Law dictionaries are useful for defining words and explaining concepts.
The print collection at and around K120 includes Butterworths New Zealand Law Dictionary (K120.5 HM93 2005), Black's law directory (K120.5 BL64) and other general law dictionaries, and dictionaries for specific jurisdictions and subjects.
Online sources include:
A legal encyclopedia is like a huge, comprehensive textbook, arranged alphabetically by title. It's a great place to start, especially for unfamiliar topics, as it will give you an overview, plus references to legislation and cases.
Key print sources:
Key online sources:
Here are this week's new books, currently on display in the Law Library, opposite the Desk.
Also on display: journals, report series and current awareness tools like Butterworths Current Law and The Capital Letter.
If you need a book that is not available here at Otago, you can borrow it from another NZ or Australian library for free! Request them through our Inter-library Loan Service.
Want help? Just ask.
Secondary sources are a good starting point for legal research. You get an overview of the topic, and references to primary sources (e.g. legislation and case law). But don't rely on secondary sources - they are not the law; and they are not always up-to-date either.
This page has information about
There are a number of places to look for e-books (electronic books) and articles.
You can search or browse specific collections in general publishers' databases - this is particularly useful for inter-disciplinary research. Here are some e-collections with law-related content:
Use Library Search | Ketu to find books that will help with your legal research:
We recommend using an index to find relevant articles - it's usually simpler and more efficient than full-text searching.
Start with LinxPlus - good for New Zealand content; then move on to LegalTrac, because it's bigger.
If you don't get a link to the full text, try Library Search | Ketu to find the journal title - try an advanced search,material type journals, and search for the title of the journal that contains your article.
For earlier material (anything before the mid-1980s), you'll want print sources as well - just ask.
Commentary refers to a certain kind of publication of expert opinion, for example, Adams on Criminal Law, or Morison's Company Law. The aim is to bring together everything you might need to know about an area of law - legislation, cases, commentary - in one, easy-to-update package, so you need never leave your desk. They are used a lot in practice.
Check the Law databases page to see what online commentary we have available, or explore the major database sites, or just ask.
Law commission reports are part of the law reform process. They offer a valuable critique of existing law, plus proposals for change.
You can find law commission reports
Online sources include: