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Legal Research Skills Guide: Reading a case citation

Elements of a case citation

Case citations (references) hold all of the key information to allow you to locate a Case.  Let's have a look at an example of an AGLC4 Case citation to see what the elements are.

Mabo v Queensland [No 2] (1992) 175 CLR 1

Parties / Case Name Mabo v Queensland [No 2]
Year (1992)
Volume number 175
Law report abbreviation CLR
Starting page 1

Round brackets vs Square brackets

You'll see some Case citations with round brackets around the year, as shown above, while other Cases will have square brackets around the year, e.g., R v Charles [1978] VR 8. 

Round brackets in a citation, indicates that the volume number is the primary source of structure for the law report series. 

Square brackets in a citation, indicates that the law report series is structured by year.

Reading a citation

Activity #13 - The elements of a case citation


Using this case citations below, drag the terms into the correct box

Minister for Immigration and Citizenship v SZMDS [2010] ALMD 4884

Minister for Immigration and Citizenship v SZMDS (2010) 266 ALR 367