Lawyers must be able to do research and should be able to do it well in order to honour their obligations, be those obligations commercial, in the field of criminal justice, constitutional, judicial or academic. Yet much confusion surrounds the nature of research, the need for lawyers and law students to undertake research projects, the requirements for the dissemination of the results, and their impact on policy and practice. Why is legal research needed? What does it entail? Where should one begin? What methods are used for legal research? What are the ethical issues involved? How does one go about publishing the results of one’s research in law, and which are the appropriate publication platforms? How should the quality of legal research be judged?
Legal Research: Purpose, Planning and Publication seeks to begin answering these questions, to introduce law students to legal research, and perhaps even to open up some new perspectives for those in the legal community who wish to sharpen their research skills.
The guidelines and views in Legal Research are not offered as hard doctrine, but rather as a route map for a journey of discovery, in the course of which readers may develop their own approach to the production of valuable legal research results.
Legal Research provides an introduction to ease the way of legal researchers, especially those with little expertise and experience, and perhaps to open a debate among the more experienced lawyers, who have not yet given much thought to the matter, about developing and improving our understanding of legal research in South Africa.
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