By Ken Fox, Reference Librarian
The library is still closed, and will be for some time, it seems. But some of you have still been asking for legal texts, which means that you, possibly a great many of you, are still out there doing legal work.
When lawyers ask for legal texts, they often ask for them by name: Sullivan on statutory construction, Sopinka on evidence, Waters on trusts, Waddams on contracts, Hogg on constitutional law, Linden on Torts, etc. Why do you ask for these texts in particular? Because you know them by reputation, or you know them from past use. But have you actually compared them to other texts on topic, and found the others wanting? In some cases you have, but in many cases I’m betting you haven’t.
So today, in the context of social distancing and library closures, I am asking you to give a thought to the Irwin Law Essentials of Canadian Law series. This series covers almost all major Canadian legal topics. They have traditionally been soft cover books with maroon and grey covers, but editions published over the past five or so years have been solid maroon:
Irwin law books, compared to those of the older Canadian publishing companies, are cheaper, and usually (but not always) thinner. However, it does not follow that they are lower quality. The Essentials’ series are not “student texts” and are not “plain language” texts any more than their equivalents by other publishers. As with books published by older, better known publishers, the quality of these texts varies from book to book and author to author. In terms of the rigor of their scholarship and the validity and accuracy of their legal arguments, I for one am convinced that they exhibit the same level of quality, broadly speaking, as other legal books on the market.
But Irwin texts have the distinct advantage, more relevant now than ever, that they are all available to Saskatchewan lawyers online, through our Member Resource section. Scroll down to the Irwin Law heading and look for the “Des Libris Irwin Law Collection.” But also note the username and password listed below the link. We apologize, but in this instance only, you do need to use this login info, despite already having logged into the secure Member Resource page.
The presentation of the Des Libris library seems to change frequently. But today when I look, the display shows twelve broad classifications of books – “Law” appears in the bottom row. Clicking on Law brings up 254 titles, all published by Irwin law, including 103 texts from the “Essentials in Canadian Law” series. These 103 titles represent the complete series of current editions, and most of the past editions. The Essentials series are probably the most important for practicing lawyers overall, but many important legal texts lie outside of the series – for example Payne’s texts on Canadian Family Law and the Child Support Guidelines in Canada.
You can browse the list of titles, but the best way to find relevant content is to use the search bar at the top. Note that, even if you clicked on “Law,” the search will bring up results from the entire Des Libris library.
When I type “trusts” (without quotes) into the search bar, I get 163 results, the first two of which are editions of Eileen Gillese’s “Essentials” text on The Law of Trusts. If you find that the relevant legal content is drowned in dozens or hundreds of non-legal texts, the best way forward is probably to use the “Refine Results” option – look for the green button at the top left of your screen. Use either “Collections” or “Publishers” – Irwin is an option in both. In the present search, choosing the Irwin filter brings my results list from 163 down to 14.
Let’s go back to my earlier list of popular legal texts – and I will suggest some Irwin equivalents. For convenience I am only listing the most famous author of each book.
|Text by Major Publisher||Irwin Equivalent|
|The Construction of Statutes (Sullivan)||Statutory Interpretation (Sullivan)|
|The Law of Evidence in Canada (Sopinka)||The Law of Evidence (Paciocco)|
|Law of Trusts in Canada (Waters)||The Law of Trusts (Gillese)|
|The Law of Contracts (Waddams)||The Law of Contracts (McCamus)|
|Constitutional Law of Canada (Hogg)||Constitutional Law (Monahan)|
|Canadian Tort Law (Linden)||The Law of Torts (Osbourne)|
See? In every instance, there is a book on the same topic by a prestigious legal author from the Essentials of Canadian Law series. So we at the library are asking you to consider trying an Irwin ebook before asking us for a better known book on the same topic. If you can’t find a suitable ebook, please ask us, and we would be happy to make a recommendation.
In a coming blog post, I will provide tips on using searching and viewing Irwin ebooks.