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- Law and Justice Databases
The purpose of this guide is to recommend print and electronic library resources for research in Law and Justice. Click on the links on the left for suggestions about starting your research, getting books and articles, and finding other useful tools. I am also available to assist. Please email me with your topic or to make an appointment.
Quick Tips on Preparing for Research
Before you start:
- understand the key terms you may be using as well as the general area that interests you;
- think about ways to narrow your topic, making it as specific as possible (unless you have been given a specific topic to research!);
- create a thesis statement;
- list the main concepts (key words) included in your thesis statement (research question), then based on your readings;
- find as many synonyms as you can for each main concept. You are now ready to start searching in the library's catalogue and databases.
When you are looking for definitions or if you don’t know much about a specific subject, reference works such as dictionaries and encyclopedias become invaluable because they contain relatively short—and understandable—articles. These articles often lay out the parameters of a subject and can assist you in trying to narrow your topic. Often such articles are accompanied by lists of readings (bibliographies) which allow you to explore your topic further.
The best general encyclopedia is: Encyclopedia Britannnica.
- Canadian Law
- Canadian Law: Duhaime's Law Dictionary Under "Legal Reference" at top of screen, click on Law Dictionary Index.
- US and UK Law: TheFreeDictionary
Canadian guide to uniform legal citation. 8th ed. 2014. Also known as The McGill Guide.
CanLII: Canadian Legal Information Institute. Legal cases, legislation, and related commentary.
Canadian legal research and writing guide. Open access ebook.
Cardiff index to legal abbreviations. Open access international index of short forms.
If you need to find an article--and you have the full journal citation--then you can often get to it quickly using Electronic Journals (A-Z). Type in the name of the journal, click on the correct journal name, click on the appropriate year / volume / issue, then find your article on the list by starting page number. Please note that you cannot use the A-Z list to search by subject or by article title--the list only supplies access to known electronic journal titles.
Articles: Quick Tips
The databases to the right provide references to many scholarly journal articles and papers.
- Start off with keyword searches expressing your topic. Keyword searching crosses all fields.
- Use Search Operators such as "OR" and "AND" to expand or reduce your results.
- Review those items that look relevant, then, exploit the details within those entries to help lead you to other relevant articles.
- Pay attention to the subject headings (often called "descriptors") to see how the database describes your topic and use them to find related articles.
- Find other papers written by the same author; these will typically be on similar subjects.
- Follow citation trails: other articles that have cited this article will probably be on a related subject and will include citations to other articles of interest.
- For more Secrets of Searching a Database, review that section in How to Research Like a Librarian.
Peer Review is the evaluation of creative work by scholars in the same field in order to maintain or enhance the quality of the work in that field.
In the case of peer reviewed journals, which are usually academic, peer review generally refers to the evaluation of the articles in them prior to publication. For more, check out this definition of peer review.
- To ascertain whether a journal is peer reviewed, consult Ulrichsweb.
Getting Articles @ Laurentian
In any database, when you see an article that interests you, click on it and, unless the article is available within the database itself, within the record you will see an image that says "Get it @ Laurentian":
When you click on that, you will arrive at a menu which will lead to an electronic copy of the article you want, or, if not available electronically, to Laurentian's catalogue which will allow you to check if the article is available in print in the library, and if not, to a final link which allows you to order the item through Interlibrary loan.
Use the library catalogue to find print holdings such as Supreme Court Reports, Ontario Reports, Canadian Criminal Cases, Reports of Family Law, Canadian Rights Reporter, Canadian Human Rights Reporter, Labour Arbitration Cases, and Canadian Labour Law Reports.
Provides access to primary Canadian legal material by jurisdiction, federal and provincial, including the full text of judgements as issued by courts, as well as rulings of boards and tribunals. Commentaries are also available from CanLII Connects.
Lexis-Nexis Academic (Quicklaw)
Court cases since the late 1800s.
