So you still haven’t made it to the uni bookshop, or maybe you’re finding that your new textbook is so confusing that it may as well have been written in hieroglyphics. Either way, you need some legal knowledge NOW!
Here are some great online options for study and research that are also easy on the budget…
JADE (Judgments And Decisions Enhanced)
Move over, AustLII. JADE is a legal research platform run by BarNet, which is packed with judgments from over 80 jurisdictions, including the High Court, Federal and State Supreme Courts, as well as most district courts and specialised tribunals.
The best thing about JADE is the CaseTrace function, which lets you view cited cases and legislation without needing to open it in a new screen. All you have to do is click on the citation – if it’s a pinpoint citation, the exact paragraph you require will pop up. Also, if the case you’re reading has been cited elsewhere, you can see how courts have applied it, right down to how specific paragraphs were considered. Similar citations are also available on some legislation.
There’s even a ‘JadeMarks’ function that lets you annotate cases and share your comments with your study group.
If you’re an über-nerd (which is totally fine by us), there’s a nifty alerts tool that will tell you when a judgment matching your search criteria is handed down.
Greens List Barristers
Victoria’s Greens List Barristers run legal education seminars every year on a range of legal developments, and law students are able to access and download seminar papers and recordings for free. Topics covered include ADR, administrative, commercial, family, planning and environment, tax, criminal, IP, employment, wills and probate, property and personal injury law. These are great if you’re delving into a specific topic for an essay.
The team at LawGenius has put together a stack of free law textbooks that you can download and annotate. The books cover Commonwealth corporations law, competition and consumer law, workplace legislation, family law, migration law and tax legislation. There are also books for students on New South Wales conveyancing, criminal law and court procedure, and more.
If you’ve annotated the book, you can share your version with friends. When the law changes, the textbook updates itself. WIN.
Judicial College of Victoria
If you’re in Victoria we recommend looking at the fantastic publications on the Judicial College of Victoria’s website. Evidence students will simply fall in love with the Uniform Evidence Resources, which include awesome flowcharts about admissibility of evidence, hearsay, opinion evidence and more. You’ll be able to tackle any problem-solving question that’s thrown your way!
Other Online Options
Community Legal Centre websites are also worth a look. Some of the information is aimed at would-be clients, but provides a helpful introduction to a range of legal topics. For example, the Arts Law Centre’s information sheets cover a range of subject areas, from business names and structures, to copyright, defamation, insurance, tax and employment issues.
There are also plenty of websites that provide more detailed information for lawyers. For example, the Queensland Criminal Justice Centre provides detailed information for solicitors representing mentally ill clients, including appropriate defences. Resources like these can be very handy for working on problem solving questions and gaining real-world insights to share in tutorial discussions.
Alternatively, find firms that practice in the area of law you’re studying and check out their websites. Many law firms publish information about recent decisions and new legislation on their websites. In particular, many of the larger law firms have blogs on specific legal areas, such as intellectual property or mining.
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