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Law: Citing/Referencing

Key points

How to cite...

For cases that have been reported (published in a set of law reports).

For example:

Chemical Trustee Ltd v Deputy Commissioner of Taxation (2014) 308 ALR 366

Lewski v Australian Securities & Investments Commission (2016) 337 ALR 1

Simpson v Government Insurance Office (GIO) [1975] 1 NSWLR 51

Note: in the last example the date is in square brackets. Use square brackets around the year when volume numbers are either not used, or start at 1 every year.

Include in the citation:

  • party names
  • year
  • volume
  • name of law report series
  • starting page
  • pinpoint reference (sequential paragraph number within the judgment) - if required

Note: this is a basic example only, see the Australian Guide to Legal Citation for more details.

 

Unreported judgments are cited using medium neutral citation. This format was developed to ensure consistent citing of cases regardless of whether they are reported or unreported (or in print or online format).

For example:

Gray v Richards [2014] HCA 40 at [9]

Include in the citation:

  • party names
  • year
  • court (abbreviated)
  • judgment number
  • pinpoint reference (sequential paragraph number within the judgment)
     

Note: this is a basic example only, see the Australian Guide to Legal Citation for more details.
 

Want to learn more?

A useful explanation of the medium neutral citation is set out by the New South Wales Law and Justice Foundation in their guides LISC Recommended Standard for Medium Neutral Citations

For Acts and delegated legislation. Note use of italics for legislation title.

For example:

Civil Liability Act 1936 (SA)

Development Act 1993 (SA) s 6(1)

Gene Technology Regulations 2001 (Cth) r 5

Include in the citation:

  • short title
  • year
  • jurisdiction (abbreviated) - see AGLC Rule 3.1.3 for list of abbreviations
  • pinpoint reference (if required) - see AGLC Rule 3.1.4 for list of abbreviations

Note: this is a basic example only, see the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC) for more details.

For journal articles in published journals. Note use of italics for journal title.

For example:

Iain Field, 'Good faith protections and public sector liability' (2016) 23 Tort Law Journal 210.

Angela Bowne, 'Reforms to civil justice: Alternative dispute resolution and the courts' (2015) 39 Australian Bar Review 275.

Include in the citation:

  • author(s)
  • title
  • year
  • volume and issue
  • journal name
  • page
  • pinpoint (if required)

Note: this is a basic example only, see the Australian Guide to Legal Citation for more details

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Which version should I cite?

Found more than one version of a case? Not sure which one to cite? Follow these general rules:

  • authorised version if available
  • if no authorised version cite the unauthorised version
  • cite a general report series over subject specific series (if both available)
  • always cite a reported version over an unreported version