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Legal Research - Subject Guide RED TABS

Sourcing Legislation

Sourcing Legislation

Acts by title:
Legify.com.au

Commonwealth Acts from the Federal Register of Legislation by:
Name 
Number and Year 
Currently in Force

Western Australian Acts from Western Australian Legislation by:
Name
Number and Year
Currently in Force

All State and Territory legislation can be accessed from the Federal Register of Legislation

 

Understand an Act

Bill + EM + 2RS + Reports = Act

 

View these step-by-step instructions for sourcing legislation using specific databases:

Legify.com.au:

Federal Register of Legislation (Cth)
Search by: Name, Year, Currently in Force:
Western Australian Legislation (WA)
Search by:Name, Year, Currently in Force:

State and Territory legislation:
Federal Register of Legislation

 

Commonwealth Act Amendments Western Australian Act Amendments

Step 1:

Source Act using Legify.com.au

Step 1:

Source Act using Legify.com.au

Step 2:

In the TABLE OF CONTENTS pane
scroll down to the very last item
to find the Endnotes
(expand + the last item, if necessary)

Step 2:

Navigate through the Act to the clause

 

 

Step 3:

Expand  + the Endnotes

 

Step 3:

Amendment history is located
immediately below each clause

Note the amendment dates

Step 4:

Select Endnote 4—Amendment history

Step 4:

Return to the list of Versions

Step 5:

Locate section number to find amending/inserting/etc Act/s

Note:  Amending Act is given by number (note Act’s assent date)

Step 5:

Read the Currency start and end dates
Select the version of the Act that contains the amendment date

 

Step 6:

Search for Act by Number to see change/s:

  1. Acts
  2. As made
  3. Year / Number

To find the amendment Ctl + F  [section number or keyword]

Step 6:

From the Compare column, select the PDF version of the Act

 

 

 

Step 7:

To see original wording to compare changes:

  1. Select View Series
  2. Read the Start and End dates for each version
  3. Select version of Act prior to change (prior to amending Act's assent date)

Step 7:

Use the Bookmarks to quickly navigate to the section to see the change in wording

 

 

 

To understand why the amendment was made, source the amending Act's 

Explanatory Memorandum (attached to the Bill)
Second Reading Speech

 

 

​View these step-by-step instructions for sourcing amendments to Acts/legislation using specific databases:

 

Federal Register of Legislation (Cth)
Legify.com.au:
Western Australian Legislation (WA)
Legify.com.au:
 

 

Commonwealth Acts Western Australian Acts

Step 1:

Source Act on Federal Register of Legislation

Tip: use Legify

Step 1:

Source Act on Western Australian Legislation

Tip: use Legify

 

Step 2:

Select the View Series link in the Details pane
located to the left of screen

Step 2:

Select Versions of this Act
(includes consolidations, Reprints and “As passed” versions)

Step 3:

Check the Start and End dates each version was in force between

Step 3:

Select Consolidated Versions

 

Step 4:

Select the version relevant to specific time period

Step 4:

Check the Start and End dates each version was in force between

Note:
Superseded Version in Details pane of versions no longer in force

 

Tip:
Choose the Compare PDF version
Use the Bookmarks to navigate through amendments

 

General search instructions:

  • select Cases search template or Advanced Search in a database
  • select relevant jurisdiction
  • complete the Legislation name and provision text boxes
  • select relevant Court, if required 
Lexis Advance Westlaw AU AustLII

Step 1:

Access Lexis Advance

Step 1:

Access Westlaw AU

Step 1:

Access AustLII

Step 2:

Select drop-down arrow beside Advanced Search
Select Secondary Materials

Step 2:

Select Journals Search Template
located to the left of screen

Step 2:

Select LawCite
located at the end of the red stripe

Step 3:

Navigate down to Legislation Title and Provision Number

Step 3:

Navigate down to Legislation Cited (Title)

Step 3:

Add the Act title in Legislation Considered:

Add the provision number in Section

Tip:

omit the Act year

only add the provision number - not s, p, etc

Step 4:

Add the term

Tip:

select Act title from suggestions
only add the provision number - not s, p, etc

Step 4:

Add the Act's Title

Tip:

omit the word Act
omit the year

Step 4:

Select Search

 

 

 

Step 5:

Select Search

Step 5:

Add the provision number as Free Text

Step 5:

