- 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 (7th Edition)
- Encylopaedic Dictionary of International Law
- Black's Law Dictionary is available on WestlawNext Canada.* Click on the International Tab, then Westlaw International. A search for "Blacks" in the directory search box provides access to this database.
- HeinOnline - Offers 400 Legal Dictionaries
- Note: there are multi-lingual law dictionaries available in the Law Library
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.
* - Available to law users only with a password.
Updated: March 2020- VL