To locate a print report of a case, you will need to:
Find the full title of the law report, using a list containing legal abbreviations
Check the library catalogue by this full title to locate the shelf number (treat law reports as Journals or Periodicals)
Go to the Government Publications shelves on level 4 to find the law report that matches the volume number, year and page
In the Robertson Library, most printed law reports are held in the Government Publications and Legal Reference Collection on level 4. These items cannot be borrowed but can be photocopied.
If Curtin library does not have the report you are looking for, try the library of a University with a law school (eg. Murdoch, UWA) or the State Library.
When referencing a particular section of a case, use the page number ie Ousley v The Queen (1997) 71 ALJR 1548, at 1550. This is called Citation reference point or pinpoint reference.
For more information on referencing law reports, see our Referencing guide page within this guide.
Need extra help with using legal databases? Try these user guides:
Reports of some courts' decisions can be found on free Web databases such as AustLII and databases that some libraries subscribe to, for example, LexisNexis.
Use the following databases to find cases (court decisions) online :
To locate Case reports, you'll need to understand the elements of citation to a law report. A reference to a case will look like this :
Theophanous v Herald & Weekly Times (1994) 182 CLR 104
1 1 2 3 4 5
In this reference, reported judicial decisions are cited using the following :
(1) the names of the principal parties (plaintiff is Theophanous defendant is the HWT (in italics)
(2) the year of the report or the year the decision was made
(3) volume number of the report, where applicable
(4) the abbreviation for the name of the hard copy report, in this case the Commonwealth Law Reports
(5) the first page of the case in the CLR
Note: If you are required to provide a 'pinpoint' reference for this report, e.g. to give the precise location of the quotation you are using from page 120, please state that page at the end, so that your citation reads:
Theophanus v Herald & Weekly Times (1994) 182 CLR 104, at 120
Sometimes a report does not have a volume number. In this case, the date of the report will be in square brackets, for eg,
Eatock v Bolt  FCA 1103 Or The Queen v Cobb  FCA 159
The Queen v Cobb  FCA 159
Where one of the parties in the case is the state or federal government of the day, the citation will look like this:
Mabo v Queensland  HCA 69 OR
The Queen v Cobb  FCA 159 OR
R v Kanaan  NSWCCA 385
where R stands for Rex or Regina, depending on whether there was a King or Queen reigning at the time that the case was being heard
For more on Citation, visit the Reference sources tab within this guide.
This is a short tutorial on finding electronic case reports through AustLII.