Select
Law Journal Articles matching this search 
located at end of menu below LawCite logo

Step 6:

Narrow results by using filters
located to the left of screen

Step 6:

Select Search

 

Step 7:

Narrow results by using filters
located to the left of screen

 

 

View these step-by-step instructions for sourcing Acts considered in journal articles using specific databases:

AustLII:
CCH IntelliConnect:
Informit:
LawCite:
Lexis Advance:
Westlaw AU:

 

Commonwealth Bills (1996+) Western Australian Bills (2000+)

Step 1:

Source Bill on Parliament of Australia

Step 1:

Source Bill on Parliament of Western Australia

Step 2:

Select the Bill from the Browse list

Step 2:

Select the Bill from the list

Tip:

Select the link to the Bills Digest

Bills Digest gives summary, purpose, background and impact of Bill

(view in PDF format for live links)
 

Other Source:

AustLII

 

Other Sources:

Federal Register of Legislation - Bills and Explanatory Memoranda

AustLII - Browse by year or title

 

 

Understand an Act

Bill + EM + 2RS + Reports = Act

View these step-by-step instructions for sourcing Bills using specific databases:

Legify.com.au (Cth)
Bills from 1996 onwards:
Federal Register of Legislation (Cth)
Bills from 1996 onwards:
Bills Digest (Cth) (Browse by Year or Search)
Bills from 1976 onwards:
Parliament House (ParlInfo) (Cth)
Bills from 1996 onwards:
Parliament of Western Australia (WA)
Bills from 2000 onwards:

Bills Digest provides useful information on the purpose and background of Bills.

Lexis Advance Westlaw AU

Step 1:

Access Lexis Advance

Step 1:

Access Westlaw AU

Step 2:

Select drop-down arrow beside Advanced Search
Select Legislation

Step 2:

Select Legislation and Commentary Search Template
located to the left of screen

Step 3:

Navigate down to Defined Terms

Step 3:

Navigate down to Defined Terms

Step 4:

Add the term

Step 4:

Add the term

Step 5:

Select Search

Step 5:

Select Search

Step 6:

Narrow results by using filters
located to the left of screen

Alternatively:

Browse Results looking at Content and Jurisdiction
located to the right of each result

Step 6:

Narrow results by using filters
located to the left of screen

 

 

 

 

​View these step-by-step instructions for sourcing defined terms in legislation using specific databases:

Lexis Advance Pacific:
WestlawAU

Regulations, Rules, Determinations, etc by title:
Legify.com.au

Commonwealth Regulations, Rules, Determinations, etc from the Federal Register of Legislation by:
Name 
Number and Year 
Currently in Force

Western Australian Regulations, Rules, Determinations, etc from Western Australian Legislation by:
Name
Number and Year
Currently in Force
Commencement Date

Note: if you are already on the Western Australian Legislation page for a WA Act, select the link to Subsidiary legislation made under this Act(current versions)

All State and Territory legislation can be accessed from the Federal Register of Legislation

 

View these step-by-step instructions for sourcing delegated legislation (e.g. regulations) using specific databases:

Legify.com.au:

Federal Register of Legislation (Cth)
Search by: Name, Year:
Western Australian Legislation (WA):

Other States & Territories:
FRoL: Other Sources of Australian Law

 

Commonwealth Explanatory Memoranda (1996+) Western Australian Explanatory Memoranda (2000+)

Step 1:

Source Bill on Parliament of Australia

Step 1:

Source Bill on Parliament of Western Australia

Step 2:

Select the Bill from the Browse list

Step 2:

Select the Bill from the Browse list

Step 3:

Navigate down the Bills page to access the EM

Step 3:

Navigate down the Bills page to access the EM

Alternative:

Source Bills and their EM on the
Federal Register of Legislation

The EM button is at the top of each Bill's page

 

 

 

 

Note:

Commonwealth:

Since 1982, Explanatory Memoranda have been standard practice for Bills.

Commonwealth Explanatory Memoranda Index:
Indicates whether there was an Explanatory Memoranda or Comparative Memoranda accompanying a Bill from 1901 to 1982

For more information on Commonwealth Explanatory Memoranda see Was there an EM? : Explanatory Memoranda and Explanatory Statements in the Commonwealth Parliament

Western Australia:  

Prior to 2000, Explanatory Memoranda in Western Australia were rarely published.

