Case law

3. Case citations

Case citations or references abbreviate the key information relating to a case and its publication details. Understanding the parts of a case citation will help locate the case.

Reported citations

Below are the parts of a reference for the reported judgment, Jaensch v Coffey (1984) 155 CLR 549.

Party names Year published Vol number Law report series Commencing page number
Jaensch v Coffey (1984) 155 CLR 549

You could find this case in print or online by accessing the Commonwealth Law Reports volume 155 and turning to page 549.

Unreported citations

Unreported judgments use a medium neutral citation style. Below is the same matter in unreported format.

Party names Year heard Court Abbreviation Judgment number
Jaensch v Coffey [1984] HCA 52

Both citation styles abbreviate either the law report series or the Court title. Abbreviations are used extensively in law and used for law reports, law courts, law journals and commonly used legal terms. Some of the most common abbreviations appear in the A-Z list on the case law tab of the legal research guide. There are also specialist resources for looking up abbreviations:

  • CaseBase (Aus)
  • Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations (UK and Intl)
  • Bieber's Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations (USA).
What does the abbreviation stand for QR? Check the A-Z list on the Legal Research Guide.
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