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Legal Research Skills Guide: Unreported Judgments

Unreported judgments

Unreported versions of a court decision are known as Unreported judgments. They are the first version of a court decision that will be available to read and are made available through the associated court website and later AustLII. 

Although unreported judgments are available online, they have not been included in a law report series so are not considered to have been published. They are not are not considered as authoritative as a reported decision, but may be cited if no other version is available. Remember to check a Case Citator to ensure no other versions of the judgment are available.

Unreported citations

A citation for an unreported judgment is also called a "medium neutral citation", this system of citation has been in place in Australia since the late 1990s and was devised by the High Court of Australia.

The main difference between a medium neutral citation and a reported citation is the abbreviation. In a medium neutral citation, the abbreviation represents the court in which the case was heard, the reported citation abbreviation represents the publication in which the judgment is included.

Locating unreported judgements

Elements of a medium neutral citation

Brown v Tasmania [2017] HCA 43, [14]

Parties / Case Name Brown v Tasmania
Year [2017]
Court abbreviation HCA
Judgment number 43
Pinpoint (paragraph number) [14]

Activity #15 - Unreported judgments

Using the following case citation, identify the elements of the citation.

Doe v Dowling [2017] NSWSC 1793, [5]