Explanatory Memoranda Pre - 2000: on the Parliamentary Library Western Australia website  

 

Understand an Act

Bill + EM + 2RS + Reports = Act

View these step-by-step instructions for sourcing Explanatory Memoranda using specific databases:

Federal Register of Legislation (Cth)
EMs from 1996 onwards:
Lawlex (Cth)
EMs from 1996 onwards:
Parliament House (ParlInfo) (Cth)
EMs from 1996 onwards:
Parliament of Western Australia (WA)
EMs from 2000 onwards:

 

Commonwealth Government Gazette - Federal Register of Legislation

Western Australian Government Gazette - State Law Publisher

 

Commonwealth Hansard Western Australian Hansard (August 2000+) Western Australian Hansard (1870 - June 2000)

Step 1:

Access Hansard on Parliament of Australia

Step 1:

Access Hansard on Parliament of Western Australia

Step 1:

Access Hansard on Parliament of Western Australia

Step 2:

Scroll down screen to Search Hansard

 

 

Step 2:

Select 

Advanced search (August 2000 until present)

Step 2:

Select

Hansard archive (1870 - June 2000)

Step 3:

Select More options to expand search
Uncheck Hansard title only

Step 3:

Check the box for Detailed Word and Phrase Searching

Step 3:

Select Advanced search
(located on the right of screen)

Step 4:

Add the details you know 

Tip: use the From & To calendar dates

Step 4:

Add the details you know 

Step 4:

Add the details you know 

Step 5:

Select Search

Step 5:

Select Search

Step 5:

Select Search

 

 

Understand an Act

Bill + EM + 2RS (sourced from Hansard) + Reports = Act

View these step-by-step instructions for sourcing parliamentary debates (Hansard) using specific databases:

Parliament of Australia (Cth):
Hansard 1901+:
ParlInfo Search (Cth)
Hansard 1901+:
ParlInfo Search (Cth)
Hansard 1901+:
WA Parliament (WA)
1996+:
WA Parliament (WA)
1870 - 1995:
WA Parliament (WA)
1996+:

 

Daily Transcripts - uncorrected Hansard is available about 3 hours after the House rises

Hansard is available in print in the Law Library at GR 328.94102 W527 3

See Finding Second Reading Speeches in Print or Online Guide for more detailed information.

Australian Law Reform

International Law Reform

Royal Commissions ans Commissions of Inquiry

Commentary includes case law and expert's interpretation of legislation

Lexis+

Westlaw AU

Abbreviation key

ad = added or inserted

o = order(s)

am = amended

Ord = Ordinance

amdt = amendment

orig = original

c = clause(s)

par = paragraph(s)/subparagraph(s)/sub-subparagraph(s)

C[x] = Compilation No. x

pres = present

Ch = Chapter(s)

prev = previous

def = definition(s)

(prev ... ) = previously

Dict = Dictionary

Pt = Part(s)

disallowed = disallowed by Parliament

r = regulation(s)/rule(s)

Div = Division(s)

reloc = relocated

ed = editorial change

renum = renumbered

exp = expires/expired or ceases/ceased to have effect

rep = repealed

F = Federal Register of Legislation

rs = repealed and substituted

gaz = gazette

s = section(s)/subsection(s)

LA = Legislation Act 2003

Sch = Schedule(s)

LIA = Legislative Instruments Act 2003

Sdiv = Subdivision(s)

(md) = misdescribed amendment can be given  effect

SLI = Select Legislative Instrument

(md not incorp) = misdescribed amendment cannot be given effect

SR = Statutory Rules

mod = modified/modification

Sub-Ch = Sub-Chapter(s)

No. = Number(s)

SubPt = Subpart(s)

 

underlining = whole or part not commenced or to be commenced

 

   

Source: Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth) Endnote 2—Abbreviation key

Commonwealth Committee Reports (1970+) Western Australian Committee Reports (1997+)

Step 1:

Access the Committees page on Parliament of Australia

Step 1:

Access the Committees page on  Parliament of Western Australia

Step 2:

Select More options immediately below the Search box

Step 2:

Select Advanced search
located to the right of screen

Step 3:

Add the details you know 

Step 3:

Add the details you know 

Alternatively:

Select from the All committees menu,
located to the right of screen

Step 4:

