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Legal dictionaries & encyclopaedias

Legal encyclopaedias provide a concise and comprehensive overview of all major legal subject areas.

  • good starting point, gain a quick understanding of the legal principles involved in an area of law
  • discover legislation and cases to follow up on
  • discover new terminology - useful when you search for further information (e.g. journal articles on AGIS, judgments on FirstPoint,etc.)

Dictionaries & encyclopedias

  • provide statements of legal principle, search for case, legislation references or by subject area
  • information is arranged systematically, with case and legislation references


Here's a quick video outlining the different types of secondary sources, using the example 'the Mabo case' from the chart. There are 5 quick slides to view, showing the progress of legal research, searching keywords associated with 'the Mabo case' across a legal dictionary, legal encyclopaedia and three legal journal databases, HeinOnline, AGIS Plus text and Westlaw Au journals.