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Property Development: Search for Information

How to search for and find information on property development

Finding property information


In the sample topic, you have to determine compensation due to the owner of a piece of land that has been compulsorily acquired. 

You will need to:

  • Find the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 to help determine the remuneration due to the owner of the land
  • Possibly consult legal commentary to help explain the Act
  • Look at case law establishing precedent in disputes over compulsory acquisition
  • Find books on contract law
  • Find articles on compulsory acquisition in Australia

You can find all of these things in the Library collection.

Finding legal materials


The Library has two main legal databases for Australian law: Lexis Advance Pacific and Westlaw AU. A third database, Hein Online, may also be useful if you need articles discussing a point of law. Lexis Advance Pacific is a good place to start. You can then use Westlaw and Hein Online to find additional cases and articles you might not be able to find in Lexis. 

Finding legislation


You can find the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 by its title in Lexis. 

Legislation search in Lexis

After searching choose Legislation, then click on the Act

Refine search to legislation

If you find a section that looks interesting

Sec 55 of the Just Terms Compensation Act

Look for the linked cases and related materials beneath that section, especially Halsbury's Laws of Australia, which will help explain the legal history and current environment around legal topics such as this.

Halsbury's Laws of Australia link in Lexis

Finding cases


For cases mentioning the Land Acquisitions Act, choose the cases refinement after searching.

Refine search to cases in Lexis

You can also search within these results to find the most relevant cases for your topic.

Search within case results in Lexis

Finding books & articles


A good place to find additional information is the Library catalogue. Use the Library catalogue to find books and journal articles on your topic. 

For detailed instructions on using the Library catalogue, watch this video:


A Library Catalogue search for the keywords: compulsory acquisition compensation found this book and article. 

'Compulsory property acquisition' - book from library catalogue

'The evolution of the public purpose rule' - article found in Library catalogue

Tips for searching... 

  • Books

Books are good places to get a quick grounding on the areas that sit at the periphery of your expertise, or to see complex topics explored in a thorough and wholistic way.

  • Journal articles

Try restricting your search to peer reviewed articles. Because peer reviewed articles have been double-checked by academic experts, it's easier to be sure that the words and ideas you're using are of sufficient quality for a university assignment. 

Evaluating your results


Not all the information you get from a search will be useful. A successful search will show results relevant to your topic. If your results are not relevant go back and try different keywords in your search.

To evaluate whether your source is of sufficient quality use the C.R.A.P Test. Click on the letters of the acronym to learn more:

Advanced Searching

We can also try out Boolean searching in the catalogue. This search is the one we developed in the Plan Your Search page:

("compulsory acquisition" OR "land acquisition") AND (compensation OR severance OR disturbance OR "highest and best use") AND ("Just Terms Compensation" OR "non-urban" OR sewerage OR farm)

Notice that when you add the extra search terms it changes the top hits in the search?