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Canadian Legal Research and Writing Guide Added to CanLII

March 2, 2019

By Alan Kilpatrick

The Canadian Legal Research and Writing Guide (formerly the Best Guide to Legal Research) is a free online legal research guide that has been available on the internet for the past twenty years.

The guide was first created and launched in 1998 as a website by Catherine Best, an experienced research lawyer.  Catherine donated the guide to CanLII in 2015 when she retired.  CanLII took over editorship and rebranded the website as The Canadian Legal Research and Writing Guide.

Earlier this month, CanLII announced that the guide has been fully  revised, converted from a website to a full-fledged ebook, and added to CanLII’s growing commentary section.  The ebook is now maintained by a volunteer editorial board of five prominent Canadian legal researchers:  Melanie Bueckert, André Clair, Maryvon Côté, Yasmin Khan, and Mandy Ostick.

The ebook can be searched with keywords and Boolean operators.  Sections of the text can be copied, pasted, and downloaded to your computer.  It now features 13 chapters covering a variety of legal research topics:

  1. The Importance of Legal Research
  2. Step-By-Step Legal Research Process
  3. Use Commentary to Define and Understand the Issues
  4. Guidelines for Online Research
  5. Researching Canadian Federal and Provincial Legislation
  6. Searching Canadian Case Law
  7. Restate the Issues and Refine Your Strategy
  8. Review and Assess the Case Law
  9. Stare Decisis and Techniques of Legal Reasoning and Legal Argument
  10. If You Get Stuck
  11. When to Stop
  12. Preparing a Legal Memorandum
  13. Legal Citation

I encourage you to check the guide out.  You can learn more from CanLII’s official announcement.


Kilpatrick, Alan. (2016, September 16). The Best Guide to Canadian Legal Research – Tip of the Week.
Retrieved from

Sutherland, Sarah. (2018, October 26). The Canadian Legal Research and Writing Guide on CanLII.
Retrieved from

Tredwell, Susannah. (2018, October 31). CanLII Adds the Canadian Legal Research and Writing Guide
Research & Writing. Retrieved from

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