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Introduction to Legal Research. Agenda 11am to 11.50am – Introductory Lecture 12pm to 12.55pm – Practical Online Session Group 1 (beginners) 1pm to 1.55pm – Practical Online Session Group 2 (beginners) 2pm to 2.55pm – Practical Online Session

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Introduction to Legal Research

Agenda

11am to 11.50am – Introductory Lecture

12pm to 12.55pm – Practical Online Session Group 1 (beginners)

1pm to 1.55pm – Practical Online Session

Group 2 (beginners)

2pm to 2.55pm – Practical Online Session

Group 3 (advanced)


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Introductory Lecture 11am to 11.50am

1. Types of legal material (and what they are good for)

2. Interpreting a case citation

3. Accessing legal abbreviations

4. Where to find cases

5. Where to find legislation

6. Where to find secondary sources

7. How to get the best out of the WWW


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Practical Online Sessions12pm to 3pm

  • Finding Australian & UK cases

    • Full text

    • Additional information about cases

    • Key databases for researching case law



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Starting point for legal research Law Library home page: http://www.library.usyd.edu.au/libraries/law/



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2. Interpreting a case citation

Swain v Waverley Municipal Council

[2005] HCA 4

(2005) 220 CLR 517


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Interpreting a case citation

  • Merritt v Merritt [1970] 2 All ER 760

  • Grey v Pearson (1857) 6 HL Cas 61

  • R v Young (1999) 46 NSWLR 681 at 682

  • Ayles v The Queen [2008] HCA 6


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Case citations: the parties

  • Merritt v Merritt[1970] 2 All ER 760

  • Grey v Pearson(1857) 6 HL Cas 61

  • R v Young (1999) 46 NSWLR 681 at 682

  • Ayles v The Queen[2008] HCA 6


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Case citations: year of the judgment

  • Merritt v Merritt [1970] 2 All ER 760

  • Grey v Pearson(1857) 6 HL Cas 61

  • R v Young (1999) 46 NSWLR 681 at 682

  • Ayles v The Queen[2008] HCA 6


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Case citations: report details

  • Merritt v Merritt[1970] 2 All ER 760

  • Grey v Pearson (1857) 6 HL Cas 61

  • R v Young (1999) 46 NSWLR 681 at 682

  • Ayles v The Queen [2008] HCA 6


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Case citations: square and round brackets

  • Merritt v Merritt[1970] 2 All ER 760

  • R v Young (1999) 46 NSWLR 681


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Case citations: pinpoint citations

  • Merritt v Merritt [1970] 2 All ER 760

  • Grey v Pearson (1857) 6 HL Cas 61

  • R v Young (1999) 46 NSWLR 681 at 682

  • Ayles v The Queen [2008] HCA 6


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Case citations: medium neutral citations

  • Merritt v Merritt [1970] 2 All ER 760

  • Grey v Pearson (1857) 6 HL Cas 61

  • R v Young (1999) 46 NSWLR 681 at 682

  • Ayles v The Queen[2008] HCA 6


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3. Accessing Legal Abbreviations

  • Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations

    • Law report, Journal and Court abbreviations

    • Free web site: http://www.legalabbrevs.cardiff.ac.uk/

      Try also

  • Laying Down the Law / Cooke et al.

    • Good list in Appendix 4

  • CaseBase

    • Online database in the ‘Help’ section


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4. Where to find cases

  • All via Law Library homepage

  • Practice in hands-on session this afternoon


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5. Where to find legislation

Acts Interpretation Act 1901(Cth)

Interpretation Act 1987 (NSW)

  • AustLII covers all Australian jurisdictions

  • Go to: http://www.austlii.edu.au/or:

    • Law Library homepage > Free web law > AustLII


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6. Secondary sources

  • Best place to look for secondary sources:

    • Library catalogue: http://opac.library.usyd.edu.au/

  • Try AGIS for journal articles on a topic


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Making the most of the Web

  • How big is the internet?



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To Google or not to Google???

Use Google Advanced Search



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Checklist for choosing good websites

  • Authority – is it a reliable source?

  • Objectivity – what motivation might the author have for writing it?

  • Purpose – what is the intended audience/use?

  • Currency – how up to date is it?

  • Accuracy – can you verify the information in another source?


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