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Case law

Finding Australian and foreign case law

Understanding case law

  • a standard format used to identify the components of a case
  • includes abbreviated report names
  • varies between reported and unreported cases
  • includes: party names, year, law report series name (if reported), volume, starting page

For example:

Practice now! Drag the citation elements below into their correct order:

Need to cite or reference a case? Use AGLC for guidance.

Before relying on a case it is important to check the litigation history of a case and how a case has been subsequently treated by other cases.

Why? Because you want to know if a case is still considered good law. 

How? Using a case citator.

Litigation history includes:

  • affirmed by
  • leave to appeal granted by
  • restored by
  • reversed by 

Cases citing includes cases that the case has been:

  • applied by
  • followed by
  • overruled by
  • referred to/by 

Case citators

Case citators are an efficient and effective way to research case law.

They provide information about a case including:

  • case citation 
  • relevant keywords
  • litigation history of a case
  • detail where the case has been reported (including if in an authorised report series)
  • previous and subsequent treatment of a case by other cases
  • articles that have discussed/mentioned a case
  • legislation considered by a case

Case law databases

Case law databases will search not only the relevant case citator, but all relevant databases published by a publisher.

For example, searching Lexis Advance cases will search CaseBase, Australian Current Law Reporter, Unreported Judgments and more.