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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.


Canadian common law is rooted in English law, as evidenced by the ultimate appeal from the Supreme Court of Canada to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England which existed prior to 1949, and by the formal reception of English law by each province entering Confederation. Many of the landmark cases still cited by Canadian courts today are English cases.

Today, English law is not binding, but it is still persuasive in Canadian courts, particularly in the absence of any Canadian primary legal sources. It is no longer solely dominant, however, as American authorities are often viewed as being equally and sometimes more persuasive depending on the particular area of law. Nevertheless, given the dominance of English law on the Canadian legal landscape historically, students and researchers should be familiar with both older and current English statute and case law sources.

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The Legal System in the UK

Here are a few resources that will help you find out more about the legal system in the UK before delving into research.