Flinders University Library
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How to search for Acts on a topic

There are a few ways you can find legislation on a subject...

  1. use a secondary source
  2. browse a subject index to legislation
  3. search legislation websites

Secondary sources are an excellent resource to quickly learn of Acts that regulate an area of law.

Legal encyclopaedias

Search or browse for the relevant section, then look at the footnotes for references to Acts.

Books

Commentary services

Commonwealth

South Australia

All Australian jurisdictions

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How to...

Find the current version of an Act
Search for Acts on a topic (i.e. that regulate an area of law)
Find similar Acts for all Australian jurisdictions
Search for information to help interpret an Act
Find Acts as made (sessional, numbered Acts)
Find commencement dates
Check how an Act applied at a particular point in time (backdating)
Find Bills
Search for Bills on a topic (e.g. to check for recent and upcoming amendments)
Find and search for delegated legislation
Search for words & phrases defined in legislation
Search for cases that refer to or judicially considered an Act

 

Task Resources   Tips
Find the current version of an Act SA SA Legislation website

Usually updated at the same time

Print version is authorised (please see this disclaimer)

Law Library Legislation Collection
Cth ComLaw

Click on 'Acts - Current'

Acts with this logo are authorised (click here for more information)

All AustLII

1. Select the jurisdiction

2. Choose 'Consolidated Acts'

Check the 'Notes' to see when the Act was last updated

Search for Acts on a topic (i.e. that regulate an area of law) SA

 

Subject Index to South Australian Legislation  
SA Legislation website

Used Advanced Search and select:
*Category - 'Acts'                                                                                 *Version - 'Current'

Cth Wick's Subject Index to Commonwealth Legislation

Print Only
Located in the Commonwealth Legislation collection

All Secondary sources  
LawOne Can 'Browse by subject area'
AustLII Use Advanced Search to find 'Consolidated Acts' Australia-wide or from a jurisdiction
Find similar Acts for all Australian jurisdictions  

Legal encyclopaedias

If you already know of an Act from one jurisdiction

  • search for the name of that Act
  • look at the footnotes or surrounding paragraphs for details of similar Acts for other Australian jurisdictions

If you do not already know of an Act, you can search or browse either encyclopaedia by topic. Once you find a relevant paragraph on the topic, look at the footnotes for a list of Acts.

Search for information to help interpret an Act SA Hansard via SA Parliament website

Use Text Search
Search for the name of the Bill in quatation marks
Sort results by date

Hansard in print Look up the Bill in the index (at the front of each volume)
Cth EM via ComLaw EM located on Bill homepage
EM via Parliament of Australia website See below for search tips
Hansard via Parliament of Australia website

Use Advanced Search and select 'Hansard' under House of Representatives or Senate
Search for the name of the Bill in quatation marks

All EM and second reading speech via LawOne Links to these are listed under 'Additional Information' on the Bill homepage
Parliamentary websites  
Find Acts as made (sessional, numbered Acts) SA SA Legislation website Look at list of 'Acts enacted'
  Acts of the Parliament of South Australia 1837-2002

 

Cth ComLaw

Click on 'Acts - As made A-Z'

Can browse by title or year

All AustLII

1. Select the jurisdiction

2. Choose 'Numbered Acts"

LawOne

1. Select the jurisdiction

2. Chose 'Acts' under 'Legislation by year and number'

In print

1. Look for volumes labelled 'Acts' or 'Statutes' that are organised by year

2. Get the volume for the year the Act was passed

3. Look up the Act by Act number or use the title index

Find commencement dates

Check the legislative history of the Principal Act.
If not listed, check the commencement section of the Act - may be
*a date specified in the Act
*Royal assent -> check Government Gazette or an index to Bills
* a date to be fixed by proclamation -> check Government Gazette (SA also has proclamations on SA Legislation website)
If no commencement date is specified, check the provisions that regulate commencement under the Acts Interpretation Act of the jurisdiction

Check how an Act applied at a particular point in time (backdating)

SA

SA Legislation website

1. Find the current Act

2. Look at the "Historical' version that encompasses the date you are interested in

Cth

ComLaw

1. Find the current Act

2. Click on 'View Series' for superseded compilations

All

 

AustLII

1. Select the jurisdiction

2. Choose 'Acts (Point-in-time)'

Legislative history  
Find Bills

SA

SA Legislation website  

Cth

 

ComLaw

1996 - Can browse by title or year

Parliament of Australia website - ParIInfo Search

1990 - See below for search tips

All

 

AustLII  
LawOne

Browse by year OR Find the Act - the 'Details' link shows the originating Bill
Includes progress notes

Search for Bills on a topic (e.g. to check for recent and upcoming amendments) SA Index to Bills (via SA Parliament website)  
SA Legislation website Use Advanced Search and choose type 'Bills'. Search for the name of the Act you wish to check for amendments to
Cth Parliament of Australia website - ParIInfo Search See below for search tips
ComLaw Use Advanced Search and choose type 'Bills'
All AustLII  
LawOne See above for tips
Find and search for delegated legislation SA SA Legislation website

If you want to find delegated legislation made under a certain Act

  • find the Act
  • look at the list of subordinate legislation (toward the bottom of the page)
Cth ComLaw

If you you want to find delegated legislation made under a certain Act

  • find the Act
  • click on 'View Series'
  • click on 'Enables'
All LawOne

If you want to find delegated legislation made under a certain Act

  • find the Act
  • click on 'Subordinate Legislation'
Statute annotators List all Acts for a jurisdiction. Lists subordinate legislation under each enabling Act
Search for words & phrases defined in legislation All Australian Legal Words

Can search or browse Browsing may reveal alternate terms

Search for cases that refer to or judicially considered an Act All CaseBase

Use the 'Act/Regulation' boxUse w/p to include the jurisdiction (civil liability w/p sa)
Use ! to search for all subsections (31!)

FirstPoint

Use the 'Legislation Cited' box
Use * to search for all subsections (31*)

AustLII

Use the 'Noteup' link from * the Act homepage
 * the individual section

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