Course Title: Research legal information using secondary sources

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2012

Course Code: JUST5198C

Course Title: Research legal information using secondary sources

School: 650T TAFE Business

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5292 - Diploma of Legal Services

Course Contact : Robyn Lang

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925-1565

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Nominal Hours: 40

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to undertake legal research using secondary sources and under supervision. This includes identifying research requirements and sources of information, applying information to a set of facts, evaluating the quality of the information, and preparing and producing reports. A range of legislation, rules, regulations and codes of practice may apply to this unit at the time of endorsement, depending on job roles and jurisdictions.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

BSBRES502A Research legal information using secondary sources


1. Identify specific legal data and information requirements

Performance Criteria:

1.1. Liaise with designated person to clarify specific legal data and information needs
1.2. Prepare research plan and prioritise activities
1.3. Identify resources and technical requirements
1.4. Assign timelines to tasks and delegate tasks where appropriate


2. Undertake research

Performance Criteria:

2.1. Identify sources of legal data and information
2.2. Research and identify key information to be extracted


3. Review research

Performance Criteria:

3.1. Check information to ensure that extracted details are acknowledged and recorded for copyright and other legal requirements
3.2. Analyse legal data and information for relevance to facts
3.3. Edit and collate legal data and information to fit research and relevant legal and ethical requirements


4. Prepare drafts

Performance Criteria:

4.1. Draft document in appropriate format taking into account precedent documents and using appropriate language
4.2. Present legal data and information according to organisation's policies and procedures and legal requirements
4.3. Evaluate draft against previously identified criteria and take action to address identified gaps or deficits
4.4. Liaise with supervisor to review document
4.5. Make amendments where necessary


5. Prepare final draft

Performance Criteria:

5.1. Identify key points and prepare executive summary, where appropriate
5.2. Prepare appendices, bibliography and table of contents as required
5.3. Check final draft and present it to supervisor for review and sign-off
5.4. Make arrangements to disseminate report as required

Learning Outcomes

Details of Learning Activities

A range of learning activities are planned for this course including face to face workshops and self-paced online activities. Students will be involved in applied learning, problem based learning and hands on activities in the workshops. The on-line activities will be delivered via blackboard and include a students’ contribution to discussion threads, quizzes, research exercises and opportunities to practice acquired skills in a simulated/real workplace environment. Mentor support will be provided via email, Blackboard and/or discussion board between workshops for students requesting further assistance.

Teaching Schedule


Topic                                                   Assessment        
10 July 2012

 What is Legal Research? 
17 July2012 Secondary Sources31 July 2012
24 July 2012 Locating Acts and Bills7 August 2012
31 July 2012 • Finding Commencement Dates and Reprint Number of an Act

• Citation of Legislation

14 August 2012
7 August 2012 (Workshop) Searching using Boolean techniques /
Locating Cases
14 August 2012 Citation of Case Law28 August 2012
21 August 2012 Locating Cases4 September 2012
28 August 2012 Locating Case Law and Legislation on a subject11 September 2012
4 September 2012 Locating Judicial Consideration of an Act18 September 2012
11 September 2012 (Workshop) Legal Writing and Referencing/ Revision 
18 September 2012 Footnotes and Referencing2 October 2012
25 September 2012 Assignment 
2 October 2012 AssignmentLegal Research Assignment due 2 October 2012
9 October 2012 Test
Test (2 hour – open book)

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

There is no prescribed text.


Australian Guide to Legal Citation (Melbourne University Law Review, 3ed, 2010)
Barker J, Boolean Searching for the Web <> 11 October 2010
Bott, B and Cowley, J and Falconer, L Effective Legal Research (Lexis Nexis Butterworths, 3 ed,2007)
Campbell, E and Glasson, E and Lahore, A Legal Research Materials and Methods (Lawbook, 2ed,1979)
Cook, C et al Laying Down the Law (Lexis Nexus Butterworths, 6ed, 2005)
Crosling, G and Murphy H, How to Study Business Law (Butterworths, 3ed, 2000)
Delaney, S Electronic Legal Research (Cengage, 2ed 2009)
Ellis, E Principles and Practice of Law (Lawbook, 2005)
Enright, C and Moore, P Legal Research Traditional Skills and Modern Techniques (College of Law, 1992)
Fitzgerald, M Legal Problem Solving (Lexis Nexis, 4ed, 2007)
Hutchinson, T Researching and Writing in Law (Lawbook, 3ed, 2010)
Mann, T Essential of Business Law (Tertiary Press, 2001)
Mitchell, M and Voon, T Legal Research Manual (LBC Information Service, 2000)
McKinney, R and Childs, S Legal Research (Thomson, 5ed, 2008)
McNamara, L and Lynch, A Australian Legal Research Exercises and Tasks (Lexis Nexis Butterworths 2004)
Rozenberg P, Australian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (Lawbook, 2ed, 2003)
School of Law Deakin University Researching Australian Law (Lawbook, 1977)
Stuhmcke A, Legal Referencing (Butterworths, 1998)
Tjaden, T. Legal Research and Writing (Irwin Law, 2ed, 2004)
Watt, R Concise Legal Research (Federation Press, 5ed,2004)

Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

Assessment may incorporate a variety of methods including in-class exercises, problem-solving exercises, assignments, group or individual projects, presentations and written or practical tests, as well as homework activities.

