"Introduction to Researching Primary Sources of Law"


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"Introduction to Researching Primary Sources of Law"

  1. 1. Introduction to Legal Research: Primary Sources Law Library Osgoode Hall Law School
  2. 2. In this session you will learn: <ul><li>How to find a statute or regulation by name or citation </li></ul><ul><li>How to find statutes by subject </li></ul><ul><li>How to note up a statute or regulation </li></ul><ul><li>How to find a case by its name or citation </li></ul><ul><li>How to find cases by subject </li></ul><ul><li>How to note up a case </li></ul>
  3. 3. What are the Primary Sources of law? <ul><li>Case law </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Courts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tribunals </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Statute law </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Statutes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Regulations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Parliamentary materials </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Why research primary sources? <ul><li>Legal research is one of the basic skills essential to the practice of law </li></ul><ul><li>Retrieval </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To obtain copies of cases or statutes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Discovery </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To find the law on a specific topic or issue </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Analysis and interpretation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To determine what the law says or means </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Where to start? <ul><li>Always begin your legal research with secondary sources </li></ul><ul><li>Never begin your legal research with primary sources </li></ul><ul><li>Primary sources are the “raw law”; secondary sources assemble and analyze the relevant primary sources into a coherent, explained whole </li></ul>
  6. 6. ??? <ul><li>RSC 1985, c. C-46 </li></ul><ul><li>RSO 1990, c. S. 5 </li></ul><ul><li>SC 1991, c. 46 </li></ul><ul><li>SO 1998, c. 19 </li></ul>
  7. 7. Citation of Statutes <ul><li>Revised Statutes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All laws in force at the date of the revision are cited to their chapter number in the revision. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Criminal Code , RSC 1985, c. C-46 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>RSC = Revised Statutes of Canada </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Securities Act , RSO 1990, c. S. 5 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>RSO = Revised Statutes of Ontario </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Annual (Sessional) Statutes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All laws published subsequent to the last revision are cited to the annual statute volume for the year in which the law was passed. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bank Act, SC 1991, c. 46 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>SC = Statutes of Canada </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Condominium Act, 1998 , SO 1997, c. 19 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>SO = Statutes of Ontario </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Continuing Consolidation” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All laws are now published and updated online in real-time, but retain a citation to the “printed” version </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Publication of Statutes <ul><li>Annual (Sessional) Statutes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All statutes published in a year collected chronologically into one volume </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Revised Statutes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Periodic “revision” (i.e., consolidation) of all statutes in force at a given date </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supersedes annual/sessional statutes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organized alphabetically by title </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Continuing revision” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No Canadian jurisdiction will ever again publish (in print) a revision of its statutes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online version is now a continuing consolidation and (in some jurisdictions) official </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Legislative Process <ul><li>How are laws Made?: from Bill to Law </li></ul><ul><ul><li>House of Commons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>First reading </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Minister’s comments – House debates (Hansard) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Second reading  Committee stage </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Committee Debates </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Third reading </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>First published in the Canada Gazette III , then in the Annual Statutes </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>The same again in the Senate (3 readings) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If amended, the bill goes back to the House and starts again with a first reading. