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Guide to Online Legal Research

Key databases for finding case law

The Library provides access to a range of specialised databases which you can use to find case law. The following will be useful for finding cases on your legal topics:

Case citators

A  case citator is a legal research tool which helps you to track the history of a case and the treatment of the case by subsequent courts. Citators allow you to determine if a case is still good law and it acts as noting up tool, allowing you find other cases (and secondary materials) which have cited the original case.

Finding authorised Australian law reports

The following is a list of authorised law report series for Australian superior courts. A link has been provided where the reports are available online via SCU databases.

Court

Title of report series

Abbreviation

Federal Court of Australia

Federal Court Reports

FCR

High Court of Australia

Commonwealth Law Reports

CLR

Supreme Court of New South Wales

New South Wales Law Reports

NSWLR

Supreme Court of Queensland

Queensland Reports, 1954+

Queensland Reports, 1859+

QdR

Supreme Court of South Australia

South Australian State Reports

SASR

Supreme Court of Tasmania

Tasmanian Reports

Tas R

Supreme Court of Victoria

Victorian Reports

VR

Supreme Court of Western Australia

Western Australian Reports

WAR

Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory Law Australian Capital Territory Reports ACTLR
Supreme Court of the Northern Territory Northern Territory Law Reports NTLR

Finding Legal abbreviations

Legal abbreviations are often used to identify legal publications such as law reports and journals. Use one of the following tools to interpret the abbreviation and then you can search the SCU Library catalogue to check for the location of the publication.

Finding case information by searching for the case name or citation

  1. Go to AustLII.
  2. Click on the link to Advanced Search (under the drop down arrow next to the search box).
  3. Select a search method by clicking on the relevant tab, i.e. Document Title.
  4. In the Enter your search box, enter the name of the case.
  5. In the Select the database(s) to search..., click on Show all (to show all databases in the list).
  6. All databases are selected by default, so first deselect all databases by clicking on the arrow at the top of the list.
  7. Scroll through and select the relevant option from the list, i.e. New South Wales: All Cases.
  8. Click on Advanced Search.
  1. Go to Lexis Advance Research.
  2. Click on the link to View all AU Publications under the Publications list.
  3. Browse in the alphabetical list for Australian Current Law Reporter, and then click on the link to the title.
  4. Click on Go to Advanced Search.
  5. In the References to Cases box, enter the case name or citation.
  6. Select Jurisdiction if required.
  7. Click on Search.
  8. A list of cases that have judicially considered or referred to the case will be displayed.
  1. Go to BarNet Jade.
  2. Begin typing in the case name or case citation into the Jade search box at the top of the page.
  3. Suggested case names/citations will be displayed in the drop down list.
  4. Select relevant case from the list.
  5. Full text of the case and Jade CaseTrace information will be displayed.

Alternatively, you can browse for cases on Jade:

  1. Go to BarNet Jade.
  2. Click on the Jade Browser tab.
  3. Select an option under the Judgments heading of the “Browse collections” table to the left, i.e. By citation, etc.
  4. A list of cases will be displayed.

Please go to the database Lexis Advance Pacific to access this title. Instructions on how to search CaseBase can be found in this video 

Search using a case reference

  1. Go to CCH IntelliConnect.
  2. Click on Pinpoint on the Toolbar.
  3. A list of practice areas will be displayed in the left hand pane.
  4. Click on the + icon next to the practice area heading (i.e. Family Law).
  5. A list of titles will be displayed below the practice area.
  6. Click on the title of the Law Cases to search.
  7. In the right pane choose one of the options listed and enter the case reference you are searching for.
  8. Click on Go.

Search using a case name

  1. Go to CCH IntelliConnect.
  2. A list of practice areas will be displayed in the left hand frame.
  3. Click on the + icon next to the practice area heading (i.e. Family Law).
  4. A list of titles will be displayed below the practice area heading.
  5. Click in the box next to the relevant Law Cases title.
  6. The Search scope box will automatically change to selected content.
  7. Enter the case name in the Search box.
  8. Click on Go.
  1. Go to Westlaw AU.
  2. Click on FirstPoint under Search Templates.
  3. You will be taken to the FirstPoint search form.
  4. Enter the case name in the Case Title/Party Name search box (alternatively, you can enter the case citation, if known, in the Citation search box).
  5. Click on Search.
  6. A list of cases will be displayed.
  7. Click on the link to the FirstPoint record for the relevant case.
  8. Details of case will be listed including the following sections: Digest, Litigation History, Cases Citing, Cases Cited, Legislation Judicially Considered, Words and Phrases Judicially Considered and Noted in Journals (where relevant).

