Legal Research Methods

What is Legal Research?

  • The purpose of legal research is to find "authority" that will support in finding an answer to a legal problem.
  • Validating that the law one has found is still valid and not overruled, canceled or otherwise questioned or criticized.

Types of Legal Research Authorities

Primary Source Of Legal Research

  • Primary sources of legal research are the commanding journals of law made by parliament and the law court.
  • Primary authorities can be either compulsory (binding) or convincing (non-binding)

Secondary Source Of Legal Research

  • Secondary sources of legal research are textbooks, newsletters, encyclopedias, reference or finding tools.
  • Government documents are also a major source of secondary legal information and include those documents written in the course of making legislation such as second reading speeches, explanatory memorandum, and parliamentary reports.

A Systematic Approach To Legal Research

The components of an organized method In selecting a secondary source is to look for high-quality publications that do the following things:

  • Lead us to the next step in our investigation by describing our choices, but not leading us amiss with marginal and unrelated material
  • Use wide-ranging references, directories, and tables to provide well-organized access to the material
  • Include thorough topical outlines that give a complete overview of the subject
  • Deliver determined citations to the best primary and secondary authorities
  • Deliver a cautiously structured, hierarchical association and
  • Present brief, complete, proficient analysis