chapter  Chapter 3
34 Pages

Legal Research – TechniquesaAnd Tips

WithPeter Clinch

An effective law librarian is like high-grade oil in the engine of a top-performance legal organization. The law librarian is the intermediary between the enquirer and the sources of law. A legal information professional usually undertakes research on behalf and for the benefit of someone else and is in fact assisting in the fulfillment of the middle stage in the process of legal research. In terms of legal research needs, it can be split crudely into those requiring academic sources and those requiring practitioner sources, with many overlaps. Academic and vocational lawyers require access to a wide range of legal sources, but a central core, comprising the primary sources of law (legislation and case law), will be common to both. Parliaments or legislatures – the bodies responsible for making or amending laws – have their own ‘sphere of influence’ or, more correctly, ‘jurisdiction’, limited to a particular geographical area.