Once you have located relevant materials it is necessary to check the following:
Are my secondary sources scholarly and current?
Are my secondary sources peer reviewed?
Do I have authorised versions of cases?
Do I have checked the authoritative versions of legislation?
The previous sections on case law and legislation assist you to the information you locate is up to date and still 'good law'.
This section is designed to assist you evaluate the results of your legal research and ensure you have authoritative versions of cases and statutes.
There are different ways to find out if a particular journal is peer reviewed (refereed):
All Australian jurisdictions have a set of official or 'that have been given official approval by the judiciary (Council of Law Reporting). These are referred to as 'authorised' law reports. Whether citing such cases in your assignment or using in court, it is important to always use the authorised citation of the case where possible.
You can check whether you have the authorised version by looking through our list of Authorised Reports.
Online compilations of Commonwealth legislation are authoritative and can be used in legal proceedings, as outlined in the Evidence Amendment Act (Cth). An authoritative online compilation from the Federal Register of Legislation will always be in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format and will display the symbol .
In Tasmania, the online compilation of an act is not recognised as authoritative. Paper reprints are the official authorised version of Tasmanian legislation, and it is this version which should be taken to court. Up to date paper statutes are held the law library of Tasmania.