Difference between revisions of "Secondary Resources and How to Find Them"
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Secondary sources are resources such as books, websites, online guides, and pamphlets that explain the topic and provide references to case law, laws, rules, and forms. It is generally best to start your research by looking at secondary sources since they may provide an overview in plain language. They may also save you time by pulling together a lot of the information you need in one resource.
4 Step Legal Information Pathway
Secondary sources can be described as a 4 step legal information pathway (*Footnote: the 4 Step Legal Information Pathway is based on a resource produced by the former Legal Information Access Centre of New South Wales, Australia):
Step 1: Simple summaries
At its simplest, legal information comes as a fact sheet or pamphlet that summarizes and explains the law in plain language without legal jargon. Some examples include a Dial a Law script, and a Live Safe — End Abuse factsheet.
Step 2: Practical guides
These plain language guides summarise and explain the law. They provide strategies, sample letters and forms, procedural information, practical tips and references to cases and Acts. Some examples include JP Boyd on Family Law and Consumer Law and Credit/Debt Law.
Step 3: More specialized resources
For more detailed information about an area of law, general legal texts, often intended for law students and lawyers, can help. Some examples include Bankruptcy and Insolvency Law, and the Wrongful Dismissal Handbook.
Step 4: Lawyers’ tools
These are traditional legal research resources that provide detailed explanations and ways of identifying cases and legislation relevant to a legal subject area. Some examples include the BC Probate and Estate Administration Practice Manual and BC Supreme Court Rules Annotated.
Using a Legal Information Pathway: Bankruptcy
The information below demonstrates a possible search using the steps of the Legal Information Pathway. The steps are suggestions only and you may wish to order your search differently, such as starting with legislation or case law.
Sample question: How do I file for bankruptcy, and how would RRSPs affect my application?
Second step: find practical guides, such as Personal Insolvency Guide and Consumer Law and Credit/Debt Law online, as well as books at public libraries such as Bennett on Consumer Bankruptcy and Bankruptcy and Insolvency Law.
Third step: find options for more in-depth research, such as the Annotated Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (Courthouse Libraries and some public libraries).
Fourth Step: legislation and case law
- Legislation: Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, in particular S. 67.(1) (b.3)
- Case law: at CanLII use keywords “bankruptcy /s RRSP” Or try the larger databases of case law at Courthouse Libraries BC (available to the public on public access computers)
Locations to find secondary sources include:
- The website Clicklaw includes many step 1 and step 2 resources. See the handout Clicklaw: 5 ways to search, and Using the Clicklaw HelpMap.
- Public libraries throughout the province contain many titles in print of steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 resources, depending on the size of the library. To find a library in your community, see the BC Libraries site. To see a list of titles recommended for public libraries to purchase, see these Reading Guides.
- Courthouse Libraries BC offer extensive resources for step 3 and step 4 titles, and are described on the Research Resources at Courthouse Libraries BC page.
|Beginner's Guide to Finding Legal Information © Courthouse Libraries BC 2015 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.|