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University of Newcastle Library Guides

Law: Legislation: Getting started

A Library Guide to support students and staff of the University of Newcastle in finding Legislative resources

Getting started

What is legislation?

  • Legislation is a primary source of law
  • It is the law made by Parliament or its delegated authority.

The legislative process

  • The legislative process by which a Bill becomes law can be described in general terms as there are differences in details in the respective parliaments. 
  • Simply put the legislative process in NSW can be described as follows:
    • A proposal is made to change the law.
    • A Bill is then drafted.
    • The Bill is read and debated in Parliament.
    • Once the Bill passes both houses of Parliament it receives Royal Assent.
    • The Act will commence when it comes into force. 

Key Australian resources

Key international resources

The legal research process

  • Analyse the problem
    • Identify the key facts.
    • Determine the legal issues.
    • Document the research process as you go‚Äč.
  • Gather background information
    • Secondary sources of law provide information about the law.
    • They often provide the key case law and legislation on the topic.
    • Use textbooks, legal dictionaries, legal encyclopaedias, journal articles.
  • Locate the key case law and legislation
    • The primary sources of law are the authoritative sources of law made by the courts and Parliament.
  • Evaluate each resource using the following criteria: 
    • Currency: when was the information published? Is it up to date?
    • Relevance: does the information relate to your topic?
    • Authority: who wrote the information? Is it an authoritative source?
    • Accuracy: is it fact, opinion or propaganda?
    • Purpose: does the information inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
  • Update the law
    • Ensure your information is current and that the authoritative sources of law are still ‘good’ law.
  • Apply the law
    • Apply the law to the facts of your scenario.
  • Cite your references
    •  The UON Law School uses the AGLC4 referencing style.

Want to see a related Guide? Click on the image below

Law: Case Law

Find legal resources on case law.

Law: Secondary Sources

Find secondary sources for law


This guide provides undergraduates and graduates with specific resources for Criminology