- U.S. Supreme Court decisions from January 1790 to present, searchable by majority opinion, minority opinion, concurring opinion, counsel, or headnotes
- U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decisions
- U.S. District Court decisions from 1789 to present
- Decisions from Bankruptcy Courts; U.S. Court of International Trade; Tax Courts; Courts of Customs and Patent Appeals, and Veterans, Commerce, and Military Courts
- State court decisions at all court levels for all 50 states and territories
UK and Other Jurisdictions
Includes English Reports, Full-Reprint (1220-1867). This collection contains over 100,000 cases, representative of 265 separate series of Reports, arranged by Courts.
Includes cases from most Commonwealth countrties.
UK Cases cover from 1558 through current and include
- All England Law Reports Reprints from 1558 (when available),
- ICLR Law Reports from 1865,
- All England Law Reports from 1936 and other law reports from 1945.
- Scottish reported cases from 1982 and
- Northern Ireland cases from 1945.
- Unreported cases from England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from 1980.
CanLII provides access to primary Canadian legal material by jurisdiction, federal and provincial, including current legislation and regulations.
Current legislation plus earlier legislation (from mid 1980s) from Canada, B.C., Alberta and Ontario. Regulations also available. To find, click on Search by Content Type/ International Legal / Canadian Legislation as in
US and Other Jurisdictions
In Hein Online, the Session Laws Library provides access to federal legislation not only from Canada (1792 to within a year or so), but to Australia (1901 to a year or two), the Bahamas (1968-1996), the United States (1789 to three years ago) and to all states (19th, 20th and 21st centuries).
Get the most current US law by clicking on Search by Content / Legal / and then, deparending upon your requirements, Federal Statutes, Codes & Regulations, or State Statutes, Codes & Regulations. See screen shot opposite.
Need a Film Not in Laurentian's Online Film Collections?
Consult: Watmedia (Provincial Multi-media Catalogue). Material held by Laurentian may be signed out in the library. To order a film not available at Laurentian, please email LUFilmLibrary@laurentian.ca and specify the date(s) you require the item.
Questions: Please contact Ashley Thomson who manages the Intrafilm Project.
- Best Guide to Canadian Legal Research. A fabulous resource--literally the best
- Canadian Legal Research (Harvard Law School)
- Doing Legal Research in Canada An introduction to the topic written from the perspective of an American.
- Guide to Law On-Line Prepared by the Library of Congress
Publication Manual of the APA and Chicago Manual of Style
The Department recommends APA or Chicago style for citations and bibliographies.
A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses and Dissertations (known as "Turabian" after its first author) introduces Chicago. 9th ed. 2018. Print.
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Also known as the APA style manual. 7th ed. 2019. Print.
APA style and grammar guidelines. The American Psychological Association's online guide to what you need to know.
The Purdue Online Writing Lab. The best open-access site for learning how to cite in APA, Chicago, and other styles.
Zotero is a free, web-based citation manager that allows you to:
- Directly import references from article databases, the library catalogue, e-book collections, etc.
- Manage and organize your references.
- Create a bibliography.
- Share your references with others
- Add in-text citation and a bibliography directly into your assignment
Getting started with Zotero:
Some items are licensed for use by members of the Laurentian University community; use by others may be restricted.
are available to Laurentian University members who wish to use licensed products from off campus.
= Recommended Starting Database
- Index to Canadian Legal Periodical Literature (In Print - 2nd Floor: INDEX K 33 I53)
- Index to Legal Periodicals Retrospective, 1908-1981
- Lexis-Nexis Academic (includes Quicklaw)
- Canadian Business and Current Affairs
- Canadian Periodical Index
- Canadian Publishers Collection
- Criminal Justice Collection
- Dissertations and Theses (Proquest)
- Eureka.cc (Biblio Branchée)
- FRANCIS (International Humanities and Social Studies)
- National Criminal Justice Reference Service Database
- Old Bailey Online
- Ontario Scholars Portal
- PAIS (Public Affairs Information Service)
- Philosopher's Index
- Sage Publications
- Social Sciences Citation Index
- Social Sciences Index Retrospective, 1907-1984
- Sociological Abstracts
- CanLII (Canadian Legal Information Institute)
- Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute
- Guide to Law On-Line
- Law and Justice WWW (Laurentian)
- World Legal Information Institute
- Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation ( REF KE 259 C35 2006)
- Queen's Guide to Legal Citation