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Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Research – Where Do You Start?

By Alan Kilpatrick

Need to research foreign, comparative, or international law (FCIL) and are not sure where to begin?  I encourage you to check out GlobaLex, an outstanding source of free high-quality FCIL articles and research tools.  You can access GlobaLex online at

GlobaLex, maintained by the Hauser Global Law School Program at NYU LAW, was launched in 2005 by Mirela Roznovschi.  Roznovschi, who recently retired from her successful career as a Foreign and International Law Reference Librarian, is a well-known authority in the FCIL research field.  In addition to GlobaLex, she helped create the American Association of Law Libraries FCIL special interest section.

GlobaLex is dedicated to providing the legal profession and the public across the globe with free access to authoritative FCIL research.  For example, it provides research guides for over 150 nations.  About GlobaLex describes the scholarly nature of the information it disseminates:

The information and articles published by GlobaLex represent both research and teaching resources used by legal academics, practitioners and other specialists around the world who are active either in foreign, international, and comparative law research or those focusing on their own domestic law. The guides and articles published are written by scholars well known in their respective fields and are recommended as a legal resource by universities, library schools, and legal training courses.

GlobaLex contains four different sections:  International Law Research, Comparative Law Research, Foreign Law Research, and Tools for Building FCIL Collections.  You can navigate each section by selecting the section heading.  Resources in each section are listed alphabetically.

• International Law Research provides a variety of articles discussing international treaties, agreements, and other topics of international importance
• Comparative Law Research provides several articles discussing differences and similarities between various legal system
Foreign Law Research provides legal research guides for over 150 countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe
•  Tools for Building FCIL Collections provides advice for librarians developing FCIL library collections

GlobaLex is an ideal starting point for lawyers conducting FCIL research.   Please comment below if you are familiar with any other free FCIL resources.

American Association of Law Libraries. (2007). Guides for the World: GlobaLex. Retrieved from

Hauser Global Law School Program. (2015). GlobaLex. Retrieved from

New York University Law. (2013). Law Librarian Mirela Roznovschi Wins AALL Award. Retrieved from

North America’s First Computerized Law Library

By Alan Kilpatrick

1Did you know that the Law Society Library in Regina holds the unique distinction of being the first computerized law library in North America?  According to a Leader Post article from February 20th, 1980, which featured an interview with the library’s director, Douglass MacEllven, the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library was the first in North America to have a computer system.

While the Law Society Library languished for much of the 1970s without any professional staff, the 1980s saw the Law Society Library boldly enter the computer age under the MacEllven’s direction.  With access to Quicklaw and a province wide network of fax machines, the library was able to complete instantaneous research and send detailed materials to rural lawyers, “by telecopier using the telephone wire within a few hours.”

Douglass MacEllven served as director from 1977 to 1988.  He oversaw the computerized modernization of the Law Society Library and was awarded honorary lifetime membership of the Law Society in 1988.


A Century of Integrity: The Law Society of Saskatchewan 1907 to 2007
Computerized law library in Regina is first in North America

Legal Resources for Librarians Webinar

By Alan Kilpatrick

Alan Kilpatrick, Reference Librarian with the Law Society Library in Regina, will be presenting an access to justice themed webinar for the Provincial and Territorial Library Associations of Canada Education Institute on October 4th, 2016:

Legal Resources for Librarians

Having access to the law gives members of our society the tools needed to make informed decisions. Unfortunately, access to legal services has become increasingly unaffordable and inaccessible in Canada. Libraries can play an important role in improving access to justice.

A 2010 survey conducted by Courthouse Libraries BC estimated that public libraries in British Columbia receive about 35,000 legal reference questions from the public every year. Libraries are a natural place to connect with members of the public who have legal information needs. In this webinar, you’ll learn about searching case law, legislation, and legal resources, including CanLII and the National Self-Represented Litigants Project.

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016 @ 12 pm
One-hour webinar
$45 for members
$55 for non-members
Presenter: Alan Kilpatrick

The Education Institute is a continuing education initiative developed by The Partnership of Provincial and Territorial Library Associations of Canada for library workers across Canada.

