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Law for Resource and Environmental Management


We are the library of the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Sir James Dunn Law Library occupies four floors in the Weldon Law Building with bright, comfortable space for study and research. A capable staff provides reference and support services for students, faculty, and other users.

  • Circulation/Information: 902-494-2124
  • Research Support 902-494-1868
  • Document Delivery: 902-494-8888

Legal Research Method

1. Start with Secondary Stories

Secondary sources include dictionaries, encyclopedias, books, and journals.  Beginning with these tools helps you:

  • Define the key legal terms
  • Identify relevant legal concepts
  • Locate references to key statutes and cases
  • Find explanations of the law

2. The Law - Legislation

In Canada much of the law is codified in statutes. Your secondary sources should have directed you to relevant statutes. 

  • Locate key statutes cited in secondary sources
  • Confirm the statutes are in force
  • Determine applicable amendments
  • Locate any judicial consideration of the statutes

3. The Law - Cases

Statutes cannot possibly address all contexts of life. The courts apply statute law and general legal principles to specific fact situations.

  • Locate key cases identified in the secondary sources
  • Confirm the cases are still good law
  • Determine how the cases have been used in the courts

4. Summarize Your Research

  • What is the current state of the law?
  • Has your question been addressed?
  • No? Next steps.
    • Return to the literature
    • Identify additional concepts/areas
    • Broaden your search