From Law Library's Legal Research Skills Wiki

Main: Legislation

Westlaw NZ and Lexis Advance offer integration of statute and commentary/case law. This makes research a much less daunting process. When it comes to legislation there is a great deal of similarity in terms of what is included in the different databases. NZLII's point of difference is that it houses a great deal more historic material unavailable elsewhere, but it is clunkier to search and lacks integration with case law and secondary sources. If you are just looking for a piece of legislation as it currently stands and were uninterested in related material then you might try searching This is the official repository of New Zealand legislation and while it does not offer access to discursive material it is very easy to use.


General Information

Statutes, Regulations and other types of New Zealand legislation are in Westlaw NZ's Legislation and Commentary collection. The collection includes all legislation currently in force, proposed legislation as well as legislation repealed after 1995. Use the the + symbols to see more content within a collection or sub-collection. When you "drill down" into the legislation and commentary part you'll notice that legislation sources are at the top of the list, followed by various commentary titles e.g. Adams on Criminal Law.

To find out more information about a product click the information symbol.  

Finding Information

Click the Legislation and Commentary link to bring up the advanced search template to search for a particular section of an Act. Use the tick boxes to control which parts of the Legislation and Commentary collection you are searching (for example to exclude old or prospective legislation untick the boxes associated with those things).If you want to see whether a word has a particular meaning in statute law (aka "legislative definition") used the defined terms field on the Legislation and commentary template.

Finding an Act by Title
Duration 2m 37s

  • Introduction to locating legislation
  • Legislation and commentary template
  • Locating a specific section of an Act
  • Finding amending legislation and updates

Keyword searching
Duration: 3m 44s

  • Search statement
  • Truncation
  • Refining the search
  • Using database filters

Finding legislative definitions
Duration 3m 23s

  • Finding a legislative definition
  • Comparing results

Related Material

The tabs above the text of a section provide access to other useful resources. The number of tabs depends on which types of related material appear in the database. For example, a commentary tab only appears for those sections where Westlaw NZ has related commentary. The Related Documents tab, which appears for most sections, contains related material sorted into categories and grouped under headings - Cases, Legislation, Commentary, Journal Articles etc. Click on the heading to reveal the content.

Using the Related Documents tab
Duration 3m 11s

  • Commentary
  • Case Law
  • Amending Acts
  • Regulations (subordinate legislation)
  • Updater

Lexis Advance

Lexis Advance offers a single search box allowing across the board searching. However you can use resource type specific templates to search for legislation by title and/or provision. At the moment Bills are not available on Lexis Advance. For a basic overview of Lexis Advance features and functions click here

Finding an act by title
Duration 1m 49s

  • Using the search box to locate an Act
  • Locating a specific section
  • print/download/email options.

Keyword searching
Duration: 3m 18s

  • Searching
  • Results

Legislative Definitions
Duration: 3m 18s

  • Using Legislation template
  • Defined Terms field
  • Results

Legislation citator
Duration: 3m 06s

  • Getting to a section
  • Citator link
  • Overview and accessing linked material

Free Sources

There are two free (and publicly accessible) websites that contain New Zealand legislation. Unlike the subscription databases Westlaw NZ and LexisNexis NZ these do not offer integration with case law or other content but they do provide a means of accessing information for anyone who wishes to use them. NZLII is useful for historic material with collections of old Acts as they were first enacted, Historic Bills etc. is where you'd go to see the current law as it stands (though it does include some amendments to Acts currently in force).

Legislation on NZLII

  • Legislation on NZLII
  • Acts as enacted collection
Duration 6m 11s

  • Finding Acts on
  • tagging sections and downloading specific sections

Other jurisdictions

Many jurisdictions have official government/parliament websites and these are often the best places to look for up to date legislation. You could also try WorldLII or one of the local LII databases. Lexis and Thompson Reuters Westlaw have legislative content for jurisdictions such as the UK, Canada and the US as well as some other select jurisdictions.

See also the global regulations database.

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Page last modified on November 26, 2018, at 04:40 PM