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Identify parts of a case

Like journal articles or books, the layout and formatting of a case will vary between publishers, but some elements are common across all versions.

Below are three examples of the same case as laid out by different publishers. The coloured and numbered sections correspond to the table below.

Jump to the example:

Unreported case

Reported case in the CLR

Reported case in the ALJR

  1: Header

Usually contains the reported citation of the case, page numbers and may contain other information - often added by report publisher.

  2: Parties' names and roles

The people or companies on each ‘side’ of the case, and their roles, i.e. who initiated the case (applicant, appellant, prosecution) and who is responding to their claim (respondent, defendant)

  3: Court

Court hearing this case – also seen in the court abbreviation in the medium neutral citation (as below)

  4: Medium neutral citation

Citation for the unreported version of the case

  5: Judges

Which judges of the court heard the case

  6: Date of hearing/judgment

Dates when case was heard in court, and when the judgment was delivered

  7: Previous court

If the case is an appeal, where the case was heard before this instance

  8: Catchwords

Keywords for the content of the case – added by report publisher

  9: Summary

Summary of the facts and findings of the case – added by the publisher

  10: Judgment author and full text

The judge/s who wrote this judgment, followed by the text of the judgment. A case may contain multiple judgments. ‘The Court’ means all judges hearing this case cooperated on one judgment.


Unreported case

Below is an excerpt of the unreported judgment of Lockwood Security v Doric Products [No 2]. Note that this document does not have a header or summary, as those parts are often added by the report publisher.

Reported case in the CLR

Below is a case from the Commonwealth Law Reports - note that this reporter adds a comprehensive summary of the facts, history and arguments in the case, so the judgment itself starts eight pages into the document.

Reported case in the ALJR

In this example from the Australian Law Journal Reports, note that the name of the court appears in the header.

Tags: case law, caselaw, law, law_school, legal research, legal_citation