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Lawskool Research Guide

Law Student's Research Guide

Contents

Internet research
Researching case law
Researching legislation
Journals
Reference tools
Keeping up with current law

Institutions
Law societies and bar associations
Other links/info


INTERNET RESEARCH

The advent of the internet has made the task of legal research far less time consuming for stressed-out students and practitioners than it once was. Wading through dusty tomes in the law library is no longer mandatory. The modern law student will find a plethora of internet databases at his or her disposal to assist you with in-depth researching. Some of these databases can be quite involved so its worthwhile spending time to master their intricacies.

The best way to approach an internet-focused research task is to make ample use of boolean connectors. These are words that you insert into your search terms to narrow down your search. Experiment with the following:
AND - both terms must be present in the search result (e.g criminal and law)
OR - any one of the search terms can be present in the search result (e.g criminal or law)
ADJ - finds words next to each other (e.g criminal adj law)
The * wildcard - use to search for a variety of forms of a word (e.g judg* will find judge, judgment etc.)


In addition to the databases listed below, you'll find the following links useful:

BUBL Information Service
Catalaw
Einet Galaxy
Findlaw Australia
Internet Legal Research Guide (this site is solid gold!)
Lawcrawler
LawRunner
LLRX - Researching Australia Law
The National Library's legal links
VCE Legal Studies
World Wide Web Virtual Library
Yahoo: Government: Law

The following specialist research texts are also helpful:

S.Dayal, e-law research, your guide to electronic research, Sydney: Butterworths, 2000.
I.Nemes & G.Coss, Effective legal research, Sydney: Butterworths, 1998
R.Watt, Concise legal research, 3rd ed., Sydney: Federation Press, 1997.

Happy Researching!

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RESEARCHING CASE LAW

N.B When citing High Court judgements in your essays, always use paragraph numbers in square brackets, not page numbers e.g Hollis v Vabu Pty Limited [2001] HCA 44 at [42].


To find relevant case law on a topic:

Austlii (raw, unreported versions of Cth, State and Territory decisions - ideal for essay work!)
- In the 'Find' drop-down menu, select 'This boolean query'
- Enter your search term
- Once you've found a case, click on 'context' at the top of the page to go to where your term is first mentioned in the text
- Click on 'noteup' at the top of the page to get a list of the cases that your case is cited in.

Australian Case Citato
r (dust off the oldskool print version or access through Lawbook Online - lists all published cases by name)

Casebase
(access through Butterworths Online ; this just a citation database i.e there is no full text of the cases).

CCH Online

Halsbury's Laws of Australia
(access through Butterworths Online - an encyclopedia giving references to many major cases)

Law and Justice Foundation of NSW
(Australian and overseas court and tribunal decisions)

SCALEPlus (Cth,State and Territory court and tribunal decisions)


To find cases that judicially-consider an Act:

Case Base (access through Butterworths Online)

CCH Online


Federal Statutes Annotations
(access through Butterworths Online)


To find recent case law

Australian Current Law (accessed through Butterworths Online- updates Halsbury's laws of Australia)

Casebase
(accessed through Butterworths Online)

Findlaw Australia

Recent High Court Judgments



To find unreported judgements

Many cases of no real legal significance, such as decisions of the Immigration Review Tribunal, are not officially reported in a law report series. You can use Butterworth's Online to track them down. Unreported judgements are listed in coded form e.g B(200202614).

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RESEARCHING LEGISLATION


General research

Austlii - a solid gold web site!

Australian Current Law (access through Butterworths online)

Australian Legal Monthly Digest (oldskool print or online- you'll need to get access to the online version through your law library)

Commonwealth Statutes Annotations (oldskool print service in your law library)

Current bills

Federal Statutes Annotations (oldskool print service in your law library)

Lawsearch

Legends CD-Rom (Immigation legislation)

Scaleplus

Timebase (legislation for States and Territories - subscription service)

To find amendments to legislation

Federal Statutes Annotations (access through Butterworths Online)

To find how judges have given meaning to specific words in a statute

Check out 'Words and Phrases Judicially Defined' (3rd Edition, Butterworths). You'll find it in the reference section of your law library.


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JOURNALS

You'll write countless essays during your law degree and your bibiliograpy will always be full of journal references. You can't go wrong with the following databases:

AGIS (Attorney General's Information Service) - all good law libraries should have on-line access to this baby. Always the best place to start for law essay research.

APAIS (Australian Public Affairs Service) - contains journals for the social sciences and humanities.

Austlii


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REFERENCE TOOLS

You will find the following either online or in the reference section of your library:

Butterworths Concise Australian Legal Dictionary

Halsbury's Law of Australia (print and CDROM and Butterworths Online)

The Laws of Australia (print and CDROM)

Straud's Legal Dictionary

Words and Phrases Legally Defined (3rd Edition, London, Butterworths)


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KEEPING UP WITH CURRENT LAW

Go to Australian Current Law in Butterworths Online
- click on 'Research'
- click on 'Halsbury's Laws of Australia'
- click on 'focus search'
- enter your search term.


Top



INSTITUTIONS

Australian Law Skools

High Court of Australia

National Library of Australia

Parliament of Australia

Parliamentary Library


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LAW SOCIETIES AND BAR ASSOCIATIONS

ACT
ACT Law Society

NSW
Law Society of NSW
The NSW Bar Association

NT
[insert link]

SA
[insert link]

TAS
[insert link]

VIC
[insert link]

WA
[insert link]


OTHER LINKS

Aussie Legal

Australian Human Rights Centre

Constitution of Australia

Family law research

Forensic Psychology and Psychiatry Links

How to research (by Lexis-Nexus)

Questia (the world's largets online library)

Research One

The Invisible Web

The Law Society Online

West Legal Directory

 

Happy Researching!

 

 

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