An authorised version of a report should always be used where available
Follow these general rules:
Remember - in some instances, particularly in lower courts and tribunals, these reports are the only source of judgments.
What are authorised law reports?
Some law reports series are designated as the authorised series for a particular court.
For example the Commonwealth Law Reports (CLR) is the authorised series for the High Court of Australia.
These series contain judgments that have been approved by the court prior to publication.
Why use authorised law report series?
Rule 2.3.1 of the Australian Guide to Legal Citation states:"Where a case appears in an 'authorised' report series, this series should be cited in preference to any other reported version."
Which law report series are authorised?
|High Court of Australia||CLR||Commonwealth Law Reports|
|Federal Court of Australia||FCR||Federal Court Reports|
|Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court||ACTLR||Australian Capital Territory Law Reports|
|New South Wales Supreme Court||NSWLR||New South Wales Law Reports|
|Northern Territory Supreme Court||NTLR||Northern Territory Law Reports|
|Queensland Supreme Court||Qd R||Queensland Reports|
|South Australia Supreme Court||SASR||South Australian Law Reports|
|Tasmania Supreme Court||Tas R||Tasmanian Reports|
|Victoria Supreme Court||VR||Victorian Reports|
|Western Australia Supreme Court||WAR||Western Australian Reports
The standard layout for a case in a report series is:
The case name contains the name of the parties to the case and this information is found on the first page. As many law reports cover the appellate courts, these parties might be referred to as appellant and respondent.
If a case is criminal one of the parties will be R (referring to the Crown).
The citation to the case can usually be found at the top of the second page. This is probably the most important information for identifying and finding the case.
The court, and the judges who sat on the case.
There are usually at least two dates provided; these are the dates/s of the hearing of the case, and the date on which the judgment was handed down.
The catchwords are often italicised and comprise subject terms which describe the case. The catchwords are useful in legal research in that you can use these catchwords to search for other relevant cases dealing with similar legal issues.
The headnotes is a brief summary of the case giving a brief statement of the material facts; a brief summary of the decision; and the authorities referred to in the decision. An authority is simply citation to case law or legislation relevant to the decision
This provides information on the history of the case, usually from what lower court the case is on appeal.
Barristers who represented the parties in court.
|Summary of argument||
This summary of the arguments laid by both parties before the court are provided in only a few report series, including the CLRs and the ACs.
|Decisions, including summary of material facts||
This is the actual decision (judgment) of the court. It is common for appellate court decisions to include more than one decision if the judges write one or more separate reasons for decision.
|Orders of the court||
This is the order the court makes and is usually found on the final page of the law report.