Legal Studies - HSC

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Key to library resources

Access anywhere with a library card In the Library (or anywhere with a Library card for NSW residents)
Available to access in the library Only in the Library
Publicly available online Publicly available

Crime resources

Dive Deeper into Crime Topics

As part of your HSC Legal Studies course, you'll need to find criminal cases and media articles to support your studies.

You can find information on crime and legal cases by using:

  • Newspaper articles will discuss recent cases and current issues.  They will not usually give the full citation details about the case but will give you some keywords to search for articles in law journals.
  • NSW Parliamentary research papers are an excellent source of information about NSW law, and cover contemporary legal issues such as drug use at music festivals, euthanasia and assisted suicide, and abortion law.
  • Law journal articles will discuss recent cases and current issues.  They may cite legislation related to the case or issue. They will not usually give the full citation details about a case within the article. Look for further information on a case in the footnote.
  • Textbooks will list and discuss leading cases - cases which are important because they changed or clarified the law.  Textbooks will also give you a full citation so you will be able to easily find the case.

Researching your Crime topics

Always start your research with the 'Begin your HSC legal studies research' tab. You'll find current, relevant information from a variety of authoritative sources, including encyclopaedias, journals, newspapers, books, government websites and statistics. 

Online resources, such as AustLII or NSW Caselaw may not be able to tell whether the case has been later appealed. Search by the offender's name might bring up all reported cases including appeals.

Find newspaper and media articles

Find research papers

Find journal articles

Law books at the Library

Browse the Politics, Economics & Law 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 storage (onsite and offsite). You can access these books by searching the Library catalogue and requesting them for use in the Library.

Find a case online

Once you’ve found the name of the case, you can search the following to find it:

Not all cases are available online – only cases which are selected by the courts for publication will be put online.  You are more likely to find cases from the higher courts, e.g. the Supreme Court, than the lower courts, e.g. the Local Court.

If you can't find the case online, particularly older cases, check the Case law research guide to see if the State Library of NSW has the published report.

Some important or interesting cases have books written about them.  Always remember to check to check your local public or State Library catalogue to see if there are any books about your case.

Case examples

Case example 1

The Support material for Legal Studies Stage 6 syllabus 2010 mentions the case March v Stramare (1991) 171 CLR 506; [1991] HCA 12 which deals with causation.

  • The case is available on AustLII
  • There are over 30 articles on LawCite--Enter (1991) 171 CLR 506; [1991] HCA 12 into the Citation box then click Search. Scroll down to the Law Journal Articles Referring to this Case section to access the articles.
  • There are 5 full-text articles on AGISPlus
  • There are 5 articles found via the State Library’s catalogue

Case example 2

Your teacher has asked you to research the case Filippou v The Queen (2015) 256 CLR 47; [2015] HCA 29 an appeal from a conviction entered after a judge-alone trial.

  • The case is available on AustLII
  • There are three articles on LawCite--enter (2015) 256 CLR 47; [2015] HCA 29 into the Citation box then click Search. Scroll down to the Law Journal Articles Referring to this Case section to access the articles.
  • There are over 10 articles on the ProQuest Australia & New Zealand Newsstream

Further resources for crime research

Find NSW legislation


Find legal answers

How Parliament makes laws

Where do laws come from?

Discover in 10 minutes 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.

Developed by LIAC, State Library of NSW

How courts make laws

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

In this 10 minutes video you'll also find out about the court hierarchy, and the courts' and tribunals' jurisdictions.

Developed by LIAC, State Library of NSW

Captioned version also available.