A guide to finding Australian law resources
If you are researching law for the first time, you may find it worthwhile reading an overview of law in Australia and Australia’s legal system:
- Making a Law factsheet, Parliamentary Education Office
- Legal system, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- Explore the Law: an A-Z of key jargon and sources, ComLaw
Sources of Australian Law
Primary sources are authoritative statements of law made by law-making bodies. They include:
- Legislation (Statutes or Acts passed by Parliament)
- Subordinate legislation (including legislative instruments, regulations, statutory rules, by-laws, orders, ordinances, instruments or determinations)
- Law Reports (published reports of decisions or judgments of courts or tribunals)
Secondary sources assist in locating and interpreting relevant primary sources. They include:
- Dictionaries and Encyclopedias
- Journal articles and textbooks
- Current awareness and digest services
- Government publications including debates (Hansard) and gazettes
Some key resources have been organised by jurisdiction in this guide.
To find information about case law and court proceedings, visit our Law Reports and Court Records Research Guide.
For help finding government gazettes, see our Government Gazettes Research Guide.