Ebooks from Irwin Law (Tip of the Week)

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By Alan Kilpatrick

The Law Society of Saskatchewan Library is excited to provide over 100 ebooks from the Irwin Law e-Library to all Saskatchewan members. Ebooks are offered on a variety of legal topics and includes the popular Essentials of Canadian Law series.

Conveniently, these ebooks are available on your computer desktop, at home, or in your office. You can access the Irwin Law e-Library from the Members’ Section of the Law Society of Saskatchewan website.


The e-Library home page provides a basic search, advanced search, and subject list at the top of the screen.


Let’s do an advanced search to locate an ebook on criminal law. Select the Advanced Search tab from the top of the screen and search for ebooks with the phrase criminal law in the title.



Our advanced search located ten ebooks. Let’s go ahead and select Criminal Law, Fifth Edition by Kent Roach.


Criminal Law, Fifth Edition is then displayed on the screen. Let’s take a close look at the layout of the ebook.


  • At the top – A tool bar allows you to turn pages, zoom in and out, highlight text, copy text, and take notes.
  • On the left – The ebook is displayed. Pages can be turned with the arrows on the tool bar.
  • On the right – The table of contents can be used to open a specific chapter of the ebook.

The Law Society of Saskatchewan Library also provides over 30 ebooks from Emond Montgomery Publications.

If you have any questions about Irwin Law e-Library, ask a Law Society Librarian.  Library staff provide legal research assistance to members in person, on the telephone, or by e-mail.

AskLibnEmail reference@lawsociety.sk.ca
Call 306-569-8020 in Regina
Toll-free 1-877-989-4999
Fax 306-569-0155

National Aboriginal Day June 21

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By Melanie Hodges Neufeld

Saturday, June 21 is the 18th annual National Aboriginal Day and celebrations will be held throughout Saskatchewan. This day honours the heritage, contributions and culture of the First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada. In Saskatoon the celebrations begin at 11:00 am in the Bessborough Gardens and in Regina at 9:00 am in the NW corner of Wascana Centre.

This is perhaps also a time to reflect on the heart-breaking history and legacy of Canada’s Indian residential schools. At the Canadian Association of Law Libraries annual conference last month, the Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Justice Murray Sinclair, gave an emotional and riveting talk about the Commission’s work to date and why the Commission has concluded that this is not an Aboriginal problem but a Canadian one. Over the last four years, the Commission visited more than 300 communities and collected accounts of former students. It would take more than two years to play back the more than 6,500 statements survivors gave the commission.* Please visit the Truth and Reconciliation website for more information and resources.
* CBC News, “Truth and Reconciliation: Nearly 4 Years of Hearings Wrap”


A Humble Beginning: 32 Years of Saskatchewan Case Digesting (Throwback Thursday)

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An acoustic coupler used in the 1983 movie WarGames

The year was 1982 , and …

Time Magazine‘s Man of the Year was the computer,
Commodore 64 was the most popular home computer,
Sony Walkman was the hot new gadget,
the first movie with extensive 3D CGI Tron was released by Disney,
and mobile phone… no, there was no mobile phone yet. The first consumer mobile phone didn’t come out until the following year and weighed almost 2 lbs. and measured about 12 inches tall and 3.5 inches thick.

And what cool tools did we have in Saskatchewan for legal research in 1982?

In the early ’80s there was generally a 6 to 12 month delay for Saskatchewan cases to be picked up by printed law reporters. QL Systems (Quicklaw) was the only online service available and was already popular in courthouses. Searching QL back then was over a phone line dialing into Canada’s packet switched network Datapac using a modem or an acoustic coupler with a data transfer rate of 1000 baud (approximately 10 million times slower than the download speed of a high speed Internet connection these days). Remember WarGames? Finding caselaw and getting cases to the lawyers in a timely manner was problematic and expensive.  There was a need to provide a local digesting service and This Week’s Law, commonly known as TWL, was the resulting product.

A Radio Shack TRS-80 computer
A page from TWL, 1986

The first issue of TWL was released in 1982. One copy was produced on a Radio Shack TRS-80 computer. Copies for distribution were made on a photocopier because all office printers back then were dot matrix.  They were slow, noisy, and they printed on fanfold paper.  TWL was offered as a looseleaf subscription service with approximately nine releases a year. Over the years the contents of TWL expanded and many features were added. In 1998, the contents of TWL were imported into a new database platform that made searching on the Internet possible. This became the Saskatchewan Cases database. Data structure, search screens and reports were carefully designed to maximize the searchability of the contents and to take full advantage of the hypertext linking ability of HTML.  In order to enable fulltext searching of the judgments, a separate Fulltext database was created and linked to the Cases database.  The databases were initially available only for Law Society members for a subscription fee.  At the end of 1999 the benchers decided to make the databases available to the members for free.  A subsequent decision opened up the databases to the public. Since the databases were made available on the Internet and members have become more comfortable with computers and online searching , the demand for the printed TWL began to dwindle.  In 2002, after completing the 20th Anniversary volume, the Library decided to discontinue TWL.

Saskatchewan was the first law society in Canada to initiate an Internet-based search service for judgments. Today, Saskatchewan Cases database is one of the most popular databases produced by the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library. It is being used over 3,500 times a month. From the database we produce Case Mail, a twice monthly electronic newsletter of case digests. We also provide our case digests to CanLII Connects. All these were started from a need to provide current case law for our members, a vision, and a few people quietly doing what needed to be done behind the scene to provide a great service.

