Legal Research and Writing:  Ted Tjaden


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Reference Tools

There are a number of good free law-related reference tools online. Included below are links to these free resources, along with selected links to various subscription references tools (you will require your own subscription/password):
1)  Search engines / Internet directories   [top]
2)   Legal Dictionaries / Words & Phrases / Abbreviations    [top]

3)   Legal Citation  [top]

4)   Legal Directories
5)  Corporate   [top]
6)   Miscellaneous Reference Tools  [top]
7)   Forms & Precedents  [top]
There are not really any good or reliable law-related forms and precedents online for free. As such, below are links to various commercial subscriptions:
    • Division I, Commercial and General
    • Division II, Corporations
    • Division III, Conveyancing and Mortgages
    • Division IV, Leases
    • Division V, Wills and Trusts
    • Division VII, Labour Relations and Employment
    • Division VIII, Ontario – Court Forms
    • Division IX, Municipal Corporations
    • Division X, Computers and Information Technology
    • Banking & Finance - Canadian Forms & Precedents
    • British Columbia Court Forms (Family Law Proceedings)
    • Commercial Tenancies
    • Corporations
    • Debtor/Creditor
    • Employment
    • Information Technology and Entertainment
    • Intellectual Property Forms
    • Land Development
    • Licensing
    • Municipal Law
    • Sale, Distribution & Transport of Goods
    • Sale and Operation of a Business
    • Wills & Estates
8)   Current Awareness Tools  [top]
For law-related blogs, see the Law Blogs section on this site
For newspapers, see the Newspapers section on this site.
9)   Web Guides for Legal Research  [top]

10)   Law Reform Commission Reports  [top]

Most common law jurisdictions have law reform commissions which are typically government sponsored to examine laws and make recommendations for changes in the law. Although law reform commissions had their "heyday" in Canada in the 1970's, some are still active and even the older reports are useful for historical research:

  CA:   Law Commission of Canada (archived)
  CA:   Uniform Law Conference of Canada
  CA:   CBA Legislation and Law Reform Committee
  BC:   BC Law Institute
  AB:   Alberta Law Reform Institute
  SK:   Law Reform Commission of Saskatchewan
  MB:   Manitoba Law Reform Commission
  ON:   Law Commission of Ontario (current)
  ON:   Law Reform Commission of Ontario (archived via Open Library)
  NS:   Law Reform Commission of Nova Scotia
  NB:   Law Reform - New Brunswick

A useful database of law reform commission reports is available online from the BC Law Institute in their Law Reform Database (where individual reports in the database are available online, links are provided to those reports).

For links to other jurisdictions, see the list of links here from the Alberta Law Reform Institute.

For an excellent overview of law reform agencies, see:

  • Gavin Murphy, "Law Reform Agencies" (Department of Justice, 2004)
    (Catalogue No J2-247/2004E-PDF) (PDF: EN) (126 pages)
  • WH Hurlburt, "Law Reform Commissions in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada" (Edmonton: Juriliber, 1986) (publisher's listing here)

In addition, the following is a selected list of academic journal articles discussing the role of law reform in Canada:

  • Michael Kirby, "Forty Years of the Alberta Law Reform Institute: Past, Present, Future" (2009) 46 Alta L Rev 831 (available here on HeinOnline by subscription)
  • Roderick Macdonald, "A Lamentation for Law Reform" (2009) 46 Sup Ct L. Rev (2d) 447
  • Roderick Macdonald, "Jamais deux sans trois ... Once Reform, Twice Commission, Thrice Law" (2007) 22 Can JL & Society 117 (available here on HeinOnline by subscription)
  • Roderick Macdonald & Hoi Kong, "Patchwork Law Reform: Your Idea is Good in Practice, but it Won't Work in Theory" (2006) 44 Osgoode Hall LJ 11 (available here on HeinOnline by subscription)
  • Andrew Burrows, "Some Reflections on Law Reform in England and Canada" (2004) 39 Can Bus LJ 320 (available here on HeinOnline by subscription)
  • Roderick Macdonald, "Law Reform and its Agencies" (2000) 79 Can Bar Rev 99  (available here from the CBA for members or by subscription)
  • Peter North, "Law Reform: Problems and Pitfalls" (1999) 33 UBC L Rev 37 (available here on HeinOnline by subscription)
  • WH Hurlburt, "The Origins and Nature of Law Reform Commissions in the Canadian Provinces: a Reply to 'Recommissioning Law Reform' by Professor RA Macdonald" (1997) 35 Alta L Rev 880 (available here on HeinOnline by subscription)
  • Roderick Macdonald, "Recommissioning Law Reform" (1997) 35 Alta L Rev 831 (available here on HeinOnline by subscription)
  • Louise-Philippe Pigeon, "The Necessity of Law Reform" (1947) 25 Can Bar Rev 955 (available here from the CBA for members or by subscription)

In addition, Manas Media has a collection of over 7200 microfiched law reform publications from 37 jurisdictions indexed by 6 major categories and 61 subcategories.


  Cover of 4th edition of Legal Research and Writing
                (Irwin Law)

Legal Research and Writing:
4th Edition

by Ted Tjaden

Softcover 512 pgs.
Published: January 2016
Paperback: 978-1-55221-414-5
Ebook: 978-1-55221-415-2

Purchase here


Irwin Law: Canadian Online Legal Dictionary (click here)


Last updated: January 2016    |    Legal / Terms of Use    |    Ted Tjaden © 2010-2016