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Legal Citation

Reading Case Citations

Don't Forget!!

Read this guide in conjunction with the Australian Guide to Legal Citation.

Legal Abbreviations

Case law and journal citations are made up of the abbreviation for the case report series or journal.
To find the unabbreviated case report series or journal title you can look at a number of different sources:

Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations

Raistrick's Index to Legal Citations and Abbreviations

Thomson Reuters' Firstpoint Table of Abbreviations

The Australian Guide to Legal Citation (ALGC) Referencing Guide

The La Trobe University Legal Abbreviations Database

When in CaseBase in Lexis Advance you can access an Abbreviation/Subject List from the help menu.

LCANZ - Legal Citations of Aotearoa New Zealand

Law Quick Guides

Reading Case Citations

How to read a Case Citation

Students studying law are required to develop understanding and confidence reading case citations.
The following citation, taken from CaseBase on Lexis Advance, shows the different parts of an example case citation and what the abbreviations mean.

What does the series abbreviation mean?  

The initial citation task is to identify where the case has been reported.
Library catalogues generally use the full series title which means you need to be able to use the appropriate tools to find what the abbreviation means.

The two main tools used to assist you with finding out the name of a case law series or legal journal series are:

  • Raistrick, Donald, Index to Legal Citations and Abbreviations (3rd ed, London: Sweet & Maxwell, 2008). This is generally referred to as Raistrick's. A copy of this Index is shelved in the Law Library Reference collection at 340.0148 RAI 2008.

Other citation indexes are shelved at the same number in the Reference collection in Level 3 and are listed to the left of this text box.

Once you have found the unabbreviated name of the report series, you can enter this into Library Search.
This will give you a listing of the Library's holdings of the series, including whether it is available in print, electronically, or both.


Activity indicator1. Look at the following case citations and identify if they are medium neutral, or taken from a subject specific series of reports or an authorised series of reports.

a. Glennon v The Queen (1994) 70 A Crim R 459.
b. Mickelberg v The Queen (2004) 29 WAR 13.
c. Mickelberg v The Queen [2004] WASCA 145.



Activity indicator2. Look at the following case citation: Mickelberg and the Queen (2004) 29 WAR 13 and answer the following questions;

a. Look at the citation above.  What page does the report start on, 2004, 29 or 13?
b. What is the series abbreviation? What does it stand for?
c. The parties to the case are...



Activity indicator3. Use the tools given in this guide to find what the full name of the report series which is abbreviated as SCR.

a. Supreme Court Reports of Chile
b. Canada Supreme Court Reports
c. State Court Reports