Find Legal Answers collections

Last updated:  07 June 2024

The Find Legal Answers law collections range from simple pamphlets to more complex legal text books.

Find Legal Answers Tool Kit

The Find Legal Answers Tool Kit is a standardised collection of plain English books about the law. 

The books in the Tool Kit summarise and explain the law in simple terms. They provide strategies, sample letters and forms, procedural information, practical tips and references to cases and legislation. Library users can find answers to everyday questions about the law using these books.  

It is a standardised collection, held by every library service in NSW. The State Library sends you two free copies of new Tool Kit books. These are for your main library location. We recommend that one copy is not for loan. The second set can be made available for loan.

Most libraries in NSW have signed an agreement. The libraries that have signed an agreement agree to buy extra copies of the Tool Kit titles for all their branches.  

The Tool Kit is updated twice a year. It is the responsibility of each library service to ensure that new titles are added  and to remove old editions or titles.  

List of titles

Tool Kit updated April 2024

Dealing with debt: a legal guide to personal debt in NSW, by Christina Pirina and Macarthur Legal Centre. Sydney: State Library of NSW, 2022. ISBN 9781925831245. Free to public libraries.

This guide to dealing with problems with debt covers topics including the different types of debt, how to prioritise debts, where to go for help, how to negotiate with creditors, the implications of and alternatives to bankruptcy, and how to deal with court action.

Defend yourself: facing a charge in court 3rd ed, by Tim Anderson, Sydney: Federation Press, 2014. ISBN 9781862879614. Price $34.95.

A practical guide to defending a criminal charge in court which covers areas including arrest and questioning, bail, lawyers and self-representation, court procedure, pleas, trials, how to research and prepare for a criminal case, evidence, sentencing, appeals, diagrams of a magistrate’s court, character references, and warrants.

The family law handbook 5th ed, by Maree Livermore. Sydney: Thomson Reuters, 2019. ISBN 9780455242118. Price $146.00. New edition due December 2024.

A practical guide to family law, which includes information on what to do immediately after separation, how to negotiate with your former partner, how family dispute resolution works, making the best possible arrangements for children, how to achieve a fair property settlement, and what happens at court.  It also contains samples of parenting plan provisions, court orders, forms and affidavits that can be adapted for individual use. 

Fined out: a practical guide for people having problems with fines 6th ed. Sydney: Legal Aid NSW, 2024. ISBN 9780980612899. Free.

A practical guide to the NSW fines system. It provides information about how to deal with fines and contact information for services that can help people with their fines.

How to run your own court case:  a practical guide to representing yourself in Australian courts and tribunals (non-criminal cases), by Nadine Behan, 2009. Sydney: Redfern Legal Centre, 2009. ISBN 9781921410833. Out of print (available in large print from ReadHowYouWant via your large print supplier).

A simple, practical how-to guide to representing yourself in a non-criminal court or tribunal. It applies Australia-wide and covers all areas of non-criminal law, including debt, consumer claims, landlord and tenant issues, family law, and appeals of government decisions. The book can be used by both the person bringing the action and someone defending an action brought against them.  

Just a piece of paper?  Making your AVO work for you 4th ed, by Maree Livermore. Bega: Southern Women’s Group, 2017. SBN 9780646483863. Free to public libraries.

This booklet is designed to help women understand their rights and responsibilities once they have obtained an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), and gives suggestions and strategies for making an AVO more effective. It covers police response, the importance of reporting breaches, personal record keeping, aiding and abetting/entrapment, cross AVOs, AVOs and children, AVOs and family law, varying an AVO, and following up on police action.

The law handbook: your practical guide to the law in NSW 15th ed. Sydney: Thomson Reuters, 2019. ISBN 9780455243689. $134.00.

This book is the single most important plain English guide to the law in NSW. It provides a practical guide to 40 legal topics – legal issues which affect people in their everyday lives.

Mortgage stress handbook: a practical guide for people having trouble with their mortgage 5th ed. Sydney: Legal Aid NSW, 2024. ISBN: 9780980612806. Free.

The mortgage stress handbook has information about what to do if you are having difficulty paying your mortgage. It covers how to negotiate a repayment arrangement with your lender, what to do if the lender won’t agree to a repayment arrangement, what you can do to stop the lender taking possession of your home, and more.

Neighbours and the law 2nd ed, by Nadine Behan. Sydney: State Library of NSW, 2017. ISBN 0731372379. Free to NSW public libraries.

This book focuses on legal issues between neighbours, looking at some of the common disputes between neighbours such as boundary positions, fencing work, neighbourhood noise, and pet animals. It covers what a person’s rights are and what steps, both legal and practical, you can take to address a problem.

