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GDipICL: Library Resources

This guide was designed as an introduction to library resources for students in the Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law.

The 3 Major Legal Research Services

There are three major online legal research services in Canada: CanLII, Westlaw, and Lexis. These are platforms that allow you to search, locate, and read legal information including case law, legislation, and commentary. This page provides information on how to access all three of these services.

Note: Starting in Winter 2023, it is no longer required that GDipICL students sign up for Lexis and Westlaw accounts. However, these services are commonly used in professional legal environments, so you may find it interesting and useful to sign up for these free student accounts and explore the optional content provided in your course materials.


CanLII is a free legal research service that is funded by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. You do not need to set up an account to use CanLII. However, you may want to sign up for a free Lexbox account, which allows you to take advantage of additional functionality like saving documents to a folder and creating personalized alerts. 

In rare instances, students who are located outside of Canada have reported difficulty accessing CanLII's website. If this happens to you, please feel free to reach out to the Law Library for troubleshooting assistance.

Optional: Set up your free Westlaw account

Westlaw is a commercial legal research service that is optional in the GDipICL program as of Winter 2023. If you are interested in activating your free student account, you need to receive a registration key from Thomson Reuters.

Your Queen's email account should receive a welcome email from Westlaw in the first week of the semester. This email will provide instructions for setting up your personal account.

Check your spam folder and contact the law library for help if you can't find the welcome email. 

Note: Each time you sign in, Westlaw prompts you to “Select a client ID.” The Client ID is used to identify your Westlaw session, but otherwise has no effect on your research or use of the platform. Simply enter any text or number and then “Start a new session” to proceed to the homepage.


Optional: Set up your free Lexis account

Lexis is a commercial legal research service that is optional in the GDipICL program as of Winter 2023. If you are interested in registering for a free student account, you can do so via the online Law School Portal. Select "Registration" and follow the instructions to create an account using your Queen's email address.