To be successful at Law School and when employed as a lawyer, you will need to be able to conduct effective and accurate legal research.
Learn some tips to appreciate legal research from this short article you can download from the Legal Scholarship Network - Legal Research - The Importance of Legal Research
To learn how to effectively find and evaluate sources at university, see the online tutorial Finding and Evaluating Information on the Library's Research & Learning Online site.
The type of legal research conducted by law students facing legal problem-solving exercises is often referred to as doctrinal research. This involves identifying the relevant law and applying it to the facts of a problem before you.
Such research "provides a systematic exposition of the rules governing a particular legal category, analyses the relationship between rules, explains areas of difficulty and, perhaps, predicts future developments." (D Pearce, E Campbell and D Harding, Australian Law Schools: A Discipline Assessment for the Commonwealth Tertiary Education Commission (AGPS, 1987), vol 2, p 312.)
The following steps should be considered, although note that this is not a linear process and that you may start at different points depending on the information provided and the extent of your background knowledge in the area of research.
Our library guides provide you with access to both subscribed and free legal resources. See also, the lists below.
Legal information sources are divided into two distinct categories.
Primary sources are the laws created by Parliament and the Courts:
Secondary sources or Commentary provide descriptions or explanations of the law, and include;