Citation – howto

This page has been provided to illustrate how to make sense of case citations, legislation referencing, and law report citations.

University law schools in Australia all use the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (2nd edition).  You can click on the link to download the guide for free from the University of Melbourne.  The University of Queensland has an interactive guide to legal citations for its law students: http://www.usq.edu.au/library/Breeze/Fac_Business/AGLC_Referencing/

1) Cases 

  1. Newington v Windeyer (1985) 3 NSWLR 555 at 560
  2. Croft v Dunphy [1933] AC 156
  3. R v Milat (1996) 87 A Crim R 446
  4. Swain v Waverly Municipal Council [2005] HCA 4

What do these case citation mean?  How are we going to find the full text of the judge’s decisions in these cases?

Plaintiff OR Prosecutor Defendant Year Volume no. Report name Start page Pinpoint – a specific page to refer to
Newington Windeyer (1985) 3 NSWLR 555 560
Croft Dunphy [1933] AC 156
R Milat (1996) 87 A Crim R 446

If the year is in round bracket ‘()’, then it indicates the year in which the decision was made. If the year is in square bracket ‘[]’, then it indicates the year in which the case was published.

Sometimes cases are given in ‘vendor-neutral’ citation.  This is especially if the case is listed in the AustLII database portal.  For example,

Plaintiff OR Prosecutor Defendant Year Court Abbreviation Judgment number within that year
Swain Waverly Municipal Council [2005] HCA 4

Law report name and court names are always abbreviated. You can find out what they are by going to this link: http://www.library.usyd.edu.au/libraries/law/abbreviations.html. If it is an Australian case, I usually go through the La Trobe University Law Library link. If it is an UK case, I would go through the ‘Cardiff Index Legal Abbreviation’.

2) Legislation

  1. Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)
  2. Companion Animals Act 1998 no. 87 (NSW) s13
  3. Electricity Supply (General) Regulation 2001 (NSW)

This one is pretty straightforward.  In fact I will leave the last one out in the table below, and allow you to fill them in.

Title Year Number Jurisdiction Pinpoint (section)
Family Law Act 1975   Commonwealth  
Companion Animals Act 1998 87 NSW s13
Electricity Supply (General) Regulation        
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