collect and publish Canadian legal information. JD Supra is another example of a legal site, with contributions from lawyers including pleadings and other documents. It is primarily American, but has some Canadian content.

Blogs

Blogs are websites containing a series of postings. Blogs focusing on a legal subject area are useful for keeping current on specialized topics. You can subscribe to an RSS feed so that you will be notified of new postings.

CanLII Connects, is a collaborative site with links to and from cases on CanLII, which allows members of the legal community to write about Canadian caselaw. Contributors must be registered with and approved by CanLII.

Canadian legal blogs are listed on the Canadian Law Blogs List. Ted Tjaden maintains a custom Google search limited to Canadian law firms, blogs, and journal websites. BlawgSearch will search just legal blogs. In addition to being searchable, BlawgSearch has a directory with categories. Several Canadian legal blogs are listed under the category for Canada.

Law firm newsletters

Newsletters published by law firms can provide useful commentary on recent cases. The Canadian Law Firm Websites, Blogs & Journals allows you to search within the websites of several leading Canadian law firms. A broader range of firms is searched by Fee Fie Foe Firm Canada. That site links to similar services for law firms from other jurisdictions.

 

When to use journal articles

If the texts and encyclopedia entries you find are too general, are outdated, or don’t deal specifically with your jurisdiction, concentrate on finding journal articles or continuing legal education seminar papers. If you are writing an academic paper, periodicals research is essential. Journals should also be reviewed if there has been new legislation, or an interesting case that might be the subject of a case comment.

doc03Journal articles are particularly useful for developing policy arguments, and for close analysis of difficult cases. A narrow issue covered in a passing footnote in a text may be the subject of several pages of discussion in a journal article. Articles are usually well-footnoted, with references to primary sources or other secondary sources.

Finding the article once you have a citation

educOlder periodical articles will be available either in print or through Hein Online. If you have trouble locating a periodical at your library, check WorldCat or the publication Periodicals in Canadian Law Libraries for other libraries which subscribe to the periodical. Canadian periodicals abbreviations are listed in the ICLL Periodicals List.

More recent articles are likely to be available electronically. An alphabetical list of periodicals available in electronic form is maintained by the Bora Laskin Law Library. This list includes periodicals available on LexisWestlawQuicklaw, and the Internet and specifies where they are available. Another listing is maintained by the Supreme Court of Canada Library in Journal Titles A-Z. This listing includes details of Hein Online coverage. The WashLaw WEB law journal resource page also maintains an extensive listing of law journals with links to those available online.

Searching journals and seminar papers in full text

Many journals are now available in full text electronic form. This permits you to search directly using the words in the articles themselves to find relevant articles. The leading journal collections available in full text are as follows:

Quicklaw core subscription Canadian journals and the Lexis international journals collection
LawSource Canadian journals and case comments from topical reporters.
Hein Online Full text law journals in PDF format; the most recent issues are sometimes not included
Canadian Bar Review Full text of this publication can be accessed by CBA members at cba.org

 

The BC Courthouse Library has purchased a licence from Hein Online that enables registered members of the Law Society of BC to access Hein Online through the Courthouse Library website. The Hein Online collection is also available to students and faculty at most law schools.

The Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia has made its seminar papers since 2001 available online in full text through CLE Online. This is a paid subscription service, but some papers have been selected for free publication and are available under the heading Practice Points.

The Law Society of Upper Canada publishes its seminar papers on AccessCLE. Papers published during the previous 18 months are available for a fee. Papers prior to that date are available without charge.

connecThe Internet is a growing source for full text periodical searches. You can search full text legal periodicals on the Web using the University Law Review Project. Another popular source is Google Scholar, which indexes legal journals. A click takes you to a list of documents citing an article or case, and you can then search within those documents. You can also set up alerts to notify you of new articles in Google Scholar.

In addition, comments on recent legal developments in law firm newsletters published freely on the Internet can be a useful source of information. However, these articles are usually written for lay readers and are not a sophisticated review of the subject. For quick access to commentary published by law firms, search the Canadian Law Firm Websites, Blogs & Journals and Fee Fie Foe Firm Canada.

