Australian Law on the Web

I have been surprised lately to see a growing number of postings by Canadian law librarians on both Canadian and Australian listservs, seeking help in locating specific Australian cases, often prefaced by the statement that their library does not subscribe to relevant commercial databases. These message are usually responded to by Australian law librarians pointing to AustLII. AustLII is a terrific free resource that provides full-text access to decisions from all Australian courts and tribunals (many of them comprehensive in coverage). It was in fact the progenitor for most of the other “LIIs”, many of which it hosts and maintains, including WorldLII and the recently released CommonLII. AustLII also provides full-text access to legislation from all Australian jurisdictions (although the various government web-sites, also free, are more up-to-date) as well as much secondary material. A very good search engine facilitates research.

In terms of free Web-based legal research, Australia is one of the best-served jurisdictions in the world and there is little that a Canadian researcher should not be able to find. Calls to the Australian Law Librarians Group listserv will usually be answered very quickly (as many have found) and in the event that more indepth and specialised assistance is required, I would recommend Moninfo, an information broker based at Monash University, which words in conjunction with the staff of the Law Library there. A guide that provides a basic introduction to the Australian legal system and research resources is maintained by me at LLRX.com.

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