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Legal Citation

Primary Materials - Legislation

Don't Forget!!

Read this guide in conjunction with the Australian Guide to Legal Citation 3rd Edition.

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Citing Primary Materials - Legislation

Legislation consists of Acts (also called 'statutes') and subordinate (or delegated) legislation.   In Australia's federal system, the power to make legislation is divided between the Commonwealth and the States.

These powers to make legislation are limited in scope by the Constitution of the jurisdiction and the interaction of the common law with the legislation.  Legislation has the paramount position overriding case law.  If the common law is working effectively, a parliament may choose not to enact legislation in that area of law.

A special category called "extrinsic" materials are those documents which can be used in court or legal analysis to help determine the intention of a piece of legislation.  These include Parliamentary debates (Hansard), Bills and Law Reform documents.  See AGLC Part III, Chapter 7 for information about citing these materials.

Chapter 3 of the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (3th ed, 2018) provides details on how legislation should be cited.

It is easy to work out what a piece of legislation should be called; it is always stated clearly in section 1 of every Act as the short title.

The short title given in section 1 includes the year the Act was passed, as in this example, the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

The short title does not include the jurisdiction.
When you are writing an essay or other document and the jurisdiction is not obvious, you must add the jurisdictional notation. 

In the case of this example, this is a Western Australian Act so it would be cited as:

Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA).

See AGLC rule 3.1.3, for the correct abbreviations of the jurisdictions.