Course Title: Legal Research Method

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2008

Course Code: JUST5010

Course Title: Legal Research Method

School: 650T TAFE Business

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6070 - Advanced Diploma of Business (Legal Practice)

Course Contact : Peter Snowdon

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 5852

Course Contact Email:peter.snowdon@rmit.edu.au


Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Nominal Hours: 51

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

LAW5040 Legal Process [VBM898]

Course Description

This module covers identifying research questions and legal categories to which they belong, finding sources of legal information, computer searching techniques, citing legal information, searching for secondary sources of legal information, searching for case law and searching for legislation and delegated legislation.


National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VBM913 Legal Research Method


Learning Outcomes


1. Analyse a fact situation and identify the research questions raised. Identify and propose legal categories to which those questions relate.
2. Analyse and evaluate sources of legal information.
3. Determine the format for the citation of sources of legal information.
4. Determine and evaluate techniques for searching for legal information in computer databases.
5. Identify secondary sources of legal information, search secondary sources and locate and analyse legal information relevant to case study material.
6. Determine methods of searching for case law and locate and analyse case law relevant to case study material.
7. Evaluate methods of searching for legislation and locate and analyse legislation relevant to case study material.
8. Analyse and determine methods of finding delegated legislation and locate and analyse delegated legislation relevant to case study material.


Details of Learning Activities

Students will study Legal Research Method skills and theory in classroom sessions and through prescribed exercises and assessment work. These concepts will also be explored through the investigation of appropriate real world and simulated environments.


Teaching Schedule

    Week Beginning    Topic    Assessment
 Week 1 – 7 Jul What is Legal Research? Completion of class exercises (weekly) 50%
 Week 2 – 14 Jul Finding Sources of Legal Information 
 Week 3 – 21 Jul Electronic Searching 
 Week 4 – 28 Jul Introduction to Legal Resources on the Internet 
 Week 5 – 4 Aug Legal Citation 
 Week 6 – 11 Aug Researching Secondary Sources of Law: Textbooks 
 Week 7 – 18 Aug Researching Secondary Sources of Law: Law Journal Articles 
 Week 8 – 25 Aug Researching Secondary Sources Online 
  Mid-Semester Break (Student Vacation) - 1 to 5 Sept 
 Week 9 – 8 Sept Finding Case Law on a Subject 
 Week 10 – 15 Sept Finding Judicial Consideration of a Case 
 Week 11 – 22 Sept Searching Full-Text Electronic Case Law Databases 
 Week 12 – 29 Sept Finding and Updating Legislation 
 Week 13 – 6 Oct Test Test (1 hour – open book) 20%
 Week 14 – 13 Oct Finding Legislation on a Subject 
 Week 15 – 20 Oct Finding Delegated Legislation 
 Week 16 – 27 Oct Independent work on research essay Research Essay due 30%
 Week 17 – 3 Nov Student consultations (Tue public holiday - Melbourne Cup)
 
 Week 18 – 10 Nov Student feedback and review of assessment 


Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Bott B, Cowley J & Falconer L, Nemes & Coss’ Effective Legal Research 3rd ed (

Sydney : LexisNexis Butterworths, 2007)


References

Butterworths Legal Research Guide (Sydney: Butterworths, 1995)

Campbell E, Fox R & Kewley G, Students' Guide to Legal Writing (Sydney: Federation Press, 1998)

Campbell E, Poh York L and Tooher J, Legal Research: Materials and Methods 4th ed (Sydney: LBC Information Services, 1996)

Cook, Creyke et al, Laying Down the Law 6th ed (Sydney: LexisNexis Butterworths, 2005)

Dayal S, e-law research (Sydney: Butterworths 2000)

Enright, C, Studying Law 5th ed (Sydney: Federation Press, 1995)

Hutchinson T, Researching and Writing in Law 2nd ed (Sydney: Lawbook Co 2006)

McGregor – Lowndes M and Davidson A, The Internet for Lawyers (Sydney: LBC Information Services, 1997)

McNamara L & Lynch A, Australian Legal Research – Exercises & Tasks 3rd ed (Sydney: LexisNexis Butterworths, 2004)

Milne S and Tucker K, A Practical Guide to Legal Research (Sydney: Lawbook Co, 2008)

Mitchell A D and Voon T, Legal Research Manual (Sydney: LBC Information Services, 2000)

Research Staff School of Law Deakin University, Researching Australian Law (Sydney: LBC Information Services, 1997)

Rozenberg P, Australian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation 2nd ed (Sydney: Lawbook Co, 2003)

Stuhmcke A, Legal Referencing (Sydney: Butterworths, 1998)

Watt R, Concise Legal Research 5th ed (Sydney: Federation Press, 2004)

Wolski B, Field D and Bahrij J, Legal Skills A Practical Guide for Students (Sydney: Lawbook Co, 2006)


Other Resources

Online Resources

Australian Legal Sites (http://www.dlsweb.rmit.edu.au/just5010)
Australian Guide to Legal Citation 2nd ed (Melbourne University Law Review Assoc Inc, 2002) (http://mulr.law.unimelb.edu.au/aglc.asp)
Austlii (http://www.austlii.edu.au)
ComLaw (http://www.comlaw.gov.au)
Victorian Law Today (http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au)

Access the following online full-text legal databases via the RMIT library’s Search it page (http://www.rmit.edu.au/library)

CCH Online (http://www.cch.com.au)
HeinOnline (http://heinonline.org)
Lawbook Online (http://www.thomson.com.au)
LawOne (http://www.timebase.com.au/index.cfm)
LexisNexis AU (http://http://www.lexisnexis.com.au)


Overview of Assessment

Assessment will consist of assignments, in-class practical exercises and a written test.


Assessment Tasks

Assessment that the learning outcomes have been achieved will be by:

Class exercises  (13)                   50%
Test (1 hour, open book)            20%
Research essay (2,500 words)   30%
                                                 ____
                                                 100%

To pass this course students must satisfactorily complete all assessment and have a total mark of not less than 50%.


Assessment Matrix

  Learning OutcomeClass ExercisesResearch EssayTest
1. Analyse a fact situation and identify the research questions raised. Identify and propose legal categories to which those questions relate. X
 X X
2. Analyse and evaluate sources of legal information. X X X
3. Determine the format for the citation of sources of legal information. X X X
4. Determine and evaluate techniques for searching for legal information in computer databases. X X  X
5. Identify secondary sources of legal information, search secondary sources and locate and analyse legal information relevant to case study material. X X X
6. Determine methods of searching for case law and locate and analyse case law relevant to case study material. X X X
7. Evaluate methods of searching for legislation and locate and analyse legislation relevant to case study material. X X 
8. Analyse and determine methods of finding delegated legislation and locate and analyse delegated legislation relevant to case study material. X X 

Course Overview: Access Course Overview