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Law: secondary sources

This guide will assist you in identifying and searching secondary sources of law.


Legal commentaries

'Commentary services, also known as looseleaf services or reporters, are useful resources for providing current information on an area of the law. [They] provide authoritative statements of legal principles and topics, supported by and linking directly to case law and legislation. As well as a thorough overview of a topic, they usually include legislation, rules, practice directions, case law and commentary. They are subject specific, and are generally more up to date than books or encyclopedias.'

- Jay Sanderson, Drossos Stamboulakis and Kim Kelly, A Practical Guide to Legal Research (Thomson Reuters, 5th ed, 2021) 134-5.

Commentary sources

Administrative law
Bankruptcy and insolvency
Commercial law
Communications and media law
Competition and consumer law
Corporations law
Criminal law
Court practice and procedure
Employment and industrial law
Energy and resources law
Equal opportunity
Family law
Insurance law
Intellectual property law
Legal Practitioners
Privacy law
Property (real and personal), conveyancing and land law
Taxation law
Torts and personal injuries
Wills and estates

CCH IntelliConnect contains commentaries on many areas of Australian law. Browse the practice areas (listed below) for commentaries, or search and then filter your results to by document type to "CCH Commentary".

  • Accounting

  • Bankruptcy and Insolvency Law

  • Business Law

  • Company and Securities Law

  • Competition, Consumer and Contract Law

  • Conveyancing & Property Law

  • Corporate Governance & Compliance Law

  • Discrimination

  • Duties & levies

  • Employment and HR

  • Environment

  • Family Law

  • GST

  • Historical Editions

  • Industrial Relations

  • Insurance Law

  • Intellectual Property

  • Litigation & Court Practice

  • Privacy

  • Social Security

  • Sports & Medical Law

  • Superannuation & Financial Planning

  • Tax

  • Tax Archives

  • Torts & Personal Injury Law

  • Trusts & Estates Law

  • Workers Compensation

  • Workplace Health and Safety

  • Worldwide Tax

Lexis Advance Pacific contains the following commentaries:

  • Austin & Black's Annotations to the Corporations Act

  • Australian Administrative Law

  • Australian Corporate Finance Law

  • Australian Corporation Law Legislation

  • Australian Corporation Law Principles & Practice

  • Australian Corporation Practice

  • Australian Family Law

  • Carter's Criminal Law of Qld

  • Civil Procedure Qld District & Magistrates Courts Practice (Archived)

  • Civil Procedure Qld Supreme Court Practice (Archived)

  • Clean Energy Law in Australia

  • College of Law Practice Papers Qld

  • Communications Law & Policy in Australia

  • Copyright & Designs

  • Court Forms, Precedents & Pleadings Qld

  • Criminal Practice & Procedure NSW

  • Cross on Evidence

  • Energy and Resources Law in Australia

  • Ford, Austin & Ramsay's Principles of Corporations Law

  • Franchising Law & Practice

  • Industrial Law Qld

  • Patents, Trade Marks & Related Rights

  • Personal Property Securities in Australia

  • Procedures Advice Manual and Immigration Legislation

  • Ritchie's Uniform Civil Procedure NSW

  • Solicitors Manual

Westlaw contains commentaries on many areas of Australian law. If you are after a known commentary, you can type it into the search box on the home page to bring it up.

To browse all commentaries, from the home page, select 'Secondary Sources', then 'Commentary'.

You can then browse all the titles to make your selection, or use the 'Topic' or 'Jurisdiction' filters to narrow the options. Selecting the 'i' symbol next to a commentary will bring up information about it, including a coverage summary.

Please note that any title with the 'Out of plan' box indicates that we do not have access to that content in our subscription.

Westlaw Australia contains (but is not limited to) the following commentaries:

  • Australasian Dispute Resolution

  • Australian Succession Law

  • Commonwealth Statutes Annotations

  • Conveyancing Manual Qld

  • Dickey's Family Law with Legislation

  • Federal Administrative Law

  • Federal Circuit Court Guidebook

  • Federal Court Practice

  • Federal Offences

  • Forbes Evidence Law in Queensland

  • High Court Practice

  • Indictable Offences Queensland

  • Land Titles Law and Practice Qld

  • Lawyers Practice Manual Qld

  • Planning and Development Law Qld

  • Property Law and Practice Qld

  • Queensland Administrative Law

  • Queensland Civil Practice

  • Queensland Sentencing Manual

  • Summary Offences Qld

The following resources contain international and foreign domestic commentaries (often called 'treatises' overseas):

AustLII has Libraries which don't have editorial commentary but can include many of the other components of legal commentaries, including topic-specific legislation, cases, journals, and in some cases special collections. 

Look under the "Libraries" content area on the red bar of the AustLII home page.

AustLII contains the following libraries:

  • Australasian Aviation Law Library
  • Australasian Law Reform Library
  • Australasian Legal History Libraries
  • Australian Electoral Law Library
  • Australian Employment and Labour Law Library
  • Australian Environmental and Planning Law Library
  • Australian Health Practitioner Law Library
  • Australian Human Rights Law Library
  • Australian Indigenous Law Library
  • Australian Privacy and Surveillance Law Library
  • Australian Taxation Law Library
  • Legal Profession Uniform Law Library (Australia)
  • Military Law and Peacekeeping Library (Australia)