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Law, Health Guide

Reference Sources

Legal encyclopedias contain narrative summaries of the law supported by references to case law and statutes. They are often the best place to start to gain a general understanding of the law in a particular area.

There are two main legal encyclopedias in law: the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest (CED) and Halsbury's Laws of Canada (Halsbury's). CED covers federal, western, and Ontario jurisdictions, and Halsbury's covers all provincial and federal jurisdictions. Both are available in print in the Law Library in the reference section on the first floor.

Electronically, CED is available in WestlawNext Canada, while Halsbury's is available in Lexis Advance Quicklaw


Canadian Encyclopedic Digest

Electronically, the CED has Hospitals and Health Care, Hospitals, Medicine, and Public Health and Welfare titles available. In print, there are Hospitals and Healthcare (title 80 in vol 31) and Public Health and Welfare (title 127 in vol 44) titles available.

Please make sure you check the currency of these titles in WestlawNext Canada, as some of the CED titles can be years out of date.


Halsbury's Laws of Canada

Both in print and electronically, there are Medicine and Health (title code HMH), Mental Health (title code HMH), and Public Health (title code HPH) titles available.

Please check the currency of these titles. This resource provides information from each province in Canada, as well as federally.


To search for books at UNB Libraries, use UNB WorldCat, the library's catalogue. UNB WorldCat contains records of materials held at all of UNB's libraries (including UNB Saint John).

Search UNB WorldCat:
Limit to: 

Items shown as LAW-RESERVE may be requested at the circulation desk on the first floor of the Law Library. Items shown as LAW-STACKS are on the second floor, and LAW-REF materials are on the first floor in the reference section.

The following books may be useful in your research:

In addition, be sure to check which loose-leaf texts we have on reserve. A loose-leaf is a book in a binder that is continually updated when the publisher sends new pages to us. Loose-leafs are often used in practice and are a great place to start when you're not sure how to approach your topic.

Journal Articles & Databases

If you already know the journal title, year, volume number and page number for an article, you may be able to access it electronically by searching for the journal's title in the UNB e-journals database. If we have the journal electronically or in print, it will be listed. You can also look up the journal title in UNB WorldCat.

If you are looking for a particular article and can't find it, ask a librarian for help locating it. If the article isn't in our collection, request it via interlibrary loan.

Keep in mind that it can be best to start with an index rather than a full-text journal search. An index is a systematic listing of journal articles by topic. A few indexes in law are listed below, followed by key legal databases.

Key Indexes and Databases


Non-law, Health Databases

  • PubMed
    PubMed is the U.S. National Library of Medicine's (NLM®) database of biomedical citations and abstracts. It includes MEDLINE, which covers over 4,800 journals published in the United States and more than 70 other countries primarily from 1966 to the present.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • PubMed Central (Open Access)
    PubMed Central "is a digital archive of life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), developed and managed by NIH's National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) in the National Library of Medicine (NLM)."
    Some titles in the collection offer only partial Open Access.
    Unlimited simulataneous users.
    EMBASE is a major biomedical and pharmaceutical database indexing international journals in the following fields: drug research, pharmacology, pharmaceutics, toxicology, clinical and experimental human medicine, health policy and management, public health, occupational health, environmental health, drug dependence and abuse, psychiatry, forensic medicine, and biomedical engineering/instrumentation.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Cochrane Clinical Answers (CCAs - Wiley)
    Cochrane Clinical Answers (CCAs) provide a readable, digestible, clinically focused entry point to rigorous research from Cochrane systematic reviews. They are designed to be actionable and to inform decision making at the point of care. Each Cochrane Clinical Answer contains a clinical question, a short answer, and an opportunity to ‘drill down’ to the evidence from relevant Cochrane reviews.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Cochrane Library
    The Cochrane Library contains high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making. This database includes the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, the Cochrane Database of Methodology Reviews, the The Cochrane Methodology Register, the Health Technology Assessment Database, and the NHS Economic Evaluation Database.
    Access to the Cochrane Library in New Brunswick is through a province-wide license made possible by a partnership between UNB and the eight Regional Hospital Authority libraries.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • CINAHL with Full Text (Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature - EBSCO)
    CINAHL with Full Text is the world's most comprehensive source of full text for nursing & allied health journals, providing full text for more than 500 journals indexed in CINAHL. This authoritative file contains full text for many of the most used journals in the CINAHL index - with no embargo. With full-text coverage dating back to 1981, CINAHL with Full Text is the definitive research tool for all areas of nursing and allied health literature.
    Unlimited simultaneous users
  • ProQuest Nursing & Allied Health Database
    ProQuest Nursing and Allied Health Source is a collection of core nursing and related publications, this database, designed to meet the needs of researchers at health-care facilities as well as students enrolled in nursing programs at academic institutions. All the source publications are available in the ASCII full-text format. Nearly all of them also offer articles in the full-image and Text+Graphics formats.

