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Law Resources: The Basics: Reference Collection

What is it?

"A library's Reference Collection is used to gather together in one convenient location standard references like encyclopedias, handbooks, and dictionaries that will provide answers to questions on any topic in any field of research."

"It is called a Reference Collection because its use is limited to in‐library reference and because it is used heavily by the library's Reference Department to answer library patrons' questions quickly. Ideally, a library's Reference Collection should provide resources that will quickly answer any question posed by a library patron or that will at least direct the patron to a source that will answer the question."

References
University of North Florida Digital Commons

Halsbury’s Laws of Canada (available in print and online)

Halsbury’s Laws of Canada (black and red books) 

How to use it: 

  • Information is arranged like an encyclopedia: organized by subject with entries that summarize a point of law and also provide key cases or statutes.
  • Good starting point for legal research - start with an area of law.
  • The online version of this title can be found in Lexis Advance Quicklaw.

How to access it:

  • Online versions of this title can be searched using the databases listed in Online Access.
  • For print versions of this title, portions can be requested via Scan and Send service.
  • For help finding this title, please email uask.law@usask.ca.

Canadian Encyclopedic Digest (available in print and online)

Canadian Encyclopedic Digest - CED (black binders) 

How to use it: 

  • Information is arranged like an encyclopedia: organized by subject with entries that summarize a point of law and also provide key cases or statutes.
  • Good starting point for legal research - start with an area of law.
  • The online version of this title can be found in WestlawNext Canada.

How to access it:

  • Online versions of this title can be searched using the databases listed in Online Access.
  • For print versions of this title, portions can be requested via Scan and Send service.
  • For help finding this title, please email uask.law@usask.ca.

The Canadian Abridgements (available in print and online)

The Canadian Abridgements (blue and tan books) 

How to use it:

  • Start with the case name (differs from Halsbury’s and the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest) .
  • Cases are digested and similar or like cases are brought together.
  • The online version of this title can be found in WestlawNext Canada.

How to access it:

  • Online versions of this title can be searched using the databases listed in Online Access.
  • For print versions of this title, portions can be requested via Scan and Send service.
  • For help finding this title, please email uask.law@usask.ca.

The Canadian Abridgements Consolidated Table of Cases (available in print and online)

The Canadian Abridgements Consolidated Table of Cases (red and tan books) 

How to use it:

  • Locate cases by name: tells you the volume and page number of every law report in which the case appears, and directs you to that case in The Canadian Abridgment Case Digests.
  • Good if you know the name of the case, and helps you find parallel citations for that case.
  • The online version of this title can be found in WestlawNext Canada.

How to access it:

  • Online versions of this title can be searched using the databases listed in Online Access.
  • For print versions of this title, portions can be requested via Scan and Send service.
  • For help finding this title, please email uask.law@usask.ca.

Canadian Statutes Citations

Canadian Statutes Citations (blue and grey books) 

How to use it:

  • This title is used to note up a statute by jurisdiction – find cases that deal with a particular statute.
    • "Noting up" for statutes refers to finding cases that have discussed or considered federal or provincial legislation. Cases that address specific sections of a statute can help a legal researcher with statutory interpretation. 
  • Statutes are listed alphabetically in volumes covering federal or provincial legislation, and are subdivided by section number.
  • Refers you to other cases that have considered the legislation.

How to access it:

  • Online versions of this title can be accessed by noting up in WestlawNext Canada, Lexis Advanced Quicklaw and CANLII.
  • For print versions of this title, portions can be requested via Scan and Send service.
  • For help finding this title, please email uask.law@usask.ca.

Canadian Case Citations

Canadian Case Citations (brown books) 

How to use it:

  • This title is used to update or note-up cases - history and application    
    • "Noting up" for cases means verifying whether a particular case is still relevant and that it has not been reversed on appeal, or has been criticized or overruled by subsequent cases.
  • This is an important step to know how other cases treated or viewed the case at hand and to ensure that your case has not been overruled by a court of appeal or the Supreme Court of Canada, particularly if it is a recent case.
  • Refers you to other cases that have considered the case.

How to access it:

  • Online versions of this title can be accessed by noting up using WestlawNext Canada, Lexis Advanced Quicklaw and CANLII.
  • For print versions of this title, portions can be requested via Scan and Send service.
  • For help finding this title, please email uask.law@usask.ca.

Online Access

Important Reference Books