In Part II of our Lucky 21 for 2021 series, we’ve gathered another seven practical websites that you can add to your toolkit. These sites will help you with a variety of legal research tasks, from finding commentary to properly citing your sources.
This website is a great place to find general forms under acts and rules such as the Rules of Civil Procedure, Family Law Rules and Rules of the Small Claims Court, as well as prescribed and non-prescribed forms under other acts, e.g. provincial offences, etc.
Hosted by the Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, the Digital Commons makes available to the public not only faculty research and journal publications, but also Ontario Annual Statutes from 1970 – 1999 and Revised Statutes from 1914 – 1990.
3. Internet Archive/Wayback Machine
Internet Archive is a huge database of books, movies, software, music and more. What is helpful in the legal context is that it contains a huge repository of Canadian government documents. Large organizations such as the University of Toronto Libraries as well as the Library of Parliament upload documents to be freely accessible to the public. Many of the older annual and revised Ontario regulations have been digitized and uploaded to this platform.
Part of the Internet Archive, the Wayback Machine lets you view archived instances of a website. This is particularly useful if you need to find a document that was uploaded to a website in the past. For example, it can be used for the Law Society of Ontario website to discover what the Rules of Professional Conduct looked like during a certain point in time.
This database, created by the Great Library technical services team, contains freely accessible LSO Continuing Professional Development articles from 2004 to present, as well as LSO Convocation Minutes and Professional Conduct Handbooks for the period 1964-1992. CPD articles are a great source of precedents as well as up-to-date information in a variety of areas of law.
5. Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations
If you’ve ever found yourself staring at a case citation, wondering exactly what case reporter the abbreviation is referring to, then this website is for you. Cardiff Abbreviations is a database that allows you to search for the full name of legal abbreviations from Britain, the Commonwealth (including Canada), as well as the United States. Publications from over 295 jurisdictions are covered in this index.
6. Great Library Research Guides
A collection of guides created and maintained by the librarians at the Great Library. There are guides on how to get started on certain topics (such as Class Actions or Wrongful Dismissal), how to find Canadian case law or legislation on the web, as well as guides on how to find precedents or journal articles. Most recently, we created an introductory guide specifically for licensing candidates. See the Student Guide for Legal Research for practical tips and a fun virtual tour of the library.
7. Citation Guides
Mastering proper legal citation for cases, legislation and secondary sources is important both in academia and practice. Many university law libraries have created free citation guides for their students, which refer to the rules found in the latest edition of the McGill Guide. Legal Citation, created by Bora Laskin Law Library, is a good example of one of these guides. For a list of these types of guides, check out our blog post, Free Legal Citation Guides.
Look for the last part of this series next week, where we cover 7 law blogs that are useful for legal research.