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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

Introduction to Case Law Research 

Case law is law developed by judges in courts. Case law research involves reading legal judgments - understanding the reasons behind a judgment and how the law has been interpreted by the judge. Cases are one of the primary sources of law in common law countries such as Australia.  

After completing this module, you should be able to:

  • Understand features of a case citation
  • Locate the authorised version of a case
  • Understand when and why to use case citators
  • Find cases by citation
  • Find cases by party name 
  • Find commentary on a case 
  • Find subsequent treatment of a case in other cases

Australian Case Law Databases 

Australian case law can be found on the following databases: 

  • AustLII
  • CCH
  • Jade 
  • Lexis Advance 
  • Westlaw AU

The content and functionality across each of the databases varies and depending on the research task, you will need to use multiple databases.  You can access these databases via the Law Library website