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Finding Legislative Intent

August 16, 2016

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)

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