The Best Guide to Canadian Legal Research

By Alan Kilpatrick

I am excited to let you know about a major development with the Best Guide to Canadian Legal Research.  As you may know, the guide is a popular free online legal research guide that has been a fixture of the internet for the last fifteen years.     

The online guide was created and maintained for the past decade and a half by Catherine Best, an experienced research lawyer, author, and CanLII board member.  Catherine retired from law in 2015.

CanLII recently announced that it will be assuming editorship of the guide now that Catherine has retired.  It will also be adopted as CanLII’s official legal research guide.

Consequently, the guide has been rebranded as The Canadian Legal Research and Writing Guide and will now be available at

You can learn more from CanLII’s official news announcement.

Finding Legislative Intent

By Alan Kilpatrick

Erica Anderson, Research Librarian at the Ontario Legislative Library, and Susan Barker, Reference Librarian at the Bora Laskin Law Library, wrote an excellent article exploring legislative intent research for the Canadian Parliamentary Review last September: Cinderella at the Ball: Legislative Intent in Canadian Courts.

Legislative intent research, Anderson and Barker explain, involves finding the intent of the Legislature or Parliament behind a particular statute.  Today, this is a common task for lawyers that has real consequences in the court room.  The outcome of a case may rest on how a judge understands legislative intent.  An aspect of Driedger’s Rule of Statutory Interpretation, the most common toolkit used to interpret statutes in Canada, involves finding legislative intent.  How can legislative intent in Saskatchewan be researched?

The best resource for researching legislative intent in Saskatchewan is the Hansard, also known as the Debates and Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan.  Hansard “is an essentially verbatim report of the debates that take place in the Assembly and its committees.”  The debates for a particular date can be searched through a Legislative Calendar, Committee Meeting Archive, Subject Index, or a Speaker Index.

Reché McKeague, a feature blogger for Legal Sourcery, has created an outstanding tutorial describing How to search Saskatchewan’s Hansard.

(Reposted from Legal Sourcery)

Free LegalTrac Webinar

By Alan Kilpatrick

In September 2015, I presented a webinar on LegalTrac for Saskatchewan public library staff.  LegalTrac is an online journal article index, providing some full-text coverage of law reviews, journals, and newspapers from American, Canadian, and European legal sources.

The record webinar can be viewed for free on the LibraryToolshed, an initiative of libraries in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia and a place to share library training resources.  I was gratified to learn earlier this week that my LegalTrac webinar was one of the most heavily visited pages in the Library Toolshed in Spring 2016.  I am pleased that so many library staff have found this webinar valuable and useful.

Libraries are playing an important role in improving access to justice, and this webinar was one of the ways the Law Society Library contributes to the ongoing efforts.  A 2010 survey conducted by Courthouse Libraries BC estimated that public libraries in British Columbia receive about 35,000 legal reference questions from the public every year, making libraries a natural place to connect with members of the public who have legal information needs.

My hope is that by participating in these collaborative initiatives, public librarians will come away with greater confidence to assist library patrons seeking legal information and improve access to justice in the process.

(Reposted from Legal Sourcery)

Introducing Robeside Assistance

By Alan Kilpatrick

robesideThe Legal Sourcery team would like to take a moment to give a shout out to a new legal resources blog, Robeside Assistance.  Robeside Assistance is the relaunch and rebranding of the County of Carleton Law Association (CCLA) Library’s existing blog.  It is written and maintained by the CCLA’s phenomenal library staff: Jennifer Walker, Brenda Lauritzen, and Amanda Elliott.

Robeside Assistance features practical legal research tips and tricks, the lowdown on the latest legal resources, and reliable compilations of recently published Ottawa decisions.  Here are a few of the great research tips you will find featured on Robeside Assistance:

How to Find Unreported Decisions
Research Tip: American Case Law

We have to hand it to them, coming up with a great blog name can be difficult.  Robeside Assistance takes the cake when it comes to blog names.

We look forward to following Robeside Assistance.  It can be found online at

(Reposted from Legal Sourcery)