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Beginners Legal Research Guide

Task

Action

For an overview of the law A legal encyclopaedia such as Halsbury's Laws of Australia on Lexis Advance or Laws of Australia on Westlaw AU.
Find the meaning of a legal term Use a legal dictionary such as Encyclopaedia Australian Legal Dictionary on Lexis Advance.
Interpret an abbreviation Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations and/or Monash University Index to Legal Abbreviations.
Determine whether a case is reported Use a case citator such as CaseBase on Lexis Advance, FirstPoint on Westlaw AU, LawCite or JADE. A case citator will give you parallel citations for a case, including the medium neutral citation (MNC) and the citation(s) to the reported version(s) of the case.
Determine whether a case has been subsequently considered by other cases Use a case citator such as CaseBase on Lexis Advance, FirstPoint on Westlaw AU, LawCite or JADE. This will tell you which cases have considered a case. CaseBase and FirstPoint give details on how the case was treated (whether the case was followed, applied, etc).
Find a case that considers a legislative provision Use a case citator: for FirstPoint on Westlaw AU and CaseBase on Lexis Advance use the 'legislation judicially considered' field; for JADE Professional (subscription required) use the clips alongside legislation provisions.
Online sources of legislation Always use authoritative sources such as government websites or database that source from government websites, like Lawlex and LawOne on TimeBase. AustLII legislation is not an authoritative source and is not updated frequently.
Look for legislation at a particular point in time Both the Federal Register of Legislation and the Victorian Legislation website link to the previous versions of legislation. JADE Professional (subscription required) allows you to view amended legislation side by side. AustLII has selected Victorian Historical Acts prior to 1995.