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Case law

Finding Australian and foreign case law

If you need to find cases that interpret or apply to a particular piece of legislation (or a specific section of a piece of legislation)

Or you are asked to do case annotating or 'noting up' legislation

You could be doing research about the 'misuse of a motor vehicle', which is in the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) s44B. You have read the legislation and extrinsic material (2nd reading speech) but you would still like more clarity on the definition. 

You can now check the case law to see if any cases have considered or interpreted this section that might make the definition clearer for you.

The best places to search for legislation judicially considered are:

  • case citators and digests
  • secondary sources including books and commentary services
  • Allow you to search by 'legislation judicially considered'
  • Enter the legislation details in the correct field on the search form (eg Civil Liability Act 1936)

Search tip: when entering the Act or Regulation name and provision avoid using the section/ss/s etc. Use proximity parameters to connect the Act and section of the Act (to find the two terms close together). (eg "civil liability act" w/s 20)

Use secondary sources to find an overview and key cases dealing with pieces of legislation.

Commentary services:

  • There will usually be 'legislation considered' index in the commentary
  • When using commentary services online you will have an option to search 'legislation judicially considered'

Books

  • There will usually be a 'legislation considered' index in the back of the book
  • Texts with 'cases and materials' in the title are particularly useful