Rest assured: a legal guide to wills, estates, planning ahead & funerals in NSW 6th ed, by Rosemary Long and Trudy Coffey. Sydney: State Library of NSW, 2019. ISBN 9781925831139. Free to public libraries.

A plain language guide to wills, estates and funerals, dealing with issues such as how to make a will, how to change a will, how to make a power of attorney, planning ahead, probate, and how to arrange a funeral.

Seniors guide to consumer rights in NSW. Sydney: NSW Fair Trading, 2017. ISBN 9781921938085. Out of print.

Designed for seniors, this guide gives information on shopping rights, avoiding scams, housing, building or renovating, buying and maintaining a car, and planning ahead.

Speaking for myself: planning for later life decision-making. Sydney: Legal Aid NSW and the Benevolent Society, 2013. ISBN 9780980751727. Free.

A short and easy to understand guide to wills, power of attorney, enduring guardians, and advanced care directives.

Women and family law 13th ed. Sydney: Women’s Legal Services NSW, 2024. ISBN 9780994580870. Online only. 

An easy to read guide covering getting help, divorce, children, protection against violence and harassment, financial support for children, and property.

Women and sexual violence law 2nd ed. Sydney: Women's Legal Service NSW, 2023. ISBN 9780994580825. Free to public libraries.

This resource has information for women and girls who have been sexually assaulted, including the meaning of sexual assault, getting medical help and counselling, reporting to the police, and the legal process. 

 

Displaying the Tool Kit

We recommend that your Tool Kit is displayed in the black metal Tool Kit stand or in face-out shelving.

Many libraries, especially those recently renovated, with lower shelving, or with limited space, no longer use the black metal stand. We recommend that these libraries display the Tool Kit on face-out shelving, promoting the collection with a Tool Kit sign. 

You can order new signs for your existing Tool Kit stand or to promote your collection on face-out shelving using the promotional order form.

We recommend you display the Tool Kit flyer in your stand or with your collection.

Legal pamphlets

We recommend that you have a collection of legal pamphlets.  

Pamphlets are:

  • free
  • reliable - they come from government departments and legal organisations
  • concise and easy to read
  • able to be taken home by your community
  • often available in community languages.
Recommended list of suppliers

Following is a list of recommended pamphlets. This is not a complete list. 

Legal Aid NSW

Legal Aid NSW produces a range of pamphlets on a variety of subjects. You can search their publications by keyword, topic or language. You can also check their publications catalogue. Any of the Legal Aid pamphlets would be useful in your library.

  • Are you applying for an AVO?  
  • Are you having problems with fines?
  • Are you being squeezed for a debt?
  • Crashed your car?  
  • Drink driving charges and you
  • Drugs, driving and you  
  • Domestic violence - help at court (easy English)
  • Police powers (easy English)

Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW (EWON)

You can order general EWON publications and resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities from their Order publications page.

They also have easy to understand factsheets in 40 languages about how EWON can help resolve issues with energy or water providers, opening/closing accounts and payment assistance, as well as videos in Mandarin and Arabic. 

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

Recommended pamphlets from the ACCC are:

You can order hard copies of The little black books of scams by sending an email to scamsengagement@accc.gov.au.

Tenants' Union of NSW

You can download fact sheets on a wide range of issues relating to tenancy in NSW from the Tenant's Union.

You can also download fact sheets for Aboriginal renters, Easy Read fact sheets and fact sheets in community languages.

Recommended pamphlets for young people

Legal Aid NSW

Legal Aid NSW produces a range of pamphlets on a variety of subjects. Search the 'Young people' topic. You can also check their publications catalogue

Recommended pamphlets:

  • Get court smart
  • Get street smart  
  • Ripped off – your rights about unpaid wages and entitlements at work
Recommended pamphlets for seniors

Legal Aid NSW

Legal Aid NSW produces a range of pamphlets on a variety of subjects. Search the 'Older people' topic. You can also check their publications catalogue

Recommended pamphlets:

  • Adult children living at home
  • Are you a grandparent? Your legal questions answered
  • Are you experiencing violence or abuse? You can make it stop
  • Helping your family financially? Understand the risks
  • Moving in with the family? Make sure you protect your interests
  • They want me to leave
  • Why make a will?
  • Who will decide for you if you can't decide for yourself? Think about planning ahead
  • Your home and the age pension
  • Legal topics for seniors booklet
     

NSW Ageing & Disability Commission

You can download or order a range of resources dealing with elder abuse from the NSW Ageing & Disability Commission. These included information in community languages and in easy to read format.

