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University of Newcastle Library Guides

Law: Case Law: Search tips

A Library Guide to support students and staff of the University of Newcastle in finding Case Law

Finding cases

Finding cases by citation

  • The easiest way to find a case is by its citation.
  • The citation is a unique identifier for the case.
  • Thus you will only find one case with a correct citation.
  • Example: (1992) 175 CLR 1. 

Finding cases by party names

  • If you don't have the case citation then you will need to search using one or both of the party names.
  • Finding a case by party names is much less accurate and potentially harder to find.
  • Always check the spelling of names.
  • Be aware that some databases will write the party names differently.
  • Example: Jiminez v The Queen is used in FirstPoint whereas Jiminez v R is used in CaseBase and LawCite.

Finding cases on a topic

  • Define and determine the key legal issues.
  • Think of synonyms for the search terms.
  • The right keywords will yield a relevant set of cases.
  • Use the connector AND to narrow a search; example: assault AND battery.
  • Use the connector OR to broaden a search; example: youth OR adolescent.
  • Apply search limits like jurisdiction or date or judge's name to create very specific search results. 

Case citations

  • A reported version of a case should be cited in preference to an unreported version. 
  • Where a case appears in an authorised reports series, this series should be cited in preference to any other reported version.

Reported case citations in AGLC4 style


Square and round brackets in reported case citations

[ ] numbering is by year of publication thus the date is essential in locating the case
    e.g. [1974] Qd R 253

( ) numbering is by the volume of the publication, the date is not essential to locate the case

    e.g. (1998) 194 CLR 355

Unreported judgment citations in AGLC4 style



From 1998 the medium neutral citation for an unreported judgment includes the court abbreviation where the case was heard.

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