Legal Research - Case law basics

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  • Only a few because it is a small market Easier to do legislative research in print Electronic versions are not offical Confusion over in force dates and currency
  • Legal Research - Case law basics

    1. 1. Legal Research Legal Research smireau@fieldlaw.com 423-7682
    2. 2. Today’s Menu <ul><li>Legal Publishing and the Internet </li></ul><ul><li>Legal information finding tools </li></ul><ul><li>Sources </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of texts (Secondary Sources) </li></ul><ul><li>Review and questions </li></ul>
    3. 3. Legal Publishing <ul><li>Print </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Textbooks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Looseleaf services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Case reporters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Legislation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Journals </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Historical media. Judges would choose cases and then send them to legal publishers for head noting and publication </li></ul><ul><li>Electronic </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Case reporters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Legislation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Integrated textbooks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Journals </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Contemporary media – Print on demand. Courts publish cases (with some exceptions for privacy) on websites, legal publishers get cases from courts for head noting and publication in electronic and print sources </li></ul>Carswell LexisNexis Canada Law Book CCH Maritime Law Book Sweet&Maxwell West
    4. 4. What Legal Info is on the Net? <ul><li>Portals </li></ul><ul><li>How to guides </li></ul><ul><li>Legislation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Free or fee </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cases (a.k.a. Common Law) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Free or fee </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Legal Portals <ul><li>Portals usually offer good links to reliable websites (Let a subject expert update the bookmarks) </li></ul><ul><li>There are also subject or geographic specific portals within the realm of legal research. </li></ul><ul><li>A great research portal that I know of is the University of Calgary Law Library site http://www.ucalgary.ca/library/law/ </li></ul><ul><li>Alberta Law Libraries http://www.lawlibrary.ab.ca </li></ul>
    6. 6. How to guides <ul><li>Many law library types like to publish </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs ( www.slaw.ca ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.llrx.com a cross between a journal, a blog, a newspaper, and a pathfinder </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Textbookish sites like www.legalresearch.org </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. The Where’s for e Cases <ul><li>Things to consider </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What you want to do with the case </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How you want it to look </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Client disbursement </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Places available </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CanLII, BAILII, public.resource.org </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Westlaw Canada </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NRS Online from Maritime Law Book </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>LexisNexis Quicklaw </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. What is available for e Cases? <ul><li>FREE with head notes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Alberta Reports (back to vol.1 1976) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supreme Court Reports (since 1985 and all from Ontario back to 1876) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The print collection in the Field Libraries </li></ul></ul><ul><li>FREE without head notes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most Canadian court and tribunal decisions from 2002 or so. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>FEE </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All print reported decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Born digital decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oral decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Digests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A Noteup </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Fee v. Free <ul><li>Content coverage (in years) </li></ul><ul><li>Value added features </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Noting up </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Finding tools </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Journal article, texts, encyclopedias, “precedents” </li></ul>
    10. 10. CanLII <ul><li>CanLII – Canadian Legal Information Institute www.canlii.org </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not-for-profit, funded by the Federation of Law Societies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Material in the database is publicly available elsewhere </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This collection makes it easy to search across jurisdictional boundaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One search engine for all material </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Links to the Source are provided </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Canadian Abridgment Find case law by subject: The core of The Canadian Abridgment is a collection of case digests, or summaries, of issues decided by Canadian courts and administrative tribunals from the early 1800s to the present. (Also included, since 1987, are unreported Court of Appeal cases and since 1996, unreported superior court cases.) The Canadian Abridgment Case Digests is the most efficient tool for finding Canadian cases on an area of law, a particular legal issue or a specific fact situation. Pinpoint all relevant cases in a single search: Organized by subject according to The Canadian Abridgment’s Key classification system, its more than 100 main volumes contain more than 500,000 digests of reported decisions from the common law provinces, as well as cases falling under federal jurisdiction from Québec. Two finding tools: The Key & Research Guide and the General Index help you to pinpoint the precise issue you are researching, making your research faster and simpler. Two-step supplementation streamlines research: Each main volume is supplemented by a softcover annual supplement volume that updates it to the end of the previous year. Monthly updates, through Canadian Current Law - Case Digests, are also available to keep you abreast of developments in the current year.
    12. 12. When to use the Can. Abridg. <ul><li>You want to see cases that consider something </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A subject </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Another case </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A statute or regulation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A Word or Phrase </li></ul></ul><ul><li>You want to know about recent cases </li></ul><ul><li>You are looking for a journal article </li></ul>
    13. 13. Canadian Abridgment <ul><li>Print or Electronic </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cost per year </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ease or speed of Use </li></ul><ul><li>Library shelves </li></ul><ul><li>More than just cases </li></ul><ul><li>WestlawCanada </li></ul><ul><ul><li>demo </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Legal Textbooks <ul><li>Good research always starts with an understanding of the issues (i.e. why someone needs a statute) </li></ul><ul><li>Always begin with a textbook </li></ul><ul><li>Which text? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gehlen’s List http://legalresearch.org/docs/gehlen.html </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. TIP <ul><li>If you start with only a subject area, use a textbook to give you language or links </li></ul><ul><li>If you start with a specific legislative document, also look for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An annotated version (like a textbook) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Check for related documents (i.e. regulations or forms) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Look for government guidelines or info sheets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In force date </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. Law Library Jobs Specific job on team – i.e. cataloguing, reference, circ., serials Do everything

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