Select Search

Step 4:

Select Search

Step 5:

Select Report from the About this inquiry menu,
located to the right of screen

Step 5:

Select Report tab

 

 

Understand an Act

Bill + EM + 2RS + Reports = Act

View these step-by-step instructions for sourcing Parliamentary Committee Reports using specific databases:

Commonwealth Parliamentary Committee Reports (Cth):

WA Parliament (WA)
1990+:

Register of Commonwealth Committee Reports - House of Representative and Joint Committee Reports from 1901 to 17 October 2014

Commonwealth Parliamentary Committees - about

Western Australian Parliamentary Committees - about 

 

Commonwealth Bills Progress (1996+) Western Australian Bills Progress (2000+)

Step 1:

Source Bill on Parliament of Australia

Step 1:

Source Bill on Parliament of Western Australia

Step 2:

Select the Bill from the Results list

Step 2:

Select the Bill from the list

Step 3:

Select the link to the Bill home page
located to the left of screen
located above the Table of Contents menu

Step 3:

Navigate to the Progress table

 

Step 4:

Navigate to the Progress of bill table

 

 

 

 

View these step-by-step instructions for sourcing the progress of a Bill through Parliament using specific databases:

Lawlex:

Parliament House (ParlInfo) (Cth)
Bills from 1996 onwards:
Parliament of Western Australia (WA)
Bills from 2000 onwards:

Bills Digest provides useful information on the purpose and background of Bills.

Second Reading Speeches are recorded in Hansard.

Source early Second Readings Speeches directly from Hansard.

Commonwealth Second Reading Speeches (1996+) Western Australian Second Reading Speeches (2000+)

Step 1:

Source Bill on Parliament of Australia

Step 1:

Source Bill on Parliament of Western Australia

Step 2:

Select the Bill from the Results list

Step 2:

Select the Bill from the list

Step 3:

Select the link to the Bill home page
located to the left of screen
located above the Table of Contents menu

Step 3:

Navigate down the Bills Home Page to access
the Second Reading Speech

Step 4:

Navigate down the Bills Home Page to access
the Second Reading Speech

 

 

 

 

Understand an Act

Bill + EM + 2RS (sourced from Hansard) + Reports = Act

 

View these step-by-step instructions for sourcing Second Reading Speeches using specific databases:

Lawlex:
2RS from 1996 onwards:
Parliament House (Cth)
Search by: Name, Year, Currently in Force:
Parliament of Western Australia (WA)
2RS from 2000 onwards:

State Agreements are contracts between the Government of Western Australia and proponents of major resource projects which are ratified by an Act of the State Parliament. 

They specify the rights, obligations, terms and conditions for development of the project, and establish a framework for ongoing relations and cooperation between the State and the project proponent.

The Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation administers State Agreement Acts on behalf of the Government of Western Australia.

As part of this responsibility, the Department also negotiates new agreements, variations, terminations and repeals of State Agreement Acts as required. 

For more information on State Agreements and State Agreement Acts see the State Agreements website.

Tip: Use Legify to access specific Agreement Acts

Australian Legislation and Delegated Legislation

Each State or Territory Parliament has authorised publishers for their legislation and delegated legislation.

Australia's Territories

Cocos (Keeling) Island legislation - a list of Western Australian Acts that is tabled biannually in the Senate that adds onto the full list of Acts that apply to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Legify - a quick way of locating the authoritative version of Australian legislation.

Federal Register of Legislation - provides links to authoritative sources for state and territory legislation.

Australian Government Online Directory (GOLD) provides a wide variety of information about Australian Government Parliaments, bodies, agencies and departments.

Commentary of Australia's laws can be sourced from:

Australian Explanatory Memoranda

GovPubs: the Australian Government Publications Guide - source explanatory memoranda for all Australian jurisdictions.

International Jurisdictions

 

Multijurisdictional Databases

 

New Zealand

 

United Kingdom

  • HeinOnline - Statutes of the Realm (1235-1713)
  • ICLR - the best legal database for sourcing authorised law reports of cases from the United Kingdom
  • Legislation.gov.uk provides legislation information for UK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • UK Legal Info - LawBore

 

United States

Treaties

Treaties are a primary source of international law.

International Organisations

There are a number of valuable resources for international legislation research that are found on the websites of international organisations.

These include:

Legal information Institutes: