Researching the law

This guide will help you learn about doing legal research, finding cases, legislation and commentary about the law on a subject or topic. You will also find a useful introduction to the Australian legal system.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visitors are kindly advised that this website includes images, sounds and names of people who have passed.

All users should be aware that some topics or historical content may be culturally sensitive, offensive or distressing, and that some images may contain nudity or are of people not yet identified. Certain words, terms or descriptions may reflect the author's/creator's attitude or that of the period in which they were written, but are now considered inappropriate in today's context.

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

Australian Legal System

Getting started

This guide will help you find out about the Australian legal system, doing legal research, and finding cases, legislation and commentary about the law on a subject or topic.  

Overview of the Australian legal system and making law

The Constitution

Voting and elections

Key legislation

Legal information at the Library

This guide has been developed by staff of the Legal Information Access Centre (LIAC), State Library of NSW. The State Library holds an extensive collection of case law, legislation and looseleaf publications.

COVID-19 Legal Literature

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.

About parliamentary procedure

Search the State Library catalogue to find information about parliamentary procedure.  One useful publication about the Senate: