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Law: Getting started


Welcome to the guide for Law.

Each section of this guide contains collections, search tools, suggested resources and assistance to help you with your research and studies in this field. This page will get you started with the legal research process.

If you are new to legal research you should also work through the Legal Research Skills Guide.

Legal research process

In general, when starting your legal research, it's good to start with secondary resources and then proceed to the primary resources.

Throughout your law degree at Charles Sturt University, you'll use the IRAC method when structuring your answers to legal problems.

The infographic below shows where the Library resources (primary & secondary) fit into the IRAC method. Using secondary resources in the Rules and relevant law stage will help you when writing your assessment tasks, you'll be better equipped to explain the relevant law with supporting materials.


IRAC Legal Problem Solving

The IRAC Method provides a structure to help you answer legal problems.

Use your legal research skills when completing step R.

Find recommended resources and search tools in the Law Library Guide.


List the facts you know.

Identify the issues or legal principles you need to discuss.

Aim to phrase them as a question e.g. What are the elements of the tort of negligence?

Rules and relevant law

Use secondary sources to gather background information and identify the relevant law.

Update the law by checking case citators and legislation amendments.

State the relevant law in relation to the legal issues.


Apply the relevant law to your legal problem/scenario.

Work through each legal issue in turn.


Arrive at a considered conclusion.

State what you think is the most appropriate outcome for your legal scenario.


Legal research books

Here is a selection of books available in the Library on legal research:

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