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Indigenous Legal Research

Cases

For detailed information about Canadian courts and case law research, refer to the Cases pages of our Canadian Legal Research Guide.

See also the Finding Cases on a Topic page in our Canadian Legal Research Guide.

We subscribe to a specialist report series, the Canadian Native Law Reporter, which reports all significant and noteworthy Aboriginal law cases from all Canadian courts and jurisdictions. We hold this series in print only, from its first volume in 1979 to current.

Finding judicial consideration of legislative provisions

To find cases that have considered a particular section of legislation:

SELECTED / LEADING CASES

Use secondary sources such as books and commentary. For example, the commentary on each topic in Canadian Aboriginal Law on Halsbury's Laws of Canada (Lexis Advance Pacific - UniMelb staff & student access) lists and links to leading cases.

ALL CASES

In CANLII (open access):

  • either go to Statutes and Regulations from the home page to navigate to the legislation, then to the section or sub-section, or simply type the name of the Act in the Legislation Title search box on the home page. 
  • scroll to the section number and click on the hyperlinked section or sub-section number - a popup box will tell you how many documents cite this provision. Click on the link to see the citing cases. These can be viewed by jurisdiction, court level etc. 

In WestlawNext Canada (UniMelb staff & student access):

  • either go to Statutes and Regulations from the home page and navigate to your Act, or start to type the name of the Act in the top search box - autocomplete will find the Act for you.
  • navigate to the section
  • click on the Citing References button at the top of the screen, and click on Cases and Decisions in the dropdown menu. On the next page, the cases can then be sorted by eg: sub-section, jurisdiction, court level, citation frequency, and treatment type.

TIP: while most of the same cases will be found in both the above databases, they will have slightly different coverage - so if you want to find as many cases as possible on your legislative provision, use both databases! for example, in the above example of s 35 of the Constitution Act 1982, in CANLII there are less cases citing s 35 and all its sub-sections than in Westlaw. However, CANLII has more cases citing sub-section 35(2) than Westlaw. 

NOTE: the online databases referred to above generally only have coverage from the 1990s to current. To find older cases considering statutory provisions, you will need to use the print Canadian Statute Citations (previously called the Statutes Judicially Considered).

For more information on judicial consideration of statutes, see the Queen's University Library Legal Research Manual - Statutes Considered.