The Law collection supports the study, reference and research needs of the students and faculty of the Faculty of Law and other members of the University community, particularly those in the departments of Political Science and Social Work, the Faculty of Commerce and the Health Sciences faculties.

Overview of the strengths of the existing collection

The Law Library has a research collection of approximately 225,000 volumes. Primary and secondary legal materials are acquired from the major common law jurisdictions of the world: Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, as well as materials from other selected jurisdictions such as the European Community and the Pacific Rim.

Current areas of collecting

The law selector covers administrative law, civil litigation, criminal law, commercial transactions, conflict of laws, constitutional law, contracts, corporation law, remedies, evidence, family law, international law, labour law, municipal law, real property, taxation, torts and trusts. Building upon these are such specialized legal studies as: aboriginal and treaty rights, alternative dispute resolution, appellate advocacy, children and the law, entertainment and sports law, environmental law, European Union law, feminist legal studies, First Nations and the administration of justice, human rights, immigration law, intellectual property, international trade, law and aging, legal reasoning and artificial intelligence, legal history, media law, medicine and the law, southeast Asian legal systems and trial advocacy.

Research and publishing characteristics

In terms of primary materials, the field of law encompasses both “enacted” (legislative) and “decided” (judicial) components. They tend to be published sequentially, in chronological order, and serial needs for these kinds of material are therefore paramount in law libraries. In recent years, much of the output of legislatures and courts has become available via on-line systems which themselves are assuming a prime collections process. Paper still tends to predominate however, and secondary materials (i.e. commentaries on the law, via journals and treatises) are acquired in large numbers to promote legal research and teaching. Most legal materials range in price from medium to high, and – for the purposes of currency – many are regularly supplemented with replacement volumes, pocket-parts, and looseleaf filings.

Legal literature is distinctive in its extensive use of “citations” by which lawyers locate published case law.


English is the primary language of the collection however civil law materials from Quebec in French are also collected. Material in other languages is collected selectively.

Geographic origin

Primarily Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.


Legal materials for practitioners, particularly from non-Canadian jurisdictions, and law-for-the-layman publications are primarily excluded.

Collections in other UBC Libraries/ Areas of overlap

David Lam Management Research Library: Business management, international finance and trade, corporate annual reports and taxation.

Health Sciences Libraries: A broad range of medico-legal issues including abortion, euthanasia, gerontology, reproductive technology, medical malpractice, professional regulation and forensic medicine.

Koerner Library: Race and gender issues, criminology, the environment, dispute resolution and mediation, the European Union, social work issues, First Nations issues, economic development, international law, treaties, information technology, statistical information, and United Nations and other international agency publications.