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Case Law: High Court applications

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 High Court transcripts and special leave applications

High Court of Australia Transcripts

What is a transcript?

A written record of court proceedings which includes evidence given by the parties and their witnesses, and records and exhibits, including the time at which they were introduced into evidence. Submissions are not usually transcribed. Transcripts are placed on the court file. If there is a dispute over the accuracy of some of the contents of the transcript, the errors are corrected on the next day of the hearing or the first date convenient to the court and the parties. If there is a dispute then the parties file affidavits setting out what they purport to be the evidence.
Encyclopaedic Australian Legal Dictionary (Lexis Advance)






Transcripts do not usually contain the judges' reasons for decisions unless these are read out in court.  Selected High Court of Australia transcripts are available from AustLII (Sept. 1994+ ). See the link in the frame on the right.

Special Leave Applications

What is a leave application?

Leave to appeal
: Practice and procedure

Permission of the court to institute appeal proceedings from a single judge or lower court to a full court or higher court respectively. In most jurisdictions, leave to appeal is required in relation to interlocutory decisions: for example (CTH) Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 s 24(1A); (NSW) Supreme Court Act 1970 s 101(2); (VIC) Supreme Court Act 1986 s 17A(4). Appeals from State Supreme Courts to the High Court can only be brought with special leave of the High Court: (CTH) Judiciary Act 1903 s 35(2). Where leave is required, the party seeking leave must show a special reason why leave to appeal should be granted relevant to the public interest rather than the personal interest of the party: South Australia v Muirhead (1979) 23 SASR 316

Encyclopaedic Australian Legal Dictionary (Lexis Advance)









A list of Special Leave Applications is available from the Registry at the High Court of Australia website. Applications are organised by date and include information such as applicants, respondents, the court appealed from, and the result.

High Court of Australia Bulletin

The Bulletin contains a digest of cases reserved and cases granted special leave and a separate list of cases where special leave was refused. These are also organised by date.

Links to resources

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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