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HSC legal studies research" page of the "Legal Studies - HSC" guide.
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Begin your Preliminary and HSC legal studies research

Newspapers and journals | Law reform | Legal dictionaries and encyclopaedias | New South Wales law | Commonwealth of Australia lawsStatistics

The law is constantly changing and finding current information is vital. Use newspapers, journals, legislation, cases and government reports to find the latest information.

Use the resources below to find information to support your Preliminary and HSC Legal Studies research. No matter which topic you're studying, you can find current, relevant information from encyclopaedias, journals, newspapers, books, government websites and statistics.

General

Issues in society [ebooks]
Find ebooks on a range of legal topics, including online safety, crime and violence, young drivers and road safety, surrogacy, child sexual abuse, animal rights, and many more – check for your topic. You'll find information from fact sheets, journals, magazines, government reports, statistics (including tables and graphs), newspapers, cartoons, illustrations, diagrams and photographs.

You will need Adobe Digital Editions before you can download an ebook.

Access Type Icon: In the Library, or anywhere with a Library card

Legaldate Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre [eresource]

Research your topics by viewing case studies, commentary, discussion and judicial interpretation. Legaldate also provides up to date information on new legislation and current statistics and was designed to support teachers and students of law-related studies

Access Type Icon: In the Library, or anywhere with a Library card

ABC The Law Report [external website]
Listen and read jargon-free stories about law reform, education, test cases, miscarriages of justice and legal culture.

Access Type Icon: Publicly available - don't need a Library card

Australian Institute of Criminology [external website]
Find reports, papers, statistics and other publications on crime prevention, the criminal justice system and other crime-related topics such as arson, corporate crime and fraud, cybercrime, organised and transnational crime, drugs, sex crimes, and violence.

Access Type Icon: Publicly available - don't need a Library card

Find Legal Answers [external website]
Find links to legal information, including pamphlets and fact sheets, full text books and legislation. The information is arranged under 12 subject areas, including family, neighbours, wills, police and crime, money, debt and fines, and courts and the legal system.

Find Legal Answers is a State Library of New South Wales website.

Access Type Icon: Publicly available - don't need a Library card

Hot Topics [eresource]
Use the Hot Topics to find information about recent changes and current debates in the law. You'll find overviews, timelines, case studies and sources of further information, and there are issues on the Australian legal system, international law, and voting and elections.

Hot Topics are also available in NSW public libraries.

Access Type Icon: Publicly available - don't need a Library card

The Law handbook: your practical guide to the law in NSW [eresource]
Find information on all areas of the law relevant to NSW, including the legal system, Aboriginal people and the law, criminal law, dispute resolution, domestic violence, and drug offences.

The Law handbook is also available in NSW public libraries.

Access Type Icon: Publicly available - don't need a Library card

NSW Parliamentary Research Papers [external website]
These research papers are an excellent source of information about NSW law, and are particularly useful for researching law reform in action. They cover new legislation being considered by Parliament as well as a broad range of subject areas, including law, politics and government, the environment, economics and social issues.

Access Type Icon: Publicly available - don't need a Library card

Parliamentary Library Research Publications [external website]
These research papers are an excellent source of information about Commonwealth law. Some publications provide an in-depth evaluation of an issue while others provide a factual overview. A broad range of topics are covered, including employment, domestic violence, refugees and same-sex marriage.

Access Type Icon: Publicly available - don't need a Library card

Newspapers and journals

AGIS Plus – Informit [eresource]
Find full text Australian journal articles on different areas of the law including constitutional law, family law, intellectual property, legal theory, land rights, administrative law, legal aid, criminal law, administration of justice and international law. Journal articles are a vital source of information for any legal research, as they analyse and describe legal issues, and discuss important cases and changes to the law. 

Access Type Icon: In the Library, or anywhere with a Library card

Australia/New Zealand Points of View Reference Centre – EBSCOhost [eresource]
Gain an overview of current topics. Find links to Australian and international newspaper articles, journal articles, online reference books, and radio and TV news transcripts.

Access Type Icon: In the Library, or anywhere with a Library card

Australia and New Zealand Newsstream – ProQuest [eresource]
Find full text newspaper articles from Australia and New Zealand. Newspaper articles are important sources of information for any legal research including current issues like the lockout laws, legal cases, and changes to the law.

Try using specific information such as the victim's or offender's name when searching to avoid getting a lot of results.

Access Type Icon: In the Library, or anywhere with a Library card

Factiva [eresource]
Find Australian and international newspaper reports from a broad range publishers and countries. This is a great resource if you need to find international newspaper articles. 

Access Type Icon: In the Library, or anywhere with a Library card

Sydney Morning Herald Library Edition (2006–current) [eresource]
Find articles about topical issues, such as the lockout laws, that were published in the printed edition of the Sydney Morning Herald. You can view all articles, photographs and notices from the printed edition online.

Access Type Icon: In the Library, or anywhere with a Library card

Law reform

Australian Law Reform Commission [external website]
Learn about the ALRC and the law reform process. Find information about recommendations for changes to the law or legal processes made to the Government in the ALRC's final reports. The reports describe in detail the ALRC’s research and explain how the ALRC arrived at its recommendations..

Access Type Icon: Publicly available - don't need a Library card

NSW Law Reform Commission [external website]
Explore the NSW Law Reform Commission's recommendations to government for legislative reform. See the Commission’s final reports for summaries about the law, and explanations about why they have recommended these changes to be made.