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Royal Assent </li></ul><ul><li>Coming-into-force </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Proclamations/Orders in Council – Canada Gazette I </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Copies of all bills, etc., are available on the web (Canada 1994+, Ontario 1995+) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Federal: LEGISinfo ; Ontario: Bills & Lawmaking </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Finding Statutes <ul><li>To find statutes by title </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Justice Laws , Ontario e-Laws (and other provincial sites) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CanLII all provide alphabetical/browse list of statutes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To find statutes on a specific topic: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>do an online search in the full-text legislation databases </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Free: CanLII, Justice Laws, Ontario e-Laws, Canada/Ontario Statute Service </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pay: Lexis/QL , WLeC </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Print </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Canadian Encyclopedic Digest (legal encyclopedia) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Topical looseleaf services </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Find a text on the topic </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Updating Statutes <ul><li>Statutes and regulations are frequently amended, so they must be updated </li></ul><ul><li>Online versions are “current” -- but currency of online services varies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Check for the currency statement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Justice Laws, e-Laws, and pay services tend to be current to within 2-7 days. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sources (online) -- Osgoode Library Website </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Justice Laws (Dept. of Justice Canada) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ontario e-Laws </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CanLII </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Canada Statute Service/Ontario Citator Service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lexis/Quicklaw, WestlaweCarswell </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Statute History <ul><li>Securities Act , RSO 1990, c. S. 5 (excerpt, from e-Laws) </li></ul><ul><li>Non-application of certain Acts </li></ul><ul><li>3.12   The Corporations Act and the Corporations Information Act do not apply with respect to the Commission. 1997, c. 10, s. 37. </li></ul><ul><li>Financial Disclosure Advisory Board </li></ul><ul><li>4.   (1)  The Financial Disclosure Advisory Board is continued under the name Financial Disclosure Advisory Board in English and Conseil consultatif sur la divulgation des renseignements de nature financière in French. R.S.O. 1990, c. S.5, s. 4 (1). </li></ul><ul><li>Composition of the Board </li></ul><ul><li>(2)  The Board shall be composed of not more than five members, all of whom are appointed by the Minister . 2002, c. 18, Sched. H, s. 6 (1). </li></ul><ul><li>Chair </li></ul><ul><li>(3)  The Commission may designate a member of the Board to be its chair . 2002, c. 18, Sched. H, s. 6 (1). </li></ul><ul><li>Meetings </li></ul><ul><li>(4)  The Board shall meet at the call of the Commission . R.S.O. 1990, c. S.5, s. 4 (4). </li></ul><ul><li>Duties </li></ul><ul><li>(5)  The Board shall, when requested by the Commission, consult with and advise the Commission concerning the financial disclosure requirements of Ontario securities law. R.S.O. 1990, c. S.5, s. 4 (5); 1994, c. 11, s. 352. </li></ul><ul><li>(6)   REPEALED: 2002, c. 18, Sched. H, s. 6 (2). </li></ul>
  13. 13. Statute History (cont’d) <ul><li>Online sources provide a statute’s history only since the latest revision (RSC 1985; RSO 1990) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online services now provide “point in time” full-text versions of statutes, but only recent history (Justice Laws 2003+, e-Laws 2004+) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>For earlier history, you’ll have to go to print sources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Print versions of the statutes in the revised and annual volumes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Canada/Ontario Statute Citators (in library) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Table of Public Statutes and Responsible Ministers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Available in print in the library and on the Justice Laws site (PDF) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Canada/Ontario Statute Citators </li></ul>
  14. 14. Noting Up Statutes <ul><li>Statutes are considered and interpreted by the courts; it is essential to find cases that interpret a statute or statute section </li></ul><ul><li>Online </li></ul><ul><ul><li>KeyCite Canada on WestlaweCarswell </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New statute citator on Lexis Quicklaw </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>or, do a full-text search of cases online </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Print </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Statutes Judicially Considered (Carswell) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Canada/Ontario Statute Citator Service (Canada Law Book) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Commercially-published annotated acts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But: Online is much faster, easier and comprehensive </li></ul>
  15. 15. Regulations <ul><li>Authority delegated by Parliament to government minister or department to enact regulations </li></ul><ul><li>Terminology: Regulations = Delegated legislation = Administrative/regulatory enactments = Statutory Orders/Instruments </li></ul><ul><li>How is a Regulation Made? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Proposed Regulation published in Canada Gazette I </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Period for Comment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Final Regulation published in Canada Gazette II </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Citation of Regulations <ul><li>Regulations are published serially in the biweekly Canada Gazette II and Ontario Gazette </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cost of Borrowing (Banks) Regulations , SOR 2001-101 (the 101st “statutory order and regulation” registered in 2001) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pharmacy Act General Regulation , O. Reg. 202/94 (the 202nd “Ontario regulation” registered in 1994) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Like statutes, regulations were periodically “consolidated” in the revised regulations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Publication of Statutes Regulations , CRC 1978, c. 1367 (CRC = Consolidated Regulations of Canada) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grants for Public Libraries Regulation , RRO 1990, Reg. 976 (RRO = Revised Regulations of Ontario) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Like statutes, all regulations are now “continually consolidated” and available online ( Justice Laws , e-Laws , CanLII ) </li></ul>
