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Secondary Sources for Law

A guide to help you locate and use secondary sources for Australian legal research.

Dictionaries, Encyclopaedias and Bibliographies

Legal dictionaries

Legal dictionaries are used to find the meaning of a word or phrase.The authoritative, and often detailed, definitions help to place terms in their legal context. Dictionaries also often cite key cases and legislation which define terms. It is useful to take note of these additional terms, as you may be able to use them in your research as search terms to find relevant journal articles or books.

Legal encyclopaedias

Legal encyclopaedias provide succinct summaries on legal topics. Each topic is written by an expert and regularly reviewed so the information is relevant and accurate to current law. They are arranged by subject and include citations to legislation and case law.

Legal bibliographies

A legal bibliography contains key books, journals, journal articles, case law and legislation on a topic. They are a useful reference tool to locate relevant information on your area of law.

For more information about looseleaf dictionaries & encyclopaedias for the subject area you are interested in, thResearch Guides for each topic or jurisdiction will include essential commentary services. Alternatively, check the Research Databases by Type (Reference & Encyclopaedias section) for key Australian, Foreign and International database links.


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