A Nitty Gritty Summary for Citing Canadian and Saskatchewan Statutes

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When citing a Canadian statute, you will either cite to a revised statute (RSC – Revised Statutes of Canada) or to the year/sessional volume (SC – Statutes of Canada). According to the Best Guide to Canadian Legal Research, federal statutes are revised every 15 to 30 years, with the last revision being in 1985. The title of the statute is italicized, followed by a non-italicized comma. If a year is included in the title of the statute, it should also be italicized, but again, the comma following should not be italicized. The Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (the McGill Guide*) dictates that there are no periods between RSC or SC, or after the chapter abbreviation (e.g., c A-1). Be aware that not all jurisdictions have adopted the McGill Guide formatting, but for our purposes, we will omit the periods in all our examples.

Statutes that have chapters that include both a letter and a number are new acts, and the letter stands for the first letter of the name of the act. Statutes that have chapters with only a number are acts that usually amend existing acts.

Example of a revised statute:

Access to Information Act, RSC 1985, c A-1

Example of a year/sessional statute:

Farm Debt Mediation Act, SC 1997, c 21

There is a third kind of act that is not always on our radar, that of the private act. In House of Commons Procedure and Practice,2000 edition, Robert Marleau and Camille Montpetit state, “Most private bills now deal with the incorporation of, or amendments to the acts of incorporation of, religious, charitable and other organizations and of insurance, trust and loan companies.”

Example of a private act:

An Act to incorporate the Canadian Association of Lutheran Congregations, SC 1994, c 49


When citing a Saskatchewan statute, you will either cite to a revised statute (RSS – Revised Statutes of Saskatchewan) or to the year/sessional volume (SS – Statutes of Saskatchewan). In Saskatchewan the last revision to our statutes was in 1978. In 2008 the Saskatchewan legislature introduced and passed The Statutes and Regulations Revision Act, SS 2008, c S-59.01 (effective Nov. 1, 2008) paving the way for a revision of Saskatchewan’s Acts and Regulations to be revised in the future.

“This Act establishes a revision committee to prepare revisions of any or all Acts or regulations of Saskatchewan. It provides the committee with revision powers to update Saskatchewan legislation, for example, consolidating amendments, changing numbering, adding or changing headings, adopting gender neutral language, updating references and removing unnecessary provisions. A revision is not intended to change the meaning of the law but merely to give it a more modern expression. On the coming into force of a revision, both the printed and electronic versions will be official versions of the revised enactments.” Justice Update 2008

Note that all Saskatchewan statutes include “The” in the title of the act, unlike the federal statutes; therefore, “The” is both capped and italicized with the rest of the title. If you are unsure of the exact name of a statute, check the act under Short Title (usually section 1 of the act) and it will tell you how the name of the act is to be cited.

Example of a revised statute:

The Controverted Municipal Elections Act, RSS 1978, c C-33

Examples of year/sessional statutes:

A) The Cities Act, SS 2002, c C-11.1

B) The Cities Amendment Act, 2013, SS 2013, c 6

Example of a private act:

The Bethany College Incorporation Act, 1993, SS 1993, c 02

Parts to be included in a statute citation

  1. title; if the title includes a year in the name, make sure to include the year
    The Cities Amendment Act, 2013
  2. statute volume
    SS 2013
  3. chapter number
    c 6
  4. section number, if needed (also called pinpointing)
    s 2

Always keep in mind that people love shortcuts, and in the language of law, this means abbreviations. So when a senior lawyer asks you to find legislation pertaining to the AAIA [1], the PPSA [2] and the EMJA [3], you might begin to wonder what kind of code is this and do I need to call Bletchley Park to use their enigma machine? Well, that’s when you get in touch with us at the Law Society Library, and we’ll help you with all your deciphering needs.


* Note: McGill has just released its 8th edition of the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation. We will refer to the 7th for now, as many people may not have access to the 8th edition at the time of this post.



Best, Catherine. Best Guide to Canadian Legal Research, online <http://legalresearch.org/statutory/federal-statutes/>

Government of Saskatchewan. Justice Update 2008 <http://www.qp.gov.sk.ca/documents/updates/08justup.pdf>

Marleau, Robert and Camille Montpetit. House of Commons Procedure and Practice, 2000 edition, online <http://www.parl.gc.ca/MarleauMontpetit/DocumentViewer.aspx?DocId=1001&Lang=E&Print=2&Sec=Ch23&Seq=1>

McGill Law Journal. Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation, 7th ed (Carswe



[1] The Automobile Accident Insurance Act, RRS 1978, c A-35

[2] The Personal Property Security Act, 1993, SS 1993, c P-6.2

[3] The Enforcement of Judgments Act, SS 2010, c E-9.22

Tips from the Editor – Me, Myself and I

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editor1aBy Kelly Laycock

In a previous post, “You and I vs. You and Me”, I noted the following: “Personal pronouns come in four varieties: subjective, objective, possessive and reflexive. In first person, that would be I, me, mine and myself, respectively.” In that post, we looked at subjective and objective personal pronouns. I then received a request from a reader to expand on the proper use of reflexive pronouns, and I am more than happy to oblige! Thanks for the request.      Read the rest of this entry »