AustLII, the web site of the Australasian Legal Information Institute, provides full-text databases of most Australian decisions and legislation, both of the Commonwealth of Australia (ie federal) and of states and territories, and incorporates links to New Zealand material on the NZLII site. Also included are treaties to which Australia is a party, and access to the full text of nearly a hundred Australian legal journals.

Australia: IALS Library Guides

This guide from the Library of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (University of London), although to a certain extent relating to the Library’s own holdings, nonetheless provides useful analysis of Australia’s constitutional and legal history, and the administration of justice at Commonwealth and Federal level. The coverage of online resources is extensive, indicating what material is available on subscription-based services and providing links to free resources. Much of the advice given on legal research methods is transferable to other other library collections.

Australian Government

This site is the entry point for information and online services provided by the government of the Commonwealth of Australia. The homepage presents an alphabetical list of subjects which includes “Public Safety and Law”. Under each subject heading are official publications, statements of government policy and links to other relevant sites. At the foot of every page there are links to the web sites of state and territory governments and of local councils.

Australian Institute of Criminology

The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) is Australia’s national research and knowledge centre on crime and criminal justice. It publishes frequent reports to aid government in policy-making, which may be found on the web site.

Australian Law Reform Commission

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC), a federal agency which was established in 1975, conducts inquiries into areas of law reform at the request of the Attorney-General. Most of its Final Reports, 1975 onwards are available free on the web site, as are Discussion Papers 1979 onwards (also selected papers from earlier years), Issues Papers 1996 onwards, and the journal Reform, retitled ALRC Brief in 2011.

Australian Law: Free Online Resources

This guide, compiled by Robin Gardner of Melbourne University Library, outlines free legal resources for Australian legal research (legislation, case law and secondary sources), and provides links to research guides covering Australian and foreign/international/comparative law. Also included is a section on historical resources.

Australian Privacy Foundation

The Australian Privacy Foundation (APF) is a non-government organisation dedicated to protecting the privacy rights of Australians. The Resources section of its web site contains Commonwealth and State/Territory privacy laws, laws of other countries and international instruments. There is also a directory of associations, media releases and papers published by the Foundation and a history of privacy law and policy. Guidance is given on how – and to whom, depending on the sector or industry concerned – to make a complaint relating to intrusion of privacy.

Australian Treaties Database

The Australian Treaties Database (ATD) on the web site of the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade allows access to Australian treaties by subject, type and/or country, or date. Links are provided to multilateral treaty status sites, and there is information on treaties generally and treaty making.

Centre for Corporate Law

The Centre was established by the University of Melbourne in January 1996, its purpose being to undertake and promote research on corporate law, corporate governance and securities regulation. The web site includes a monthly Corporate law bulletin, September 1997 onwards (subscription is required to view the most recent bulletins), a substantial collection of research reports (see Resources), and annual reports, 1996 onwards. The section “History of Australian Corporate Law” (also in Resources) includes links to key Australian and UK legislation, reports and other documents from the 1800s onwards.

Decisions of the Nineteenth Century Tasmanian Superior Courts

The reports featured on this site are of Tasmanian cases from 1824 onwards, when Tasmania (then named Van Diemen’s Land) was separated from New South Wales to become a colony in its own right. Contemporary newspapers are the main source, and the period so far covered is 1824 to 1843. Amongst other content there is an index of cases 1840-1857, and the records of pre-1850 appeals to the Privy Council from the Australian colonies. The site is published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University and the School of History and Classics, University of Tasmania.

Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

A primary aim of this project is to make available the early case law of New South Wales before effective formal law reporting was established in the latter part of the 19th century. The main source is contemporary newspaper reports. At present it concentrates on Supreme Court decisions between 1788 and 1855: there are currently no decisions for most of the 1860s and 1870s. Also included are a number of cases concerning Aborigines from later years, and the surviving records of pre-1850 appeals to the Privy Council. The site is published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University, Sydney.

Family Court of Australia

The Family Court of Australia is a specialist federal court. Its web site provides extensive information including court lists, recent judgments and practice directions. Links are provided to AustLII’s Family Court of Australia cases database, and (also on AustLII) to the legislation under which the court operates. Publications reproduced in full text include the Family Court Bulletin, papers and reports on many aspects of family law, and annual reports 1997/98 onwards.

Federal Circuit Court of Australia

The Federal Circuit Court was established in 1999 to provide a simple and accessible alternative to litigation in the Federal Court of Australia and the Family Court of Australia, and to relieve the workload of those courts. The jurisdiction of the Court has grown since its inception and broadly includes family law and child support, administrative law, admiralty law, bankruptcy, copyright, human rights, industrial law, migration, privacy and trade practices. The website provides the rules of the court (principally the Federal Circuit Court Rules 2001, as amended), directory of judges and staff, judgments via links to AustLII, forms, lists of court business, and information on jurisdiction.

