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Law, Child & Youth Justice Guide

Legal Dictionaries/Words & Phrases

Legal Dictionaries / Words & Phrases

Legal dictionaries and Words and Phrases can help you research the meaning of legal terms and the legal interpretation of legal words and phrases. This can help when you’re trying to interpret a statute for which there is no clear case law or if you’re trying to discern the meaning of a word in a key legal document, such as a contract or a will.

Legal Dictionaries

Words & Phrases

Legal Encyclopedias

Legal Encyclopedias

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 Westlaw Edge, while Halsbury's is available in Lexis+.

Canadian Encyclopedic Digest

  • Available via Westlaw Edge (law students only) and in print in the reference section (available to all students)
  • Helpful titles include
    • Children (title 25 in vol 8 in print)
    • Family Law (vols 26–28 in print)
    • Youth Criminal Justice (title 183 in vol 53 in print)

Halsbury's Laws of Canada

  • Available via Lexis+ (law students only), the campus-wide version of Quicklaw (available to all students), and in print in the reference section (available to all students)
  • Helpful titles include
    • Infants and Children (title code HIC)
    • Family Law (title code HFA)
    • Youth Justice (title code HYJ)

Journal Articles & Databases

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.

Keep in mind that it can be best to start with an index rather than a full-text database. An index is essentially a list of articles by topic. Sometimes the article will be available full-text, but often you'll just be given a citation that you can use to track it down somewhere else.

Key Databases

If you need help locating an article, contact a librarian for assistance.



To search for books at UNB Libraries, use UNB WorldCat. UNB WorldCat contains records of materials held at the Harriet Irving, Science and Forestry, Engineering, Hans W. Klohn, and Law libraries.

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:

Legislation & Case Law

Legislation & Case Law

Key Resources

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


The following statutes are related to children's law. For statutes not listed, search the databases listed above.

Cases Digests

Along with searching the databases mentioned above, you should use a case digest to find case law. A case digest service indexes cases by topic, and each topic is broken down into several subtopics. With a case digest, you might find ten, twenty, or hundreds of cases on your research topic, saving you hours of time.

Two important case digests are the Canadian Abridgment Digests and the Canada Digest.

  • Canadian Abridgment Digests
    • Available via Westlaw Edge (law students only) and in print in the reference section (available to all students)
    • Useful titles include:
      • Family (vols 36 Reissue–47G Reissue in print)
      • Criminal Law (vols 28A1–28D6 in print)
  • Canada Digest
    • Available via Lexis+ and the campus-wide version of Quicklaw (available to all students)
    • Click Case Summaries > All Canada Digests for a list of topics
    • Useful titles include
      • Canada Family Law Digest
      • Canada Criminal Digest

Government Documents

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/or 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 sites might be useful:

  • Government of Canada Publications Search
    • Federal search engine for government publications.
  • Library of Parliament Research Publications
    • Non-partisan, reliable, and timely information and analysis on current and emerging issues, legislation, and major public policy topics from the Library of Parliament.
  • Childhood and Adolescence (Public Health Agency of Canada)
    • The Division Childhood and Adolescence is a focal point for policy development, research, and strategic analysis of trends regarding broad determinants of health regarding children and youth in Canada. Includes publications and information on programs and initiatives.
  • First Nations Child and Family Services (Indigenous Services Canada)
    • ISC provides funding to First Nations child and family services agencies, which are established, managed and controlled by First Nations and delegated by provincial authorities to provide prevention and protection services. Site includes program expenditures and statistics, audit and evaluation reports, and more.
  • Social Development: Children & Youth (Government of New Brunswick)
    • Contains information and reports on adoption and foster care, protection, and related legislation.
  • Social Development: Child Protection (Government of New Brunswick)
    • Contains information on reporting abuse as well as publications related legislation.

Websites & Blogs

Websites & Blogs

The following sites may be helpful for your research:

UN Documents

UN Documents

The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945 that is made up of 193 Member States. The mission and work of the United Nations are guided by the purposes and principles contained in its founding Charter.

The following pages and documents might be helpful with your research:

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