Advanced Legal Research : Current Students : The University of Western Australia

Current Students

Advanced Legal Research

Further information

Unit co-ordinators

ALR Research Seminar Series

Advanced Legal Research is a course offered by invitation to students who have completed the equivalent of at least one and half years of the Degree of Juris Doctor (JD). Invitations are based on academic merit in the JD. The course is conducted over two semesters. Students completing the unit submit a 2,000 word Research Proposal and a 10,000 word Research Paper.

The benefits for you of completing Advanced Legal Research are numerous and are detailed in the Guidelines (Part A.2). The Guidelines can be accessed on the right hand side of this webpage.

In particular, Advanced Legal Research offers you an invaluable opportunity to undertake sustained legal research, which can stand you in very good stead for future postgraduate pursuits, scholarships and employment. Further, recognition for outstanding academic achievement in the JD will be through a ‘Dean’s List’ acknowledging that a student is in the top 15% of the cohort. Those students who complete Advanced Legal Research will have an alternative or additional notation depending upon their ranking. This system recognises the personal high academic achievement of students in the JD and serves a number of important purposes including public acknowledgement of this achievement, promotion of the reputation of the course and the provision of accessible information to employers.

For a short overview of Advanced Legal Research, please view a short presentation by Assistant Professor Ian Murray:


Invitation letters will be sent in December of the year immediately before the year you undertake Advanced Legal Research.


Upon receipt of an invitation to undertake Advanced Legal Research, the steps that will ordinarily occur are:

Step Indicative timing
Accept invitation and enrol in Advanced Legal Research December of the year of invitation

Nominate supervisor and research topic

Nominated supervisor to provide the unit coordinator with two initial suggestions for the role of Examiner of the ultimate Research Paper

Monday second week first semester
Start attending compulsory research seminars February to early March
Develop and submit the Research Proposal Early April
Committee to approve Research Proposal Early May
Submit Research Paper Early October
Committee to allocate Research Papers to Examiners Mid to late October
Examiner to examine (with input from the Assessor who is ordinarily the Supervisor) the Research Paper Late October to Mid November


The key steps for students in this process are described in more detail in the Advanced Legal Research Guidelines (Part E). Specific details of the timing of the following steps will be updated on this webpage for each Advanced Legal Research year as the time for that step approaches.

Nomination of Supervisor & Research Topic

By 5th March 2018

Ideally, you should aim to identify a suitable research topic and a suitable and available supervisor as early as you can. It is in your interest to: 

  • Undertake preliminary research, over the summer break, into a possible topic for your thesis. The following page provides a wide range of information about the Law School's research capacities and how that may help you to identify your topic and supervisor, as well as setting out a list of potential research projects and areas:Honours & Advanced Legal Research - Projects (a student ID and password is required to access the link).
  • Approach and discuss your topic with a suitable academic staff member as early as possible to see whether s/he will be available for supervision and what his/her comments are for your topic.

Research Seminars

The unit coordinator will organise 1 introductory seminar and 5 research seminars on topics relating to advanced legal research methods and advanced legal research theory. Attendance at all research seminars is compulsory unless permission to be absent is given in advance by the unit coordinator.

The seminars will be held at various times during the year, with the introductory seminar and the first 3 seminars on legal research methods, advanced legal library searches and the preparation of a Research Proposal held immediately prior to, or very early in first semester. A schedule of seminars for the following year will be posted here.

Research-in-progress Presentation Workshop

Early in second semester there will be a workshop comprising presentations by students of their research-in-progress.  The chief purpose of the presentation workshop is to provide students with the opportunity to obtain feedback on their research, by presenting that research to their fellow Advanced Legal Research student peers, higher degree research students and academic staff. In addition, it is intended that the workshop will enable students to develop presentation skills and research conference experience.

Submission of Research Proposal

Submission date for 2018: 4th April 2018

Submission of Research Paper

Submission date for 2018: Friday 5th October 2018

Please submit 2 hard copies and 1 electronic copy: 

  1. The electronic copy in accordance with the unit outline
  2. The 2 hard copies as follows to the Law School Reception Office, to the attention of the Unit Coordinator
    • Include only your student number (not your name) as these copies are for examination.
    • Secure them with simple and inexpensive bindings.
    • Keep each in a separate UNSEALED envelope on which you must write your student number, the title of your paper and the name of your supervisor. Place both the unsealed envelopes inside another envelope, with the front of this covering envelope marked with your name and student number.
    • Please certify the total word count on the front page of these copies

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    Last updated:
    Wednesday, 20 December, 2017 11:42 AM