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Using Case Citators

What is a case citator?

A case citator is a legal research tool for finding cases by:

  • party name/s,
  • citation, or
  • topic

Citators allow you to track the history of a case and its subsequent treatment by the courts, using signals or flags to indicate whether the case has received positive, negative, cautionary or neutral treatement in subsequent judgments.

Citators also enable researches to identify secondary materials which discuss a case as well as legislation judicially considered.

If you have ever looked up a case in a database (such as Lexis Advance or WestlawAU) you have already seen a case citator - it is often the 'landing page' for the case.

Features of case citators

Case Citators will help you find:

  • the correct citation if not known
  • case details (name, date decided, judges, court and citation)
  • parallel citations - alternate citations for the same case. Remember to use the most authorised version available
  • signals or flags summarise the subsequent judicial consideration the case has received
  • a list of cases that have subsequently considered this case
  • a list of cases considered in the case
  • judicially considered words and phrases
  • catchwords and digests provide a summary of the facts of the case
  • litigation history tells you where the case was heard before, if it is an appeal
  • journal articles considering the case, and
  • links to full text cases and articles where available on the publishers website

Searching with case citators

The case citator search template allows you to search in a number of different fields both individually or in combination:

  Field to search   Example search
1 Terms or free text Keyword searches across all citator fields director /p "duty of care"
2 Catchwords subject heading, topic or classification separation of powers
3 Legislation legislation title and provision Building Act 1975
4 Words & phrases word or phrase judicially considered "minority shareholder"

FirstPoint (from WestlawAU)

FirstPoint is the case citator tool in WestlawAU. It has an extensive collection of authorised reports including the Commonwealth Law Reports.

In addition to the search template (below) you can also browse or search the Australian Digest classification or use the links to find similar and related cases.

 

FirstPoint search results also show parallel citations, flags and classifications:

Finding references with citators

Citators will usually provide all the parallel citations for a case, so you can see which you should cite in your references.

The below example from CaseBase (Lexis Advance's citator) shows the parallel citations for cases in order of hierarchy from authorised (if available) to reported to unreported:

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Citators available @ QUT