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Li Ka Shing Library

Australia: Locating an Australian Case

Guide to Australian legal research resources on case law, legislation, secondary materials, websites and more

How do I find an Australian case?

 

Note: Cases with citation CLR are only available on Westlaw. 

Given a case citation, example:

Chappel v Hart [1998] 195 CLR 232 

Check Cardiff Index for the jurisdiction. 

 

 

The Commonwealth Law Reports (CLR) are the authorised reports of decisions of the High Court of Australia. 

 

For Australian cases, use the CaseBase tool available on LexisNexis Australia

Input the citation into CaseBase as shown below.

 

 

While a number of results with parallel citations will appear, the CLR report will not be available on LexisNexis. This is as CLR is ony available on WestLaw.

 

Parallel reports can thus be used:

 

 

Alternatively, you can use WestLaw to search for the case. Select the "Australian cases" database, and input the case name in the search box:

 

While a large number of results may be returned especially if the case is one that is frequently cited, it will be linked to the original case.

 

 

 

 

Which Law Report do i cite?

There are a great number of Law Reports in Australia. A case can be cited in a number of Law reports. 

For example:

Chappel v Hart is cited in: (1998) 195 CLR 232; (1998) 156 ALR 517; (1998) 72 ALJR 1344; [1998] 14 Leg Rep 2; (1998) Aust Torts Reports 81-492; [1998] HCA 55; BC9804342

Which is the best report?

There is a standing hierarchy as to the court's preferred citations.

1. Official law reports

Court/Jurisdiction   Report Series
High Court of Australia   CLR
Federal Court of Australia FCR
Australia Capital Territories ACTR/ACTLR
New South Wales SR (NSW)/ NSWR/ NSWLR
Northern Territory NTR/ NTLR
Queensland  QSR / Qd R
South Australia SALR/ SASR
Tasmania   Tas LR/ Tas SR/ Tas R
Victoria VLR/ VR
Western Australia WALR/ WAR
   
   

2. Parallel reports by non-official law reports.

3. Unreported judgments 

See more here.

 

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