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Legal Research

Legal Research: A Guide for Hong Kong Students

Copyright Date: 1997
Pages: 324
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  • Book Info
    Legal Research
    Book Description:

    This book is designed especially for use in Hong Kong to teach the basic skills of finding legal materials, both printed and computer-based ones. Its objective is to help students explore the range of materials which they will use in the course of their legal education, and thereafter in the practice of law. To illuminate the study of law, research involving non-legal materials is also provided. Law students at university will find this book an indispensable guide to legal research, and so will thousands of Hong Kong residents who study law as part-time courses. Practitioners, especially those in the early stages of their careers, or those unfamiliar with Hong Kong materials because they have come from another jurisdiction, will also find this book useful. Even the established members of the profession who are not too familiar with CD-ROM and On-line databases will also benefit.

    eISBN: 978-988-220-202-3
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Jill Cottrell
  4. Unit 1 Welcome to the Study of Law
    (pp. 1-4)

    There is a risk that the formal study of any subject can make it sterile and boring — people who love reading novels may decide they don’t want to be university students of literature because they do not want to lose the beauty in the process of analysing the techniques and dissecting the language. Rather the same thing can happen with the study of law.

    But the chances are that you do not think of law as having beauty. There are certain legal devices which have a certain elegance. There are some judges who have expressed themselves with wit and style....

  5. Unit 2 This Book: Its Organization, Purposes and Assumptions
    (pp. 5-10)

    At the end of this Unit you will:

    understand the purposes for which this book is written

    know what elements the book contains and how to find the bits of it you need

    understand the symbols used in the book...

  6. Unit 3 Legal Research: Preliminary Thoughts
    (pp. 11-20)

    At the end of this Unit you will:

    have an elementary idea of some of the sorts of writing you will be likely to do as a law student

    understand something about the sorts of things you might specifically be expected to write as a first year student

    have a clearer idea of what is meant by ‘Research’ in the context of law study...

  7. Unit 4 Cases: An Introduction
    (pp. 21-42)

    By the end of this Unit you will:

    understand several related meanings of the word ‘Case’

    have given a little thought to the question of how ‘cases’ originate

    know why you might want to read a case

    know what to expect to be able to find in an unreported case

    know what you might find in the reported version of a case

    be alerted to the different ways in which cases may be named and referred to

    know what might go into a simple ‘Casenote’ for your own purposes...

  8. Unit 5 Law Reports
    (pp. 43-60)

    By the end of this Unit you will:

    have a general understanding of how the system of law reporting developed, and the importance of a system of law reporting

    be familiar with the names and scope of all Hong Kong series of law reports and the major United Kingdom ones

    have an understanding of the principles on which cases are reported

    understand which law reports series to use if you have a choice...

  9. Unit 6 Finding Cases (I)
    (pp. 61-76)

    By the end of this Unit you will:

    know the customary abbreviation for the major series of law reports you are likely to use as a student, and where to find the meaning of those which you do not know

    understand when square brackets and when round brackets are used in case (and journal) references

    be able to find within 3 minutes any case which is in the library if you have the correct reference, assuming the relevant volume is in its correct place on the shelf

    know how unreported Hong Kong cases are kept and how they are to...

  10. Unit 7 Finding Cases (II)
    (pp. 77-90)

    By the end of this Unit you will:

    be able to find a case even though you have only the name and not the full citation

    be able to trace how later courts have dealt with a case

    be able to find a case on a particular topic...

  11. Unit 8 Introduction to Legislation
    (pp. 91-102)

    By the end of this Unit you will:

    understand in broad terms the nature of legislation

    understand the distinction between an Act and an Ordinance

    understand the distinction between a statute and a delegated legislation

    understand what elements will be found in a statute

    have some understanding of why you might need to read a statute...

  12. Unit 9 Reading a Statute
    (pp. 103-124)

    By the end of this Unit you will:

    have read carefully one statute

    be beginning to overcome your fear of reading statutes

    understand why it is important to get a sense of the whole of any statute and not just concentrate on sections which appear relevant at first sight

    have taken your first steps in developing the skill of applying a statute to a set of facts

    know some of the things which the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance does

    understand where, within and outside the bounds of an individual statute, you may be able to find help in understanding...

