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Researching Legislative Intent

Researching Legislative Intent

A Practical Guide

By Susan Barker and Erica Anderson


The use of legislative history and legislative evolution as aids to interpret legislative intent was affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1998. Since then, legislative history research has become important to the legal profession. Researching legislative intent, however necessary, is not straightforward. The wealth of materials available requires researchers to understand the legislative process, and to locate and use a variety of parliamentary materials, websites, and libraries.

Researching Legislative Intent: A Practical Guide is the first comprehensive resource that guides researchers through this complex task. Starting with the history of the use of legislative intent in the courts and an overview of the legislative process, this book then provides detailed descriptions of the sources available to compile a legislative history and trace the evolution of statutes and regulations. It also looks at the background of the use of legislative intent in interpreting treaties with Indigenous peoples and provides research checklists. It will be a go-to resource for legal researchers in law firms; academic institutions; and government, courthouse, and law society libraries.


List of Illustrations

Chapter 1: Researching Legislative Intent
Chapter 2: Understanding Statutes: The Process of a Bill
Chapter 3: Intrinsic Aids to Statutory Interpretation
Chapter 4: Extrinsic Aids to Statutory Interpretation: Legislative Debates
Chapter 5: Extrinsic Aids to Statutory Interpretation: Committees
Chapter 6: Extrinsic Aids to Statutory Interpretation: Other Sources
Chapter 7: How to Trace the Legislative Evolution of a Statute
Chapter 8: How to Trace the Legislative History of a Statute
Chapter 9: Interpretation of Treaties with Indigenous Peoples
Chapter 10: Statutory Instruments, Royal Prerogative, and Delegated Legislation
Chapter 11: Tracing the Evolution and History of a Regulation

Appendix 1: Definitions of Regulations
Appendix 2: Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Parliamentary Libraries and Archives in Canada
Appendix 3: Process of a Bill

About the Authors


Published 30 September 2019
Publisher Irwin Law (Canada)
ISBN 9781552215135
Australian RRP $75.00
International Price $68.00
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Law - Canadian Law
Law - Legal Writing & Research

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