Preemption checking is an important step in academic scholarship that will help determine if the topic has been or is being preempted by another work or author. In preparing to write a piece of legal scholarship an author must choose a topic. In choosing this topic many resources including periodicals of both general and legal matters, law reviews and journals, legal books and newsletters, and non-legal materials that publish law-related articles can be consulted. As an author refines their topic preemption checking should begin taking place. This is to both ensure that the topic has not already been completely addressed before too much effort is spent on research, and to shape the formation of the topic and subtopics to address the relevant non-addressed issues that exist.
If another author has written on a topic similar to the one being investigated it is not necessarily a case of absolute preemption. In these matters the researcher must then see if their idea can be distinguished from the already existing work. Additionally, one can use a citator to see if the possibly preemptive material is still using valid authority. In the nature of legal scholarship articles are often published and not updated and new case or statutory law may apply making the article lose value and in need of new scholarship to update the changes.
The remainder of this LibGuide will discuss how to search resources looking for preemptive materials.
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