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Free Law Textbooks

The common law in Canada has developed from a painstaking process of parsing long court decisions and extracting key principles which are then applied in the next case. For self-represented litigants, finding these principles can seem like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Wouldn't it be nice if someone had already taken the trouble to assemble the basic principles on a legal issue and summarize them for you in a few pages? Legal textbooks do just that, and they are an excellent starting point for lawyers and non-lawyers.

Research articles : 

Researching federal legislation

Michael Dew is a Vancouver lawyer who practices in all areas of civil litigation (including ICBC cases). Click here for contact information and further details about Michael’s practice.

 
Introduction
This article sets out, step by step, how to trace the history of a federal statutory provision from date X to the present, including determining whether there are currently any bills before Parliament dealing with that provision.
 
If date X is after 1985 your task will be relatively easy and you may be able to use only electronic resources. If date X is before 1985, you will probably need to refer to the paper copies of the legislation in your law library i.e. currently (October 2007) services like Quicklaw and the Canada Statute Service (from Canada Law Book) do not go back further than 1985, so paper is the only option.
 
Research articles : 

Writing expert reports: Five key points to ensure readability

There are many good quality writing guides available, but most of them are lengthy and busy professionals may not have the time or inclination to read them. The following brief list contains 5 elementary points which almost all writing guides would agree with. Adhering to these points will increase readability and force organization and planning. It is intended that this article be handed to experts at commencement of the retainer, but lawyers and other writers would do well to abide by them too.
 
  1. Number the paragraphs.
    This facilitates discussion of the report.
  1. Write in short sentences.
    20-25 words should be the maximum length of each sentence. When you have finished the report, scan the text to look for sentences that run over two lines. Shorten these sentences.
  1. Write in short paragraphs.
Research articles : 

Free access to electronic databases containing English case law:

Michael Dew is a Vancouver lawyer who practices in all areas of civil litigation (including ICBC cases). Click here for contact information and further details about Michael’s practice.
 
INTRODUCTION
With CanLII (the Canadian Legal Information Institute) providing ever increasing free electronic access to Canadian case law, reliance on subscriptions services like Quicklaw and Westlaw is becoming less necessary. But what free access is available to English cases?
 
This article briefly describes how one may access and search free electronic databases of English case law on the internet.
 
This article begins by briefly describing two websites that provide access to English judgments, and then describes what coverage each of them provides for the various English courts including the following:
Research articles : 

Finding unreported decisions in British Columbia

Michael Dew is a Vancouver lawyer who practices in all areas of civil litigation (including ICBC cases). Click here for contact information and further details about Michael’s practice.
 
Introduction
Nowadays almost all judgments are made available to commercial database companies such as Quicklaw, and so very few decisions go unreported. However, historically all decisions not considered worthy of publishing by the editorial staff of the traditional paper based reporters went unreported.
 
Counsel on unreported cases sometimes rely on those cases in subsequent litigation and this is one way in which unreported cases work their way into the published law reports, and then into the secondary sources. Therefore, you may want to find an unreported decision.
 
The unreported decision database of the British Columbia Courthouse Library:
Research articles : 

Finding journal articles

Michael Dew is a Vancouver lawyer who practices in all areas of civil litigation (including ICBC cases). Click here for contact information and further details about Michael’s practice.
 
This article provides guidance on finding journal articles on substantive points of law. Although some of the sources listed have a British Columbia focus, many of them contain articles from across Canada.
 
Sources for finding articles
Canadian Bar Review articles
The website of the Canadian Bar Association contains Bar Review articles dating back to 1923 available in pdf format. Users can browse for articles or search by author, keyword etc.
 
 
Research articles : 
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