A collection of free case summaries and commentaries is being developed on CanLII Connects, with links to cases on CanLII. Contributors must be registered with and approved by CanLII.

Legal periodical indices

References in cases or texts may lead you to relevant journal articles. Full text databases of journal articles provide the easiest way to search for journals published electronically. However, many journals are not published electronically. Another common way to find journal articles is to look in a periodicals index.

The leading Canadian index is the Index to Canadian Legal Literature (ICLL), available on Quicklaw and LawSource. Another leading Canadian index is the freely available Scott Index to Canadian Legal Periodical Literature (via CAIJ).

This site has a table that provides information about the most commonly used print and electronic legal periodical indices.

Searching periodicals indices in print and electronic media requires creativity and persistence in generating search terms.

  • Some indices rely primarily on the title of the article as an access point for researchers. Given the strange titles often used for academic articles, this is not a reliable way to locate relevant articles.
  • All periodicals indices have a subject classification scheme, but the depth and consistency of the classification scheme varies considerably from one index to another.
  • Very few of the indices have searchable abstracts to help you.

So try your search in a variety of indices. You may find it helpful to acquaint yourself with the subject classification scheme for the index by looking at the print version before you carry out your electronic search. When offered random keyword searching, as well as a more structured classification scheme approach, try both methods.

Using RSS feeds and automated clipping services

envelop1Lexis, WestlawNext CanadaQuicklaw and Westlaw each have an automated clipping service that permits you to conduct periodic searches of particular databases and have the results delivered to you by e-mail. This is useful for conducting regular searches of periodicals indices and full text periodicals on topics you are following.

RSS feeds and alerts can help you keep current with the most recent articles.

  • The Bora Laskin Law Library Reference Services Weblog publishes a monthly list of recent contents for Canadian law journals. Subscribe by RSS feed to be notified each month of new journal articles.
  • Google Scholar does not have RSS alerts. However, you can subscribe to receive an email alert for new papers that meet your search criteria.

 

References

Best, Periodicals Indexes.

Bora Laskin Law Library, Alphabetical Listing of Electronic Journals.

University of Calgary, Law Library Research Guides, Periodical Articles.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

All Canada Weekly Summaries
Canadian case digests available on the WestlawNext Canada platform, by subscription to the BestCase Library.
American Digest System
Case digests for American law, comprised of three different series: the Centennial Digest (cases up to 1896); the Decennial Digest (a number of sets covering either 10 or 5 years of cases, commencing in 1896); and the General Digest (volumes covering the period since the most recent Decennial Digest). The case digests are classified using the West Key number system. This publication is the US equivalent to the Canadian Abridgment Case Digests.
American Law Reports
Important American cases are published, with an accompanying annotation summarising other cases dealing with the same point of law. Subsequent cases on the point of law are included in updates to the annotation. Usually referred to as ALR annotations. Available on databases in Lexis and Westlaw.
AmJur 2d
A legal encyclopedia covering American law, published by Lawyers’ Cooperative.
annotated statutes
An annotated statute is published with section by section commentary. The commentary usually contains the legislative history of the section, or references to cases considering the section, or both.
Annual Legislation
This publication reports on new bills and legislative amendments for federal and provincial legislation.