FirstPoint Record Guide

  1. Go to AustLII.
  2. Click on the link to [LawCite].
  3. Enter either the case citation in the Citation: search box, or parties name in the Parties: search boxes.
  4. Enter court or jurisdiction if required.
  5. Click on Search.
  1. Go to WorldLII.
  2. Click on the link to [Advanced Search].
  3. In the Find box, select the relevant option from the drop down list, i.e. this case name.
  4. In the Enter search query: box, enter name of case (parties' names).
  5. In the Select the AustLII Database(s) to search: box, scroll through and select All Case Law Databases from the list.
  6. Click on Search.

Finding cases on a topic

  1. Go to Informit.
  2. Click on Select by Full Text Database name.
  3. Select AGIS Plus Text from the list of Full Text Databases.
  4. Click on the Advanced Search tab.
  5. Enter your keywords/phrase in the Search boxes provided.
  6. Select a field to search in from the Any field default box, i.e. Subject.
  7. Select a relevant option from the All terms default box, i.e. All terms.
  8. To search full text articles only, check the Full text only box.
  9. To search by date, check the Year range box, and then select required dates.
  10. Click on Search.
  11. If there are cases relevant to the topic, the CASE field will be listed in the display.
  1. Go to AustLII.
  2. Click on the link to Advanced Search (under the drop down arrow next to the search box).
  3. Select a search method by clicking on the relevant tab, i.e. Boolean Query.
  4. In the Enter your search box, enter keyword/s or phrase.
  5. In the Select the database(s) to search..., click on Show all (to show all databases in the list).
  6. All databases are selected by default, so first deselect all databases by clicking on the arrow at the top of the list.
  7. Scroll through and select the relevant option from the list, i.e. New South Wales: All Cases.
  8. Click on Advanced Search.

Please go to the database Lexis Advance Pacific to access this title.

  1. Go to BarNet Jade.
  2. Click the arrow next to search now and select Advanced search.
  3. Enter in your keywords/phrases and search parameters, i.e. Collection, Decision date, etc.
  4. Click on Search.
  5. Sort through your results.
  6. If required, you can refine your results by selecting an option from the “Refine search results” section to the left of the page. You can refine results by date, more keywords or via which court (collection) the judgment comes from.
  7. To change the way you see the results of your search, click on Order by: at the top right of the results and select the relevant option.

Alternatively, to browse cases by topic:

  1. Click on the Jade Browser tab.
  2. Select By topic under the Judgments heading of the “Browse collections” table to the left.
  3. You can either enter your topic in the search box, or select a topic from the alphabetical list of topics displayed on the page.
  4. Judgments relating to the selected topic will be displayed.

Please go to the database Lexis Advance Pacific to access this title. Instructions on how to search CaseBase can be found in this video. 

  1. Go to CCH IntelliConnect.
  2. Enter your search terms in the Search box.
  3. In the Search/Browse drop down list, select all content (the default option).
  4. Click on Go.
  5. A list of search results will be displayed in the right hand pane.
  6. To narrow the search results to cases only, click on the + icon next to the heading by Document Type. A list of document types will be displayed in the left pane.
  7. From this list select Cases by clicking on the Cases heading. The list of cases will be displayed in the right hand pane.

OR alternatively, search within a specific topic area

  1. Go to CCH IntelliConnect.
  2. A list of practice areas will be displayed in the left hand frame.
  3. Click on the + icon next to the practice area heading (i.e. Family Law).
  4. A list of titles will be displayed below the practice area heading.
  5. Click in the box next to the relevant Law Cases title.
  6. The Search scope box will automatically change to selected content.
  7. Enter search terms in the Search box.
  8. Click on Go.
  1. Go to Westlaw AU.
  2. Click on FirstPoint under Search Templates.
  3. You will be taken to the FirstPoint (Cases) search form.
  4. Enter keyword/s or phrase in the Free Text Search box.
  5. If required, select Jurisdiction from the drop down lists.
  6. Select further options if you would like to limit search further, i.e. by case type (Reported/Unreported).
  7. Click on Search.

FirstPoint Record Guide

  1. Go to WorldLII.
  2. Click on the link to [Advanced Search].
  3. In the Find box, select the relevant option from the drop down list, i.e. Boolean Query.
  4. In the Enter search query: box, enter keyword/s or phrase.
  5. In the Select the AustLII Database(s) to search: box, scroll through and select All Case Law Databases from the list.
  6. Click on Search.