Order copies using their online order form.

Displaying pamphlets

 

Law Books for Libraries collections

The Law Books for Libraries collections contain more complex resources, eg law text books. This collection is provided to help people who need more detailed information that can be found in the plain English books in the Tool Kit.  

There are two Law Books for Libraries collections:  

  • Core collection. All libraries that have signed an agreement should have the core collection. The books in the core collection should be kept in your main library location. They can be in your reference or loan collection.
  • Recommended list. This list is provided for those libraries that want a more extensive collection of legal materials.  

It is the responsibility of each library to order and pay for the Law Books for Libraries collections.

Core collection


Core collection updated August 2023

Aboriginal wills handbook: a practical guide to making culturally appropriate wills for Aboriginal people 3rd ed, by Prue Vines. Sydney: NSW Trustee and Guardian, 2019. ISBN 9780646587769. Free.

Explains why making a will is very important for Aboriginal people, and gives guidance in making culturally appropriate wills. Includes chapters on inheritance laws in NSW, problems created for Aboriginal people by the law, the advantages of making a will, and the formal requirements for making a will.

Australian legal system 5th ed, by Michael Meek. Sydney: Thomson Reuters, 2016. ISBN 9780455233727. $47.00.

Provides a concise outline of the Australian legal system, including the history and structure of the law, criminal and civil proceedings, legislation, common law, equity, the doctrine of precedent, and the operation of parliament, the executive and the courts.

Bluett’s local government handbook New South Wales 18th ed, by David Clark. Sydney: Thomson Reuters, 2017. ISBN 9780455500522. $218.00.

Provides an introduction to all aspects of NSW local government law, including the functions of councils and how they operate. Contents include environmental protection, waste management, roads, and control of pets.

Butt's land law 7th ed, by Brendan Edgeworth. Sydney: Thomson Reuters, 2017. ISBN 9780455229478. $191.00.

Provides comprehensive coverage of all areas of land law in plain English, including information on co-ownership, leases, easements, covenants, mortgages, Torrens title, Crown lands, and native title.

Criminal law 8th ed, by Robert Wilson. Sydney: Thomson Reuters, 2018. ISBN 9780455241197. $45.00.

Clearly explains the principles of criminal law and highlights key cases and legislation. Contents include information and explanation of offences such as homicide, manslaughter, assault, and property offences, as well as discussion of defences.

Discrimination law and practice 5th ed, by Chris Ronalds and Elizabeth Raper. Sydney: Federation Press, 2019. ISBN 9781760021986. $84.95.

Provides an analysis of unlawful discrimination including direct and indirect discrimination, reasonable adjustments and harassment. It also discusses discrimination in the areas of employment, education, and the provision of goods and services, as well as vilification and racial hatred, victimisation, bullying, and the remedies available in discrimination claims.

Discrimination toolkit: your guide to making a discrimination complaint 4th ed. Katoomba: Central Tablelands and Blue Mountains Community Legal Centre, Kingsford Legal Centre and Legal Aid NSW, 2021. ISBN 9780646472621. Free.

For people who believe they have been discriminated against and want to do something about it. It looks at discrimination basics, what you can do about it, courts and tribunals, and getting help.

Emergency law: rights, liabilities and duties of emergency workers and volunteers 4th ed, by Michael Eburn. Sydney: Federation Press, 2013. ISBN 9781862879362. $59.95.

A concise guide to the Australian law that applies in a civil emergency and to emergency services. It clearly outlines the rights, obligations, liabilities and duties of those who provide emergency care, whether paid or volunteer, trained professional or Good Samaritan.

Environmental and planning law in New South Wales 5th ed, by Ed Couzens et al. Sydney: Federation Press, 2021. ISBN 9781760022594. $125.00.

A comprehensive book for anyone interested in environmental planning, protection and regulation in NSW, covering areas including land use planning, development control, environmental impact assessment, heritage and pollution.

It's your constitution: governing Australia today 2nd ed, by Cheryl Saunders. Sydney: Federation Press, 2003. ISBN 9781862874688. $35.00.

A plain language guide to the Australian Constitution. Note: Although this book was published in 2003, it is still current as there have been no changes to the Constitution.

Joske's law and procedure at meetings in Australia 12th ed, by Elisabeth Peden and Wayne Muddle. Sydney: Thomson Reuters, 2021. ISBN 9780455501666. $179.00.

Explores the various sources of law that govern meetings in Australia: common law, the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and statutory law governing meetings of unit title and strata title companies in all Australian jurisdictions. Note: Useful for those wanting more detailed information about meetings, including people who live in strata housing or are on sporting or other committees.

