12 Citing a Case

Case citations

Case citations abbreviate the key information relating to a case and its publication details. Understanding the parts of a case citation will help to find the case online or in a printed library collection.

Reported citations

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

Table 7: Reported citations
Party names Year published Volume number Law report series Starting page number
Jaensch v Coffey (1984) 155 CLR 549

Unreported citations

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

Table 8: Unreported citations
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. There are specialist resources for looking up abbreviations:

How to talk about a case

When citing cases verbally, some elements of a case citation need to be pronounced differently than they would appear in written form. For instance, in Australia the V between the party names is not pronounced; use Against for criminal matters or And for civil cases. For example:

  • The Queen Against Stubbs
  • Haug And Jupiters
Instead of pronouncing the R in criminal matters, use The King or The Crown.
Use ‘In the matter of’ instead of Re.

Make sure to provide the full citation

In advocacy or moot situations, use the full citation the first time the authority is referred to. With subsequent citations, simply indicate the party names and pinpoint reference as needed.

For example, when verbally citing R v Stubbs (2009) 228 FLR 221:

  • First instance: “The Queen against Stubbs, reported in 2009 at volume two hundred and twenty-eight of the Federal Law Reports at page 221.”
  • Second instance: “The Queen against Stubbs…”



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Legal Research Skills: An Australian Law Guide Copyright © 2023 by The University of Queensland, James Cook University, the University of Southern Queensland, Charles Darwin University, Southern Cross University, Queensland University of Technology, and Deakin University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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