About this Guide

This guide is designed to support JCU students undertaking legal studies and contribute to developing research skills in Australian law schools.

Legal Research Skills: An Australian Law Guide is organised into four parts:

  • Part 1: Research Skills introduces the concept of legal research, identifies the key sources of legal information, and the importance of researching strategically.
  • Part 2: Case Law provides an introduction on how to locate cases by citation or topic, and judge a case’s reliability.
  • Part 3: Legislation helps students learn about the parliamentary process, how to find legislation and the materials used for statutory interpretation.
  • Part 4: Secondary Sources focuses on the role of secondary sources in legal research.

The 2024 edition of this guide primarily includes examples from the Queensland, Victorian, New South Wales, Northern Territory, South Australian and Commonwealth jurisdictions.

This 2024 edition replaces the Legal Research Skills: An Australian Law Guide (2023 Edition).

It is envisioned that this resource will be updated regularly and expanded to include examples from all other Australian jurisdictions in the future.


This 2024 edition is an updated version of the Legal Research Skills: An Australian Law Guide (2023 Edition).  These guides are an adaptation of Legal Research Essentials  by the University of Queensland Library which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial 4.0 International Licence.


The previous version of this guide is acknowledged as the result of a generous-spirited open collaborative effort between current and former law librarians from:
  • The University of Queensland
  • James Cook University
  • The University of Southern Queensland
  • Charles Darwin University
  • Southern Cross University
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • Deakin University
  • University of South Australia.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Legal Research Skills: An Australian Law Guide: 2024 JCU Edition Copyright © 2024 by James Cook University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.