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Australian Law: free online resources

Finding Secondary Sources

Secondary sources are a great place to start when undertaking research in a topic you are unfamiliar with. Secondary sources provide an overview and different points of view on topics and can assist you in ascertaining the relevant legislation and significant cases on the topic. There are a range of free resources available for locating secondary sources, see the Open source secondary sources and Historical resources sections below.

Free Secondary Materials

  • AustLII Journals & Scholarship Library - Provides many Australian and New Zealand full text scholarly journals and law reviews, as well as judicial scholarship
  • SSRN - The Social Science Research Network contains forthcoming articles and research papers. Free registration is required to access full text articles and papers.
  • Google Scholar - A search engine for academic resources including books, journal articles and US case law. Some articles will be available to view (look for a PDF or HTML link).

Free Practical Legal Assistance

  • The Law Handbook - published by the Fitzroy Legal Service, it covers multiple topics in Victorian and Australian law. Updated annually.
  • Law Foundation Victoria - free information brochures on everyday legal topics written in plain language.
  • Everyday Law - published by the Law Foundation Victoria, it is a searchable, multi-language website of authoritative legal information, including an overview of the Australian legal system.
  • Victoria Legal Aid - multi-language plain language resources on common legal problems.
  • Government departments and agencies also produce a range of publications on current legal issues. If you are interested in a specific topic, check the responsible department website for information.

Historical Resources

  • Trove - National Library of Australia's catalogue searches across Australian libraries, museums, archives and repositories for any holdings of the books, journals, pictures, photos, etc relevant to your research. They also have a range of digital collections such as government gazettesdigitised newspapers and archived websites.
  • WayBack Machine - a not-for-profit internet archive that takes snapshots of websites at particular points in time. If you are unable to locate a report on the 'live' website, try putting the URL into the Way Back Machine to see if it has captured the content of the site at other points in time.
  • Pandora - Australia's web archive established by the National Library of Australia. It collects historic online publications and webpages relating to Australia and Australians with the aim of keeping the information available for use.
  • Prosecution Project - a tool that allows searching and analysis of historical prosecution and the criminal trialsacross Australia from 1850-1960.