Irwin Law’s Canadian Online Legal Dictionary

Its online. Its free. Its Canadian. With so many good points in its favour without even talking about it, why am I posting? One of the things we try to do at Slaw is let people know what is out there in the information market. Some of us got a chance to see the quiet launch of this new tool at the CALL/ACBD/MichALL conference earlier this month in Windsor. For those who missed it, Irwin Law says:

We are very pleased to announce the launch of the Canadian Online Legal Dictionary, a dictionary of legal words and phrases. This unique new electronic publication will be an interactive “work-in-progress” and we invite you to try it out and participate in its development.

Canadian Online Legal Dictionary

click to enlarge

Things I like about this resource:

  • clean, easy interface
  • price
  • definition sources linked back to the source
  • multiple definitions given if found in a variety of Irwin Law texts
  • it has a table of contents (called browse by topic) AND an index AND is searchable

Wishes for this product: only one – more great content. I really like the idea of a collaborative dictionary with proper sourcing and editorial oversight. I would like to see a form for content additions so that those of us with a nerdy bent could submit sourced definitions for editorial review. Something like that is probably the plan.
What definition would I submit?

Slaw is a cooperative Canadian weblog on all things legal.


  1. That is indeed our intention, Shaunna. We weren’t able to have the submission feature ready to demonstrate at the CALL conference. Users will be able to submit terms of their own choosing for addition to the dictionary. In addition, we hope to be able to request definitions of particular terms from our user audience where we are aware of a particular gap.

  2. Thanks Alisa. I look forward to using this tool and watching it develop.

  3. Fantastic site! This is great for law students. Thank you for making me aware of this!

  4. Gary P. Rodrigues

    What a clever and innovative idea!

    Authoritative texts such as those published by Irwin Law are an important and authoritative source of legal definitions, especially with regard to new legal terminology.

    At this point, no other dictionary provides comparable access to legal definitions. While the new dictionary does not have the depth of its competitors, it clearly equals them in terms of its scope and surpasses them in terms of currency.

    Bravo Irwin Law.