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Introduction to Legal Research

This guide is an introduction to legal research at the University of Melbourne. This guide is intended for law students in the JD, MLM , Breadth programs who are new to legal research. Students in other disciplines who may need to conduct legal research

Using Legal Encyclopaedias 

Legal encyclopaedias are a good place to start to get a detailed overview of a legal topic. The 'Reference & Encyclopedias' section of the Law Library website Research Databases by Type page recommends a number of legal encyclopaedias. The following section of this module refers to three examples: 

  1. Halsbury's Laws of Australia (Lexis Advance Pacific)
  2. The Laws of Australia (Westlaw AU)
  3. Max Plank Encyclopaedia of Public International Law (Oxford)
Halsbury's Laws of Australia (Lexis Advance) 

An online encyclopaedia covering a wide variety of Australian legal topics. It includes references to Australian legislative and judicial authority.  This screenshot is of the Halsbury's Advanced Search form: 


The Laws of Australia (Westlaw AU)

A large online encyclopedia covering a wide variety of Australian legal topics. You can search using a range of options such as by case or legislation, or use the topics on the left to browse.

Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law 

A comprehensive encyclopaedia on international law. It includes extensive bibliographies leading you to other secondary sources and links to the Oxford Law Citator, which provides additional information and relevant court decisions.