Canadian Legal Research

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

Legal Dictionaries & Canadian Spelling

Canadian Legal Dictionaries

Although Canadian lawyers share a common language with their American counterparts, they sometimes employ different terminology. To avoid confusion and misunderstanding when conducting Canadian legal research, consult these Canadian legal dictionaries:

  • Barron's Canadian Law Dictionary (6th ed.) REF KE183 .Y63 2009
  • Canadian Law Dictionary (7th ed.) KE183 .Y63 2013
  • Dictionnaire de Droit Québécois et Canadien (4th ed.) KE183.R45 2010
    Includes a table of abbreviations and an English-French lexicon of legal terminology.
  • The Dictionary of Canadian Law (3rd ed.) REF KE183 .D85 2004
  • Les Bons Mots du Civil et du Pénal (2nd ed.) KE184 .M35 2005
    This English-French lexicon of legal terminology covers both civil and criminal law.
  • Pocket Dictionary of Canadian Law (4th ed.) REF KE183 .D853 2002

Canadian Spelling

When searching for legal materials published in Canada, be mindful of variations in spelling between Canadian English and American English. These seemingly minor differences can have an enormous impact on search results.  

To conduct a thorough search for books or articles about labor law in Canada, for example, you should include both the Canadian and American spellings ("labour law" OR "labor law").

For an authoritative analysis of variations in usage and spelling among English-speaking countries, consult the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary REF PE1625 .O87 1989, which is also available online