Shaunna Mireau on Canadian Legal Research

Tips on Canadian legal research from the Library at Field LLP.
Postings are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the firm.

September 28, 2010

Fabulous advice from a U of A Law student

Graham Purse, a 3L writing at the U of A Faculty of Law Blog, has some great advice about looking for specific documents with Google:

I can often phonetically enter a style of cause in Google and return the right case. Best of luck trying that on Westlaw or Quicklaw.

Here is an example:

1) On, I type in "Dunsmur" and the first thing I get is “Dunsmuir v. New Brunswick”. Simple!

2) On Westlaw, I type in "Dunsmur" and get the dreaded "Results: 0 Documents". Fail!

3) On Quicklaw, I type in "Dunsmur" and get the equally dreaded "No Documents Found". Fail!

I had some great luck looking for a Texas State Bar CLE paper cited last week by our Supremes in their recent Progressive Homes decision. (Why the SCC is looking to non-peer reviewed papers from Texas as authority for Canadian legal principles is something to think about, even if it is a really great paper). Graham describes this journal search with Google process eloquently:
As long as you've got the author's last name and a couple of words from the title, you can find almost anything. The most technophobic and marginally-intellectually-enfranchised Luddites could surely find almost any source, even if it didn't conform to the rightfully-maligned McGill guide.
Way to go Graham.

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