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Notre Dame 5 Star University
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Law

Law reports

 

Unreported judgments

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Over hundreds of years judges have been deciding cases. Their decisions have developed a body of legal principles known as 'common law'.


Before judgments are published, many courts make them available online as Unreported judgments, sometimes referred to as medium neutral citations.

Significant cases that reflect important points of law are published in law reports. These can either be:

  1. Authorised - these are reviewed by judge for accuracy before publication. Here is a list of authorised law reports organised by jurisdiction.
  2. Unauthorised - may be published more quickly and can appear in a specialised report series on a particular area of law e.g. torts, criminal law.

Cases may be published in multiple law reports.

Citation hierarchy in order of preference:

  1. Authorised (See authorised reports)
  2. Unauthorised
  3. Unreported

Citation elements

Finding a case from a citation

Use an abbreviations guide to find out the full title of the report series:

Then search for the law report series in FiNDit. If the library subscribes to the series, follow the link to the database to access the PDF of the case.

Hints:

  • Australian Law Reports
    • Authorised series: Most are on Westlaw AU
    • All other series are on Lexis Advance
  • Unreported decisions: Use AustLII or Jade. They are also in both Lexis Advance (see CaseBase) and Westlaw AU.
  • UK Reported series: Justis is an easy index with direct links into ICLR (publisher of UK Authorised reports)
     

Finding cases on a topic

Use secondary resources such as books, journals, commentaries and encyclopaedias to find cases on a particular area of law.

Case Citators

Use Case Citators to help locate judgments when you:

  • Have an incomplete or incorrect citation
  • Require cases on a topic
  • Track later cases
     

Case Citators provide:

  1. Complete citation, including parallel citations
  2. Links to full text of judgment
  3. Name and date of judgment
  4. Presiding judge
  5. Litigation history
  6. Cases considered and cited
  7. Any later cases that have considered this case
     
Case citators