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Case Law: Authorised law reports

This Guides provides information relating to how to look for specific Cases, using different methods. It also includes links to various databases, to enable you locate Australian Case Law and Cases from other Jurisdictions.

Citing cases: Authority

IMPORTANT! Always cite from an authorised report if this version is available

Before citing an unreported judgment in your assignment, always check to see if it has been reported in a law report series.

Consult a case citator, CaseBase in Lexis Advance and KeyCite  in Westlaw AU (Subscription databases), or LawCite (free citator), to see if a reported version is available. If an authorised reported version is available prefer that version as it represents highest authority . If the decision is not reported, use the online unreported judgment if it is available and cite using medium neutral citation style.

Order of authority  (highest to lowest)

  1. Reported in an authorised law report series
  2. Reported in a law report series
  3. Unreported judgment

See below for more information about authorised law reports.

Authorised law reports (Australia)

Although all reported cases are edited by legally qualified people, those reports associated with the superior courts and checked by a judge before publication are considered to be "authorised". Headnotes authored by experienced practitioners and approved by the Courts allow practitioners to quickly assess the relevance of a case.

When you have multiple citations for a case always prefer that of the reported, authorised version as it is considered to be the most "authoritative".

In Australia - Judges approve the reports before publication.

In the UK - Reports are edited by the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales (see below).

See also Part VI of the Australian Guide to Legal Citation 3rd ed for Appendix: Law Report Abbreviations. All authorised report series are designated with an asterisk.

Australian Authorised Reports

Court Report Series Abbreviation UWA holdings
High Court of Australia Commonwealth Law Reports CLR

Print: v.1 1903-present

Online: Westlaw AU 1903-present

Federal Court of Australia Federal Court Reports FCR

Print: v.1 1984-present

Online:  Westlaw AU 1984-present

Administrative Appeals Tribunal Administrative Law Decisions ALD

Print: v.1 1978-present

Online: Lexis Advance 1978-present

Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court

Australian Capital Territory Reports ACTR

Print: Included as part of the Australian Law Reports v.1 1973-present

Online: Lexis Advance 1973-present

Supreme Court of New South Wales New South Wales Law Reports NSWLR

Print: v.1 1901-present

Online: Lexis Advance 1971-present

Supreme Court of the Northern Territory Northern Territory Law Reports NTLR

Print:  v. 1-19 ; 1991-2007

Online: Westlaw AU 1991-present

Included as part of the Australian Law Reports v.1 1979-v.79 1991

Supreme Court of Queensland Queensland Reports Qd R

Print: 1902-present

Online: Lexis Advance 1974-present

Supreme Court of South Australia South Australian State Reports SASR

Print: v.1 1911-present

Online: 1971-present

Supreme Court of Tasmania Tasmanian Reports Tas R

Print: v.1 1941-1953; 1979-present

Online: Westlaw AU 1979-present

Supreme Court of Victoria Victorian Reports VR

Print: 1957-present

Online: Lexis Advance 1979 - present

Supreme Court of Western Australia Western Australian Reports WAR

Print: 1899-present

*Published as the Western Australian Law Reports, 1899-1959

Online: AustLII 1898 - 1958

Online: Westlaw AU 1983-present

 For further legal publication abbreviation meanings, see Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations.

To check if your case has been reported in an authorised law report series go to Case citators.

Banner images: Image 1 retrieved from Pixabay. Image 2 by UWA Library. Image 3 retrieved from SBS. Image 4 retrieved from SL Blogs. Image 5 retrieved from Wikimedia.


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