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Case Law: Find a case by citation

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.

Finding cases by citation

Searching by citation is the most efficient method to use to find a case.

Here is an example of a full case citation:

Mabo v Queensland (No 2) (1992) 175 CLR 1

To conduct a citation search, you will, in most instances, need to include the highlighted elements:

  • the year - you don't need to include the brackets
  • the volume number
  • the Law Report abbreviation
  • the start page

In some Databases you may not even need to include the year! The volume, Law Report abbreviation and the start page may suffice!

The benefit of searching for cases using the citation is that you will find the exact case you are looking for, as the citation is a unique identifier for the case. 

You can conduct a citation search in both Lexis Advance and Westlaw AU. For information on how you do this, please see each of the tabbed boxes pertaining to Lexis Advance and Westlaw AU. 

The easiest way to conduct a citation search in the Lexis Advance Database, is to use the single search box. 

Let's use this example case:

Wright v Gasweld P/L (1991) 22 NSWLR 317.

The image below, illustrates the citation search in the Database - you will notice it is as simple as typing the following elements in the search box:

  • the volume number 22
  • the Law Report Abbreviation NSWLR (lowercase will also work) and 
  • the start page 317

You will also notice that the Database has detected the case - to access the case, you have 2 options:

  • click on the predictive text that pops up underneath, OR
  • click the magnifying glass icon to the right. 

You can also conduct a citation search using the Quick Find section located in the middle of the Lexis Advance homepage: 


Conducting a citation search is also very easy in the Westlaw AU Database. Please watch the following video below (by clicking on the image) to find how to conduct citation searches in Westlaw AU.

(Please note: after you click on the image you will be taken to Westlaw AU's Training and Support page.  To watch the video, click the white play button). 

For more information, you can also check out Westlaw's Guide in relation to citation searches. 


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