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Law - Beginning Your Research

How to do legal research.

Case Digests


  • contain summaries of court cases
  • usually provides an exhaustive list of cases for a particular jurisdiction or subject area


  • Print version:
    • find relevant cases by subject with either the Key & Research Guide (provides a detailed table of contents for each subject area) or the General Index volume
    • locate case digests by topic in the relevant bound volume
    • update research using the soft cover supplement and monthly issues of Canadian Current Law for more recent case summaries
    • to find the full text of a decision, use the case citations given at the end of the digest
      Example: Rooney v Chan (1992), 76 BCLR (2d) 186
    • legal citations include
      • the name of the parties
      • the year of the decision
      • the volume number
      • the abbreviation for the law reports set (check the Abbreviations table published in the front of the bound volumes of the Abridgment to determine the full name
      • a series statement (if any)
      • first page of the decision
    • Search the title in the UBC Library catalogue to find the exact location

United States

United Kingdom

  • Contains summaries of cases dating back to the early 1500s, from England & Wales, as well as cases from Scotland, Ireland and Commonwealth countries
  • Select European Union cases also included
  • Arranged under broad subject headings and sub-headings
  • Consists of about 70 volumes, with
    • Cumulative Supplement
    • Consolidated Table of Cases
    • Consolidated Index