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Li Ka Shing Library

Legal Research 101: Skills for my first week of law school: Cases

Guide for first year law students to navigate the Library's resources and to retrieve course readings

Case Names

Cases are referenced using a case name and a citation.

The case name consists of the names of the parties involved in the court case. For instance, a Singapore case name will look something like this

Future Enterprises Pte Ltd v McDonald's Corp

 In the above example, the case involves two private parties.  This is a civil case.

In a criminal case, the State brings an action against an individual or organisation.  Here is an example of a Singapore criminal case name: 

Public Prosecutor v Took Leng How

Below is an example of a UK criminal case.  ‘R’ stands for Rex or Regina and represents the King or the Queen.  In the UK the monarchy is the head of state.

R v Smith

Note:  Singapore cases use the party’s full name. UK cases only use the party’s last name. 

Case Citations

 

As case law stretches over a lengthy period of time and different parties may have the same name or the same party may be involved in different cases. It is often insufficient to locate cases with only the case name. 

Hence a case citation is also necessary. This citation identifies where the case was reported and how you can locate it.

For example, the citation for the case Public Prosecutor v Took Leng How is as follows:


-           The number in [ ] refers to the year the case was published in a law report.

-           This is followed by the volume number (depending on the law report, the volume number may or may not be present)

-           The abbreviation refers the specific law report the case appears in. In this case, SLR stands for Singapore Law Reports.

-           The last number refers to the page the case starts on in that particular volume of the law report.

Here are some examples of case citations for other jurisdictions.


The use of electronic resources must comply with the Appropriate Use of Electronic Resources Policy and Singapore Management University Acceptable Use Policy