B

British Columbia and Yukon Judgments Database
A database on Quicklaw containing excellent coverage of full text decisions of British Columbia courts (including those reported in the BCRs), and containing full text decisions from the Yukon Territory.
BCLaws
A government website at BCLaws.ca that publishes a current consolidation of British Columbia statutes and regulations. It will eventually replace QP LegalEze.
BC Legislative Digest
Available electronically with a subscription to Quickscribe Online. The BC Legislative Digest provides information and alerts about the status of bills and legislation from British Columbia. Prior to June 2010, it was a print publication of Courthouse Libraries BC.
BC Statute Citator
This black looseleaf publication is issued in a new edition each time the BC Statutes are revised. The primary purpose of the publication is to report legislative changes to the revised statutes. However, some judicial consideration of the legislation is included.
BestCase Library
An on-line legal research collection published on the WestlawNext Canada platform through a separate subscription. The BestCase Library provides access to a comprehensive collection of unreported decisions from 1977, and also includes cases reported in reporters previously published by Canada Law Book, such as the Dominion Law Reports, Canadian Criminal Cases, Labour Arbitration Cases, Canadian Labour Arbitration Summaries, and BC Labour Relations Board Decisions. The cases from these reporters are published in PDF, with the same headnotes and editorial enhancements contained in the print reporters.
Black’s Law Dictionary
An American legal dictionary. Available in print, on a mobile app, and on Westlaw in database DI.
British Columbia Appeal Cases
Maritime Law Books reporter covering full text of all decisions of the British Columbia Court of Appeal since June 1991. Available through the Maritime Law Books website.
British Columbia Law Reports
A case reporter covering British Columbia law that commenced publication in 1976. Published by Carswell in print and available on WestlawNext Canada.
British Columbia Reports
A case reporter covering British Columbia law from 1867-1947. It has been made freely available on the Internet. However, it is not easily searchable at the free site, which is best used if you have a citation and simply need to locate the case. The BCRs are easily searchable as part of Quicklaw’s British Columbia and Yukon Judgments database.
British Columbia Trial Cases
Maritime Law Books reporter covering British Columbia trial decisions since 1997. Available through the Maritime Law Books website.
British Columbia Weekly Law Digest
A weekly case digest service published by Carswell, covering decisions of the British Columbia courts, and decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada and federal courts originating in British Columbia.

C

Canada Digest
The Canada Digest contains summaries of Canadian cases organized under the LexisNexis Classification System, added to Quicklaw by topic. All titles of the Canada Digest are included in Full Service subscriptions. Subscribers to Practice Pages have access to Canada Digest titles relevant to the practice area.
Canada Law Book
Canada Law Book publishes case reporter series (including the Dominion Report Series), annotated legislation, and Canadian treatises.
Canada Statute Citator
This black looseleaf publication is issued in a new edition each time the federal statutes are revised. The primary purpose of the publication is to report legislative changes to the revised statutes. However, some judicial consideration of the legislation is included. Also available in CD ROM format as part of the Canada Statute Service.
Canadian Abridgment
A comprehensive Canadian research tool published by Carswell and comprised of the Key and Research Guide, the General Index, the Consolidated Table of CasesCanadian Abridgment Case DigestsCanadian Current LawCanadian Case CitationsCanadian Statute CitationsAnnual Legislation, and the Index to Canadian Legal Literature. The Abridgment also includes Words and Phrases Judicially Defined in Canadian Courts and Tribunals.
Canadian Abridgment Case Digests
Digests of Canadian cases from 1803 published in the Canadian Abridgment. Available electronically as the Canadian Abridgment Digests on WestlawNext Canada.
Canadian Case Citations
The case citator portion of the Canadian Abridgment. Published in print format as part of the Abridgment. Available electronically through KeyCite on WestlawNext Canada.
Canadian Case Summaries
Canadian and UK case digests available on Quicklaw in CCS database, with Canadian digests from 1968 and some UK digests from as early as 1573.  Includes the Dominion Report Service case summaries.
Canadian Converter
Companion volumes to the third edition of Halsbury’s Laws of England, using the same subject headings and paragraph numbering as the third edition. For each subject title, Canadian cases and statutes are listed that relate to the point of law covered in the third edition of Halsbury’s.
Canadian Current Law
A monthly update service for the Abridgment, updating Canadian Case Digests, Words and Phrases, and the Consolidated Table of Cases.
Canadian Encyclopedic Digest
The CED is a legal encyclopedia, rather than a collection of case digests. A legal topic is summarised, with footnote references to relevant cases and statutes. The CED is published in a Western edition and an Ontario edition, although some titles are the same for both editions. Both versions of the CED are available on WestlawNext Canada and in CD ROM format.
Canadian Statute Citations
A print publication covering judicial consideration of Canadian federal and provincial statutes, as well as regulations and rules. Provides name and citation of the case considering the statutory provision, but no summary of the point of law discussed in the case. Available electronically through KeyCite on WestlawNext Canada.
CanCite
A case citator service covering Canadian cases decided since 1940. It ceased print publication in 1994, but has been continued on-line by Quicklaw under the name QuickCite.
CanLII
CanLII provides free access to Canadian judgments, administrative decisions and statutory material. The scope of coverage varies by jurisdiction, and depends on the material provided to CanLII by each jurisdiction. This site provides a useful way to search the growing body of free Canadian legal material using a standardized search interface. The site is funded by law societies and law foundations across Canada and is operated by Lexum.
CCH
A publisher of looseleaf services containing consolidated and annotated statutes in a variety of subject areas. Use the CCH Rapid Finder Index to find out if there is a CCH publication on your topic.
Consolidated statute
A consolidated statute is one in which amendments to the statute since the last revision have been incorporated.
Consolidated Table of Cases
This publication lists all cases digested in the Abridgment. It provides parallel citations, and includes lower court decisions and appellate decisions in the same entry. As a result, this publication provides a quick way to determine whether a case you are researching was overturned or upheld on appeal. Lastly, every case entry also indicates the digest reference for the case. If you know of a relevant case, going directly to the digest entry for that case is a fast way into the classification scheme, and will take you to digests of other cases on the same point of law.
Corpus Juris Secundum
A legal encyclopedia covering American law, published by West.

