This guide is designed to help students in BA770 Legal and Regulatory Environments of Business find business and legal information in Lakeland's online library and beyond. Use the tabs across the top of the screen to move to sections on:
Primary and Secondary Sources
In legal research, primary sources are actual statements of the law. Examples include: constitutions, statutes, administrative codes, court decisions, treaties, and executive orders. Primary sources may be mandatory or persuasive in a legal dispute depending on jurisdiction. Jurisdiction refers to the right to authority. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has jurisdiction in this state so it's rulings are mandatory primary sources in the state of Wisconsin. However, in Michigan, a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision would not have jurisdiction so in Michigan the same Wisconsin Supreme Court decision is a persuasive source, one that can be considered by Michigan courts, but not mandatory to follow. It is important to understand jurisdiction when researching a case.
Secondary sources explain the law by offering commentary, analysis, or background information. Examples include legal encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries, articles, books about law and annotated law reports. Secondary sources may influence legal decisions, but they are not binding.
This guide will help you locate primary and secondary sources.
Source: Library of Congress: Guide to SecondaryLegal Resources