Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

Canadian Legal Research

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

Secondary Sources: Journal Articles

Tools for Finding Journal Articles

Journal articles can be an excellent source for researching narrower, more specialized legal topics. Articles published in law journals include extensive footnotes with citations to primary and secondary sources that are relevant to the topic.  Two types of tools for conducting journal article research are described below.

  • Journal indexes include bibliographic information about an article, such as the title, the name of the author, and the name of the journal, as well as one or more subject descriptors.  Searching in a journal index usually retrieves more relevant articles than searching in a full-text database because the searches are run only on the bibliographic data and the subject descriptors.
     
  • Full-text journal databases allow you to search within the entire text of an article.  Most of them also include bibliographic information, as well.  It is easier to run searches in full-text databases, but they tend to retrieve many irrelevant articles in addition to the relevant articles. 

For more information on how to use indexes and full-text databases for journal article research, consult the following library research guide: Using Articles for Legal and Non-Legal Research.
 

Journal Indexes & Databases for Canadian Legal Research

You will find citations to articles written about Canadian legal topics in frequently used law journal indexes, such as LegalTrac and Legal Periodicals and Books; and in frequently used full-text law journal databases, such as those available on HeinOnline, Lexis, and Westlaw.  Among the full-text journal databases, HeinOnline's coverage of Canadian law journals is the most extensive.

The following resources focus primarily or exclusively on journals published outside the U.S.:

  • Cambridge Core
    Search for all types of content, including journal articles, published by Cambridge University Press.  After running a search, use the filters on the left to limit by content type, subject, journal name, and date.
     
  • Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals
    This HeinOnline database is the only journal database that enables you to limit searches to law journals published in Canada.  To do so, select "Country of Publication" from the search field menu and then enter Canada in the adjacent search box.  Not all articles that are indexed in this database are available in full text on HeinOnline.
     
  • Oxford Academic Journals Online
    Full-text database for journals published by Oxford University Press.  After running a search, use the filters on the left to limit by article type, subject, journal name, and date.
     

How to Retrieve an Article If You Already Have a Citation

If you already have a citation to a journal article, use the resources described below to retrieve the full text.  Keep in mind that electronic access to full-text articles varies by journal.  Some journals are available on multiple electronic platforms, but the dates of coverage often vary.  If the article you are seeking falls outside the dates of coverage for electronic access, you will need to access the journal in print, if available, or request a copy of the article via Inter-Library Loan.

  • Search by Citation
    If the article you are seeking is available in an electronic format from any Georgetown University library, you should be able to quickly retrieve the full text of the article by entering the citation information into this online form.
     
  • Journal Finder
    If the Search by Citation tool fails to retrieve the full text of the article you are seeking, search for the name of the journal in which the article was published in the Journal Finder.  If the Georgetown Law Library has the journal in print, the Journal Finder will display print holdings and dates of coverage.  It also willing display electronic holdings for the journal, along with the dates of coverage, for all Georgetown University libraries.
     
  • Inter-Library Loan
    If the article you are seeking is not available print from the Georgetown Law Library, or in an electronic format from any Georgetown University library, you may request a copy of the article from another library by using the Inter-Library Loan (ILL) service.


Selected Canadian Law Journals

A selection of Canadian law journals available in print and online through the Georgetown Law Library is provided below.  It is not intended to be a complete list.  To determine if the library provides access to a journal not included in the list, search for the title of the journal in the Journal Finder.

  • Canadian Business Law Journal.  K3 .A525 (Click here for electronic access.)
  • Canadian Intellectual Property Review.  K3.A526
  • Canadian Journal of Family Law. K3 .A548 (Click here for electronic access.)  
  • Canadian Tax Journal.  K3 .A57 (Click here for electronic access.)
  • The Criminal Law Quarterly.  K3 .R53 (Click here for electronic access.)
  • The Indigenous Law Journal.  K3 .N3475 (Clikc here for electronic access.)
  • Supreme Court Law Review.   First Series K23 .U38; Second Series K23 .U381