Access Type Icon: Publicly available - don't need a Library card

NSW Parliamentary Research Papers [external website]
These research papers are an excellent source of information about NSW law, and are particularly useful for researching law reform in action. They cover new legislation being considered by Parliament as well as a broad range of subject areas, including law, politics and government, the environment, economics and social issues.

Access Type Icon: Publicly available - don't need a Library card

Parliamentary Library Research Publications [external website]
These research papers are an excellent source of information about Commonwealth law. Some publications provide an in-depth evaluation of an issue while others provide a factual overview. A broad range of topics are covered, including employment, domestic violence, refugees and same-sex marriage.

Access Type Icon: Publicly available - don't need a Library card

Legal dictionaries and encyclopaedias

Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law – Law [eresource]
Find articles on every aspect of public international law. The articles are arranged under 24 subject areas, including international law, human rights, International courts and tribunals, treaties, and war.

Access Type Icon: In the Library, or anywhere with a Library card

Oxford Reference Online – Law [eresource]
Legal dictionaries and encyclopaedias are a great place to start, as they define legal terms and give overviews of legal subjects. Find a number of dictionaries and encyclopaedias such as the Australian law dictionary, New Oxford Companion to Law, Encyclopaedia of Human Rights, Oxford Companion to the High Court of Australia and Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law.

Access Type Icon: In the Library, or anywhere with a Library card

Halsbury's laws of Australia [catalogue record]
This 30 volume legal encyclopaedia provides a comprehensive overview of Australian law. It gives overviews of 89 subject areas, covering all aspects of Australian law, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, animals, consumer protection, criminal law, employment, and family law. Legislation and case law is discussed for each subject area.

Access Type Icon: Only in the Library

Laws of Australia [catalogue record]
This 36 volume legal encyclopaedia provides a comprehensive overview of Australian law. It covers 320 topics in 36 broad subjects, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, criminal law, dispute resolution, family law, and human rights. Legislation and case law is discussed for each subject area.

Access Type Icon: Only in the Library

New South Wales legislation

NSW Legislation [external website]
Find all NSW legislation including acts, regulations, and environment plans. You can also find NSW government gazettes, bills and explanatory notes. This is the official, authorised NSW legislation site, and is easy to use.

Access Type Icon: Publicly available - don't need a Library card

NSW legislation and government [research guide]
Use this research guide to find NSW acts, regulations, bills and explanatory notes, second reading speeches in Hansard, and government gazettes. Second reading speeches explain the purpose of a new piece of legislation, so are an excellent source of information about new laws.

Access Type Icon: Publicly available - don't need a Library card

Commonwealth of Australia legislation

AustLII [external website]
Use this site to find all Commonwealth legislation, including acts and regulations. This is the easiest Commonwealth legislation site to use. 

Access Type Icon: Publicly available - don't need a Library card

Commonwealth legislation and government [research guide]
Use this research guide to find Commonwealth acts, regulations, bills and explanatory memoranda, second reading speeches in Hansard, and government gazettes. Second reading speeches explain the purpose of a new piece of legislation, so are a comprehensive source of information about new laws.

Access Type Icon: Publicly available - don't need a Library card

Federal Register of Legislation [external website]
Find all Commonwealth legislation, including acts, legislative instruments (such as regulations), bills and gazettes. This is the official, authorised site for Commonwealth legislation, however it isn't as easy to use as AustLII.

Access Type Icon: Publicly available - don't need a Library card

Legal cases

AustLII [external website]
Find cases from NSW and Commonwealth courts and tribunals, including the Supreme Court of NSW and the High Court. You can also find cases from the other states and territories.

Access Type Icon: Publicly available - don't need a Library card

NSW Caselaw [external website]
Find cases from NSW courts and tribunals.

Access Type Icon: Publicly available - don't need a Library card

Statistics

Australian Bureau of Statistics [external website]
Find statistics on a wide range of economic, social, population and environmental matters. The year books contain summaries of regions such as the Year Book Australia, Australia at a Glance, New South Wales in Focus. You can find statistics about specific subjects, crime and justice, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, housing, marriage and divorce.

Access Type Icon: Publicly available - don't need a Library card

NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research [external website]
Find out what crime and criminal courts data the Bureau collects and learn how to use and understand this data. Use the Crime Mapping Tool to view maps, graphs and data on criminal incidents in NSW. There are also other tools and reports about trends in crime within NSW.

Access Type Icon: Publicly available - don't need a Library card
 

Keep up to date

Keep up to date with the latest developments in law with the Find Legal Answers blog.

 

How Parliament makes laws

So where do laws come from?

Watch this 10 minute video to learn how laws are made by parliament.

Discover how a Bill becomes an Act, how legislation changes over time, and why some laws are made by the Commonwealth and others by the states.

Captioned version also available.

 

How courts make laws

Legislation is a major source of law. Courts are the other source.

Watch this 10 minute video to learn how laws are made by the courts.

You'll also find out about the court hierarchy, and the courts' and tribunals' jurisdictions.

Captioned version also available.

 

Find legal answers

Visit Find Legal Answers to find current and easy to understand information about the law in NSW.

 

Australian and NSW Constitution

The Australian Constitution
Learn about the history and key features of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act including a link to the Constitution.

Constitution Act 1902 (NSW)
View the full text of the NSW Constitution.

 

Law books at the Library

Browse the shelves (at location number 340s) in the Governor Marie Bashir Reading Room to find books that cover all areas of the law.

We also have law books in the Library's stack storage.

Search the Library's catalogue to find and request books from stack.

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