Dennis Lim

Law Notes

The purpose of this site is to help law students, by making available the notes I created when I was studying law at the University of Adelaide, Australia.

Please make use of what is available here, and leave any comments at the bottom of this page. I can be contacted by email at [email protected]

Explanation of the Law Notes

The notes are arranged by subject area. Within each subject the notes are numbered in chronological order, in the order they were taught. The notes contain important legal principles, cases, legislation, and commentary explaining the law - all in summarised point-by-point format.

Here are some matters worth mentioning, to maximise the usefulness of my notes:

  • The notes are very compressed. Because of their summarised nature, the notes can be hard to understand if read in isolation. You might find it more helpful to read through some of your reading materials and listen to the relevant lecture first, before trying to read my notes. That way, you are more likely to have the background and context necessary to understand what my notes are trying to say.
  • The notes were not updated recently. Some of the law has changed since the time they were written, so please don't rely on them solely - use them together with the materials and information you get from your lecturer and tutor, so you are not misled by anything in the notes. You will find that much of the law hasn't changed though, and even if it changed, the categories and structure of the law remain the same. This is probably why people still find my notes useful today.
  • The notes were made during my studies at the University of Adelaide, Australia. This means they focus on South Australian law, which might be different from the law in other Australian states and territories, and the world.
  • Some notes contain answers to tutorial/seminar type questions, while others don't. This is because I wrote more notes later in my degree; the subjects taught earlier in my degree have fewer notes. Unfortunately, I do not have the tutorial/seminar questions themselves anymore. However, even without the questions, the answers should be helpful in showing how you can go about answering exam-style questions. They reveal the steps you go through, and the kinds of arguments to use, when working through practical legal problems.
  • Some notes contain a "checklist" document. The checklist is essentially a roadmap for navigating through an exam problem. It is a summary of the notes, arranged in an order that one would use when answering an exam problem-based question. If you follow a good checklist, you are likely to cover every issue in the exam, in the correct order. Having a good checklist in an open-book exam is like having half of the exam paper already written out, before you even know what the exam question is.
  • The notes occasionally contain minor errors. Although I was striving for accuracy (even perfection) when writing the notes, there were occassions during my exam revision when I spotted errors in my notes, and made corrections on the hardcopy printouts that I brought into the exam, but I never went back to correct them in electronic format - because I never intended to release the notes electronically. It is of course now too late for me to go back and correct those errors, but hopefully you can spot the errors and avoid them easily.
  • The notes might not cover everything examinable in your subject. Every year, the emphasis in a subject changes - more time might be spent on a particular issue than another, because it is simply impossible to cover everything completely. Examinable content changes slightly from year to year. This is another reason why you should go to your lectures and tutorials, to find out exactly what you will be examined on and then make your own notes on areas my notes do not cover.
  • The notes might not cover your particular subject. I made notes only for those law subjects I did, which had an exam. This covers just about all the compulsory subjects, and some electives - but there were some subjects without exams which I did not make notes for. Also, your subject name might be different to the subject name of my notes, this is OK though because the contents will still be similar.
  • Feel free to modify my notes, or copy and paste them, in any way you see fit. I am releasing my notes to everyone for free in order to help people get through their law studies, so you can do anything to the notes that helps yourself.

I would like to add that it is my privilege to be able to offer my law notes to anyone who might find them useful. It makes me happy to know that something I created so long ago could still be capable of helping others, especially in an area as challenging as the law. I hope you find the notes of some assistance, and I wish you every success and all the best in your law studies!

Background to the Law Notes

These notes were written by me during my Bachelor of Laws (Honours) studies at the University of Adelaide between 2000 and 2003. I spent countless hours writing the notes and putting them together - they were a product of much labour and hardship.

My aim, when writing the notes, was to summarise the law as much as possible, while maintaining accuracy and correctness. Law students are often given hundreds of pages to read every week, but most of that material (I would say around 80%) is unnecessary reading. The important parts of the readings are the underlying legal principles, the key material facts of cases, and the court's decisions made on those facts (as well as their reasons), which are buried deep in the readings and can be very hard to find. My notes sought to cut through all the baggage, to reveal the truly important points. I also tried to make the notes as organised as possible, arranging them into categories and presenting them in a logical order, which allows the reader to quickly see how everything fits together in the law subject. The exact wording of the source of law (legislation and cases) were preserved and used in my notes whenever possible, so that reliance on the notes would be very close to having mastered all the reading materials.

When I wrote the notes, they were solely for my own study purposes. They have served me well, without them (and the process of writing them) I would not have graduated top of the class with the University Medal. However, I never anticipated the notes to be of much value to other people - until several years later.

In 2007, soon after completing my doctorate law degree, I came across a curious Facebook page, titled "I OWE MY LAW DEGREE TO DENNIS LIM". Upon further investigation, I discovered that my notes have somehow become famous in South Australia. I never made my notes publicly available before, but back when I finished my law degree in 2003, I printed my notes out to a few friends who were still doing law - I suspect they must have leaked the notes to others over the years. I made an offer on the Adelaide University Law Students Facebook page, to give my notes out to whoever might find them useful. After that, there were regular requests from law students for my notes (not only from Adelaide University, but also others like Flinders University and the University of South Australia). Facebook does not allow me to send attachments to others, so I had to email my notes to those who requested them. This happened for a few years. In July 2011, I decided to create this website, so that my notes could be placed online and distributed in a much quicker and easier way. The website stopped working in December 2018 without my knowledge, and on May 2019 I remade the website you are seeing today.

Download the Law Notes

You can download my law notes below, by clicking on the zip file you want.