Finding cases that have judicially considered other cases (noting up)

  1. Go to AustLII.
  2. Click on the link to Advanced Search (under the drop down arrow next to the search box).
  3. Select a search method by clicking on the relevant tab, i.e. Document Title.
  4. In the Enter your search box, enter the name of the case.
  5. In the Select the database(s) to search..., click on Show all (to show all databases in the list).
  6. All databases are selected by default, so first deselect all databases by clicking on the arrow at the top of the list.
  7. Scroll through and select the relevant option from the list, i.e. New South Wales: All Cases.
  8. Click on Advanced Search.
  9. Select the relevant case from the displayed list.
  10. When the full text of the case is displayed, click on the link to NoteUp references (to the right of the page under Cited By).
  1. Go to BarNet Jade.
  2. Begin typing in the case name or case citation into the Jade search box at the top of the page.
  3. Suggested case names/citations will be displayed in the drop down list.
  4. Select relevant case from the list.
  5. The full text of the case will be displayed.
  6. In the green Jade CaseTrace box to the right of the page, click on Citation Report. Alternatively, scroll down to the very bottom of the judgment.
  7. Information about the case will be shown in the report, i.e. litigation history, cases citing the decision, cases cited by the decision, etc.

Please go to the database Lexis Advance Pacific to access this title. Instructions on how to search CaseBase can be found in this video. 

  1. Go to Westlaw AU.
  2. Click on FirstPoint under Search Templates.
  3. You will be taken to the FirstPoint search form.
  4. Enter the case name in the Case Title/Party Name search box, OR if the citation is known, enter the citation in the Citation search box.
  5. Click on Search.
  6. Click on the link to the FirstPoint record for the relevant case (Hint: the FirstPoint link can be found in the Documents field).
  7. Note the section on Cases Citing the case, as this will let you know if the case is still good law.

FirstPoint Record Guide.

  1. Go to AustLII.
  2. Click on the link to LawCite.
  3. Enter either the case citation in the Citation: search box, or parties name in the Parties: search boxes.
  4. Enter court or jurisdiction if required.
  5. Click on Search.
  6. A record for the matching case will be displayed. Locate the section Cases Referring to this Case to see information on cases which have judicially considered the primary case.

Note: you can use the Cases Considered Search option, however, it is of little use by itself, but in combination with the other fields can be used to do things like finding all cases from a particular jurisdiction that have cited something from another.

Finding cases that have judicially considered legislation

  1. Go to AustLII.
  2. Click on the link to Advanced Search (under the drop down arrow next to the search box).
  3. Select a search method by clicking on the relevant tab, i.e. Document Title.
  4. In the Enter your search box, enter the name of the legislation (Act/Regulation/Rule).
  5. In the Select the database(s) to search..., click on Show all (to show all databases in the list).
  6. All databases are selected by default, so first deselect all databases by clicking on the arrow at the top of the list.
  7. Scroll through and select the relevant option from the list, i.e. New South Wales: All Legislation.
  8. Click on Advanced Search.
  9. Select the relevant legislation from the displayed list.
  10. Navigate to the relevant section of the legislation.
  11. When the full text of the section is displayed, click on the link to NoteUp references (to the right of the page under Cited By).
  12. A list of cases that have judicially considered the section of legislation should be displayed.

Please go to the database Lexis Advance Pacific to access this title. 

  1. Go to Lexis Advance Research.
  2. Click on CaseBase Cases under the Publications list.
  3. Click on Go to Advanced Search.
  4. You will be taken to the CaseBase search form.
  5. In the Legislation Title box, enter the name of the legislative instrument (Act/Regulation).
  6. In the Provision Number box, enter the relevant section number of the legislative instrument (Act/Regulation).
  7. Select Jurisdiction if required.
  8. Click on Search.
  9. A list of cases that have judicially considered/referred to the provision will be displayed.

Alternatively, try the general search demonstrated in the video below.

  1. Go to Westlaw AU.
  2. Click on FirstPoint under Search Templates.
  3. You will be taken to the FirstPoint search form.
  4. In the Legislation Cited (Title) search box, enter the name of the Act or Regulation, and year if known, e.g. "crimes act 1900".
  5. You can refine the search by including the section number in the Legislation Cited (Provision) search box, e.g. 34.
  6. Click on Search.

Go BarNet Jade and follow the instructions in this video.

  1. Go to AustLII.
  2. Click on the link to LawCite in the red toolbar.
  3. Enter the title of legislation in the Legislation Considered: search box (note that as you type the title in the box, a list of preloaded titles will appear, simply click on a title to select it).
  4. Enter section number if required in the Section: search box.
  5. Click on Search.
  1. Go to LawOne.
  2. Click on the Browse link in the LawOne toolbar.
  3. Click on the link to the relevant jurisdiction, i.e. CTH (Commonwealth).
  4. Click on link to the relevant legislation category, i.e. Acts (Current).
  5. Click on the relevant letter in the Starts with: alphabetical list, and then select the required Act from the list.
  6. When the Act is displayed, click on the i Key Info button to the top right of the Act.
  7. Click on the link to Cases under the Related instruments: heading.
  8. Cases which have considered the Act will be displayed in chronological order.

Please go to the database Lexis Advance Pacific to access this title.