At the beginning of each subject, there is a section that tells the reader which topics are covered in the section and which are not.
The Encyclopedia is organized into entries, sections, chapters, and topics, all of which are listed alphabetically. Several sections form an entry, entries and subentries form a chapter, several chapters a part, and several parts a volume. Each volume has an index, a list of titles and a list of topics.Topics of interest may be quickly located by consulting the index or the list of chapters in each part.
Most chapters begin with a brief introduction, which contains background information relating to all the topics in that chapter. Some chapters describe a single legal issue. Other chapters cover a group of related legal issues.
Legal terms are often provided.
Hyperlinked cross-references identify other important or related discussions of a topic.
Organization of Entries
Note: This applies to new entries generally. “Preliminary Matters” comprises the Scope, Overview and Practice points
- Excerps. They are like abstracts.
- Analysis. The analysis provides a full topical outline of the contnets. This shows you the coverage and organization of the entry.
- Scope.The scope discusses what is and what is not covered within the topic. It is very useful as a starting place for research and a tool to gain a general understanding of a particular area of the law. Those cited in the crossreferences are considered to be the most relevant on the topic rather than a general compilation of all entries on the point. You will find useful information at the beginning of a subject.
- Overview. A summary or concise general overview of the topic, necessary background information, and cross-references to more detailed discussions within the body of the entry.
- Practice Points. Practical information related to the topic, offering guidance and potential pitfalls.
- Free Text. Entries consist of explanatory paragraphs with footnotes citing primary materials (cases, statutes, and regulations) which support the propositions stated in the entry. They have headings and subheadings.
- Conclusions: A brief summary of the content of the entry and the potential implications of the legal issue.
- Notes and References. References furnish the reader with details of the evidence on which the legal issue or discussion is based, and acknowledge the use of secondary sources, including textbooks. Notes contain information or comment that is relevant to the issue but that cannot be incorporated conveniently into the body of the entry. References and notes are placed at the foot of the page as a footnote. References may start with “The following references may be of interest to a reader of this entry:”
- See Also. In “See Also” includes full cross references to topics treated elsewherein one of the Encyclopedia.
- About the Author/s and Reviewer/s.
- Mentions. Cases and Laws cited. Entries citing this entry.
Optional Sections of the Entries
- Background: This should place the study into the context of the current knowledge in its field and list the purpose of the work; in other words, the authors should summarize why they carried out their research.
- General Considerations.
Sometimes a quick scan of the table of contents of the subject topic is helpful as it may suggest areas to review.
As the number of entries grew, the Encyclopedia developed a system that classified the law into topics and subtopics. The idea is that each law and court opinion that have to be included in the Encyclopedia is analyzed and assigned one or more topics and subtopics based upon the legal principles addressed in the statute or court case.
The system is employed in the several Encyclopdias, creating a detailed system of classification that, with the time, divides the statutes and the case law into more than 500 separate topics, and thousands of subtopics.
More categories should be added as the development of the law requires. Each topic is divided into subtopics. Some topics have only two dozen subtopics while other topics have hundreds of subtopics.
The subtopics form the basis of the classification system.
The use of different “url” clearly address the issue of multiple jurisdictions in the text. Some entries or Titles are federal, some are provincial, and some contain elements of both. One province may deal with a point of law in a different manner than another, or be silent on the point of law. Clarity is required to eliminate any possible confusion in the mind of the user. Rules were developed to address these issues in a consistent manner.
The text of an Entry is arranged in major and minor paragraphs. Each major paragraph of a Title is assigned an alpha numeric number consisting of a three or four character acronym for the subject Title, together with an arabic numeral. Minor paragraphs are grouped with major paragraphs and elaborate on the principle of law set out in the major paragraph. Both major and minor paragraphs include descriptive headings.
Annotations or Case Law Summaries are called, in the Encyclopedia, “Case Law Summaries”. The cases summarized are the most frequently cases most often cited in the courts.
The Encyclopedia include a Glossary of Terms that lists the meaning of the various abbreviations used in the Encyclopedia.