Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

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.  Its bicameral parliament meets in Ottawa.

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 Québec has a mixed system of civil law and common law in which civil law predominates.

The Georgetown Law Library's extensive collection of Canadian legal materials is located on the fifth floor of the Williams Library.  All of these materials have call numbers that be begin with the letters KE.
 

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 all Canadian provinces and territories, with the exception of Nunavut.  Lexis also provides access to federal and provincial case law,  including Nunavut, as well as a selection of Canadian law reviews and journals.  Dates of coverage for case law vary by court and by jurisdiction. 
     
  • Westlaw
    Academic subscribers to Westlaw may access Canadian federal statutes and regulations, in both English and French, as well as provincial statutes and regulations for all ten provinces and three territories.  Westlaw also has federal and provincial case law and a selection of secondary sources on Canadian law.    Dates of coverage for case law vary by court and by jurisdiction.
     

Research Assistance

If you need assistance with Canadian legal research, visit the Research Help page of the Georgetown University Law Library's website. Or contact the Law Library's International and Foreign Law Department by phone (202-662-4195) or by email (lawintlref@georgetown.edu).  Georgetown Law Center students may schedule a one-on-one research consultation with a librarian.

Canadian Flag

Public Domain Image Via Wikimedia Commons

Canadian Provinces & Territories

Public Domain Image Via Wikimedia Commons

Questions? Need Help? Contact the International & Foreign Law Dept.

International & Foreign
Legal Research


(202) 662-4195



Request a Research Consultation