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Reference Tools

There are a number of good free law-related reference tools online. Included below are links to these free resources, along with selected links to various subscription references tools (you will require your own subscription/password):
5)  Corporate   
There are not really any good or reliable law-related forms and precedents online for free. As such, below are links to various commercial subscriptions (subscription/license required to access):

Westlaw Edge Canada / Thomson Reuters Canada
For law-related blogs, see the Law Blogs section on this site
For newspapers, see the Newspapers section on this site.

10)   Law Reform Commission Reports

Most common law jurisdictions have law reform commissions which are typically government sponsored to examine laws and make recommendations for changes in the law. Although law reform commissions had their "heyday" in Canada in the 1970's, some are still active and even the older reports are useful for historical research:

  CA:   Law Commission of Canada (archived)
  CA:   Uniform Law Conference of Canada
  CA:   CBA Law Reform Subcommittee
  BC:   BC Law Institute: Law Reform Database
  AB:   Alberta Law Reform Institute
  SK:   Law Reform Commission of Saskatchewan
  MB:   Manitoba Law Reform Commission
  ON:   Law Commission of Ontario (current)
  ON:   Law Reform Commission of Ontario (archived via Open Library)
  NS:   Law Reform Commission of Nova Scotia
  NB:   Law Reform: New Brunswick

A useful database of law reform commission reports is available online from the BC Law Institute in their Law Reform Database (where individual reports in the database are available online, links are provided to those reports).

For links to law reform agencies in other jurisdictions, see the list of links here from the the Paul Martin Law Library at the University of Windsor.

For an excellent overview of law reform agencies, see:

  • Gavin Murphy, "Law Reform Agencies" (Department of Justice, 2004)
    (Catalogue No J2-247/2004E-PDF) (PDF: EN) (126 pages)
  • WH Hurlburt, "Law Reform Commissions in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada" (Edmonton: Juriliber, 1986) (publisher's listing here)

In addition, the following is a selected list of academic journal articles discussing the role of law reform in Canada:

  • Alexander Geddes, " How to Change Laws Without Changing the Law: Problems with the Presumption of Substantive Change for Plain Language Reforms" (2020) 51 Ottawa L Rev 109.
  • Bill Charles, "The Story of Law Reform in Nova Scotia: A Perilous Enterprise" (Fall 2017) 40 Dalhousie LJ 339.
  • Martin Friedland, "Reflections on Criminal Justice Reform in Canada" (Aug. 2017) 64 Crim LQ 274.
  • Michael Kirby, "Forty Years of the Alberta Law Reform Institute: Past, Present, Future" (2009) 46 Alta L Rev 831.
  • Roderick Macdonald, "A Lamentation for Law Reform" (2009) 46 Sup Ct L Rev (2d) 447.
  • Roderick Macdonald, "Jamais deux sans trois ... Once Reform, Twice Commission, Thrice Law" (2007) 22 Can JL & Society 117 (available here on HeinOnline by subscription).
  • Roderick Macdonald & Hoi Kong, "Patchwork Law Reform: Your Idea is Good in Practice, but it Won't Work in Theory" (2006) 44 Osgoode Hall LJ 11.
  • Andrew Burrows, "Some Reflections on Law Reform in England and Canada" (2004) 39 Can Bus LJ 320 (available here on HeinOnline by subscription).
  • Peter North, "Law Reform: Problems and Pitfalls" (1999) 33 UBC L Rev 37 (available here on HeinOnline by subscription)
  • WH Hurlburt, "The Origins and Nature of Law Reform Commissions in the Canadian Provinces: a Reply to 'Recommissioning Law Reform' by Professor RA Macdonald" (1997) 35 Alta L Rev 880.


  Cover of 4th edition of Legal Research and Writing
                (Irwin Law)

Legal Research and Writing:
4th Edition

by Ted Tjaden

Softcover 512 pgs.
Published: January 2016
Paperback: 978-1-55221-414-5
e-book: 978-1-55221-415-2

Purchase here


Irwin Law: Canadian Online Legal Dictionary (click here)


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