Freely available sources of legal information Overview Cases
Freely available sources of legal information Overview Cases How cases are published unreported and reported cases Interpreting case citations
Finding cases Tracking cases Legislation Parliamentary process Finding current legislation
Finding Bills, explanatory notes and speeches Interpreting legislation Law reform Unreported v reported decisions Decisions, or cases, are first published in unreported format Unreported decisions use a medium neutral citation style Significant cases may be reported at a later date A decision is reported when it is published in a law report series Each court/jurisdiction has an authorised report Authorised reports are approved by the court prior to publishing
Example: Royall v The Queen was heard across a number of days in the High Court 1990/91, and initially published in unreported format. Eventually it was published in the Commonwealth Law Reports the authorised report series of the High Court. Interpreting case citations Unreported Royall v R  HCA 27 Party names Year Court
abbreviation Judgment number Reported Royall v R (1991) 172 CLR 378 Party names Year Volume Number
Report Commencing abbreviation page number Finding a case Many unreported decisions are freely available on the web, while most reported decisions are only available via subscription services. Two Australian websites offer comprehensive coverage of unreported decisions. Jade https://jade.io/t/home AustLII http://www.austlii.edu.au/
Both services provide good coverage of unreported decisions published by Australian courts. See our video Searching for Case Law on AustLII Finding a case browsing AustLII and Jade allow you to browse and find cases. To find Royall v R  HCA 27 in AustLII, select your (1) jurisdiction, (2) court, (3) year, and (4) citation. 1 2 3
4 Tracking cases case citators Case citators are specialist tools used in legal research which provide researchers with new search options. Case citators also provide information about the case:
status of the case (is the case still good law?) subsequent judicial treatment parallel citations (which version to cite?) journal articles that comment on the case. Case citators Lawcite (via Austlii) http://www.austlii.edu.au/lawcite/ CaseTrace (via Jade) https://jade.io/t/citator Unlike commercial case citators, dont tell you if a case is still good law Can be used to find judicial consideration of legislation Parliamentary process
Locating current Acts Government websites contain authorised versions of legislation Commonwealth legislation Federal Register of Legislation https://www.legislation.gov.au/ Queensland legislation OQPC website www.legislation.qld.gov.au There are a number of free websites that collect legislation from all Australian jurisdictions AustLII http://www.austlii.edu.au/ Lawlex http://my.lawlex.com.au/ Legify https://legify.com.au/ See our video Search for Legislation and parliamentary materials on AustLII
Parliamentary material Bills A Bill is the draft of the legislation that was introduced into Parliament for consideration A Bill may be amended while before Parliament before it is passed Copies of Bills can be access from: Parliamentary websites Government legislation websites Interpreting legislation Extrinsic material: useful to have recourse to documents evidencing the context within which the legislation was made. Material before Parliament
Law reform reports (if a law reform inquire has led to legislative changes) Government policy / Public consultation Explanatory speech (2nd reading speech) In Queensland, the explanatory speech is a speech by the Minister introducing the Bill before Parliament explaining the reason why the Bill is being introduced and what it is hoped to achieve In most other jurisdictions in Australia this is called the second reading speech and takes place on the second reading of the Bill. Terminology depends on stage of the parliamentary process when speech given Current procedure in Qld is for the speech to be given on introduction of the Bill Prior to August 2011, the speech was given in Qld at the second reading stage
Where: Parliamentary websites Explanatory note (explanatory memorandum) The explanatory note is a plain English explanation of each clause of the Bill. It provides more detail on what each clause of the Bill is intended to achieve. Different terminology for different jurisdictions Cth and most state jurisdictions = Explanatory Memorandum Qld = Explanatory Note Only mandatory in Qld from 1990 Where: Most parliamentary websites, usually located with the Bill.
Law reform Law Reform Commissions are independent bodies Usually one in each jurisdiction Reports often available electronically on law reform websites or via AustLII Reports provide: Comprehensive analysis of present law Extensive examination of law reform proposals Where: Australasian Law Reform Library http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/special/lawreform/
Further resources and getting help State Library Encourage your students to become members of the State Library. Members receive greater access to legal databases. 1. 2. 3. Go to http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/search/eresources Select Search databases Select Law
UQ Guides Legal Research Guide http://guides.library.uq.edu.au/legal-research-guide Law Online Tutorial https://www.library.uq.edu.au/help/law-online-tutorial Cyberschool Legal Studies & Criminology http://guides.library.uq.edu.au/cyberschool -students/schools/legal_studies Specialised guides http://guides.library.uq.edu.au/legal-research-guide/related-guides Any questions?
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