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Legal Research

Legal resources are often categorised into primary and secondary sources of law.

Primary sources are the decisions of courts (case law) and the Acts of Parliament (legislation). Secondary sources of law comprise the indexes, digests and commentaries on the law, including texts, encyclopaedias, government reports and journals.

Legal Citations and Style Guides

Australia Other Countries

The University of Adelaide Law School has adopted the AGLC (Australian Guide to Legal Citation, 3rd ed) published May 2010 by Melbourne University Law Review Association, as the citation standard for all written submissions within the law school. The guide aims to provide a uniform standard of legal citation.

The AGLC 3rd edition can be downloaded here (for viewing only). This version is identical to the printed version, with the exception that the appendix of legal abbreviations and the tables of medium neutral unique court identifiers and pinpoint abbreviations have been omitted.

Print copies of the 3rd edition (2010), are available for loan from Law Reserve. They can also be purchased from UniBooks.

Other sources on legal referencing:

Anita Stuhmcke, Legal Referencing, 3rd ed. (2005). Law Library Reference, K114 S33l.3. Another copy in Law Books collection.

Canadian guide to uniform legal citation, 5th ed. (2002)
Law Library Reference K114 C212.5

International law
American Journal of International Law Style Guide

United Kingdom
The Oxford Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA) produced by the Oxford Law Faculty.

United States
The Bluebook : a uniform system of citation, 18th ed.(2005) Law Library Reference K114 U5.18
ALWD Citation Manual: A Professional System of Citation. 2d ed. (2003) Law Library Reference K114 A849c.2

Legal Abbreviations

For definitions of legal abbreviations (abbreviations of law journals, reports and treatises), the following guides are available.

Australian Other Countries

Encyclopaedic Australian Legal Dictionary – refer to the Table of Abbreviations

  • Click: Dictionaries Indexes and Tables
  • Click: Browse
  • Choose: Legal dictionary - Tables and appendices
  • then: Table of Abbreviations OR Table of Law Reports

Monash University Library, Abbreviations of legal publications
A print copy is located at the Desk, and on the lower ground floor by the PC catalogue.

LexisNexis AU and Legal Online (formerly LawBook Online). Both these platforms provide lists of abbreviations. Just check under the Help button on either platform.

Or, some simple print methods include checking:

  • your law dictionary for a table of common legal abbreviations
  • Australian Guide to Legal Citation, 2nd ed. – Appendix (available in Law Reserve)
  • Butterworths Concise Australian Legal Dictionary, 3rd ed. (available in Law Reserve)

Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations
Currently over 7,000 abbreviations for legal publications from the British Isles and the Commonwealth. United States publications, and international and comparative law material still to be added. Search by abbreviation or title.

Kavass, Igor. World dictionary of legal abbreviations (updated).
Law Library Reference K112 K21w

Prince, M. Dictionary of legal citations, 7th ed. (2006)
Law Library Reference K114 B586c.7

Raistrick, D. Index to legal citations and abbreviations, 3rd ed. (2008)
Law Library Reference K112 R159.3
(available at the library desk)


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