Legal citation is the method lawyers use to refer to the various materials used in their writing.
The kinds of materials that lawyers use varies greatly, but they can be grouped into two basic types: primary sources and secondary sources. Primary sources are those which constitute "the law" - cases decided by the courts and legislation made by parliament.
Secondary sources are all the other materials lawyers might use - ranging from books and journal articles to newspaper reports, parliamentary debates and government reports.
Good legal citation will identify for the reader just what material is being discussed or used by the writer. It is essential for lawyers and law students to do this properly. Fortunately, it is a simple and easy-to-learn skill.
This guide is a supplementary resource to be used in consultation with the Australian Guide to Legal Citation 3rd edition. This guide will provide you with detailed style notes and examples of how to cite the law.
First year students are now expected to use the Australian Guide to Legal Citation 4th edition and are encouraged to refer to their LLB 1115: Legal Skills activities in Weeks 2 and 3 for more information.
For all other students, they may continue to use the 3rd edition, but should consult with their subject coordinators to confirm.
This information is based on the following style manual. Consult this manual directly for more detailed information: Australian Guide to Legal Citation (Melbourne University Law Review Association, 3rd ed, 2010).