D

Dominion Law Reports
A case reporter published since 1912, covering important legal decisions from across Canada. Available electronically by subscription to the BestCase Library.

E

F

Folioviews
A full text search and retrieval program used extensively for CD ROM and Internet legal research databases. Popular Canadian research tools currently available in this format include British Columbia Practice, and the Dart statute products.

G

General Index
A subject index to the Canadian Abridgment Case Digests.

H

Halsbury’s Laws of Canada
A new legal encyclopedia covering Canadian law. Available in print, and available electronically through Quicklaw. Access to the full publication is included for Full Service subscribers. For subscribers to Practice Page areas, relevant titles will be included in your flat-rate subscription.
Halsbury’s Laws of England
An authoritative legal encyclopedia covering English law. Currently in its 4th edition, with cumulative supplements and updates. The 3rd edition includes the Canadian Converter.
Hein Online
Hein Online is an electronic subscription service containing an extensive collection of full text law journals in PDF. It also contains historical Canadian legislation, Supreme Court of Canada decisions, and the English Reports. Access to Hein Online is freely available to members of the Law Society of BC from their desktops through the Reading Room at Courthouse Libraries BC.

I

Index to Canadian Legal Literature
An index covering Canadian legal books and periodicals. Available in print form as part of the Canadian Abridgment and electronically on WestlawNext Canada. Available under Legal Indices & Tables on Quicklaw.
Index to Legal Periodicals
A print index to over 750 legal periodicals from US and Commonwealth jurisdictions. Available in CD ROM format as WilsonDisc. Also available in databases on Westlaw (ILP) and Lexis (LAWREV;ILP), but not for educational users.

J

K

Key and Research Guide
A black looseleaf binder that contains a list of subject titles for the Canadian Abridgment Case Digests, and a key to the full classification scheme for the digests.
KeyCite
The citator used in Westlaw products for ascertaining the history of a case and whether a case or statute has been judicially considered or commented on in secondary sources. KeyCiteCanada on LawSource includes judicial consideration and secondary source commentary on Canadian cases, judicial consideration of Canadian legislation, and judicial consideration by Canadian courts of cases from other jurisdictions.

