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A decision of a court or a tribunal is often called a 'judgment', 'case', 'determination' or 'finding'. In this guide we use the term 'case'. Law reports are published cases.
Each court has one series of law reports that is authorised.
If you know exactly what you are looking for use the menu on the left of this guide to help you find the law report that contains your case.
If you are not sure what you are looking for, try these strategies:
Case citators are useful if you are searching for a case by subject, rather than a specific case. Type your search term(s) or phrase into the free text search. Tip:
You can narrow your search by
The easiest way to find a case is by its citation - this is a unique identifier for the case. Sometimes, cases will have more than one citation, if they have been reported in different law report series. You can use any of the citations given to find a copy of this case.
Often, the only information you have about a case is one or both of the party names. There are a few tips when searching by party name:
Cases can become so famous that they are simply known by the name of one of the parties or their subject. For example,
This Guide has been developed by staff of the Legal Information Access Centre (LIAC), State Library of NSW. The State Library holds an extensive collection of case law, legislation and looseleaf publications.
Legislation is a major source of law. Courts are the other source.
In this 10 minutes video you'll also find out about the court hierarchy, and the courts' and tribunals' jurisdictions.
Developed by LIAC, State Library of NSW
Captioned version also available.
Not all cases are available.
Courts select and provide decisions for publication, usually on the grounds of legal significance.
Just because a case is well known doesn't mean it has been published in print, or on the internet.
If you want to find out more about citators, use this guide: What is a case citator? produced by Macquarie University.