Difference between revisions of "Secondary Resources and How to Find Them"

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Revision as of 15:11, 1 September 2015

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?

First step: Search Clicklaw resources under the key word bankruptcy, or try the common question “I’m thinking about declaring bankruptcy”

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:

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