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Law - Beginning Your Research

How to do legal research.

Legal Dictionaries

Legal dictionaries define legal terms and common words with special legal meanings. They also provide definitions of legal maxims and Latin terms. The definitions often include value-added information, such as a case reference or a citation to a relevant piece of legislation.

American and English dictionaries don’t always reflect Canadian usage.

Select current titles are listed below. A historical collection can be found at via HeinOnline's Legal Dictionaries Open only to UBC students, faculty, staff and on-site Library users..

United States

United Kingdom

General Dictionaries

Use general dictionaries when you need reliable definitions of common usage terms, or when you have exhausted possibilities for finding a legal definition.

In addition to using dictionaries for definitions, when appropriate consult:
• Legislation (definitions section and text of relevant statutes/regulations)
• The relevant Federal or Provincial Interpretation Act