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Jean McKay November 2011 Graduate/Summer Clerk Legal Research Skills.

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Presentation on theme: "Jean McKay November 2011 Graduate/Summer Clerk Legal Research Skills."— Presentation transcript:

1 Jean McKay November 2011 Graduate/Summer Clerk Legal Research Skills

2 Outline - Finding Legislation Official sources of online legislation State Law Publisher Navigate the SLP website to find Acts (including historical versions) Commencement information Set up alerts Comlaw Overview of Comlaw’s interface Set up My Comlaw (save searches & alerts) Lawlex Track bills Locate acts, track changes to legislation Link to EMS, 2 nd reading speeches Extrinsic materials – more ways to locate EMs & 2 nd readings Bills Digest – locate background information on Cth bills

3 Outline: Case Law Refresher The Basics Reported/Unreported/Authorised/Citation/Medium neutral citation/Abbreviations Finding & Noting Up Cases CaseBase on LexisNexisAU Firstpoint on Legal Online (intro to WestlawAU) LawCite on AustLII Legislation Judicially Considered AustLII Advanced Search Search SAT Decisions and more

4 Outline: Secondary Sources AustLII Advanced Search – secondary sources Using Commentaries Legal Dictionaries + Legal Encyclopaedias Australian Encyclopaedia of Forms & Precedents AEFP Keeping Up to date Set up Alerts BarNet Jade Digest

5 Law Subject Guide

6 Legislation Official Sources State Law Publisher ComLaw Other sources [BUT must check currency on SLP or Comlaw] AustLII LawNow on LexisNexisAU LawLex Commentaries – LexisNexisAU, CCH Intelliconnect, Thomson

7 WA Acts Numbered Acts for the Year Principal & Amending Acts Reprinted Acts Reprints consolidate principal act Subsequent amendments. Note the official version of an act for presentation in court in WA is the current reprint + amendments Consolidated Acts Consolidations are online compilations incorporating all amendments to the current time

8 Legislation for Court? Western Australia – most recent Reprint (print copy) + printed copies of all subsequent Amendments listed in the Notes. Commonwealth – authoritative online version in PDF can now be used in legal proceedings. The authoritative tick logo (2 versions) must appear on every page.

9 For current consolidation open pdf WA subsidiary legislation (Regulations) online here. Print versions published in the WA Government Gazette ‘Acts in Force’ for current consolidation Versions provide point in time legislation

10 Assent and Commencement Information Check the Notes table in each consolidated act for Assent and Commencement information Acts usually come into force on either Royal Assent, Proclamation, or on a specific date. Proclamations are made in the Government Gazette for the State or Commonwealth Commencement information is usually specified in Section 2 of the Act Individual provisions may come become operational at a date other than the rest of the act. Check section 2 of the Act for details.


12 Search in ‘Acts as Passed’ to find amendments. Amendments are not listed in ‘Acts in Force’. eg to locate Criminal Law Amendment (Homicide ) Act 2008

13 Keep Up to Date with State Legislative Changes Alerts for individual Acts or Regulations Browse to the homepage for the legislation title you require and then click on the Notify link at the bottom-right of the page Email Information Notification Service





18 Lawlex – Step 1 Search Legislation

19 Lawlex Step 2: Select Jurisdiction ‘Com’ and Enter legislation Title: National Consumer Protection Act

20 Step 3: Click on Act

21 Core Document Homepage Link to official version of Act on Comlaw +links to EM, 2 nd reading and more Commencement Information; History of Amendments Regulations under this Act; Amendments since last Consolidation Bill...and more

22 AustLII has Commonwealth & States Legislation

23 Legislation on LexisNexisAU

24 LawNow Legislation on LexisNexisAU Fulltext of bills, statutes, subordinate legislation. Links to CaseBase and Halsbury’s Laws of Australia BUT coverage only includes recent years.

25 Extrinsic Aids for Interpretation of Legislation To understand background to legislation or its intention you should consult following: Bills Explanatory Memoranda – explain bill in detail (not all bills have accompanying EM – more common in Cwth) Hansard (Parliamentary Debates) particularly 2 nd reading speech Parliamentary Papers and Committee Reports Parliament of WA Commonwealth Parliament

26 Hansard 2 nd reading speech Bills See Handout: How to Find Extrinsic Aids to Help Interpret Legislation

27 Bills & EM Hansard 2 nd reading speech

28 Lawlex links to EM and Second reading speech

29 Locating Bills, EM & 2nd Reading Speeches in Print Bills Arranged by parliamentary session & then alphabetically Explanatory Memoranda (EM) Filed before relevant bill (not all bills have EMs, especially in WA) 2 nd Reading Speeches in Hansard Step 1) Consult Hansard subject index for the year bill passed (sometimes the previous year) – WA listed under short title of act; Commonwealth under ‘Bills’ Step 2) Note page numbers for 2 nd reading speeches (also any other committee reports)


31 Bills Digest

32 Case Law Refresher

33 Unreported? Reported? Authorised? Unreported Judgments All decisions appear first as unreported judgments Majority of decisions go unreported’ Reported Judgments Appear in published series of law reports Examples ALR, ALJR,FLR, ATPR, ABC, Fam LR and many more series Authorised Reports Most produced by Council of Law Reporting in each state and territory Examples CLR, FCR, NSWLR, VR, Qd R, SASR, WAR, Tas R and NTLR

34 Unreported Judgments Majority of decisions go unreported ‘Unreported and not reportable’ ‘Reportable but unreported’ Sources of unreported judgments in Australia Federal, state and territory – on the web AustLII – High Court, Federal Court, many state and territory courts LexisNexisAu – High Court, Federal Court, Supreme courts (1987+) Legal Online

