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Legal Research

Case citators

What is a case citator?

A case citator is a legal research tool which allows you to:

  • find cases
  • track a case's history and it's treatment by subsequent courts
  • provide links to relevant cases, legislation and secondary sources.

They allow you to determine if your case is still good law.

How to ensure cases are still "good" law (i.e. not overruled by subsequent cases)

It's important to research the judicial history of a case to ascertain whether the case has been overruled by subsequent cases or it is still being used.

  • Checking the judicial history of the case may also alert you to more recent judgments on your topic. This task is usually referred to as "noting up".
  • Noting up Australian cases is done by using a case citator. Common Australian case citators are Westlaw AU: FirstPoint, and Lexis Advance Research: CaseBase.
  • The most noteworthy annotations in a case citator are: disapproved, overruled, applied and followed. (Annotations differ between databases.)
  • A detailed description of these terms can be found via:

Case citator databases

If you cannot access the full-text of an authorised version in one case citator, try another one. For example, the full-text of CLR (the most authoritative report of High Court decisions) will be available in FirstPoint.