  17. 17. Researching Regulations <ul><li>To find a regulation by name: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You must first know the name of the “enabling act” (e.g., Patent Act, Municipal Act ) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Justice Laws , e-Laws (and other provincial sites), CanLII all provide alphabetical listings of statutes, which include links to related regulations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Justice Laws provides an alphabetical list of regulations by name </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consolidated Index of Statutory Instruments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Available in print or online ( Canada Gazette site ), with 2 indexes: alphabetical by name of regulation and by name of enabling statute </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>To find regulations by topic: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Same as statutes </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Case Law <ul><li>Precedent and stare decisis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In common law legal systems, a precedent is a judicial decision that establishes a legal principle or rule that a court or other judicial body follows when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stare decisis = “to stand by the decision”: principle of the common law requiring judges to apply previous binding decisions of their own court or any higher court </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Precedent can be “binding” or “persuasive” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Determined by jurisdiction and court level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g., Ontario Superior Court is “bound” by the decisions of the Ontario Court of Appeal and of the federal courts, but can be “persuaded” (but is not bound) by decisions of other courts (Canadian, Commonwealth, US) </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Citation of Cases <ul><li>A form of bibiliographic reference and legal shorthand that also imparts meaning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MacDonald Estate v Martin (1990) , [1990] 3 S.C.R. 1235, 121 N.R. 1, 77 D.L.R. (4th) 249, [1991] 1 W.W.R. 705, 70 Man. R. (2d) 241, 48 C.P.C. (2d) 113, 285 W.A.C. 241, J.E. 91-85, 1990 CarswellMan 384, [1990] S.C.J. No. 41 (SCC May 10, 1990) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ McGill Guide ” : Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation , 6th ed. Toronto: Thomson Carswell, 2006. KF 245 C34 2006 (Reserve Collection) </li></ul><ul><li>Neutral citation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A “vendor-neutral” system of uniform case citation to be used in preference to all others; E.g. – “2001 SCC 1” in citation list above – the first decision rendered by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2001 </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Reports of Cases <ul><li>Report = Decision = Judgment = Opinion </li></ul><ul><li>Decisions can be: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reported (selective, edited and published in print) or Unreported (not published, available online) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The fact that a case has been reported lends it an instant, objective authority </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Law reports (i.e., published) can be: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Official (e.g., SCR), Semi-official (e.g., OR), or Unofficial (e.g., BLR) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Court reporters (e.g., SCR, NR, OAC), national reporters (DLR), regional (WWR), provincial (BCR, OR) or topical (BLR, CR, RPR) </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Headnotes of Cases <ul><li>In reported cases, the text of the judgment is preceded by “headnotes”, prepared by legal editors, containing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Catchwords (legal concepts) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Digest or abstract of the facts, issues and holdings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>List of all authorities considered in making the decision (cases, statutes, secondary sources, words and phrases) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>List of counsel appearing on the file </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Unreported cases, too, now usually include at least catchwords, which are computer-generated </li></ul><ul><li>NB: The headnotes are not the decision! Do not depend on them! You must read the decision to determine what the judge is saying! </li></ul>
  22. 22. Finding Cases by Citation <ul><li>If you have the citation for a case, you can: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Go to the library and get it from the published law reports (reported cases only); or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Logon! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>BestCase, CanLII, Lexis/QL, WLeC and other services all have a “Find by Citation” feature, which will retrieve the case </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Again, online is so much easier! </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Finding Cases by Name <ul><li>If you know the name of a case but not its citation, you can find it </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In print </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Table of Cases volumes of The Canadian Abridgment will provide you with the citation; then you can look it up in the printed reports (reported cases only) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>BestCase, CanLII, Lexis/QL, WLeC all have a “Find by Name” feature, which will retrieve the case </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Online is so much easier and faster! </li></ul>
