What is The Laws of Australia?

A complete library of legal principles, The Laws of Australia covers over 320 topics and every Australian jurisdiction. With unmatched breadth and depth and an easy-to-read style it will quickly acquaint you with unfamiliar areas of law.

Why Choose The Laws of Australia?

A single resource for new or unfamiliar areas of the law

The Laws of Australia provides a useful reference tool covering all major areas of the law. It fills the gaps in your library when you come across an unfamiliar area of law, providing both an overview of relevant legal principles, and detailed commentary backed up by reference to cases and legislation, all written by an expert in the field.

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Breadth and Depth of coverage

The Laws of Australia covers over 320 specific topics across 36 broad subject areas. Stating the core principles of the law around a legal topic (bolded at the start of each paragraph of text) and acting as an explanatory tool or starting point for researching key substantive legislative and case law, The Laws of Australia features over 40,000 legal propositions.

Aiding your online legal research, The Laws of Australia online also provides thousands of links to our other online services such as FirstPoint, our law journals, law reports and Unreported Judgments, all in the one service, all on Westlaw AU.

With thousands upon thousands of links to these and other Thomson Reuters online services, you’re able to navigate a wealth of legal content, to find the information you need quickly, in a service tailored precisely to your needs.

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The quality of our authors

Our "Editor-in-Chief" The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG takes an active role in steering The Laws of Australia's development, meeting with us regularly to assist with commissioning priorities, deciding on new areas of law and helping to recruit highly respected authors.

Our Title Editors are experts in their field, who review all authored material prior to publication. They play a key role in ensuring the high quality of our manuscript. We pride ourselves on using well-known and respected authors. Our author team is a mix of academics and practitioners – and even some judges.

The Laws of Australia was originally published under Founding "Editor-in-Chief" John Riordan of the Victorian Bar. We pay our respects to him for his enormous and successful undertaking.

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The benefits of legal research on The Laws of Australia on Westlaw AU

Powerful and intuitive searching
You can search for a specific principle, a case or a piece of legislation using free text searching or limit your search to a particular subject area.  Full browsing and "breadcrumb trails" help you find relevant content quickly.

Easily find related documents
You can easily find more information on the topics that matter – every document on Westlaw AU has a Related Documents tab. Plus The Laws of Australia is fully integrated with services such as FirstPoint, The Commonwealth Law Reports and Federal Court Reports.

Navigation is easy
Despite covering such a vast amount of content, the material is grouped schematically. The encyclopaedia has been logically organised into 36 main areas of law, with particular focus on comprehensive treatment of core topics. The result? Navigation is intuitive and easy because it's based on how you practice.

You can easily check for subsequent developments through clear case status flags, indicating case currency at a glance, and click through to FirstPoint to continue your research.

We're committed to an expanded updating program and the ongoing, continual improvement of the encyclopaedia’s currency. We also produce new Subtitles in response to emerging areas of law e.g. Interpretation and Use of Legal Sources restructure (released May 2013), Animals (released 2014), Cross-border Bankruptcy (released 2014), Extradition and Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (released 2015), Internet Law (released 2016), and more.


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The Hon Michael Kirby recently presented a lecture at the Australian Law Teachers' Association Conference in which he examined the strengths and failings of the law in Australia in meeting individual and community needs for legal services.

Kirby suggested that the recent over-supply of law graduates is unlikely to cure the shortfall in services. He believes that legal academics have a special duty to critique their discipline and provide a sense of engagement among lawyers (starting with law students) with the content of the laws they help to implement.

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The Laws of Australia in action


Q&A with our “Editor-in-Chief“, The Hon Michael Kirby AC. CMG, on The Laws of Australia


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