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Legal Research Manual

This edition of Legal Research Manual builds on many previous editions. While the manual is designed principally for use with the first year legal research classes, upper year law students will also find it a useful reference.

Statutes Considered

Introduction

Case law and statute law are intertwined. When a judge interprets a statute, that interpretation may become binding, according to the principles of stare decisis. Therefore, it is not sufficient to look only at the text of a statute. You must also investigate how courts have dealt with that piece of legislation. This process is often referred to as "noting up a statute", or looking for "statutes judicially considered" and can be completed using print or electronic sources.

A statute citator is the name given to a research tool that lists cases which have, in some way, considered or discussed a particular statute or section of a statute. Tables of statutes judicially considered will provide you with the names of cases that have considered a particular legislative provision. Since these cases are crucial to the interpretation of statutes, they must be consulted.

Note: No single statute citator is comprehensive.   There is substantial overlap in these sources, but each also includes unique cases. To be absolutely thorough, a researcher would want to check more than one citator.