Recommended Secondary Resources

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Clicklaw website

Clicklaw website is BC’s primary resource for legal information. It links to a large collection of legal information resources for the public. See the handout Clicklaw: 5 ways to search, and Using the Clicklaw HelpMap. Clicklaw also includes Clicklaw Wikibooks, which are a series of 20 legal guides that are fully searchable, and can be downloaded in print or ePub formats.

Legal Dictionaries and Glossaries

  • Multilingual Legal Glossary Lists 5000 Canadian legal and court-related terms in English plain language, and their equivalents in eight other languages (Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Farsi, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
  • BC Supreme Court Terms - provides brief definitions of commonly used legal terms to assist self-represented litigants with civil, non-family claims in the Supreme Court of BC.
  • JP Boyd on Family law - Terminology – offers JP Boyd’s plain-language definitions of common legal words and phrases in family law.
  • BC Laws Glossary - found in the Statutes and Regulations on, this glossary offers further explanation of terms used in the legislation.
  • Irwin Law’s Canadian Online Legal Dictionary - a dictionary of terms defined in the glossaries of Canadian law books published by Irwin Law.
  • Black's Law Dictionary Free Online Legal Dictionary 2nd Ed - an American resource, but it can be helpful for universal legal terms.
  • Public libraries and Courthouse Libraries BC have legal dictionaries available in print.

Research Resources at Courthouse Libraries BC


  • Courthouse Libraries BC: Who We Are Describes how our information services and staff can help you do your legal research. (Janet to update this handout)
  • A Brief Guide to Finding Court Documents Contains a series of questions and answers written for public librarians to help their patrons look for court documents.
  • Resources to Help with Notice of Civil Claim in Supreme Court (Janet to create link)

Website tools

  • Video tutorials
    • Includes Legal Research Essentials: Finding Cases on Point, , which demonstrates how to effectively conduct case law research
  • Guides Include BC Legislation and Federal Legislation, and recent changes to the law
  • Digital tools available at courthouse Libraries.
  • Asked and Answered A collection of answers to tricky legal research questions. Such as “How do I stop a bailiff/possession order?” and “How can I find out who owns apartment buildings in BC?”
  • Recommended books & resources in areas of law, in print only. Our online catalogue will show you which of our libraries contain any of the titles listed in these areas of law:
    • Civil Litigation
    • Family
    • Personal Injury
    • Other recommended texts:
      • Written Advocacy - Includes sample precedents of pleadings (statements of claim, defences and counter-claims) and how to write an effective legal argument.
      • Bullen & Leake & Jacob's Precedents and Pleadings - Discusses how to draft pleadings and includes sample pleadings in areas such as defamation, employment law, judicial review, personal injury and privacy.
      • McLachlin & Taylor or British Columbia Court Forms - Comprehensive textbook that discusses drafting pleadings and provides precedents.
      • Civil Trial Handbook - Offers information about trial preparation and strategy. It combines legal and procedural material and gives practical information that includes objectives, pointers, and strategy.
      • Sanagan’s Encyclopedia of words and phrases, legal maxims, Canada. Can help you find the meaning of legal words as defined by Canadian courts, and provide references to statutes or cases where words or phrases are defined.
      • Canadian Encyclopedic Digest - Comprehensive encyclopedia of Canadian law, which includes references to relevant statutes and case law.
      • Halsbury’s Laws of Canada – describes over 100 legal topics, with references to relevant statutes and case law.

Online Guides to Legal Research

Online Guides to Legal Research – written for law students and lawyers to prepare for a case.

  • Legal Research Essentials: Finding Cases on Point – from the Law Society of BC. This online course of videos and quizzes was developed by Courthouse Libraries BC
  • Best Guide to Legal Research by Catharine Best Includes a link to Suggested Textbooks
  • Research Guide for Beginners from the Bora Laskin Law Library (Ontario)
  • Legal Research and Writing by Ted Tjaden

More Recommended Online Resources

Legal Help for British Columbians Provides first steps for over 40 common legal problems.

  • The CanLII Commentary page has recently added some resources, including an eText on Wrongful Dismissal and Employment Law and The Canadian Charter of Rights Decisions Digest
  • National Class Action Database lists class actions (an action brought by one person as a representative of many persons with similar claims) across Canada.

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