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Secondary Sources for Law

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

What is Commentary?

Commentary services are useful research tools, as they are regularly updated and contain succinct legal commentary, with references to legislation and leading and significant cases to illustrate the commentary.  Much of the commentary links directly to legislation, cases and other commentary on the same online platform.

Looseleaf commentaries are generally jurisdiction and subject specific. For this reason, looseleaf commentaries usually provide more depth on a topic than encyclopaedias. They contain information particularly useful to legal practitioners and students looking for key case law and legislation on a legal topic.

Commentary Services


The law library staff have developed some short guides to help you navigate the Westlaw Australia platform. These are listed under Research Tools on the Law Library website.

The below video demonstrates how to search for commentary on Westlaw Australia


​While many of the commentary services sit on subscription databases (like CCH, Lexis+ Australia and Westlaw AU), there are a number of open access commentary resources available. The open access services tend to be targeted towards legal practitioners.

For more information about looseleaf commentary services for the subject area you are interested in, the Research Guides collection for each topic or jurisdiction will include essential commentary services. Alternatively, check the Research Databases by Subject for looseleaf commentary services in the area of law you are researching.


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