|Book||A Practical Guide to Legal Research 2nd Edition||26/10/2010||9780455227917||$50.40|
The text introduces sources of legal information, the major commercial players in the field of legal publishing, and developments in online and internet based legal research. Each chapter focuses on an aspect of the legal research process; from analysing a research problem, through effective ways of identifying and locating relevant primary and secondary sources, finishing with examples on citing particular types of resources. New to this edition are tips in relevant chapters on how to incorporate research results into the writing process. Worked exercises based on a research problem are provided to enable practice using the featured online resources.
Section 1 of the book covers Australian jurisdictions, and includes a new chapter on researching commercial law, specifically corporations and taxation law. Section 2 covers comparative jurisdictions of both public and private (conflict of laws) international law , the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada, the United States and the European Union.
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From: AUSTRALIAN LAW L,BRARIAN. Vol 19 No.3 2011.
Reviewed by: David Riggall Barrister Anthony Mason Chambers
The notion born at the end of the 20th Century that legal research was no longer about finding legal information but rather about sorting an overwhelming volume of available information has itself given way at the beginning of the 21st Century to the notion that one neither has to find nor sort information, one has only to "Google" the answer.
In a Practical Guide to Legal Research, Sue Milne and Kay Tucker suggest a formal approach to legal research commencing with the analysis of the legal problem and then examination of the available primary and secondary legal materials, both in hard copy and electronic format, which are needed to distil the applicable legal doctrine.
As the title suggests the book is practical and provides a wealth of material. A drawback in the rich level of detail is that it is difficult to recognise just how valuable some of the suggestions are. For example the "Noteup" and "LawCite" functions of the AustLII search are not universally known among practitioners but are both extremely useful features.
Specific insights are offered into both the free on-line and paid electronic services. These insights inform a process which is best learned by hands-on practice. In order to fully appreciate the numerous useful suggestions it is necessary to make a narrow selection (for example use of government websites as the most accurate means of ascertaining the current state of legislation or the state of legislation at point-in-time) and then explore the possibilities.
This is a comprehensive and ambitious undertaking. The work proceeds in stages commencing with systematic legal research, availability of research materials, particularly electronic sources, secondary websites and availability of secondary resources in the Australian research environment. This is a significant undertaking on its own.
Research strategies are suggested by reference to alternative approaches. Search strategies range from an approach based on known cases to an approach based on the words and phrases which might produce the best results from a Boolean search string. Those unfamiliar with Boolean approach will find all the necessary tools set out in one place.
A full chapter is directed to legal research into Australian commercial law, with an emphasis on the corporations and revenue legislation. This is an important area to the legal researcher because of the rate of legislative amendment and change.
Limitations on the availability of electronic iterations of the legislation are set out along with available point-in-time resources.
The book also reviews offshore research resources. A significant section of the work is given to electronic research tools for Commonwealth countries, the United States and. the European Union. Proof of the relevant law would remain a matter for evidence by a recognised expert.
Knowledge of relevant international law is essential where there are international transactions giving rise to conflict of laws or international trade issues. Consistent with this the hook contains an extensive discussion on private international law, choice of law and the relevance and impact of treaties (available on AustLII).
There is an old adage that lawyers are persons who do not so much know the law as know where to look for it. By that definition, this book is an essential tool.
Table of Contents
Part I – The Australian legal system
Chapter 1: The Research problem
Chapter 2: The Law online
Chapter 3: Legislative Material
Chapter 4: Case law
Chapter 5: Commentary
Chapter 6: Commercial law
Part II – Other legal systems (Comparative law)
Chapter 7: United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand
Chapter 8: United States
Chapter 9: European Union
Chapter 10: Conflict of laws and international trade law
Chapter 11: Public international law
- Australian Law Librarian Vol19 No.3 2011 [PDF 52820]
- Law Institute Journal, May 2011 [PDF 1364020]
- Law Society of SA, August 2011 [PDF 126520]
- Self Test Answer Guide [PDF 35840]
Please note: these resources are ONLY for the use of lecturers who have prescribed the relevant text. Please email email@example.com to request access.