LexisNexis concise Australian legal dictionary 6th ed. Sydney: LexisNexis, 2020. ISBN 9780409338447. $99.00.

Contains over 11,000 terms in 100 subject areas.

Libraries and copyright. Sydney: Australian Copyright Council, 2022. ISBN 9781920778361. $60.00. 

Discusses copyright law as it applies to libraries and includes guidance on Australia's 'safe harbour scheme' (takedown notices) as it impacts libraries.

Stewart’s guide to employment law 7th ed, by Andrew Stewart. Sydney: Federation Press, 2021. ISBN 9781760023157. $99.00.

Covers areas including employment law, who is an employee, special types of employment, the employment contract, the National Employment Standards, awards, enterprise agreements, remuneration, working hours and leave, termination of employment contracts, remedies for unfair termination, and industrial action.

Taking care of business: planning ahead for Aboriginal people in NSW. Sydney: NSW Trustee and Guardian, 2015. Free.

A companion the Aboriginal wills handbook, this booklet is an easy to read introduction to wills, powers of attorney, enduring guardianship and advance care planning for Aboriginal people.

Recommended list

Recommended list updated August 2023

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal relations 2nd ed, by Larissa Behrendt et al. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2018. ISBN 9780190310035. $99.95.

Discusses the major legal issues faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Topics covered include Constitutional recognition and the Uluru Statement from the Heart, Stolen Generation reparation tribunals and their responses, indigenous women and criminal justice, and family violence. Useful for HSC Legal Studies: Indigenous Peoples, and Human Rights.

Animal law in Australia: an integrated approach 2nd ed, by Alex Bruce. Sydney: LexisNexis, 2017. ISBN 9780409343809. $131.00.

Covers animal law in history, animals as assistants, companion animals, animals as entertainment, cruelty, animals as food, and animals and science. Useful for students.

Australian master tax guide 72nd ed. Sydney: Wolters Kluwer, 2023. ISBN 9781922847119.  $240.00.

Designed to help practitioners, business organisations and students quickly locate accurate answers to their tax questions.
Note: This book is published twice a year – the year end edition and the tax year end edition. You do not need to purchase both.

Business and the law 7th ed, by Andrew Terry and Des Giugni. Sydney: Thomson Reuters, 2019. ISBN 9780455241623. $162.00.

Contains chapters on all aspects of business law, including contract, torts, corporate structure, franchising, and the Australian Consumer Law.
Useful for students.

Capacity toolkit: information for government and community workers, professionals, families and carers in New South Wales. Sydney: NSW Department of Communities and Justice, 2008, reprinted 2020. Note: The 2020 reprint only contains minor changes related to names of organisations and contact details. It is not a replacement publication for the 2008 and 2009 versions of the Capacity Toolkit. ISBN 9781922257819. Free.

A resource for government and community workers, professionals, families and carers on assessing whether a person has the capacity to make legal, financial, medical and personal decisions. It includes making an advance care directive, entering into contracts, making a will, power of attorney and enduring guardianship.

Children and the law in Australia 2nd ed, by L Young, MA Kenny and G Monahan (eds). Sydney: LexisNexis Butterworths, 2016. ISBN 9780409342024. $169.00.

A comprehensive book on children’s law, with chapters on a wide variety of subjects including the criminal responsibility of children, education, children and family law, adoption, medical treatment, and child witnesses.

Civil procedure 4th ed, by Bridget Cullen. Sydney: Thomson Reuters, 2018. ISBN 9780455241074. $45.00.

One of the easy to read Nutshell series, it includes chapters on the fundamental principles of civil procedure, case management, jurisdiction, commencing proceedings, pleadings, discovery, settlement, trial and judgment, costs, appeals, and alternative dispute resolution.

Contract 7th ed, by Geoff Lindsay. Sydney: Thomson Reuters, 2014. ISBN 9780455232799. $47.00.

A mini law text for students and others wanting an outline of the principles of contract law and key cases. Useful for students.

Criminal laws: materials and commentary on criminal law and process of New South Wales 7th ed, by David Brown et al. Sydney: Federation Press, 2020. ISBN 9781760021795. $165.00.

A criminal law textbook which covers criminalisation, the criminal process, components of criminal offences, defences, assault and sexual assault, public order offences, drugs offences, dishonest acquisition, complicity, conspiracy and association, and sentencing. Includes extracts from cases and other legal resources. Highly recommended for students.
Useful for HSC Legal Studies: Crime

Elder law: a guide to working with older Australians, edited by Sue Field, Karen Williams and Carolyn Sappideen. Sydney: Federation Press, 2018. ISBN 9781760021825. $120.00.

