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

Free Resources

  • 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.
     

Canadian Content for U.S. Academic Subscribers to Lexis & Westlaw

  • Lexis
    U.S. academic subscribers to Lexis may access consolidated statutes and regulations at the federal level and for all Canadian provinces and territories.  Lexis also provides access to federal and provincial case law, with the exception of the Yukon Territory, as well as a selection of Canadian law reviews and journals.  Dates of coverage for case law vary by court and by jurisdiction. 
     
  • Westlaw
    U.S. 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.
     

Practical Guidance & Commentary on Canadian Law

  • Getting the Deal Through (GTDT)
    GTDT offers practitioner-written summaries of Canadian law governing dozens of practice areas ("work areas").  Each summary follows a question and answer format and includes references or citations to relevant primary law materials.  Begin by selecting Canada as the jurisdiction from the men at the center of the page.  Then select the desired work area (practice area).
     
  • Thomson Reuters Practical Law - Canada
    U.S. academic subscribers to Westlaw may access this online resource, which provides practitioner-written guidance on Canadian law for selected practice areas.  Content includes practice notes, checklists, and tool kits, plus standardized forms and document templates.
     
  • Global Legal Monitor - Canada (Law Library of Congress)
    This free resource provides analysis and commentary on significant developments in Canadian law, including the enactment of important new legislation and the issuance of landmark judicial decisions.  Links to primary sources are almost always provided.  Use the filters on the left to narrow by date and by topic.
     

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

 

Update History

Updated 08/2019 (chb)
Revised 07/2017 (chb)
Revised 07/2010 (ras)
Links Checked 08/2008 (ras)
Revised 04/2007 (ras)