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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—Parliamentary Education Office factsheet
- Explore the law: an A-Z of key jargon and sources, ComLaw
A basic search in our catalogue will reward you with many books, journals and online resources.
- Try searching for 'Australian law'.
Sources of Australian Law
Primary sources are the actual statements of law, made by law-making bodies.
- 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)
The law in Australia operates on both a state and a commonwealth level.
|Commonwealth||Federal Register of Legislation|
|Australian Capital Territory||ACT Legislation Register|
|New South Wales||NSW Legislation|
|Northern Territory||Northern Territory Legislation|
|South Australia||South Australian Legislation|
|Victoria||Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents|
|Western Australia||Western Australia Legislation|
Secondary sources assist in locating and interpreting the primary sources.
- Dictionaries and encyclopedias.
- Journal articles and textbooks.
- Current awareness and digest services.
- Government publications, such as government gazettes and the parliamentary debates found in the Hansard.
In Australia, we participate in world affairs under the rules in which participating nations agree to treat each other. The Office of International Law (OIL) within the Attorney-General's Department provides international law advice to the Australian Government.
- Do a search for 'international law' in our catalogue to find our holdings.
Different types of law in Australia
- Criminal law
- Corporations law
- International law
- Commercial law
- Family law
- Constitutional law
- Labor law
- Intellectual property law
Other NLA research guides
For help finding government gazettes, see our Government Gazettes Research Guide.
Our eResources hold a comprehensive variety of different publications and cover some international sources.
- See for example the Australian Law reports.
We have a guide to major online resources available in the library or online.
How to cite the law in your work
In our collection we have numerous items that can explain how to properly cite legal works.
See for example:
- The Australian guide to legal citation
- The Canberra law review: style guide
- Legal citation guide by Anne Greenshields and Anne Young
- Australian and New Zealand Legal Abbreviations. 1995. RF 349.940148 F674 (Main Reading Room Reference Collection)
- Australian Guide to Legal Citation. 2002. Includes Australian and overseas law report abbreviations. RF 340.072 A938-2 (Main Reading Room Reference Collection)
- Index to Legal Citations and Abbreviations. 1993. RF 348.00148 R159-2. (Main Reading Room Reference Collection)
- Australian Legal Words and Phrases. RF NL 349.94014 AUS (Latest issue held in Main Reading Room Reference Collection)