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University of Wollongong Australia

Referencing & Citing Guide: Case Law

This Referencing and Citing Guide provides referencing examples to act as guidelines for the UOW Harvard, AGLC, APA 6 and Footnoting (Oxford) referencing styles.

AGLC - Case Law

Format Notes Footnotes
Reported case

See AGLC rule 2.


The details which must be included are:


Case name - Cite only the first plaintiff and defendant. Use italics for the names of the parties.


Year - If the volumes of the law report are organised by year, put the relevant year in square brackets [ ]. If the reports are organised by volume number (i.e. the year is not an essential part of the citation of the relevant law report), put the year the case was decided in parentheses (i.e. round brackets) ( ). Note that some reports have changed from one system to the other. For example, for volumes of the Victorian Reports prior to the year 2000, put the year in square brackets; from 2000 onwards use round brackets.


Volume number - As noted, many reports are organised by volume number. However, even where a law report series is organised by year, some years may have two or more volumes per year. For example, [1996] 2 VR is the second volume of the Victorian Reports for the year 1996.


Authorised Report Series - If it is reported in an authorised series, use the authorised reports (for example: Commonwealth Law Reports, New South Wales Law Reports)


Report series - Use the abbreviation for the name of the report series, not the full title. The report itself should indicate the relevant abbreviation. Lists of report series and their abbreviations are to be found in the Appendix to the AGLC and in Peter Butt (ed) Butterworths Concise Australian Legal Dictionary (LexisNexis Butterworths, 3rd ed, 2004), Appendix B.


Page - Put the page at which the case report begins.


Pinpoint - Use this when you are referring to a specific page of the reported decision. If identifying the particular judge being cited, put their name in round brackets after the pinpoint.

Rixon v Star City Pty Ltd (2001) 53 NSWLR 98.
Unreported case - Medium neutral citation

See AGLC rule 2.8


Always check (using CaseBase or FirstPoint) to see if the case has been reported. If a reported version is available, use the reported version in preference to the unreported decision. If it is reported in an authorised series, use the authorised reports (for example: Commonwealth Law Reports, Federal Court Reports, Victorian Reports).


If the decision is not reported, use the medium neutral citation, if it is available. Medium neutral citations were introduced by the courts in the 1990s so that any judgment could be referred to, using a uniform style, no matter what medium it appears in. Most earlier cases do not have medium neutral citations. An exception is the High Court of Australia - all of its reported decisions going back to 1903 have now been given medium neutral citations.


If the unreported decision was found on an electronic database, do not cite the database. (The same unreported decisions can often be found on different databases.) The medium neutral citation is sufficient.


The details which must be included are:


Case name - Put in italics.


Year - Put in square brackets.


Unique court identifier - Use 'VSC' for decisions from the Victorian Supreme Court, 'VSCA' for decisions from the Victorian Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, 'HCA' for the High Court of Australia, etc. (the judgment itself should identify the relevant unique court identifier).


Judgment number - This will be the judgment number allocated by the court for the relevant year.
The judgment date -in parentheses (round brackets).


Pinpoint - Refer to the paragraph number of the judgment, not the page number. Use square brackets.

Legal Services Commissioner v WJK [2010] VCAT 108 (3 February 2010).

Unreported case - Other

Most unreported cases from before the mid-1990s do not have a medium neutral citation. In that case, you must provide the following details:

Case name - Put in italics.


The word 'Unreported', the name of the court, the name(s) of the judge(s), and the judgment date - Use parentheses (round brackets).


Pinpoint - Refer to the page number of the judgment, not the paragraph number.


R v Best  (Unreported, Supreme Court of New South Wales, Court of Criminal Appeal, Street CJ, Hope JA and Lee J, 2 April 1980).