Skip to Main Content

Australia: legal resources: Books


The majority of books held by the Bodleian Libraries, in both physical and electronic formats, can be searched via SOLO. On this page you will find recommended books, guidance on how to search for and access print and ebooks, and libraries in the University that might be relevant for your studies and research.

Finding books in the Bodleian Law Library

Use the tabs above to understand how the Law Bod's collection is arranged. There is an Enquiry Desk on Level 2, just as you enter the main Reading Room: please do come and have a word if you are having any difficulty in using the library.

Looking for a Reading List title?

When you search SOLO for books on your Oxford Law Faculty Reading List you may find that the location is shown as Law Library Reserve Collection. Books in this collection must be asked for at the Enquiry Desk on Level 2. Please remember to bring your Oxford University Card or your Bodleian Reader's Card when you come to the Desk.
Note.  The books in the Reserve Collection are available to all categories of readers (not just those on the particular course),

Help with finding books

The Law Library's collection is fully catalogued on SOLO, Oxford  University's online resource discovery tool. For those wishing to learn more about using searches, we recommend the following:

Tips for using the old print volumes

Halsbury's Laws of Australia

Research tips  Please note these tips are for paper research up to 2010

The Law Bod as an historic print copy of Halsbury's Laws of Australia. It ceased being up dated in 2010.

Volumes 1-28 arrange content under alphabetically listed 'titles'.

Each volume contains Tables of Contents, Cases, Statutes and an index of words and phrases used in each title.

The information is arranged according to paragraph numbers, which appear in square brackets. The first number referes to the title number, and the second is the paragraph number , eg [110-235]
 110 - contract law 
    235 - international sale of goods

Using the service 

1.    First consult the Index volume and note the topic number in square brackets.
2.    Check the tab at the back of the Index volume called Title Locator to find which volume contains the Title you are searching.
3.    Once you have located the relevant paragraph, also look at the Notes section at the end of the paragraph, which refers to any relevant cases, statutes, books and journal articles.

By Subject

Consult the index volume and note the most relevant references and locate these references in the main volumes.


Consult the Table of Statutes to find references to title and paragraph numbers in the main volumes.
The Tables of Statutes can also be found in the main volumes behind the Contents-Tables guide card. These tables are limited to legislation covered by that volume.


Use the Table of Cases to find references to relevant title and paragraph numbers in the main volumes.
The Tables of Cases"can also be found at the beginning of each main volume. These tables will only apply to the cases covered in that volume.

Laws of Australia

Research tips  Please note these tips are for paper research up to 2005.

The Laws of Australia consists of:
•    Main title volumes: each title will have its own Table of Contents, Table of Cases, Table of Legislation and Index. Each title is updated with blue supplementary pages. Like Halsbury's, the paragraphs are numbered with square brackets. The number in bold indicates the title number, the number after the colon is the paragraph number, for example in the binder titled Evidence, there is a reference: 16.6:23
•    16.6 - Computer produced evidence
•    23 -  admissibility as a business record
•    Consolidated Index: alphabetical listing of subjects and subdivisions covered. Includes words and phrases legally defined under a separate heading.
•    Consolidated Table of Cases: lists all cases considered and referred to throughout the volumes.
•    Consolidated Table of Legislation: lists all legislation considered and referred to, including subordinate legislation, international conventions and rulings of regulatory bodies.

Subject searching:
Either consult the Consolidated Index or look up the references under the main title. Check the currency of the information because our volumes have not been updated since 2005. The date of currency is on the reverse of the title page.  If there are any blue Supplement sheets, check these to see if the paragraph number has been updated.
To update further, cross reference to The Australian Digest. Each subtitle in The Australian Digest has a detailed comparative table of the paragraph numbers used in The Laws of Australia.
Alternatively, comparative tables can also be found behind each subtitle tab card in the main volumes of The Laws of Australia. In the Australian Legal Monthly Digest, the Laws of Australia-Australian Digest Cross References Table can be found in the Cumulative Tables after the Table of Abbreviations.
Check the Updater in the Cumulative Tables to locate any recent cases.

Locating a case
Use the Consolidated Table of Cases to find titles, subtitles and paragraph numbers which consider or refer to the cases. References are to authorised reports and to paragraph numbers in the main volumes. There is a Table of Cases located at the beginning of each title which is more specific.
Updating is the same as described under Subject searching.

Finding Legislation
Use the Consolidated Table of Legislation to find titles and paragraph numbers that refer to or consider the legislation you are interested in. There is a Table of Legislation located at the beginning of each title.

Australian Legal Encyclopedia available to holders of an Oxford SSO

Halsbury's Laws of Australia is part of LexisLibrary

The Law Bod's collection is shelved over four floors. An interest in Australian law may well see you visiting at least three! These floors are connected by both stairs and a lift. Please feel free to ask a member of staff for directions when you visit the Law Bod, but the following is designed to give you a basic understanding.

All current monographs on Australian law and legal system are on Level 2, as part of a sequence arranged initially by legal subject/topic rather than jurisdiction. Books in this subject sequence all have shelf marks beginning KB to KN

Below are some examples of the classification system at work - with Australian books as examples. In many sections a A8 or AUS in the third line of the shelf mark is what to look out for!

