Studying law is a rewarding but often overwhelming experience. It is common to hear students talk about the law as if they are learning another language – there are rules and cultural procedures you need to follow to understand why things are the way they are. This resource is intended to provide foundational guidance to students starting legal research for the first time.

Legal Research Skills: An Australian Law Guide is divided into four parts reflecting the different techniques and sources you are likely to encounter in your studies:

  • 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 includes examples from the jurisdictions of:

  • Queensland
  • Victoria
  • South Australia
  • Northern Territory
  • New South Wales
  • the Commonwealth.

It is envisioned that this resource will be expanded to include examples from the remaining Australian jurisdictions in future editions.


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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.