L

LawSource
An electronic research tool for Canadian case law which is part of the WestlawNext Canada family of products. Contains the Abridgment Case Digests, the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest, Canadian case law, KeyCite for Canadian cases and statutes, Words & Phrases, statutes and some regulations, rules of court for Canadian jurisdictions, the Index to Canadian Legal Literature, and the ability to link to documents in other Westlaw products.
Lawyer’s Weekly
A Canadian legal newspaper published weekly by Butterworths and available on Quicklaw. Excerpts are available on the Lawyer’s Weekly web page. Contains articles and case digests.
LegalTrac
An index to over 850 legal periodicals from US and Commonwealth jurisdictions. Available in print form as Current Law. Available electronically by Internet subscription and CD ROM. Also in databases on Westlaw (LRI) and Lexis (LAWREV;LGLIND), but not for educational users.
Lexis
Lexis is a large collection of computerised legal information, covering primarily American, English, European and international legal material. Lexis includes Canadian cases, statutes, and legal periodicals in the Canada library. However, Quicklaw (now owned by Lexis) is a more complete service for Canadian law. Lexis is available on the Internet at www.lexis.com. Full information about Lexis is available at the Lexis website. To determine which databases to use, check the Lexis/Nexis Searchable Directory of Online Sources. Canadian users can view information specifically related to their needs at Lexis-Nexis Canada.
LLMC
LLMC is a non-profit cooperative of libraries with a growing collection of digital legal materials consisting of international historical documents. Includes some Canadian materials. See what’s included here.

M

Maritime Law Books
A family of Canadian case reporters, all using a sophisticated topic number classification system. Available electronically at the Maritime Law Books website.  Case reporters published by Maritime Law Books include British Columbia Appeal Cases, Alberta Reports, Saskatchewan Reports, Manitoba Reports, National Reporter, Federal Trial Reports, Atlantic Provinces Reports, Western Appeal Cases, Ontario Appeal Cases, Yukon Reports, New Brunswick Reports, Nova Scotia Reports, and Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island Reports. Electronic research in this family of reporters is enhanced if you search on the topic name and number for your legal issue.

N

O

Ontario Reports
A case reporter published since 1882 covering Ontario decisions. Between 1901 and 1931, the reporter was called the Ontario Law Reports.

P

Primary sources
Statutes, regulations, by-laws, case law, and administrative rulings are primary sources of law. Although secondary sources may rationalize and explain the law more clearly than the primary sources, the primary sources establish the law. Therefore, in legal memoranda, opinion letters, legal argument, and facta, you must cite primary sources to support your conclusions and arguments.

Q

QP LegalEze
QP LegalEze is a subscription-based electronic research tool published by the British Columbia Queen’s Printer. It contains a searchable current consolidation of the British Columbia statutes and regulations, and also publishes orders-in-council, legislative history tables, bills, Hansard, consolidated in force information, regulations bulletins, the full text of private Acts, archived versions of earlier consolidations, BC Gazette Parts I and II, and corporate registry notices. The content on QP LegalEze is gradually being transitioned over to a free site at BCLaws.ca.
QuickCite
A case citation service for Canadian cases and legislation on Quicklaw.
Quicklaw
A Canadian collection of computer research databases, containing statutes, comprehensive coverage of full text Canadian cases since 1986 (with stronger historical coverage for some jurisdictions and case reporters), a case citator, and a variety of case digests and topical databases. Full information about Quicklaw is available at LexisNexis.ca.
Quickscribe
Quickscribe publishes British Columbia legislation in print and on-line by paid subscription. Quickscribe also publishes the BC Legislative Digest.

R

Regulations
Regulations are subordinate legislation, passed by the provincial or federal Cabinet pursuant to delegated powers in Acts of the legislature or parliament.
RSS
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS feeds can be used to send you new case law and legislation, news articles, government information, and blog entries. You receive free information feeds from various Internet sources so that you don’t have to visit individual sites to obtain the information. To use RSS, you have to set up an RSS reader. Free web-based options for this include Feedly, The Old Reader, and the Digg Reader. Another option is to use your desktop email program to receive and organize feeds. Once you have determined the set-up for your RSS reader, and found information of interest to you, check for RSS subscription information and set up the subscription. An easy first step is to subscribe to a CanLII RSS feed for cases and legislation for your jurisdiction, or for updates on your CanLII searches.