Other activities may be workplace-based or simulate work practices. These may include the production of technical requirements documents, direct observation of workplace practices and the presentation of a portfolio of evidence. This portfolio may include documents, photographs, video and/or audio files.

Students are advised that they are likely to be asked to personally demonstrate their assessment work to their teacher to ensure that the relevant competency standards are being met. Students will be provided with feedback throughout the course to check their progress.

Assessment Tasks

Students must demonstrate an understanding of all elements of competency to be deemed competent.

A range of assessment methods are used to assess practical skills and knowledge, for example:
• direct questioning combined with review of portfolios of evidence and third party workplace reports of on-the-job performance by the candidate
• review of authenticated documents from the workplace or training environment
• demonstration of techniques

Critical aspects of assessment

Evidence of the ability to:
• conduct effective research using secondary sources according to identified information requirements and organisation’s policy, procedures and legislative requirements
• draft documents in appropriate formats and language, according to the requirements of the request and within agreed timelines
• regularly and effectively communicate with designated person and relevant others regarding all activities, actions and outcomes
• apply knowledge of relevant court processes, current legislation, legal processes and required documentation.
You are required to complete 3 tasks. You must successfully complete all 3 tasks to be deemed competent in this unit.

Task 1- Weekly Exercises
For this assessment task you are required to complete on-line legal research exercises.

Task 2- Assignment
For this assessment task you are required to choose one of two case studies and to draw upon the skills and  knowledge that you have acquired in this unit. To be deemed competent you will need to demonstrate an understanding of analysing a factual situation to locate key search terms, undertake research to identify key legislation and cases relevant to the case study,  anaylse the data and to draft and prepare a legal memorandum using appropriate legal format, language and referencing.

Task 3- Test
For this assessment task you are required to complete a two hour open book test.

Assessment tasks need to be submitted via Blackboard.

You should:
• Ensure that you submit assessments on or before the due date. If your performance in the assessment is affected by unexpected circumstances, you should consider applying for Special Consideration. Information on the process and application forms is available at;ID=ls0ydfokry9rz website.
• Always retain a copy of your assessment tasks. (hard copy and soft copy)
• When you submit work for assessment at RMIT University you need to use a cover sheet that includes a declaration and statement of authorship. You must complete, sign and submit a cover sheet with all work you submit for assessment, whether individual or group work. On the cover sheet you declare that the work you are presenting for assessment is your own work. An assignment cover sheet for submission of work for assessment is available on blackboard.
• Each page of your assessment should include footer with your name, student number, the title of the assessment, unit code and title and page numbers. For example, Julie Macpherson, 324567, Task 2, OHS2345C Ensure safe workplace, Page 1 of 10.

Marking Guide (competency):

Vocational Education and Training (VET) is based on current industry needs and the focus on preparing you for the workplace. Because VET courses are informed by practical application of knowledge and skills, they are based on a system known as ‘competency based training’ (CBT). So when you are assessed in VET it is about whether you are competent to do the job, as well as having a firm grasp on the knowledge and skills required to do that job, as opposed to traditional curriculum based education settings that are often based on knowledge retention.

You need to demonstrate you are competent in each element of the unit of competency you are studying.

You will receive feedback on each assessment task that will inform you whether you are competent or not and how well you are performing. Once competent in all elements of the unit you receive a competency grading.

Please refer to the Final Grades table below.

Marking Guide (Grading)

After achieving competency we then grade your performance in the unit; this gives you the opportunity to have the level of your performance formally recognized against industry standards and employability skills.

The grading is according to the following criteria:

We are looking for a high level of ability to complete all tasks independently as per the specifications as well as demonstrating a high level of initiative in your approach to conducting effective legal research using secondary sources according to identified information requirements and organisation’s policy, procedures and legislative requirements.

We are looking for depth of understanding of the key concepts and knowledge required in identifying sources of legal data and information . You should be able to demonstrate a thorough understanding of research techniques, identify key information to be extracted, analyse legal data for relevance to factual case studies in accordance with legal and ethical requirements.

We are looking for appropriate use of technology to assist in researching relevant legal data and outstanding analytical skills to evaluate legal data and information. In addition, we are also looking for appropriate use of technology to assist in presenting all tasks clearly and suitable for the intended audience.

We expect to see timely submission of all required assessment tasks. Students must also ensure that they evaluate their own performance and identify areas for improvement and that this is demonstrated throughout the semester.

We expect to see contributions to relevant discussions during workshops or via the discussion board. In addition your assessment tasks should demonstrate the use of accepted legal formats and demonstrate a very good understanding of legal terminology.

Final Grades table:
CHD Competent with High Distinction
CDI Competent with Distinction
CC Competent with Credit
CAG Competency Achieved – Graded
NYC Not Yet Competent
DNS Did Not Submit for assessment

Assessment Matrix

Course Overview: Access Course Overview