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Finding cases from a citation

Step by step

Step 1: Decode the abbreviation

The citation will include an abbreviated name of the law report series or court that published the case.

Go to the Common case abbreviations tab, and either find the abbreviation in the table, or use the legal abbreviation search tools (such as Cardiff's) to look up the full title.

Step 2: Find the right database

For report series/courts listed in the Common case abbreviations table, click the link to go to that reporter/court in the relevant database.

For any report series not listed in the table, try searching the name of the report series in the Library Quick Search. Otherwise, contact the Law Library for help.

For any court not listed in the table, try the court's website, WorldLII, or contact the Law Library for help.

Step 3: Find the correct volume or year

If the year is in square brackets, you need the year to find the case. Navigate to the year given in the citation. If there is an issue or part number after the year, select that part of the year.

If the year is in round brackets, you need the volume number to find the case. Navigate to the volume number given in the citation.

Step 4: Find the page or judgment number

For cases in a law reporter, the number after the reporter abbreviation is the starting page for that case.

For unreported cases, the number after the court abbreviation is the judgment number for that case.

Reported cases citation format

These are cases that have been published in a law report, which have a report abbreviation:

Case Name Year Volume Report Abbreviation Starting Page
R v Par [2015] 1 Qd R 15
Comcare v PVYW (2013) 250 CLR 246

Round or square brackets?

As above, some reporters put the year in square, and some in round, brackets.

Square brackets mean you need the year to find the case. To find R v Par, you need to first find the section for 2015, then the first volume published that year.

Round brackets mean the year is not needed to find the case. To find Comcare v PVYW you just need to go to volume 250 - the year is only given for extra information about the case.

Unreported cases citation format

These are cases which have not been published in a law report.

Use the medium neutral citation to locate the unreported case:

Case Name [Year] Court Abbreviation Judgment Number
R v Par [2014] QCA 248
Comcare v PVYW [2013] HCA 41
Tags: case law, caselaw, law, law_school, legal research, legal_citation