A comprehensive and practical book dealing with the questions: Who will make decisions for me if I am unable to? How can I record my decisions in advance so people can make decisions that align with my preferences? What services are available to support me? Where will I live? How do I plan a secure financial future for myself and my loved ones?

Health law in Australia 3rd ed, by Ben White, Fiona McDonald and Lindy Willmott. Sydney: Thomson Reuters, 2018. ISBN 9780455238753. $189.00.

Covers a wide range of topics including medical ethics, negligence, consent to medical treatment, confidentiality, privacy and medical research.

Human rights: treaties, statutes and cases, by Martin Flynn et al. Sydney: LexisNexis Butterworths, 2011. ISBN 9780409327830. $125.00.

A comprehensive collection of international and Australian human rights materials. Useful for HSC Legal Studies: Human Rights, and World Order.

The immigration kit: a practical guide to Australia's immigration law 10th ed, edited by Ali Mojtahedi, commissioned by the Immigration Advice and Rights Centre. Sydney: Federation Press, 2022. ISBN 9781760023324. $145.00.

The most comprehensive, plain language guide to Australia’s immigration, refugee and citizenship law. It provides up-to-date information regarding bridging visas, family visas, skilled migration, refugee and humanitarian visas, students, temporary workers, and Australian citizenship.

Indigenous legal issues: commentary and materials 4th ed, by Heather McRae and Garth Nettheim. Sydney: Thomson Reuters, 2009.
ISBN 9780455225722. $189.00. New edition due in 2024.

Gives an excellent overview of indigenous legal issues, considering subjects such as indigenous governance, land rights, native title, racial discrimination, and child welfare. It also discusses recent developments including the abolition of ATSIC, the NT intervention, and the apology to the stolen generations. Useful for HSC Legal Studies: Indigenous Peoples, and Human Rights.

International law 2nd ed, by Ben Clarke and Jackson Maogoto. Sydney: Thomson Reuters, 2009. ISBN 9780455225630. $47.00.

An introduction to the key principles of public international law. Useful for students.

International law of human rights 2nd ed, by Adam McBeth, Justine Nolan and Simon Rice. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2017. ISBN 9780190304249. $124.95.

Topics discussed include state sovereignty, sexual orientation and gender identity rights, environmental rights, armed conflict, and terrorism. Useful for students.

The law of succession in New South Wales 4th ed, by G L Certoma. Sydney: Thomson Reuters, 2010. ISBN 9780455227207. Out of print.

A thorough discussion of succession law, covering intestacy, wills, family provision, and the estate. Useful for those wanting more detailed information about wills and family provision.

Mabo, Wik & native title 4th ed, by Peter Butt, Robert Eagleson and Patricia Lane. Sydney: Federation Press, 2001. ISBN 1862873860. Out of print.

A guide to the Mabo and Wik High Court decisions, the government's response to Wik, the operation of the amended Native Title Act, Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) and important issues about the precise nature of native title which are still being resolved in the courts. Useful for HSC Legal Studies: Indigenous Peoples, and Human Rights.    

Sports law 4th ed, by David Thorpe et al. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2022. ISBN 9780190329860. $149.99.

Provides an overview of the law that regulates all sporting activities in Australia. It examines the areas of law that apply to sport including governance, torts, criminal liability, intellectual property, marketing, behavioural misconduct, doping, trade and competition.  

Strata law in NSW, by Elisabeth Peden and Wayne Muddle. Sydney: Thomson Reuters, 2021. ISBN 9780455501703. $131.00.

A practical manual for strata meetings and useful for anyone who has to go to NCAT on a strata related matter.

Tourism and hospitality law in Australia, by Jennifer Hanna and Loranes Kairouz. Sydney: Thomson Reuters, 2018. ISBN 9780455237107. $143.00.

An easy to understand guide to the major laws applicable to the tourism and hospitality industry. Topics covered include consumer claims, negligence, contract law, consumer protection, and a discussion of the laws applying to service providers including travel intermediaries, carriers, accommodation and food and beverage providers, attractions and recreational services. Useful for students.

Understanding law: an introduction to Australia's legal system 9th ed, by Judith Jones. Sydney: LexisNexis, 2020. ISBN 9780409353112, $77.00.

A useful starting point for anyone who wants to know more about the law. Includes chapters on indigenous law, English law, Australian law, case law and legislation, lawyers, courts, due process of law, access to justice, and law and morality. Useful for students.