Federal Court of Australia

The Federal Court is a superior court of record exercising a broad jurisdiction, both original and appellate, in Australian federal law matters. The resources available for practitioners on its web site include practice notes, administrative notices, forms, hearings lists, legislation and detailed information about the Court’s registries in each Australian state. Judgments, February 1977 onwards, are provided via links to the AustLII web site. Judgments published in the last week are accessible via the court’s own web site.

Federal Law Review Archive

Federal Law Review is a journal covering constitutional and administrative law, published by the Faculty of Law, Australian National University, since 1964. There are three issues a year. This archive covers 1995 to 2011. The more recent issues of the journal are on a separate site, and a subscription is required. Click on “Publisher’s site” for details.

Federal Register of Legislation

The Federal Register of Legislation is the authorised web site for full text Commonwealth legislation and related documents. It replaced the earlier ComLaw site and is managed by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel. It provides access to Commonwealth of Australia Acts in force, Legislative Instruments in force, Notifiable Instruments in force, Bills as introduced, and Gazettes 1901 onwards – including PDF copies of the Commonwealth Government Gazette, 1901-2012, under “Historical”.

FindLaw Australia

FindLaw Australia is a service provided by Thomson Reuters Australia. It includes legal news and articles arranged by subject area, and directories of law firms and individual lawyers.


This is Australia’s “whole-of-government entry point”, a gateway site providing access to online information resources for the Commonwealth Government, the state and territory governments, and the Australian Local Government Association with its links to local council and local government association sites.

GovPubs: the Australian Government Publications Guide

GovPubs is an initiative of NSLA (National and State Libraries Australasia). The site, which is no longer actively maintained, though it is still updated occasionally, provides descriptions of selected Australian official publications and enables the user to locate titles or series either in libraries (subdivided by state) or on the internet. Web publications may be browsed separately from printed ones.


Jade (Judgments and Decisions Enhanced) is a free current awareness service developed by BarNet, a specialist communications management company providing services to barristers and associated professionals. Decisions of a wide range of Australian Courts and Tribunals are added to the Jade database almost as soon as they are released. It is possible to set up alerts so that decisions of specific courts are delivered by RSS feed. The site provides a sophisticated case citator facility. Jade Library allows users to create and manage their own library of online decisions, while Jademarks lets users add notes directly to an online version of each decision. Some services require registration. Jade also has digitized copies of the Commonwealth Law Reports, 1903-1952.

Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales

The Law and Justice Foundation is an independent statutory body which works to improve access to justice for the people of New South Wales. Its web site provides a gateway for legislation, case law and court information, covering the whole of Australia, not only New South Wales. The “Legislation and Parliament” and “Judgments and Courts” sections complement AustLII in that there are links to alternative sources of data. There are also links to decisions of some quasi-judicial bodies not included in AustLII.


Lawlex is one of the services offered by SAI Global, a commercial provider of legal and regulatory information. It has some free and some subscription-based elements. All users may search or browse Australian Commonwealth and state/territory legislation and view the full text both as currently in operation, and as in operation at various dates, as provided by the relevant official government publisher. Links to Hansard debates are provided for Acts in some cases. Subscribers have access to additional information such as details of progress of Bills, commencement, amendments since last consolidation and summary of all amendments since enactment. Other SAI subscription services include regulatory newsfeeds and Safety, Health & Environment (SH&E) Monitor.

Parliament of Australia

The Australian Parliament site contains Bills 1996 onwards and Bills digests 1976 onwards, Hansard (for both the Senate and the House of Representatives) 1981 onwards, and Committee Hansards (Senate, House and Joint) mid-1990s onwards. Coverage dates of the latter vary according to the Committee. The Parliamentary Library section includes an index of Parliamentary Papers, 1992 onwards (under “Key Internet Links”); within “Research Publications” there are Bills digests, 1976 onwards and Background Notes (formerly E-Briefs: background documents on current issues, including links) 1999 onwards.

Researching Australian Law

This is a narrative guide to Australian legal research, written by law librarians Nicholas Pengelley and Sue Milne and published on the site in its current revised form in January 2014. It includes hypertext links to the sources mentioned.

Supreme Court Library, Queensland

Queensland judgments are published on the web site of the Supreme Court of Queensland Library (SCLQ), with new ones added within 24 hours. The archive goes back to 1992 for Supreme Court (Court of Appeal) judgments, to 2000 for Supreme Court (Trial Division) and District Court, and to 2006 for Magistrates Court. Other services provided by SCLQ for legal practitioners include the UCPR Bulletin, indexing cases that have considered the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules; the weekly Queensland Legal Updater current awareness service; and biographical information about Queensland’s judiciary: Supreme Court, District Court and magistrates. Queensland Statutes (1962 reprints) are available in PDF.

Sydney Law Review

The Sydney Law Review is the quarterly journal of the University of Sydney Law School. The current issue is available via the home page, and previous issues from 1953 onwards can be viewed in their entirety in PDF via a link to the AustLII site. The collection of case comments submitted by academics, entitled “Before the High Court”, are are a regular feature of the journal.