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LAW - Starting Points - Beginning Your Canadian Legal Research

This guide is intended to assist students and members of the public locate materials for their legal research projects.

Cases

A case is a decision made by a court or a board or tribunal. Released cases are made available by courts, boards and tribunals to be published in case reports. Not every case gets published (reported) so not every case is searchable. In Alberta unpublished court cases may be found by contacting the Clerk of the Court for a transcript, if available. There will be a charge for this.

Published (reported) cases may be located by topic, case name or citation. Citations may be found in books or articles. Reported cases can be located on legal databases using their citation. Case judgements may also be published directly by the court or tribunal where the decision was made.

For links to further resources for finding Canadian cases, visit the research guide Canadian Cases and Decisions. That guide is provides links to sources for Canadian Federal as well as Alberta and the other provinces and territories case law. Legal databases may be restricted to University of Calgary users or to Faculty of Law users.

 

Caselaw Databases

Search for cases on a topic or legal issue by doing a keyword search, similar to searching on an internet search engine, in any of the databases below. You can limit the search to a particular province, jurisdiction or court.

If you know the name of the case or have the case's citation from a book, article or website, you can use that information as your search terms. For help understanding citations and information about citing cases please go to the Legal Citation tab.

There are several electronic databases with links to case reports:

Searching in print for cases

Once you have the title of the case reporter, search for it in the library catalogue to determine availability and location. Law report series may be available in print or electronically. Print case reporters are located on the law library 1st floor. They include all general and many topical reporters for Canada, as well as some international and foreign reporters too.

Courts and Boards Websites

Both federal and provincial courts often make judicial decisions available through their own websites. Historically, courts, boards and tribunals made their decisions available on their websites.  Many now provide their decisions to CanLII and have stopped adding them to their websites; however, you should check the website of the specific court, board or tribunal if you cannot find the decision in any of the sources listed above.

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