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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
  • provide definitions of legal maxims and Latin terms
  • 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

  • for reliable definitions of common usage terms
  • if 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)
  • relevant Federal or Provincial Interpretation Act