The Research Process – Locating the Law: Find the Law that Governs the Issues

Once you have framed the legal issues, you can begin searching for the law that governs these issues. But, where do you look?

The goal of these online course modules is to provide you with the required tools and the information needed to properly and efficiently research legal issues.

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

There are several sources of law which are categorized as either primary sources or secondary sources.

Primary legal sources constitute the law itself!

In a common law system, such as ours, there are two primary sources of law: legislation and case law.

There is a definite interplay between case law and legislation insofar as the former tends to shed light on, and uncover the principles beneath the latter. You will learn more about this connection in your first-year courses.

For the purpose at hand, it is sufficient to be able to identify, and distinguish between statutory law (legislation) and case law. More information on statutes and case law is provided in the legislation and case law learning modules.

Secondary sources are not the law per se!

Instead, secondary sources explain, comment on, and critique the law.

More information on secondary sources is offered in the secondary sources learning module.