For more info try the Legal Research Workshop which has been designed to teach you basic legal research skills using online (primarily Australian) resources available through the UniSA Library.
Individual cases are arranged collectively in series of Law Reports. To locate a case you need to be able to understand the citation. Here is a sample Citation:
|Ansett Transport Industries (Operations) Pty Ltd v Wardley (1980) 142 CLR 237|
The different parts of the Citation are explained below:
|Ansett Transport Industries
(Operations) Pty Ltd v Wardley
Parties to the case
Year the case was reported
Volume of the law reports in which the case was reported
Abbreviation for the law report series in which the case can be
Page on which the case can be found
TIP If you cannot identify an abbreviation in a case there are a number of abbreviation lists available online (see the links in legal abbreviations and citations below)
CPD interactive have created a video 'Case Citators' in their How to Really be a Lawyer series.
A case citator provides a summary of the case, and importantly tells us what has happened since the case. Specifically, have the courts continued to follow the principal of law from a specific case?
You need to be aware that each product has its positive points and limitations. For example, the scope of the service – particularly in relation to timeframe, and to the editor’s selection of cases listed. Natalie discusses when you may use one resource over another, and gives some examples.
The Scottish Council of Law Reporting has produced five short films about law reporting and precedent that are applicable to all common law jurisdictions.
Not sure what kind of resources you need, or where to find them?
Our Legal Research flowcharts will help you to decide which resources are suitable for the task you are doing.
For some law reports, the judge who wrote the decision also checks the details of the case before it is published. These cases are known as "authorised" reports.Cases from law reports where the judgment is not checked by the judge before publication can still be used in a court of law and in your assignment. These are commonly referred to as "unauthorised" reports.
|Authorised report series||Abbreviation||Other report series (unauthorised)||Abbreviation|
|Commonwealth Law Reports||CLR||Federal Law Reports||FLR|
|Federal Court Reports||FCR||Australian Law Journal Reports||ALJR|
|Northern Territory Law Reports||NTLR||Australian Law Reports||ALR|
|New South Wales Law Reports||NSWLR||Australian Company Law Cases||ACLS|
|Victorian Reports||VR||Australian Family Law Cases||AFLC|
|South Australian State Reports||SASR||Australian Trade Practices Reports||ATPR|
|Queensland Reports||Qd R||Australian Trade Practices Reports||ATPR|
|Western Australian Reports||WAR|
|Tasmanian Reports||Tas R|
|Administrative Law Decisions||ALD|
|Commonwealth Arbitration Reports||CAR|
For more information on authorised and unauthorised reports see the Legal Research Workshop - Finding Case Law (you will need to login)