Find Case Law

The State Library holds a range of Case Law materials from Commonwealth and Western Australian jurisdictions, as well as some eastern states and international material.  Commonwealth legal materials are held on the 1st floor.  All Western Australian material is on the 3rd floor as part of the Battye Library of Western Australian History.

Please note any assistance offered by the State Library of Western Australia staff should not be interpreted as legal advice.  Legal advice should be sought from a qualified legal professional.

To Find an “Authorised” Case Report:

A series of reports which has been given official approval by the judiciary or government is known as an “authorised” or “official” series of reports. In each jurisdiction only one series is designated authorised. Cases which enunciate a general principle or point of law are usually included in the authorised series of reports.

The Australian Case Citator lists all Australian cases which have been reported since 1825.  Each citation also contains a list of other cases where that judgement has been considered.

Understanding Citations

Cases that are published or “reported” are cited in a fairly standard way:  Names of parties – Year – Volume of report – Abbreviated title of report – Page number
i.e., the citation relates to the series of law reports in which the judgement has been published.  For example:

  • Mabo v Queensland No 2 [1992] 175 CLR 1
  • Fagan v Metropolitan Police Comr [1969] 1 QB 439

Current Commonwealth Authorised Reports

Some of these are available online 

Western Australian Authorised Reports

“Unauthorised” Reports

Unauthorised series of reports are produced more quickly and many are directed towards satisfying the needs of specialist practitioners. Unauthorised series of reports include many reports of cases which may be published later in an authorised series, however they also include reports which may only be of transient interest, or illustrate the application of authoritative cases.

Finding Reports by Subject

  • Australian DigestIndexes all significant decisions relating to a specific legal issue from the beginning of case law reporting in Australia (1825) to the present
  • Australian Current Law: A current awareness service that provides summaries of cases arranged by subject, often before officially reported
  • AustLII DatabasesSearchable online databases of legislation and case law compiled by the Australasian Legal Information Institute
  • CCH Intelliconnect:  Online resource that includes Company Law Cases, Corporations and Securities Law Reporter, Corporations and Securities Legislation, Corporations Court Rules, Family and De Facto Relationships Law and Labour Law Reporter 

Finding Cases by Legislation


Please ask a staff member at an enquiry desk for help if you cannot find what you are looking for. If you are outside the State Library you can seek assistance by:

1.  telephone: 9427 3111
2.  email: YES (Your Enquiry Service)

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Page last updated: Tuesday 26 June 2012

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