  13. Unit 10 Finding Legislation and Related Matters
    (pp. 125-148)

    By the end of this Unit you will:

    be able to find the text of a statute as it was passed by the Legislature

    be able to find the text of a statute as amended to-date or at a particular point in the past

    be able to find subsidiary legislation

    be able to find out whether a statute has been cited in a case

    be able to find out whether a piece of UK legislation has been copied in Hong Kong

    be able to find out whether a piece of legislation is in force...

  14. Unit 11 Approaching Research
    (pp. 149-162)

    By the end of this Unit you will:

    have given some more thought to the types of research you may find yourself engaged in

    know something about the different types of secondary literature which you may wish to use

    have an idea about breaking down problems and research topics

    be able to use your imagination to think of words and phrases which you might want to look up in catalogues and indexes...

  15. Unit 12 General Works of Reference
    (pp. 163-188)

    By the end of this Unit you will be able to use the following works of reference:

    Hong Kong Law Digest/Yearbook

    Current Law Hong Kong

    Halsbury’s Laws of Hong Kong

    Current Law

    Halsbury’s Laws of England

    The Digest...

  16. Unit 13 Journals
    (pp. 189-206)

    By the end of this Unit you will:

    understand the various purposes that a law journal may serve and the sorts of material it may contain

    know the names of the main journals you are likely to encounter, at least as a first year student

    know how to locate articles in the journals

    know how to use the paper versions of indexes to legal periodicals

    know how to use the electronic versions of the same indexes...

  17. Unit 14 Government Publications
    (pp. 207-214)

    The purpose of this Unit is to introduce you to publications of the Hong Kong Government (and very briefly to those of the UK)....

  18. Unit 15 Other Law-Related Materials
    (pp. 215-224)

    By the end of this Unit you will be familiar with:

    works of reference of particular relevance to practitioners in Hong Kong

    some other sorts of material which may be of use to lawyers and law students

    the sorts of information published by the legal profession itself...

  19. Unit 16 Other Systems
    (pp. 225-268)

    By the end of this Unit you will:

    be aware of a number of situations in which you might wish to consult the law of jurisdictions other than Hong Kong and the UK

    know which countries in the world are the principal common law jurisdictions

    know the names of some civil law jurisdictions, and understand what ‘civil law’ means

    be aware of the main sources (which you are likely to have access to) on the law of the major common law countries, and some which while not ‘main’ are geographically close to Hong Kong

    be able to find cases and...

  20. Unit 17 ‘Non-Law’ Materials
    (pp. 269-274)

    By the end of this Unit you will:

    have given some thought to the possible relevance to your studies of books which are not, or not primarily, about law

    have some appreciation of the range of journals not primarily about law which may be relevant to your studies

    be aware of some of the indexes and abstracts which help you find relevant ‘non-law’ material, including CD-ROM databases...

  21. Unit 18 Electronic Sources
    (pp. 275-284)



    By the end of this Unit you will:

    have a clearer idea of what resources are available through the Internet, including the Hong Kong Bilingual Laws Information Service (BLIS), and on LEXIS

    know some search techniques for simple searches

    have practised finding material on BLIS...

  22. Unit 19 How to Cite, Quote and Present Your Material
    (pp. 285-294)

    By the end of this Unit you will:

    know the correct way to refer to all the various types of legal material which you have learned to use and find in the earlier Units

    understand why this is important

    have given some thought to the habits and practices which you need to develop in order to be able to ensure you can cite correctly without frustration

    be able to present a piece of writing such as an essay in a way which looks professional...

  23. Appendix I Law Libraries in Hong Kong
    (pp. 295-298)
  24. Appendix II A Dictionary
    (pp. 299-304)
  25. Appendix III Abbreviations
    (pp. 305-306)
  26. Appendix IV Case Reference Numbers in Hong Kong
    (pp. 307-310)