If you are ever asked to draft a document and have no idea where to start, don’t worry! There are many examples and forms that you can look at to get an idea of what a certain legal document is supposed to look like.
You may be wondering exactly what a precedent or a form is, especially if you have never come across them before. Precedents and forms can be samples of common legal documents (employment agreements), forms that are legislated by statute or regulation (such as a statement of claim), or even a document that has evolved through common use to become the accepted standard (retainer letter).
Using precedents and forms can not only save you time, but also help you understand the structure of common legal documents and what is expected to be included. You may also be required to use a certain form for court documents. Regulations and rules such as the Rules of Civil Procedure often require a certain format for pleadings and other document submissions. It is important that you tailor the form or precedent to your specific situation. Most of the time, these precedents and forms serve as just samples and frameworks, not complete "fill in the blanks".
For more information on precedents and forms, look to our research guide Research 101: How to Find Forms and Precedents.
While it is easy to browse large collections of forms and precedents such as O'Brien's or Canadian Forms and Precedents, sometimes you may have to search the catalogue for specific forms.
Continuing Professional Development articles published by legal organizations such as the Law Society of Ontario or the Ontario Bar Association are a great resource when it comes to looking for sample documents. Unfortunately, they are not easy to browse and thus using specific language when searching our catalogue will help you find what you need.