Course Title: Legal research method

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2011

Course Code: LAW5200

Course Title: Legal research method

School: 650T TAFE Business

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6106 - Advanced Diploma of Legal Practice

Course Contact : robyn lang

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 1565

Course Contact Email:robyn.lang@rmit.edu.au


Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Judy Dredge (Sessional Teacher)   judith.dredge@rmit.edu.au

Robyn Lang ph: 9925 1565 robyn.lang@rmit.edu.au

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

Legal Process

Course Description

To provide learners with the knowledge and skills necessary to undertake research as might be required of a person working in a legal office or in associated fields in the public and private sectors.


National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU20124 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


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 BeginningTopicAssessment
 Week 1 – 7 Feb What is Legal Research? Completion of class exercises (weekly) 50%
 Week 2 – 14 Feb Finding Sources of Legal Information 
 Week 3 – 21 Feb Electronic Searching 
 Week 4 – 28 Feb Introduction to Legal Resources on the Internet 
 Week 5 – 7 Mar Legal Citation 
 Week 6 –14 Mar Researching Secondary Sources of Law: Textbooks 
 Week 7 – 21 Mar Researching Secondary Sources of Law: Law Journal Articles 
 Week 8 – 28 Mar Researching Secondary Sources Online 
   
 Week 9 – 4 Apr Finding Case Law on a Subject 
 Week 10 – 11 Apr Finding Judicial Consideration of a Case 
 Week 11 – 18 Apr Searching Full-Text Electronic Case Law Databases 
 Mid-Semester Break (Student Vacation) - 21 to 27 April 
   
 Week 12 – 2 May Finding and Updating Legislation 
 Week 13 – 9 May Finding Legislation on a Subject 
 Week 14 – 16 May Finding Delegated Legislation 
 Week 15 – 23 May Revision 
 Week 16 – 30 May Test Test (2 hour – open book) 50%
 Week 17 – 6 June Student feedback and consultations 

The total number of scheduled hours of teaching, learning and assessment involved in this course will include all planned activities. This may incorporate face-to-face classes, lectures, workshops and seminars; wherever possible workplace visits, online learning and other forms of structured teaching and learning. The total scheduled hours includes the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including observation of work performance, discussions with supervisors and others providing third party evidence and one on one and group assessment sessions with students.


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 be by various methods as outlined for each learning outcome and may be assessed separately or together. Assessments may include class tests, written assignments, practical exercises, class discussion and use of electronic databases.


Assessment Tasks

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

Class exercises  (13)          50%
Test (2 hour, open book)    50%
                                                 ____
                                                 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 ExercisesTest
1. Analyse a fact situation and identify the research questions raised. Identify and propose legal categories to which those questions relate. X
 X
2. Analyse and evaluate sources of legal information. X X
3. Determine the format for the citation of sources of legal information. X X
4. Determine and evaluate techniques for searching for legal information in computer databases. 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
6. Determine methods of searching for case law and locate and analyse case law relevant to case study material. 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