Skip to main content

Legal Research Skills Guide: R - Locate key case law or legislation

Update the law

It's important to ensure that any cases or statutes you refer to are still considered "good law".  Consider

  • Has the Act been repealed or amended recently?
  • Has the section of the Act you are looking at been judicially considered?
  • How have subsequent cases dealt with this case? Have they overruled, distinguished or not followed the decision?

Locate key case law and legislation

The primary sources that were identified in the secondary sources are most likely the ones you will refer to in the next step of IRAC. 

Primary sources of law are the authoritative sources of law as made by law making bodies. They include:

  • Case Law - also known as Common Law or Judge-made Law
  • Legislation - includes Acts of Parliament (or Statutes) and subordinate or delegated legislation (such as regulations). 

The Case Law and Legislation sections of this guide will take you through how to find these resources.

State the relevant rules

When you have finished your research, you'll need to state the rules that apply to the issues in your problem.

This is where you can answer your issues questions that you outlined in the first step of IRAC.

  • Work through each issue in turn linking to the relevant legal principles (primary sources)
  • Support your discussion with primary sources (points of law), not secondary sources.