Image source: Justice Clip Art.
(Guide creator: Teresa Grimm. Currently maintained by Jamie Kellner.)
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Looking for help finding legal information? You have come to the right place.
Use the tabs along the top of the page to access these sections of the guide:
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 are considered binding and must be followed in a given jurisdiction. Jurisdiction refers to the right to authority. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has jurisdiction in this state. However, in Michigan, a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision would not have jurisdiction so Michigan courts would not have to follow Wisconsin Supreme Court rulings. 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