- Start with secondary sources when you are researching for an essay or just starting your legal research.
- Secondary sources are written by legal experts and come in the form of legal dictionaries, legal encyclopedias, and journal articles.
- Secondary sources not only in provide information about your legal topic, but also cite important legislation and case law.
Legal dictionaries are used to look up legal definitions to get a better understanding of passages written in judgements or legal texts. Citations to primary sources of law are also included, to add depth to the definition or understanding of the legal term or phrase.
- Merriam Webster's Dictionary of Law
- Canadian Legal Dictionary
- Oxford Dictionary of Law (10th edition)
- Encylopaedic Dictionary of International Law
- Black's Law Dictionary: from WestlawNext Canada*, select the International tab, and scroll down to Westlaw US.
- HeinOnline*: over 300 historic legal dictionaries, listed by country and by title
- Note: there are print dictionaries available in the Law Library including The dictionary of Canadian law (2020)
Legal encyclopedias contain brief articles arranged in alphabetical order by topic.
Legal abbreviations are used to shorten legal periodical titles, such as case reporters and journals. If you find a citation to a promising case or article, but you are not sure of what the reporter or journal’s full title is – look it up in a legal abbreviation listing or dictionary.
- ICLL Periodicals List - Law Journal Abbreviations, by the Index to Canadian Legal Literature
- Law Report Abbreviations - UBC Library
- Cardiff Index
- Note: there are other Legal Abbreviations products available in the Law Library
Legal resource of judicial interpretations from all areas of law
- Canadian Legal Words and Phrases *
- Words and Phrases Judicially Defined *
- Note: there are other Words and Phrases products available in the Law Library
* - Available to Faculty of Law members, only with a password.
Updated: December 2022 - MW