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A guide to Australian legal research resources

The Australian Legal System

Australia is a parliamentary democracy.  The Australian Constitution of 1901 established a federal system of government in Australia. Under this system, powers are distributed between a national government (the Commonwealth) and the six States. The Constitution defines the boundaries of law-making powers between the Commonwealth and the States/Territories.

As well as the six States (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia) there are three self -governing territories - Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, and Norfolk Island.

The legal system, a common law system, was inherited from England at the time of colonisation. The two major sources of Australian law are:

Cases - the decisions made by judges in the courts; and

Legislation - the legal rules made by parliament and by those to whom parliament has delegated authority.

(from Parliament an Overview)

Books on the Australian Legal System

Resources on the Australian Legal System

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