Legal research is a study conducted to investigate the available material and resources to obtain results and conclusions out of the given material and resources. Research is a scientific and systematic way of finding relevant knowledge out of a big pool. One needs to understand that when research is being conducted, one only has to rediscover the information and data and not innovate something new. Research aims to provide unique points of view on a topic that has already been discussed before. A legal research follows a chronology and involves the s selection of a legal problem, formulation of hypothesis, collection of data, analysis and polishing of the data, etc. When we talk specifically about legal research, there are a few commonly used research methodologies which are used by lawyers and law students:
- Doctrinal legal research.
- Empirical research.
- Theoretical legal research.
- Comparative analysis.
- Legal history research methodology.
- Socio-legal research.
There are so many different legal research methodologies, and so much emphasis is given upon legal research. There have to be some very concrete reasons why legal research attracts so much of lawyers’, law students’ and legal academicians’ focus. There are many fold reasons if we have to explicitly list down how these legal researches help not only the lawyers in building a successful career but also the society at large:
- Law is a mechanism of social control. With evolving times the needs also evolve and so should the law. To establish a link between the previous law and the present law, legal research is the only helpful key. Only through extensive legal research can law as a tool of social reform maintain its sanctity.
- Law is a noble profession. The objective of the law is the welfare of society. Through various socio-economic-legal researches, the harmful social and economic elements prevailing in the society can be curbed and that would satisfy the true spirit of the law. Lawyers take up pro bono cases and courts also take suo moto actions for the welfare of the society.
- The black letter of the law is interpreted differently by different interpreters. Legal research helps in providing various insights and different perspectives on one issue. Thereby, legal research directly contributes and helps in the development of law.
- Comparative analysis of law helps in drawing comparisons and analysing law with different other disciplines and also with the laws of other countries. This comparative analysis often provides an apparent picture of what are areas of the law that might night some amendments or a complete change altogether in some legislation. It was only because of this comparative analysis of law that the legislators of an independent India could write the constitution of India.
- The use of legal research is not only limited to lawyers or law students. Legal research is an equally important tool for the judges and magistrates, too. Before passing any judgement, judges also comply with a thorough legal research process which not only helps in arriving at a particular judgement but also set the ground for legal precedents for the cases to come in the future.
- Lastly, legal research simply helps in understanding the law better. Legal research provides clarity and lucidity in the otherwise difficult to comprehend concepts of law. This clarity greatly benefits the lawyers and law students build their comprehension of the law.