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LWB145 Lecture Notes - Week 1(n2).docx

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Queensland University of Technology

LWB145 Lecture One (1.2) Notes Introduction to Legal Materials At the end of this lecture you will be able to:  Recognise the following legal materials in print and online: o Caselaw o Legislation  Recognise caselaw and legislative citation  Understand how to find caselaw and legislation from a citation using Library and other online resources Lecture Outline 1. Introduction 2. Sources of law: categorising legal materials, finding them in print and online in law libraries 3. Legal Research Methodology and Object of Legal Research 4. Caselaw and finding cases from a given citation 5. Legislation and finding legislation from citation Sources of Law: Categorising Legal Materials The initial categorisation of legal materials is into either primary or secondary sources of law. Primary sources of law can include caselaw (cases) which can be either law reports or unreported judgments from cases; and legislation which can include acts as passed (found in volumes) and reprints/acts in force. Secondary sources of law can include textbooks, journal articles, loose-leaf services/commentary, Legal Encyclopaedias and Legal Dictionaries. Other secondary sources may include (but are not limited to) Law Reform Commission Papers, Continuing Legal Education (CLE) publications and web sites containing commentary. Legal Research Tools There are many online databases and websites that support various legal research functions such as:  Finding primary materials by citation  Finding primary materials by a topic, subject or keyword  Checking for judicial consideration of caselaw and sections of Acts  Point-in-time legislation search  Finding secondary legal materials or commentary on a legal topic (including a cases and sections of statutes) How to Find Sources of Law in the Library and Online Primary sources of law (legislation and cases) can be found in one part of the Law Library and are organised by jurisdiction (meaning the government or state etc they are relevant to). Therefore, when researching in law the primary question to ask when looking for resources is which jurisdiction they belong to. In this context, a jurisdiction may be defined as ‘legal authority and the territory over which it extends’ for example, the Commonwealth of Australia or Queensland. Secondary sources are subdivided into separate and distinct collections:  Secondary collection involves textbooks and loose-leaf services  Periodicals or Journal collection  Reference collection (legal research tools) Major Law Databases in Australia:  Lexis Nexis AU  Westlaw AU (previously Legal Online)  CCH Online  AGIS Plus Text Reliable Australian Legal Online Websites:  AustLII  ComLaw  OQPC Object of Legal Research and Legal Research Methodology The object of legal research is to solve legal problems or questions by:  Finding authoritative sources of law in force at any point in time and applying them to the legal problem or question  Finding commentary about the sources of law that may assist your understanding and interpretation of the law  Using research tools which are specifically created to support the legal research process When applying the law to legal problems you will learn how the operation of the doctrine or precedent and the rules of statutory interpretation – which you will cover in this unit – apply as part of the research process. Legal Research Methodology There are a number of steps required to conduct problem-based doctrinal legal research methodology:  Facts – first the facts must be collected  Issue – the issue identified  Keywords – begin by searching for keywords  Finding primary authority (i.e. ‘the law’) such as caselaw and legislative research  Finding secondary materials By applying the law to the facts through legal analysis and reasoning, we can make a conclusion or, in other words, a proposed resolution of the legal problem in the form of advice to a client, memo to a partner, brief to counsel, law reform commission paper, policy document or discursive essay etc. Four Main Strategies for Researching Caselaw and Legislation  Finding from a know
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