35 Reported Judgements Reported judgments appear in published series of law reports. What are the criteria for reportability? introduce a new principle or rule of law significantly modify an existing principle of law Reported judgements form 10% of total judgments in NSW AGLC3 Rule 2.3.1 A reported version of a case should be cited in preference to an unreported version

36 Authorised Reports Authorised reports provide the preferred or authoritative source of case law. Approved by a judge or associate. Commonwealth Law Reports (CLR) – authorised series for the High Court available on Thomson’s Legal Online. Federal Court Reports (FCR) – authorised series for the Federal Court Each state and territory has an authorised series of reports - New South Wales Reports (NSWLR), Victorian Reports (VR), Queensland Reports (Qd.R), South Australian Reports (SASR), West Australian Reports (WAR), Tasmanian Reports (Tas R), and the Northern Territory Law Reports (NTLR)

37 AGLC3 AGLC3 Appendix: Law Report Abbreviations * Asterisk next to a title indicates authorised report series

38 Citation for a reported decision Mabo v Queensland (1992) 175 CLR 1 Parties names ‘ Parties names, ‘v’ spoken as ‘and’. Where ‘R’ appears it stands for the ‘Queen’ or sometimes said ‘Regina’ Date of decision in round brackets. This series of reports has volume number175 (note print volumes would be arranged by volume number) Series without volume numbers have dates in square brackets (print volumes arranged by year) eg Howarth v Adey [1996] 2 VR 535 CLR is standard abbreviation for Commonwealth Law Reports Page number where this case commences. ‘Pin point’ refers to the specific page or paragraph being referred to eg 175 CLR 1, 22


40 Lange v Australian Broadcasting Corporation (1997) 189 CLR 520

41 AustLII link to HCA however must cite CLR


43 Cardiff Guide to Legal Abbreviations Also: Casebase Abbreviations Australian Legal Journals Index Abbreviations

44 Medium Neutral Citation for Citing Unreported Judgments Medium neutral citation has: Abbreviation for the court and not a named law report series Court assigned case numbers rather than a volume and page number Paragraph numbers rather than page numbers

45 AGLC 3

46 2.8.1 Preferred unique court identifiers See also list of court identifiers in Law Library’s guide: Unreported Judgments Medium Neutral Citation


48 Supreme Court of WA Consolidated Practice Directions (22 Jan 2009) Submissions and Authorities 14 & 15 provide direction for the citation of reported and unreported cases. 14. Reported cases must be cited by reference to the relevant authorised report. Where possible the medium-neutral citation should appear the first time a case is referred to with the subsequent references having only the case name although it is recognised that where there are a number of cases with the same or similar names, or alternatively popular names, it may be necessary to cite the reference. 15. Unreported cases must be cited by medium-neutral citation if there is one.

49 Incomplete citations? Locate cases on a topic? Noteup cases? Essential first step DO NOT GOOGLE CONSULT A CASE CITATOR OR DIGEST Casebase on LexisNexisAU Firstpoint on Legal Online Lawcite on AustLII

50 Finding cases on subjects... Also Use: Commentaries on LexisNexisAU; CCH; Legal Online Journal articles Textbooks; Legal Encyclopaedias and other secondary sources

51 CaseBase on LexisNexisAU

52 Same search on Google?


54 Replaces Legal Online after March 2012

55 Links to FirstPoint; Judgment text (note WAR now online); Australian Digest classifications


57 Legislation Judicially Considered CaseBase Migration Act ss 229-231 Legislation Judicially Considered migration act w/p 229 or 230 or 231 FirstPoint Environmental Protection Act s47 Legislation Judicially Considered environmental protection act 47 AustLII Legislation Find relevant section of act and select [Noteup] AustLII LawCite Legislation Considered evidence act Section 106k

58 More Ways to Find Legislation Judicially Considered Commentaries LexisNexis - Australian Current Law Reporter Journal articles See separate handout Finding Legislation Judicially Considered

59 How to Find a UK Case on Westlaw R v Brown [1993] all er 75 Open PDF

60 Commentaries were previously called ‘loose leaf services’ and are sometimes still referred to by this name eg in AGLC 3 Commentaries

61 Commentaries on LexisNexisAU - Browse

62 Commentaries on CCH IntelliConnect Key CCH IntelliConnect Commentaries include: Torts & Personal Injury Law and Trade practices, Consumer and Contract Law libraries

63 Lawyers Practice Manual WA

64 Legal Dictionaries Encyclopaedic Australian Legal Dictionary Australian Legal Words & Phrases

65 Legal Encyclopaedias Halsbury’s Laws of AustraliaThe Laws of Australia

66 Forms & Precedents LexisNexisAU Forms tab Select ‘Browse’ for extensive list of resources with forms - Civil Procedure WA, Criminal Law WA, Wills and Probate Administration WA, Native Title and many more. Also the major work: Australian Encyclopaedia of Forms & Precedents (AEFP) AEFP has over 4,000 precedents & forms for non-litigious matters covering over 90 areas of law. Word documents – most precents in AEFP can be downloaded as Word Documents and easily adapted for client’s specific matters.

67 Keep Up to Date

68 What next? Work through HELP guides on Lawlex LexisNexisAU ( especially CaseBase) WestlawAU (especially note Firstpoint) CCH Intelliconnect AustLII (especially LawCite) Familiarise yourself with SLP, ComLaw functionality Register for SLP Alerts; My Comlaw Commentaries – look at the titles on each service Register on BarNet JADE and the Lawyers Weekly

69 Further Help? Email (even after you graduate we are happy to provide legal research support) Consult the Law LibGuide – especially Legal Research Refresher WA (ppt available here) Very Best Wishes from Craven Law Library Staff - Jean, Robyn, Mary-Ann & Jan

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