    NOTE: In certain instances ProQuest has decided to omit particular 'articles' from full-text access due to copyright restrictions or because the item has not met their criteria for being an 'article' (ie. too short, a letter, not attributed to an author, etc.).
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Ovid Journals - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Nursing & Health Professions Premier Collection (LWW)
    Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Nursing & Health Professions Premier Collection through Ovid provides access to almost 100 top nursing journals used by nurses, nursing students and health professionals around the world on a daily basis. With the LWW Nursing & Health Professions Premier Collection, UNB benefits from highly respected nursing information, paired with Ovid’s superior searching capabilities and exclusive linking options.
    13 simultaneous users.
  • Informa Healthcare Journals
    The site provides access to over 200 journals. The journals offer access beginning in 1997 for most publications and publish peer-reviewed content within clinical medicine, life sciences, and pharmaceutical science. Some titles are accessed via the Taylor & Francis Online site.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • HealthStar
    Ovid HealthStar is a subset of the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) MEDLINE database. It contains citations to the published literature on health services, technology, administration, and research. HealthStar focuses on both the clinical and non-clinical aspects of health care delivery. The following topics are included: evaluation of patient outcomes; effectiveness of procedures, programs, products, services and processes; administration and planning of health facilities, services and manpower; health insurance; health policy; health services research; health economics and financial management; laws and regulation; personnel administration; quality assurance; licensure; and accreditation.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.

There are other indexes available in print and electronically, as well as more full-text journal databases. Contact a law librarian for assistance.

Cases & Legislation

Key Resources

The following databases and websites provide access to federal and provincial cases and legislation.


The following statutes are related to health law in Canada. For statutes not listed, search the databases listed above.

Cases and Decisions

Along with searching the databases above, one can use other products to find case law:

  • Canadian Abridgment Digests
    A digest service that indexes cases by subject. This is an extremely useful resource. There are Health Law volumes in print (vol 49) and electronically in WestlawNext Canada (UNB Law students and faculty only).
  • Canada Digest
    A digest service similar to the Canadian Abridgment. Useful titles include Canada Health Law Digest. It is available electronically through Quicklaw (campus-wide version available to all UNB and STU students and faculty) and Lexis Advance Quicklaw (UNB Law students and faculty only).
  • Case Reporters
    If you wish to browse the print reporters,there are topical law reports on the second floor. Note: much of this content is retrospective. For current cases/decisions, please use electronic databases (i.e.: WestlawNext Canada, Lexis Advance Quicklaw) when available.

Government Documents

Government departments and agencies publish a great deal of important law-related information. The Law Library's collection of printed government documents is located on the library's third floor. Use UNB WorldCat to search, or ask a library staff member for help. 

The Harriet Irving Library also has government documents, which can be located through UNB WorldCat.

For government documents that are available online, try using UNB Libraries' Google Custom Search.

Note: if you include and filetype:pdf in a Google search, you will retrieve PDF documents from Government of Canada websites. This is a good way to find government reports, as they are usually in PDF format.

The following site might be useful:

Law Reform Commissions

Law reform reports and working papers can provide important background information on a topic and recommendations about ways to reform the law in a certain area.


Other Jurisdictions

Websites & Blogs


The following websites may be helpful for your research:

  • UNB Libraries' Nursing & Health Sciences Guides
    Health-related research guides updated and maintained by UNB Libraries, including key databases, reference materials, and more.
  • Dalhousie University Health Law Institute
    The Health Law Institute seeks to understand, use and adapt law and policy to improve health and well-being through scholarship, education, and public service.
  • Health Canada
    Provides information about health-related legislation and activities, including commissions and inquiries; a repository of reports and publications; and a list of health-related conferences and events.
  • Guttmacher Institute
    Presents information about sexual and reproductive health worldwide through research, policy analysis, and public education.
  • Health Law Perspectives
    Full text of scholarly articles analyzing recent developments in health law. Links to health law sites. Maintained by Health Law and Policy Institute, University of Houston Law Center.
  • International Women's Health Coalition
    International organization that provides grants, information, and strategic intervention in the areas of women's and girls' health, family violence, human rights of women and children, legal rights, and public health and policy.
  • FeeFieFoeFirm
    A Google-powered search engine that focuses on law firm websites. Results include blog posts, reports, white papers, PowerPoint presentations, and more. Can change jurisdiction to US, UK, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, and more.


There are many blogs maintained by lawyers and law firms, and you can find many of them at There are several blogs listed in the Medicine & Health category that may be helpful.

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