Introduction to legal research

1. What is legal research?

Legal research can be summarised as the ability to find, evaluate and use sources of legal information in order to:

  • solve a legal problem
  • suggest reform of the law
  • compare the laws of different jurisdictions
  • understand the role of law in society at large.

Possessing legal research skills is important

Possessing these skills will not only improve your effectiveness in university assessment but will also prove valuable in your future career. Those who study law will continue to use legal research skills once they graduate and are in practice.

“The ability to search for information online is a key skill of the modern law graduate… research must be done accurately and without assumption. The law is now highly technical in many areas and thorough research of all relevant materials is required before a client can be advised with confidence. If you cannot research accurately and quickly you won't have much of a legal career.”

Mark McFarlan (King & Wood Mallesons, Sydney)