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Canadian Legal Research

This guide details researching Canadian law at the federal and provincial level.

Introduction

Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy comprised of ten provinces and three territories.  Its official languages are English and French.  The federal government operates on a bilingual basis.  Each Canadian province has its own unicameral legislature.  Common law prevails at the federal level and in nine of Canada's ten provinces.  The French-speaking province of Quebec has a mixed system of civil law and common law in which civil law predominates. 
 

Key Resources for Canadian Legal Research

  • Justice Laws Website
    The website of Canada's Department of Justice provides free online access to federal statutes currently in force (Consolidated Acts), federal session laws (Annual Statutes), and federal regulations currently in force (Consolidated Regulations). 
     
  • Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII)
    This comprehensive Web portal provides free online access to both federal and provincial statutes, regulations, and case law.  Dates of coverage vary, depending on the content type.
     
  • Lexis
    Lexis has consolidated statutes and regulations at the federal level and for Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario.  Lexis also provides access to federal and provincial case law.  Dates of coverage for case law vary by court and by jurisdiction.
     
  • Westlaw
    Westlaw has federal statutes and regulations in both English and French.  It also has provincial statutes and regulations for all ten provinces.  In addition, Westlaw provides access to federal and provincial case law.  Dates of coverage for case law vary by court and by jurisdiction.

 


 

 

Canadian Flag

Public Domain Image Via Wikimedia Commons

Canadian Provinces & Territories

Public Domain Image Via Wikimedia Commons

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