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Canadian Law & Legislation

This library guide will provide you with information to complete your Canadian criminal law research.

"Criminal law, in its widest sense, includes substantive criminal law, the operation of penal institutions, criminal procedure and evidence, and police investigations ... More precisely, the term refers to substantive criminal law - a body of law that prohibits certain kinds of conduct and imposes sanctions for unlawful behaviour."


Criminal law (n.d.). In The Canadian encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Legal Research

  • Primary sources include case law (reports of cases that were heard in the courts), legislation (laws at any level of government - provincial, federal, etc.) and/or statistics that apply to the issue you are researching and grounds your arguments.
  • Secondary sources are used to define and understand the issues. Background sources, such as legal dictionaries and encyclopedias, provide an overview of an area of law. Articles in academic journals, magazines, newsletters, newspapers, and digests give more in-depth perspectives related to your topic. Commentary on cases are also considered a secondary source and could be found in journals or magazines as well as on blogs or websites. It is important to be critical of your sources - investigate the author's credentials and where they are getting their information from.

Our Court Systems Explained

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