Case Law and the Canadian Abridgement – Finding Case Law

Finding case law takes practice. To locate the right case or cases you must employ an effective research strategy.

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

The answers to these questions will determine the best way for you to search for cases.

There are a variety of ways to search for case law. The main ways are:

There are also a variety of research strategies and tools in print and electronic format available to assist you in locating jurisprudence. These include:

Although convenient and quick, Google cannot help with any of the above. Internet search engines are good for finding well-known or oft-cited cases, but not much else. A Google keyword search for caselaw will retrieve too many documents, and often irrelevant ones or ones with little or no authority.

NOTE: You should never begin searching for case law without first having developed an effective research strategy. An experienced legal researcher chooses carefully amongst these tools based on his or her client's needs!