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Self Paced Lesson - Case Law - Subject Guide: 5: Status of a Case

The status of a case reflects the changing and dynamic role of the courts as they make legal decisions on problems in the cases before them.

A case that contains important statements of the law can be affirmed or overturned in subsequent years.

The editors at Westlaw Australia and Lexis Advance use "status symbols" to indicate the current standing of a case.

Of course you need to check whether the particular point of law you are researching is still valid or not regardless of the symbol given to the case.

The symbols are hints and warnings but are not statements of law!

Checking the Status of a Case on Lexis Advance

Look at the case record to see all the information about the case, according to CaseBase.

Status signals indicate that precedent from this case has been cited, and the effect on the case. If these signals are not showing click on the Show Signals link towards the top left of each CaseBase entry. Click on the CaseBase Signal Help link to find an explanation of CaseBase "signals" and terminology.

The signal relevant to the case is sitting next to the parties'/case name. The status signal is shown before the rest of the citation.

For more details about the symbols used in CaseBase, hold the cursor over the symbol, or click on the CaseBase Signal Help button at the right-hand side of the CaseBase entry page.

Checking the Status of a Case on Westlaw Australia

If a case or administrative decision has a red or yellow flag, the most negative treatment is displayed next to the flag at the top of the document.
Most negative treatment consists of phrases such as Overruled by, Abrogated by, or Distinguished by and includes a link to the underlying document, if available.

KeyCite Status Flags

KeyCite Flags alert you to negative references or events that may impact the validity of that document.

Negative red and yellow flags will appear in the Negative Treatment tab.
Click the Negative Treatment tab to view negative direct history, negative citing references, and overruling risks for a case.
Negative citing references are listed in a table format.

When applicable, a description and a link for the most negative treatment is available at the top of the document.
If a case or administrative decision has a red or yellow flag, the most negative treatment is displayed next to the flag at the top of the document.
The case with the most impact on the case is shown at the top of the case document.

A red flag warns the case or administrative decision is no longer good law for at least one of the points it contains.

A yellow flag warns the case or administrative decision has some negative history, but has not been reversed or overruled.

The depth of treatment bars in the Depth column indicate the extent to which the citing case discusses the cited case.

KeyCite History tab

KeyCite History tells you if the case’s decision was reversed or upheld in a later appeal.

  • The Negative Treatment tab includes negative direct litigation history, and negative citing references for a case.
  • The History tab includes the direct litigation history and related proceedings relevant to this case.

Compare the assigned status on the two databases

Is the status the same or is it different?

The judgment of the Court remains the same but the analysis may vary, or one database may be more up to date than the other. This is due to the different editors who work on different databases.

Activity indicator According to CaseBase on Lexis Advance, which of the following statements indicate the current status of Bradley v Commonwealth (1973) 128 CLR 557?

a. The case has been subsequently reversed, not followed, disapproved or overruled.
b. The case has been applied, approved or affirmed.
c. The case has citation information only.