About this Guide

Note: A new edition of this guide was published on 15 January, 2024 with an additional 3 chapters included at: Legal Research Skills: An Australian Law Guide (2024 Edition).

This guide is designed to support 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.

This guide is general in nature and is designed to be institution neutral. The guide is shared under a CC-BY-NC 4.0 licence and can be adopted as is or adapted and localised for specific Australian Universities, law libraries and/or law schools. The 2023 edition of this guide primarily includes examples from the Queensland, Victorian and Commonwealth jurisdictions but it is envisioned that this resource will be updated regularly and expanded to include examples from all other Australian jurisdictions in the future.


This guide is gratefully attributed as being 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 idea of adapting the UQ Legal Research Essentials to be available as an interactive Pressbook was the catalyst for a collaborative project that evolved across multiple universities.   This guide is 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.
An amazing amount of goodwill has been shared and reciprocated within this project and is very much appreciated.
Grateful acknowledgment is also given to the exceptional staff at the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) OER Collective for expert guidance and providing the hosting platform for this freely available resource.





Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Legal Research Skills: An Australian Law Guide: 2023 Edition Copyright © 2023 by The University of Queensland, James Cook University, the University of Southern Queensland, Charles Darwin University, Southern Cross University, Queensland University of Technology, and Deakin University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.