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Legal Aspects of Business

A research guide to support Legal Aspects of Business

Reading a case citation

Finding Relevant Caselaw

Case Reports

Statutes cannot be drafted to consider every eventuality in life. For this reason, the courts must apply the law to specific situations and their judgments are reported in case reporters. Not all cases that go to court are reported. What does get reported are cases that further our understanding of the law.

Cases are compiled together based of jurisdiction (e.g., Ontario, Nova Scotia, federal), by court (e.g., Supreme Court, Appeal Court), and by topic (e.g., business law, construction law, tax law). The citation includes the name of the parties, the year of the decision, the reporter information, and the court jurisdiction and level.

Finding Cases Electronically

  • CanLII (
    You can use a free database like CanLII to locate cases. You can search CanLII by case name, citation, or keyword search. When viewing a case, clicking the "Cited By..." link will allow you to "note up" the case. Noting up a case shows you a list of other cases that cited the case you're viewing. These cases might be helpful to your research.

  • LexisNexis Academic 
    Dalhousie subscribes to LexisNexis Academic. When you're in the database, you can access Canadian cases by clicking the "Search by Subjects or Topics" box above the search bar and selecting "Canadian Cases" under the "International Legal" section. You can note up a case in LexisNexis by clicking the "View citator document" link at the top of the page.

Finding Cases in Print

The law library also has an extensive print collection of case reporters. Canadian, American, UK, and Commonwealth case reporters are in the Primary Sources Room on the main floor (2nd floor) of the library. Case reporters on international law are shelved in the stacks on the first floor and can be located by call number.