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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.

Legislation Databases

Legify - A free tool that locates and links to the authoritative version of Australian legislation and delegated legislation.

Western Australian Legislation - Western Australian Legislation Database, includes links to Bills and other parliamentary documents.

Federal Register of Legislation - Commonwealth Legislation Database, includes legislative material from the non self-governing territories and Bills and other parliamentary documents including Government Gazettes.

Commonwealth Bills and Legislation Information - Parliament of Australia website, offers searching, browsing, information on proposed legislation and alert services.

LawNow Legislation - Database of current national legislation for all Australian Federal, State and Territory Jurisdictions. Includes related materials and links to judicial consideration (case law) of legislation and/or sections. From Lexis Advance.

Lawlex - Subject index and links to Australian legislative materials, includes links to Bills and Hansard.

Federal Statutes Annotations - From Lexis Advance.

Law Quick Guides

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.