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Case Law: Find a case by party name

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 Party Names

If you don't have a case citation, then you will need to search for a case using one or both of the party names.

If you have a choice, always prefer to search by citation, as it is a unique identifier for the case, so you will only find one case if the citation is correct.

When you don't have the citation, or you want to track case history, then search for cases by party name/s. As with citation searching, use the various case Databases and their built in case citators: Lexis+ (CaseBase) and Westlaw AU (KeyCite) for Australian cases. Use Westlaw UK or Thomson Reuters Westlaw for other jurisdictions.


Abbreviations in Party Names

Keep in mind when searching for criminal cases that the plaintiff is usually cited as "R" for Rex or Regina (Latin for King or Queen).  Since 2004 in Western Australia the plaintiff is cited as "The State of Western Australia".

Other abbreviations may be used in a case citation.

  • "Re" - in the matter of
  • "ex parte" - representing someone who is involved in the case but is not a party

When looking for cases that contain these abbreviations always search by party name.

Let's have a look at the same example that was used for the citation search:

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

The easiest way, is to conduct a party name search using wright v gasweld pty ltd (lower case letters work).

Type the party names in the search box, as indicated by the yellow arrow and then select the Case you are after, by selecting the right one from the predictive text, that appears in the search box as you typing, as indicated by the green arrow.

You will then need to click the little magnifying glass.

When you click the little magnifying glass, you will then be taken to the case:



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

Find Australian cases

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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