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China & Hong Kong Legal Research Guide: Case Law

Judicial Consideration of Cases - Finding Cases Citing other Cases

Use CASEBASE HONG KONG - on Lexis Advance US (International)

  • From the Lexis home page, select China & Hong Kong (in the 'International' tab)
  • From the China & Hong Kong page, select All Hong Kong Cases
  • From the All Hong Kong Cases page, select CaseBase Hong Kong  

 

CaseBase Hong Kong is a case citator that covers all reported and most unreported Hong Kong judgments, as well as key overseas cases (such as from England or other Commonwealth jurisdictions) where they are referred to in Hong Kong judicial decisions. CaseBase includes key case details - party names, court, judges, judgment date, parallel citations - and catchwords and tables of legislation referred to. To clarify the precedential value of each case, all cross-references between cases are displayed and classified (applied, distinguished, overruled, considered etc) and summarised with colour-coded signals (characterising the treatment as positive, cautionary, negative or neutral). CaseBase links to full-text reported and unreported judgments and primary legislation. 

Finding Cases on Legislative Provisions

To find leading cases on legislative provisions, use the Annotated Ordinances of Hong Kong on Lexis Advance (UniMelb staff & students only). Scroll to the Ordinance in which you are interested, then use the + signs to open to the relevant section and then click on Commentary. This will link to commentary and leading cases. 

Hong Kong Courts

Hong Kong’s highest court  is the Court of Final Appeal  (called the Supreme Court before 1997 and then briefly the High Court). For information on the history, operation, and jurisprudence of the Court of Final Appeal, see:

See also the following books for commentary on the courts, judiciary and judicial interpretation:

Hong Kong Court Hierarchy

Image courtesy of Hong Kong Judiciary website

Where to find Hong Kong Case Law in English

Note that all the law reports and unreported cases on Westlaw that are listed below can be searched at the same time. Similarly, all the law reports and unreported cases on Lexis can be searched at the same time.

REPORTED DECISIONS 

The Law Library has access to the following report series (UniMelb staff & student access)

  • Hong Kong Law Reports and Digest (HKLRD) - one of Hong Kong's two authorised law report series - on Westlaw. Coverage 1905 to current. Contains reported decisions from the Court of Final Appeal, the Court of Appeal of the High Court, and the Court of First Instance of the High Court, the courts of the British crown colony of Hong Kong (the Privy Council, the Court of Appeal, and the High Court); and other courts and tribunals, such as the District Court and Lands Tribunal. 
    • From the Westlaw home page, select International Materials>Hong Kong>Law Reports
       
  • Hong Kong Cases (HKC) - on Lexis Advance. Coverage: 1842 to current. Contains significant decisions from all HK courts.
    ​Note: This can be browsed by year or searched.
     
  • Hong Kong Law Digest Yearbook (HKLY) on Westlaw. Coverage 1985 to current. Also known as Hong Kong Law Yearbook and Hong Kong Law Reports & Digest Yearbook.
    ​Note: This can only be searched, not browsed. It contains digests only, not full decisions. Many, but not all, of the decisions included in HKLY are digested from Hong Kong Law Reports and Digest (HKLRD)
    • ​From the Westlaw home page, select International Materials>Hong Kong>Case Digests
       
  • Hong Kong Family Law Reports - on Lexis Advance Coverage 2005 to current.
    Note: This can be browsed by year or searched.

 

UNREPORTED DECISIONS

The Hong Kong Judiciary's Judgments and Legal Reference database (open access) includes completely up to date decisions of significance as legal precedents on points of law, practice and procedure of the courts and of public interest from the following courts delivered between 1946 and 1948, and from 1966 onwards from:

  • Court of Final Appeal (since its establishment in 1997)
  • Court of Appeal of the High Court
  • Court of First Instance of the High Court
  • Competition Tribunal (since its establishment in 2015)
  • District Court
  • Family Court
  • Lands Tribunal

The courts and tribunal decisions can be browsed by year or searched. Decisions from all courts and tribunals can be searched at the same time. 

This database also includes:

HKLII - an up to date open access platform that includes decisions from:

Decisions from individual courts can be browsed by year, and searched. Decisions from all courts can be searched at the same time on HKLII. 

Hong Kong Court of Final Appeals - on Westlaw (UniMelb staff & student access). Coverage from 1997 to current.

  • From the Westlaw home page, select International Materials>Hong Kong>Hong Kong Cases>Hong Kong Cases: Court of Final Appeals.
  • Note: this is not the authorised Hong Kong Court of Final Appeals Reports. We do not have access to this report series.

Hong Kong Cases Unreported - on Lexis Advance (UniMelb staff & student access). Coverage: 1905 to current. Contains  decisions from the Court of Final Appeal, Court of Appeal and Court of First Instance (High Court), District Court, Lands Tribunal and other specialist tribunals.
Note: This database can only be searched, not browsed.

  • From the Lexis home page, go to Browse>Publications>Hong Kong>by Content Type>HK Cases
  • Click on Hong Kong Cases Unreported to add this as a search filter.

Note: this database can be searched but not browsed by year / volume/.

Hong Kong Cases: Unreported / Alert Service - on Westlaw (UniMelb staff & student access). Full-text cases from the Hong Kong Latest Judgments-Alert Service, including unreported decisions from the Hong Kong regional courts and the Privy Council. Coverage begins with 1999.

  • From the Westlaw home page, select International Materials>Hong Kong>Hong Kong Cases>Hong Kong Cases: Unreported / Alert Service.