Law and Society

Getting started

Background Research

Encyclopedia of Law and Society
Covers important knowledge about law and society from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Finding Cases and Legislation

is a non-profit organization that has been engaged by the law societies of Canada that are members of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to establish, operate, maintain and provide to the law societies a website dedicated to providing continuous access to a virtual library of Canadian legal information.
is a tool for finding information on legislation before parliament (as it moves from a bill to law)
Canada Gazette
is the official newspaper of the Government of Canada and contains new statutes, new and proposed legislation, board decisions, and public notices.
Justice Laws
is an online source of the consolidated Acts and regulations of Canada
has early legislation (pre 1920)
is a non-profit organization that maintains a website that contains international law cases (it is not comprehensive)

Understanding The Legal System

The Courts of Canada
Provides a highly detailed listing of the Courts of Canada and the acronyms used to describe them
Canadian Department of Justice
A great start to learn about Canada’s system of justice
Canada Guide
This website offers an easy to read guide on the Canadian legal system
How Government Works
This website offers an easy to read guide on how the Canadian government works

Using Keywords in Databases

Try using the following terms when searching our databases: Law, Canon law, Culture and law, Justice, International law, Environmental law, Statutes, Technology and law, Legislation, Jurisprudence, Public relations and law, Procedure (Law), Formalities (Law), Law -- Canadian, etc.

Using Advanced searching in LexisNexis

If you’re trying to find a court case with a jury try typing in jury /p (sequester* or instruction* or selection*)

Start here

Primary subject databases
Database Description
Lexis Advance Quicklaw Canadian court decisions and legal commentary. View Full Description

Main databases

Secondary subject databases
Database Description
Nexis Uni Full-text documents for international news, business, legal research, and key people in the news. View Full Description

Also useful

Tertiary subject databases
Database Description
Periodicals Archive Online Full-text articles from journals in the humanities and social sciences. View Full Description

The following are examples of book resources available to WLU students, faculty and staff;

  • "Understanding law and society" by Max Travers (Abingdon : Routledge) 2010 (e-book)
  • "Conducting law and society research: reflections on methods and practices" by Halliday and Schmidt (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) 2009 (K85 .H35)
  • "The handbook of law and society" by Sarat and Ewick (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwill) 2015 (e-book)
  • "Classic writings in law and society" by A. Javier Trevino (New Brunswick, NJ : Transaction Publishers) c2011 (K370. C56 2011)
  • "Canadian law: an introduction" by Neil Boyd (Toronto: Nelson Thomson Learning) c2002 (KE444. B69 2002) Also try browsing the book stacks! See how the beginning of many of these call numbers start with K? Go to the library and browse those shelves for additional book suggestions.

In Canadian law there is one guide we use for legal citation called "The Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation" that is sometimes referred to as "The McGill Guide" or "Redbook". We have a copy of this guide in the Laurier Brantford Collection (KE259. C36 2014).

Canadian legal citation resembles Chicago Manual of Style in that it uses footnotes rather than in-text citations. When citing you always include the full citation the first time it is mentioned and then use abbreviations and the Latin phrases (Ibid and supra) for all citations after. Below are a few standard examples of how to cite, but when in doubt always refer to the McGill Guide as this is by no means an exhaustive list.

How to cite a case:
When citing a case you need to include the parties involved and the date and court it was heard in. In the below example, the two parties involved are "R" (Latin for Rex or Regina, or the Crown) and Boutilier. The case was decided in 2017 in the Supreme Court of Canada and it was the 64th case heard that year.
eg. R. v. Boutilier, 2017 SCC 64.
Furthermore, when citing you may need to refer to a specific paragraph within the case if you are directly quoting or using specific information found in a particular paragraph. If you are citing the above case and a phrase within paragraph three, you would do that as follows;
eg. R. v. Boutilier, 2017 SCC 64 at para 3.
How to cite an online source:
When working on an assignment, for example a case brief, you may want to use information outside of the case itself. If you end up using a website there is a standard way to cite it.
Author(s), Title of the page (date created), online: Title of the host website <web address>
eg. Devon Kapoor, R v Boutilier: The Dangerous Offender Regime and the Spectre of Indeterminate Sentences (January 2018), online: The <
Using one source multiple times:
As previously mentioned, the first time you use a source in your paper you provide the complete citation in a footnote. Subsequent citations may use ibid or supra. If your footnote is referring to the same source in the immediately preceding footnote you use ibid as a short from rather than having to repeat the full citation.
eg. 1. R. v. Boutilier, 2017 SCC 64.
2. Ibid.
If your footnote is referring to something you have already cited that is not immediately preceding you use supra and make reference to the citation it refers to.
eg. 11. R. v. Morgentaler [1988] 1 SCR 30.
12. McGowan, supra note 2.

It is important to determine whether you are looking for foreign law or international law. Foreign law is material that is created by another country and is applicable to that country only, whereas international law is generated by one or more countries with the intension that it will apply to two or more countries.

Finding Cases and Legislation
is a non-profit organization that maintains a website that contains international law cases (it is not comprehensive)
Legal Information Institute
is the original "LII" website and contains American case law and legislation
is the British and Irish "LII" website that contains UK case law and legislation
General Human Rights Portal
is a collection of resources pertaining to human rights from around the world
is an electronic publication from the NYU School of Law dedicated to international and foreign law research
Open Jurist
is a free resource that includes United States Code and opinions of U.S. Supreme Court and of lower federal courts
PACER - Public Access to Court Electronic Records
is a public access service for United States case and docket information from federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts

International Organizations North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) International Criminal Court United Nations list of International Law, Courts and Tribunals

Are you in the joint Laurier and Sussex program? Have a look at the University of Sussex Library subject guide on Law.

In general, it is best to rely on legal information created within the legal system of the country you are studying along with academic sources. However, sometimes secondary material can be helpful.
is an open directory with listings of blogs maintained by lawyers, law librarians, marketers, IT professionals or paralegals in Canada. Blogs of particular note are Michael Geist and law school faculty blogs.
is an online legal magazine, written by and for the Canadian law community including lawyers, librarians, technologists, marketers, students, and educators.