  24. 24. History of Cases <ul><li>If you plan to depend on a case as precedent, you must first determine if it is still good law. Has it been reversed or otherwise qualified on appeal? </li></ul><ul><li>The history of a case can be found in print sources . . . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cases Judicially Considered (Carswell) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>. . . or online </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quickcite (Lexis/QL), Keycite (WLeC), CanLII </li></ul></ul><ul><li>. . . but online is so much faster and easier! </li></ul>
  25. 25. Noting Up Cases <ul><li>After determining the history, you must “note up” the case to see how it has been considered in subsequent cases. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Has it been followed, varied, distinguished, considered, mentioned? How frequently? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A case can be noted up in print sources . . . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cases Judicially Considered (Carswell) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>. . . or online </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quickcite (Lexis/QL), Keycite (WLeC), CanLII </li></ul></ul><ul><li>. . . but online is so much faster and easier! </li></ul><ul><li>NB: History & Noting-up are usually one and the same step. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Researching Case Law: Print <ul><li>Legal Encyclopedias - Canada </li></ul><ul><li>Canadian Encyclopedic Digest 3d (Carswell) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Available in both Ontario and Western editions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Also available online (WLeC) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As with any encyclopedia, go to the topic you want (e.g., Torts or Negligence); consult the table of contents for each topic for the subject breakdown </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Or, if your topic isn’t that broad or you are uncertain, consult the index volume </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You will find a textual overview and analysis of the law, with reference to all cases and statutes pertinent to each specific point of law. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online, you can either browse the table of contents or run a full-text search for keywords </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Researching Case Law: Print <ul><li>Legal Encyclopedias - Canada </li></ul><ul><li>Halsbury’s Laws of Canada (Lexis/Butterworths) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Also available online (Lexis/Quicklaw) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Still being published, so all topics not yet covered </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As with any encyclopedia, go to the topic you want (e.g., Torts or Negligence); consult the table of contents for each topic for the subject breakdown; or, consult the index volume, which will refer you to appropriate topics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You will find a textual overview and analysis of the law, with reference to all cases and statutes pertinent to each specific point of law. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online, you can either browse the table of contents or run a full-text search for specific keywords. </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Researching Case Law: Print <ul><li>Legal Encyclopedias: Other Jurisdictions </li></ul><ul><li>United States </li></ul><ul><ul><li>American Jurisprudence 2d (AmJur 2d) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Corpus Juris Secundum (CJS) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Both also available online (Westlaw) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>England </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Halsbury’s Laws of England </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Australia </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Halsbury’s Laws of Australia </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Researching Case Law: Print <ul><li>Legal Digests </li></ul><ul><li>The Canadian Abridgment 3d </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Also available online (WLeC) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contains digests of all Canadian cases, reported and unreported, organized by topic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each topic and subtopic has a “key number”, e.g., “Barristers & Solicitors IV.4.c.i”. Digests of all cases that consider that topic are collected under that key number </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Or, if your topic isn’t that broad, consult the “Key & Research Guide” volume, which will refer you to the specific key number for any topic. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online, you can browse the table of contents or run a full-text search for either a key number or keywords. </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Researching Case Law: Online <ul><li>Run a full-text search for specific legal terms in any of the online services </li></ul><ul><ul><li>BestCase, CanLII, Lexis/Quicklaw, WestlaweCarswell </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Construct your search and determine appropriate databases/jurisdictions before logging on; consider all relevant terms of law and fact, synonyms, relationships, etc. </li></ul>