KB Biography, Memoirs, "popular" accounts of trials 

KB.15.AUS.GAU 2010 From Moree to Mabo : the Mary Gaudron Story

KC Domestic law with international dimension

eg KC.214.AUS.AUG 1995 Extradition : Australian Law and Procedure

KL Legal System, Administration of Justice

KL.26 is just for books on the Australian legal system

KL.176 Legal reform (federal level)
KL.177 plus three letter State code for legal reform in individual states/territories

In most of the other KL shelf marks,  A8 in the third line identifies an Australian-focused work.
KL.251.A8.APP 2016 The Role of the Solicitor-General : Negotiating Law, Politics and the Public Interest

KM Public Law 

A8 in the third line of the shelf mark indicates a work looking at the Australian handling of the public law topic.

eg KM.335.A8.BAR 2020 Foundations of Taxation Law

KN Private Law

A8 in the third line of the shelf mark indicates a work about the Australian handling of a private law topic.

eg KN.170.A8.SLA 2014 Family law made simple : marriage, divorce, children, separation & the legal system 

Superseded editions : (sec coll) at the end of Law Library shelf marks

These are in the secondary collection of superseded works on the Ground Floor. You are very welcome to consult them should you wish to - there are both stairs and a lift between floors. There are desks on the ground floor - but if you would rather bring secondary collection (hence sec coll) materials up to another floor please feel free to do so. Some of older superseded editions will have shelf marks beginning Cw Austral 510 and ending "sec coll." These are also on the ground floor, but in a separate run to the those with shelf marks beginning K. The book cases are clearly labelled, but please ask for help at the Enquiry Desk on Level 2 if you are having difficulties finding things.

We would be grateful if, when you have finished for the day, you would put the volumes on the nearest book trolley, on whichever floor you have been reading them, regardless of where they might be shelved.

On Level 2, the level at which you enter the Law Library, an area of the open shelf collection has books with shelf marks beginning General.
This is where you will find comparative studies, and works surveying the response to legal problems in two or more jurisdictions. 
Sometimes the comparison will be between Australian law and a couple of other jurisdictions, while other titles adopt a wider "world survey" approach.

Also on Level 2 is a smaller collection with shelf marks beginning Cw Gen. This has books where all the jurisdictions under comparison are (or were) members of the Commonwealth  (the voluntary association of 54 independent and equal countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific).

 These collections are on Level 2, but not side by side or continuous. Please ask a member of staff for directions when in the Libary.

On Level 2, the level at which you enter the Law Library, an area of the open shelf collection has books with shelf marks beginning Jurisp (short for jurisprudence or legal philosophy .  Within this section the books are arranged by the last name of author or editor. This is where, for example, you will find both the works by John Finnis and also those by other legal philosophers commenting on his work.

As the Law Library moves to the Moys Classification Scheme, you may find legal philosophy books with shelf marks beginning KA .
KA titles are probably described on SOLO as being in the Law Reserve Collection. Please ask for these books at the Law Enquiry Desk - and remember to bring your University or Bodleian Reader's card with you, as these heavily used titles are issued to you for use in the Library. You can keep reading them for the rest of day if you like - but we do ask that you return them to the Enquiry Desk as soon as possible after you have finished consulting them. 
KA books not held in the LAw Reserve collection are on Level 2 - but a few shelves away from those with shelf marks beginning Jurisp.

The Enquiry Desk is also on Level 2 - please come and ask if you are having any difficulties finding the books you need.

On Level 3,  one floor above the entrance level to the Law Library, an area of the open shelf collection has books with shelf marks beginning Internat  (short for public international law). These books are further arranged by topic as described below.

Also on Level 3 is an area of the open shelf collection with books with shelf marks beginning Private Int. (This is short for private international law or conflict of laws as it is sometimes called.) In this section books are simply arranged by the last name of the author or editor, not by topic.

Subject arrangement of Internat

The public international law collection on Level 3 is subdivided by broad areas of law. The divisions used are listed alphabetically below, with the corresponding shelf mark alongside. Within each shelf mark the books are next arranged by author/editor.

Air law  Internat 640

Atomic energy  Internat 600

Dependent states and special regimes  Internat 535

Economic law  Internat 590

European Court of Human Rights: literature Internat 575

General and theory Internat 500

History  Internat 510

Human rights  Internat 570

International crimes  Internat 580

International relations  Internat 660

Jurisdiction of states  Internat 560

Law of the sea and waterways  Internat 630

Nationality  Internat 565

Recognition   Internat 545

Servitudes  Internat 550

Social legislation and organisation  Internat 610

Space law  Internat 650

State responsibility  Internat 555

State succession  Internat 540

The state (as a legal entity)  Internat 530

Title to territory  Internat 520

Transport and communications (except sea, air and space)  Internat 620

Treaties (theory etc.)  Internat 670

International organisations History and general  Internat 680

General and regional political organisations Internat 681

League of Nations: general Internat 685

League of Nations: publications (series) Internat 686

United Nations: general  Internat 687

United Nations: publications (series)  Internat 688

Peace and disarmament Internat 700

International disputes and arbitration  General and theory  Internat 710 

Individual arbitration tribunals: literature Internat 740

International courts and tribunals: general Internat 720

Permanent Court of Arbitration: literature  Internat 730

Permanent Court of International Justice and the International Court of Justice: literature  Internat 725

Termination of war (including specific peace treaties)  Internat 760 

Further guidance on particular aspects

Various topics of Australian law are considered on other pages on this guide: content includes guidance on books in our collection.

Introduction to Australian law & legal education:

Recommend a book

If the Bodleian Libraries don't have the print or ebook you are looking for, you can make a recommendation by completing the form below (Oxford Single-Sign On required).

Inter-library requests

If the Bodleian Libraries don't have the book you are looking for, we may be able to source it through Oxford's inter-library request service.

Why are some books not available electronically?

There are a number of reasons why the Bodleian Libraries may be unable to provide electronic access to a resource. The ebooks guide explains some of these reasons: