Law reform materials
Each jurisdiction in Australia has a Law Reform Commission. The function of the Commission in each state is to review and reform the law. For example, in Queensland, the Law Reform Commission Act 1968 (Qld) s 10 states that:
The function of the Commission shall be to take and keep under review all the law applicable to the State with a view to its systematic development and reform, including in particular—
(a) the codification of such law
(b) the elimination of anomalies
(c) the repeal of obsolete and unnecessary enactments
(d) the reduction of the number of separate enactments
(e) generally the simplification and modernisation of the law.
Law reform committees undertake reviews, research and consultation. Each Commission has a website that provides the most recent law reform reports and papers. The AustLII website also contains an Australasian Law Reform Library. In certain circumstances, law reform materials along with the relevant parliamentary documents may be used to help interpret legislation.
Example of law reform in action
The recommendations found in Report No. 76 by the Queensland Law Reform Commission — Review of Termination of Pregnancy Laws — were tabled in Parliament in June 2018, and used to formulate the Termination of Pregnancy Act 2018 (Qld).
Depending on your assignment topic, your research may be enhanced by using non-legal sources. You may find supporting data or information in other fields, for example in the fields of criminology, statistics or health science.
News articles and media report on and discuss the latest legal developments. Access news articles via your university library, news websites and archives such as Google news and TROVE digitised newspapers.
Company and Industry Information
Use company reports and industry profiles to locate information on the legal industry, law firms and legal practice. This type of business and financial information also provides background information on clients and competitors and is generally available on company websites and via your university library’s databases.
Statistical data can help you learn more about geographic regions and the current economic and social climate. There are a number of Australian and international government and non-profit organisations that collect economic, industry, and population data and make it freely available online. For example, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Bank.
Public policy documents such as reports, discussion papers and working papers may reference key legislation and statistical data and provide valuable background on matters relating to justice, social issues, international relations, government regulation and more. Find policy documents on government and non-profit organisation websites, or browse the Analysis & Policy Observatory subject listings.