S

Secondary sources
Secondary sources in traditional legal research are either commentaries on the primary sources of law, or finding tools used to locate the primary sources of law. Texts, periodical articles, and encyclopedias are examples of commentaries. Digests, citators and indices are examples of finding tools.
Sessional volumes
Each legislative session, new legislation is passed. This legislation is eventually published in a sessional volume. If you are conducting legislative research and need to find an Act, you usually look it up either in the sessional volume for the year in which it was passed, or in the consolidated revised statutes. The sessional volumes contain the official version of the statutes. However, they are cumbersome to use because amendments are not consolidated in the sessional volumes.
SLAW
A co-operative blog about Canadian legal research and related technology at www.slaw.ca.
Statute citator
This term can refer to two different types of publications. A statute citator’s primary function is to keep track of legislative amendments. Some statute citators purport to also cover judicial consideration of statutes, but usually do not achieve or strive for comprehensive coverage in this respect. For example, the Canada Statute Citator contains some judicial considerations, but is primarily concerned with legislative amendments. By contrast, the Abridgment Canadian Statute Citations is concerned solely with judicial consideration of statutes.
Statute revision
Canadian statutes are periodically revised to incorporate and consolidate amendments to the statutes. This is traditionally done every 15 to 20 years. The British Columbia statutes were last revised in 1996. The federal statutes were last revised in 1985. Now that legislation is consolidated on an ongoing basis, there is less need for general revisions. However, limited revisions often occur, where a particular statute is completely replaced by a new Act.
Statutes of British Columbia Judicially Considered
This Carswell looseleaf publication covers judicial consideration of British Columbia statutes. A new edition is published each time a new statute revision is completed. In addition to giving the name and citation of the case considering the statutory provision, a brief summary of the point of law is provided. Coverage is selective, so other sources should be reviewed in addition to this publication.
Supreme Court of Canada Reports Service
This Butterworths service contains indexed digests of Supreme Court of Canada decisions since the formation of the court. The first three volumes contain digests up to 1970, and the subsequent volumes contain digests after 1970.

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The Digest
A case digest service covering English and Commonwealth law.
Topical reporters
Some case law reporters contain cases on a specific area of law, such as the Canadian Cases on the Law of Torts, or the Canadian Insurance Law Reporter. In addition to reporting cases, these publications often contain annotations commenting on particular cases. The cumulative indices for topical reporters can be a useful finding tool. Many Canadian topical reporters are available electronically through WestlawNext Canada. Quicklaw has also created several topical case collections that can be searched.

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Weekly Criminal Bulletin
Digests of Canadian criminal cases. Available on the WestlawNext Canada platform as part of CriminalSource, or by separate subscription.
West Key number system
A subject classification system used in West case reporters, case digests, and citators to facilitate legal research.
Western Weekly Reports
A case reporter published since 1911 containing decisions of the Western provinces and the Supreme Court of Canada. Available on WestlawNext Canada.
Westlaw
A commercial vendor providing access to American cases, statutes, periodicals and other legal material in electronic form. Canadian users access Westlaw through WestlawNext Canada.
WestlawNext Canada
WestlawNext Canada is an Internet-based platform for Canadian legal research. Modules available on this platform include LawSourceInsolvencySourceFamilySourceCriminalSource, EmploymentSource, LabourSource, SecuritiesSource and the BestCase Library. LawSource contains the Abridgment Digests, the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest, Canadian case law, KeyCite for Canadian cases and statutes, statutes and regulations, rules of court for Canadian jurisdictions, the Index to Canadian Legal Literature, and the ability to link to documents in other Westlaw products.
WorldCat
WorldCat is an online catalogue of publications in libraries world-wide. A search for a publication will display information about the author, publisher, subject classification and ISSN/OCLC references. It will also show whether it is available through the Internet and which libraries carry the publication. The list of libraries can be customized by location using a postal code or geographical place name.

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