Feature Blogger: Reché McKeague
The Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan (PLEA) educates and informs the general Saskatchewan public about the law and the legal system. PLEA produces publications on general areas of the law and makes them available to the public. The publications may be found on its website or in courthouses, libraries, and other community locations. PLEA’s Youth and Schools program provides law-related resources to teachers and students to complement the curriculum at all levels.
When I start research in an unfamiliar area of law, I always check to see if PLEA has a relevant publication. PLEA provides general information in plain language, geared to assist the public through a legal situation. It breaks down the legal process, step by step, and includes steps gleaned not just from legislation and the common law, but also general practice. The publications provide an excellent overview of the area of law, and help me begin to identify sources of research. PLEA’s publications may not refer to the governing legislation or case law by name, but being aware of the many steps means I know I need to keep researching until I have identified their sources. Starting my research with a PLEA publication allows me to continue my research feeling more confident that I know how the research applies “in real life.”
Public legal education organizations exist in every Canadian jurisdiction, although not all of them have comprehensive websites like PLEA. The Department of Justice provides a list of the organizations.
The next time you begin research in a new area of law, consider checking out PLEA’s publications as a starting point. Do you use PLEA as a resource? What do you think? Let us know in the comments.