Skip to Main Content
askus Ask us

Legal research and writing

This guide provides an introduction to legal research and writing for law students.

About B.C. legislation

British Columbia statutes cover matters that fall under this provincial legislature's s. 92 exclusive constitutional jurisdiction. Other provinces have their own exclusive powers under s. 92.

CanLII's Canadian Guide to Legal Research and Writing contains a useful summary of the BC provincial statute process.

Provincial regulations and other subordinate legislation like orders and directives are created at the ministerial or departmental level, not by the BC Legislature.

CanLII's Canadian Guide to Legal Research and Writing also summarizes how BC regulations are created.

Finding B.C. legislation

Often you will know the name of the statute you are looking for. In other situations you need to find out if there is an applicable statute and then discover its name. Once you find the statute, you will also need to determine whether any regulations apply to the issue you're researching.

Resources you will find helpful include

  • Secondary Materials (in this guide)
  • CanLII -- Includes statutes and regulations from all Canadian jurisdictions. Contains consolidations and some point-in-time information. Coverage and currency varies with the jurisdiction.
  • BC Laws -- Freely available database of consolidated BC statutes and regulations since 1996, with point-in-time features, historical tables, tables of legislative changes. Published by the BC King's Printer and regularly updated.  Historical annual and revised statutes from 1858-present are available.
  • Quickscribe -- Subscription database of fully searchable current and historical BC legislation

Updating B.C. legislation

Statutes and regulations change by amendment, so it is important to know the applicable time for which you need the legislation. Often you will want the current version. Other times you'll want legislation as it read at a particular time. For both situations, you can use tools to help you search for amendments and update legislation.

When you have the statute or regulation you need, you must note it up for judicial consideration in case law to understand its current common law meaning and application.

Key books

Creative Commons License
This work by The University of Victoria Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License unless otherwise indicated when material has been used from other sources.